eBent Recumbent Cycling

A Bent Look at Self Contained Touring

Bicycling and Weight Loss Part III – Gaining Control

with 6 comments

Lose It - Free iPhone App

Lose It - Free iPhone App

continued from Bicycling and Weight Loss Part II – Understanding
I knew I had a problem with eating but didn’t know what to do. Diets didn’t seem to help. I just felt out of control and helpless. I seemed to eat just like everyone else I know.

Lose It Weight Graph

Lose It Weight Graph

My Doctor suggested a Food Diary. “Just write down everything you eat and all will become obvious” he said. I did and everything didn’t seem obvious because I still had no easy way to covert what I ate to calories and compare that to what I should be eating. My food diary was a chore not a tool and quickly fell into disuse.

Lost It Total Page

Lost It Total Page

Discovery #2 iPhone/iPod Touch Food Diaries.

One day I ran across an iPod Touch (iPhone) application called “Lose It“. What an awful name. This App changed my life. It gave me an easy way to record everything I ate using a tool that I was already carrying all of the time. It wasn’t just easy to log the food I ate; it also totaled the calories and nutrients in the food I was eating. It maintained a running total of my calories consumed against a daily calorie target I selected (I chose lose 1 pound per week). It also let me log my exercise (biking time primarily) and calculated calories consumed by that exercise. I now had a continuously updated log of what was happening as I went through the day and it was fun! The log showed kept me up on my calories consumed, calories used, and how may calories I had left for the day. What made this work was how easy the App made doing it. Keeping a log wasn’t a chore it was fun.

Lose It Nutrients

Lose It Nutrients

This sounds simple but this simple tool gave me control of my life. Change was almost immediate. I could see what things I ate that had lots of calories but didn’t really have much flavor and left me unstatisfied. Things I just seemed to eat out of habit. I could also look at what I was going to eat and judge it’s impact on my day. I now controlled the intake into my body in a way that made sense for me.

Knowing what I was eating and how I was doing during the day made me feel in control of my eating for the first time. It wasn’t like when I was on a diet or counting weight watcher points. I could eat anything I wanted to eat. I just didn’t seem to want to eat more than my target for that day. I almost automatically started changing my diet, dropping fatty foods and replacing them with healthier options. I felt better.  I was losing weight, then feeling even better. My clothes became too big and I had to buy smaller sizes, this made me feel even better. I was in a feedback loop with lots of positive reinforcement for the changes I was making positive changes to my life almost without thinking about them.

Lose It - List of your Exercises

Lose It - List of your Exercises

The other great thing is that this system rewarded me when I rode my bike. When I came home after a ride I had earned the bar or beer I used to chase hunger away. It just seemed right, I was using the Laws of Thermodynamics and getting healthier.

This was the single most important change I made; I was now in control and could understand the impact of my decisions. I didn’t need to diet, I just knew what and how much to eat. I know this may not make sense, but being in control was the secret for me to losing weight. My Doctor was right “Just write down everything you eat and all will become obvious”. I just had to find a way to do it that worked for me.

The next post will cover some things that helped but now you know my secret.


Written by Roland

September 15, 2009 at 9:13 pm

6 Responses

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  1. […] Bicycling and Weight Loss Part III – Gaining Control Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Bicycling and Weight Loss Part I – […]

  2. Hi Roland, Here’s one for you to ponder. I, too, have been working at losing some weight. It is slowly working and that is just fine.
    Lately I find myself stopping and trying to tighten the seat straps on the bottom of the Slipstream seat to keep the backs of my legs from hitting the front of the seat bottom when climbing hills. Then over the weekend my wife told me my bottom was disappearing. It seems the loss of posterior padding may require a change in seat angle. Have you run into this?
    Thanks to Greg for easy adjust-ability of the seat.


    September 29, 2009 at 8:45 am

  3. that’s nice

    Weight Loss Blog

    October 12, 2009 at 6:14 pm

  4. Great post when it comes to health it seems to me old fashioned unprocessed and natural is best. All that counting writing down foods seems like hard work to me.

    dietditch Julie

    November 27, 2009 at 4:47 pm

  5. Do you happen to know of a desktop or (private) web based log like the one you found for your iPhone? It seems like a fantastic idea, and something I should try. I’m already moving in that direction – as I’m spending more time working harder on the bike, I’ve got less desire for fatty foods. And I’m using a database to track the rides ( and other exercise ) I do, complete with “calories burned” and fancy maps … the energy intake is the only thing I seem to be missing, but I don’t have an iPhone.


    January 18, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    • I use an iPod Touch not an iPhone. iPhones just aren’t practical for bicycling touring because of AT&T’s limited coverage.

      The beauty of the iPod Touch is that I always have it with me and enter data before I eat. The App “Lose It” runs locally on my iPod Touch without any WiFi connection (no phone in the iPod Touch).

      Waiting to enter data when I get home just hasn’t worked for me. I need that immediate feedback before I eat.


      January 26, 2010 at 10:23 am

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