In “Weight Loss Tips – Accountability and Consequence (Part One)” you learned about the importance of documenting your goals and developing a strategy to keep reminders on hand so that you don’t veer off track. Although established goals can be motivating in the first weeks of a new weight loss journey, it is hard to maintain motivation over time. Objective feedback can be a powerful tool to help you effectively reach your weight loss goal.
Playing the Numbers Game
I can safely say that all human beings are motivated by feedback. Feedback is information that is provided by an outside source. Most of us are familiar with feedback from others, which can sometimes be colored with emotion and can be easily misinterpreted. Regardless of whether the feedback was provided with good intentions, or not, this can be a negative experience.
Numbers, on the other hand, can show:
- Objective information with no emotion or judgement.
- Progress and improvement over time.
- Exactly when you’ve reached your goal.
Numbers are universal and are everywhere, especially when it comes to diet, nutrition and exercise.
Diet & Nutrition
There are several diet and nutrition programs available online or as a mobile application for your smartphone. These programs provide a way to track your eating habits over time and include a virtual library of foods and their associated calories. These programs track your daily eating habits, provide information on healthier substitutions for single foods or complete meals, and provide information and guidance to help you develop smarter eating habits for a healthier life.
Suggested diet and nutrition programs include:
Exercise & Energy Expenditure
Weight loss is about developing a strategy where the total amount of calories we burn is greater than the total amount of calories we take in. It is fairly easy to calculate the numbers of calories in the foods we eat because the information is readily available on food labels and online. These numbers are consistent and fairly accurate. Energy expenditure, on the other hand, is more difficult to do on your own and involves several variables:
- Body composition (lean body mass, body fat)
- Physical activity and exercise
There are scientific formulas you can use to “estimate” energy expenditure (i.e. Harris-Benedict Equation, Mufflin Equation), assuming you want to do that math. Fortunately, there are technologies now available that can provide more accurate information. All you need is the tracking device and access to the online programs.
- dotFIT Armband and online program (www.dotfit.com)
- Fitbug and online program (www.fitbug.com)
- Fitbit Tracker and online program (www.fitbit.com)
These technologies and programs not only track energy expenditure they also track some (or all) of the following:
- Your workout schedule.
- The number of steps you walk.
- Your sleep patterns.
- Your food intake.
For a small investment these tools are the best accountability measure and provider of credible information that is all about you. They are a virtual personal trainer and nutritionist who are there with you every step of the way.
The information you gather using these tracking tools can help you stay motivated, make good decisions around the foods that you eat, help you comply with your workout program, and feel good about your accomplishments every step of the way.