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Big Fat Lies

Everyday is election day. We make votes about what we feed ourselves and the exercise we choose to do. When we are voting, we should know whether we are getting the truth, or a spun set of facts.
 
I did a little fact checking and here are some diet lies, along with a few truths!

- Low in calories is always healthy! Junk food is junk food, even low-calorie junk food.

- Eating before bed makes you gain weight! Not if those are calories you need! We all want an edge in this game. Fueling up for workouts is smart and replenishing electrolytes and making protein available for muscle repair is important post-workout. If you workout until 8pm and then go to bed at 9:30pm, you still need to eat. I will add that we probably need carbs earlier in the day to fuel our activities. So go for the protein before bed and then choose something from the chocolate food group.

- High in protein diets are effective for everyone. Each one of us is different. Body make-up, genes, sleep, age and stress are too complex to turn into a formula. You need to explore some options. For some it is magic, and others it's unsustainable.

- It's good if it says "low carb", "organic", "all natural,"  "low sugar", high in fiber" or "fat free." The truth the foods with the least amount of processing are good for you. Lean meats are better than cold cuts, whole grains are better than processed grains, and sugar is probably better than most of the substitutes.

- High in fiber makes you fart. This is true!

- Fruit juice is a good substitute for fruit. No it is not. It is better than Coke or Pepsi, but fruit has more fiber, less sugar, less sodium and is likely to make you feel "fuller."

- Sodium is bad. The truth is that we need some sodium. The bad news is that bread, cold cuts, cheese, and canned foods are pretty much filled with it. Oh and soy is a killer. One packet is as much as you would need for a day! Sodium effects blood pressure in some folks, and not in others. Some MFP-ers say that it helps you retain water weight, others disagree.

- Drinking 8 cups of water a day is essential. This is false. We need the equivalent of this. If you drink coffee, tea, or eat fruit, you are getting water. For some, drinking water right before you eat helps you eat less. If you exercise and sweat, you'll need more, and if you don't, you'll need less. The idea that is flushes the system is also suspect. I will say if you are getting muscle cramps after exercise, hydration can be a huge factor (along with potassium). Good hydration can alos ease joint pain.

- The goal is weight loss. It should be total health and fitness.

- Salad is the best option. Well, yes, if you don't use regular dressing and white flour croutons, you could be right.

- Green tea! It can help boost metabolism and get rid of "sweet cravings." It also has caffeine, so probably not a good choice for those who are sensitive to speed.

- Weight training is the same as body building. NO! Being strong does not require sculpted biceps. Keep the reps up around 12, and sets at 3, and you'll find your added muscle will burn more calories, and you can keep your husband in line with ease. ;)

- Coffee is bad. Quite a few studies have found that coffee is rich in antioxidants, can help reduce depression, help with muscle recovery, and even protect against Parkinson’s disease, gallstones, diabetes and some cancers. And for some of us, without, we're usless.

Thanks for the votes and comments, you guys are awesome!

My apologies for a bit of a repeat, but wirting a book and looking for work leaves me little time to blog.

It's Like Having a Pesky Little Brother!

My wife and I both like electronic gadgets, so for my 55th birthday, instead of getting me a nose hair trimmer, she bought me a Fitbit One. WTH is a Fitbit? It is a basically a step counter with some pretty sophisticated calculations to measure your daily caloric burn. From your steps (motion) it calculates your activity or lack there of - well as long as you wear it. At one point, for me, it would have been better off called a lazy-meter.

Why would you want one? Because dsjohndrow has one. If that is not a good enough reason, read on.

The Fitbit online portal augments your ability to keep track of other health and fitness related data. In addition to the logs for food consumption (from MFP and a host of other sources), you also can track blood pressure, glucose and even add custom logs in the dashboard.

Here is a quick list of what it can automatically log and calculate for you.
- Steps:
The number of footsteps taken, or nervous taps with it on your desk.

- Calories Burned: A basic calculation of the calories burned calculated from the number of steps you take, factoring in your hight, weight and age. What MFP does, but based on actual, not estimated activity.

- Distance in Miles or Kilometers: It counts a specific stride length which is adjustable, and there is one for walking and running.

- Very Active Time: I am guessing that at some point it distinguishes between the speed in which the steps happen. The difference between foreplay and ... ah never mind.

- Stair Steps: It somehow magically knows the difference between flat and elevated steps.

- Sleep: Just like Santa Claus, it knows. Type, Length and Quality: If you wear it, it measures your sleep activity, showing restlessness, awake time and blissful REM. And no, I haven't tried it for that. The wrist band gets in the way of the handcuffs.

Fitbit and MFP are really quite a great partnership. All my food logging from MFP shows up in Fitbit dashboard when synched! No logging it twice. I happen too think that step counting is a difficult way to track miles; therefore, I use Endomondo with GPS to measure runs. It also synchs with MFP and I don't have to log my exercise at all! Endomondo has an HRM and my Very Active Time is much more accurate. Endomondo posts to MFP, which in turn posts to Fitbit, Facebook and Twitter! Holy smokes, that is awesome! It's like a social media avalanche.

What have I learned about me and Fitbit in the 10 or so days that I have had my One?
- My sleep is 98% efficient. Who knew, Sonesta works.

- Active minutes can come at surprising moments, like when the dog sneaks out the front door.

- I walk an average of 2.24 miles (most of it between the office, the coffee pot and the bathroom) a day.

- It counts all my activity from house cleaning to brushing my teeth and farting when no one is looking.

- It's easy to lose (wash, dry, or misplace). I lost my original one in less than 48 hours. I messaged the company to see if there was any way to locate it. After retracing my steps (and not getting credit for them) they simply sent me a new one free of charge.

- I was concerned that it would blow up when I ran 18 miles, but it posted a badge for 35,000 steps in a day. I mean who needs WTG? ;)

Thanks for the votes and comments.

If you still want to get a signed copy of my new book: ICU to Marathon, Diaries of a Nearly Dead Man, here's a link. ICU2MARATHON.COM
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