Thursday, 29 October 2015

Learning from Fitbit Food Tracking

I’ve had a couple of chats about fitness trackers and the real benefits of a Fitbit. Tracking what I eat is one of them, even if it feels a little obsessive at the start. Taking photos of bar codes to get the nutritional information turns out to be slightly cool.

The trick for the first couple of months is not to use the calorie counter to control what you eat, but to be honest in recording it and hence understand what you’re eating and how you feel when you do.

I got a cold and saw exactly what I’ve always suspected. My calorie intake goes up, I eat more biscuits and chocolate and my exercise goes down. Colds make me put on weight, or at least stop me losing it. It lasted a fortnight, and I can see it in the colour of the calorie counter target icons: green and red instead of yellow and green (yellow means I’ve eaten even less than my 500 calorie deficit).

Understanding must, of course, lead to action. So in the morning a single Penguin (106 calories) has replaced the cellophane pack of Belvita biscuits (220 calories), and a home-made sandwich (220 calories or so) has replaced something from Pret (400 calories or more). The ingredients (bread, ham) of the sandwiches costs as much as one Pret sandwich. So there’s a financial saving here as well.

I’m trying to find lighter lunches. I find an Itsu sushi plus a Miso soup, at around 400 calories, is a little light and slightly bland, whereas a Square Pie is tasty but has silly calories – because pie means pastry and pasty means calories: 620 for the steak and kidney. There’s a Crepe Affaire in Spitalfields Market which does a few reasonable savoury crepes. I suspect that if I didn’t eat the bread on a salt beef at the Lower Eastside Deli in Shoreditch that would take lunch back to around 400 calories. (It is at least solid meat, so more filling than the Itsu.)

The afternoons between 3 and 4 are my bugbear. I need something. My senses are bored, and I’m slumping. (If I go straight home, I fall asleep on the train.) I've been having a yoghurt and maybe tea or coffee and a Kit-Kat. A mess: useless caloires. Fruit doesn’t do it. Maybe the mistake I’m making is thinking that food will pick me up, and it won’t. Perhaps I need to schedule some routine stuff for that hour that I can bash out to pass the time.

I’m right now trying a couple of pieces of dark chocolate. Maybe I need something sweet at lunchtime instead of all that dreary protein and carbohydrate. Ice cream, for instance. That is well-known to be medicinal. Perhaps I have a starter and dessert at Canteen, instead of fish-and-chips. It’s worth a try.

Losing weight, I’ve had problems with constipation, which is what happens when you don’t eat enough fibre. Also, I think porridge on a regular basis doesn’t help this either, as it is soluble fibre and doesn’t help with bulk. So my evening meal is a full-of-fibre root-vegetable stew with added Polish sausage and some grated cheese. It gets cooked in bulk, and four servings get put in plastic containers and stored in the fridge.

We singles tend to eat the same meal at least twice in succession, and sometimes four times. It’s all very virtuous, except the Penguins, and I suspect I need to add some variety to it, probably from a restaurant at least once a week.

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