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Archive for the ‘fitness’ Category

More On My True PS300 Treadmill Review

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post some people have asked me how noisy my treadmill, the True PS300 is in actual use.

I took a short video with my iPhone to demonstrate:

As you can hear, the audio is a little exaggerated by the iPhone mic but it’s pretty obvious that my heavy footfalls are much louder than the sound of the motor (which I don’t really hear at all) or the deck itself. If you’re lighter than I am (and at my current weight of 298 lbs, you probably are) it will probably not even be as loud for you.

Something to note is that our treadmill is in the basement, sitting on a vinyl treadmill mat, on top of a carpet, on poured concrete. So your mileage may vary if you place it on a hardwood floor that isn’t the basement. I have no idea what it’ll sound like to your downstairs neighbors, but it’s not really any louder than I imagine it would be to walk on a laminated plywood board (which is what I believe is the material of which the deck is constructed).

Hamster Wheel To Nowhere

When I first joined a gym using the treadmill was my least favorite exercise. I found the treadmill was not as much fun as the elliptical or other machines that give you a more novel range of movement. After using any of the other machines for a while, though, I always returned to the treadmill as a way to warm up and cool off. It engages your entire body rather than isolating some part of you for a specific movement (like an exercise bike) since walking is considered a weight-bearing exercise – more muscles are engaged which results in a better workout. Elliptical machines are lower-impact than treadmills, though,and tend to take up more room length-wise than a treadmill. We could’ve gone either way.

Why A Treadmill Versus Some Other Piece of Exercise Equipment?

I don’t know. Anything that you have room for and that you’ll actually use will work for you. Anything that will collect dust because you won’t use it probably won’t. My wife and I found that the only two pieces of equipment we used consistently were the treadmills and elliptical machines, and the latter seemed less practical if we had to choose only one for home use.

When it came time to decide what machine to get, the treadmill was the one piece of equipment that both my wife and I would likely use more often. Of course you never know how much you’ll use something until you buy it…

Treadmill Buyer’s Guide

Before I begin to offer advice, keep in mind that I use my treadmill solely for walking. I’m not a runner (yet) so my needs may differ from yours. There are some general tips that I picked up while researching my purchase, though.

  • Determine Your Needs: Are you a runner or, like me, primarily going to use the treadmill for walking? Runners or heavier walkers will need a beefier treadmill.
  • Budget: How much do you have to spend? I found that in late–2011 (and this still holds true for 2012) that $2,500-$3,000 is the sweet spot for getting a quality treadmill that will last you many years (hopefully) without having to spring for all the bells & whistles. You can spend less, but know that a $1,000 treadmill that you get at a sporting goods emporium may not last long, and if it’s really cheaply made, could cause injuries.
  • Where To Shop: Department stores and sporting goods chains all tend to sell lower-end treadmills. Some of them may work for you, but keep in mind that the clerk may have worked in the furniture department the prior week and may not be able to answer your questions. The better brands tend to be sold like cars – only in fitness equipment dealerships.
  • Brand Names: Some of the better brands include Precor, True, Life Fitness, Landice, and Cybex. I’ve heard mixed reviews about mail-order and department store brands like NordicTrack, Bowflex, Smooth, Sole, Horizon, ProForm, and LiveStrong. There are dozens of other brands, too, some of which are owned by some of the other brands mentioned above.
  • Stack The Deck: Most treadmill manufacturers differentiate their product lines not by changing the motor, deck, or anything else in the base of the machine throughout their model lines, but rather the models get more expensive as the electronics and display in the “head” get more advanced. We went with a fairly simple model since we didn’t care about a built-in touchscreen or LCD TV. If those things are important to you and you have the money, go nuts and spring for a fancier console computer. Just know where your money is going. Most threadmills include a book shelf where you can put a magazine, iPad, or eBook reader. Can you put a TV in the room with the treadmill? A stand-alone television will likely be a lot cheaper (and better quality) than a built-in display.
  • Go Pro?: Commercial treadmills that are meant to stand up to a multitude of abuses are much more expensive than consumer models. The trick is to find a solidly built consumer model. If you can find a commercial model for sale at a discount just be aware that it has a lot of miles on it and may not last as long as you’d like.
  • Treadmill Lifespan: This also greatly depends on the quality of the parts, how often you use it, etc., but consider that this is a big purchase that you don’t want to have to make again in a few years. Shoot for a model that will last you at least 7–10 years. Preventive mainetnance will extend the life of the better models.
  • Know When To Fold ’Em: We bought a non-folding treadmill because the folding models tend to not be as sturdy or well-built. If you don’t need a super sturdy treadmill (e.g. you weigh l00 pounds and plan to only walk on it) and have limited room to keep a treadmill a folding model may work for you. Just know that you’re paying more for less. Convenience has a price.
  • Inclination: Most decent treadmills offer an option to incline (ours goes to 15%). Some of the really fancy decks also do a decline to better simulate terrain. You’d be surprised how much a 3–5% grade makes a difference in your walk, and to avoid boredom you’ll definitely want the variety various inclines and speeds offer.
  • Ain’t Nothin’ Gonna Breaka My Stride: Are you tall? If so, you’ll want a deck that’s at least six inches longer than your stride length on either side. I’m 6′3″ My treadmill’s desk is 60″ long. Also important is the width of the deck. Generally wider is better, as you don’t want to accidentally step on the edge of the belt.
  • Space: Do you have room for a treadmill? Make sure you measure not only the treadmill itself, but also a good 1–2 feet on either side of it (for your arms) and another foot or two behind it in case you trip and get flung into the wall or other furniture. Space in front of the treadmill need only be limited by how much you want to stare at a wall, although keep in mind that some measurements only include the length of the body of the deck and that the console may hang outward of the manufacturer’s measurements.
  • Whiz-Bang: Sure, the feature that simulates the terrain of the south of France by changing the incline as you walk is nifty. It’s nice to have a small TV screen built into the top of the machine, too. Do you really need these things, though? Will you actually use them on a day-to-day basis? The hard part about trying out something like a treadmill in a store is that you won’t really know if you really like it or not until weeks or months into your routine (especially if this is your first treadmill).
  • Try Before You Buy: You need to walk on a treadmill before you buy it, for as long as you can. While most gyms will stock larger commercial models often times the console for a manufacturer’s home series is similar (or in some cases, exactly the same). Try out models in various stores, but see if you can get a day-pass trial membership to a couple of local gyms so you can try a couple of different models for a more extended workout. I’ve also never heard of a treadmill salesman kicking someone out of the store because they walked on the display models too long.
  • New Or Used: I’m of the opinion that you can’t go wrong with new gear. I’d rather go without for a while and save up for something new (which is what we did) than get something cheaper that may or may not have problems. Having said that, a lot of people buy treadmills as part of their New Year’s resolutions and then use it a few times before it gathers dust in their basements, so you may be able to find a nearly new deal on Craigslist. Consider, however, that treadmills are heavy and you’ll need to move it yourself if you buy it from an individual.
  • Delivery: I’m going to say that delivery is always free when you’re buying a treadmill. I’m sure not every store offers free delivery, but I’ve found that enough do that you should shop at those places rather than pay a delivery fee. If they want to charge you extra for setup, walk away. The machines almost always come with the head removed and the delivery guys assembled ours and set it in place in less than five minutes. That’s part of the price of the machine.
  • Hold Your Horses: You wouldn’t buy a car without knowing what kind of engine it had (would you?). You should know what you’re getting in the treadmill’s motor, which is its most important part. Raw (peak) horsepower isn’t as important as its “continuous duty horsepower.” Most manufacturers of better treadmills will brag about their continuous duty rating because that’s the amount of HP you can expect to get consistently under load (i.e. you walking on the belt) and not the motor’s peak without being stressed at all. Keep in mind that there’s no law or standard for rating treadmill motors, so it’s hard to research. One tip for determining the relative quality of the motor is to examine its…
  • Warranty: Most treadmills will come with some kind of manufacturer’s warranty, and usually they’re split between parts, labor, and the motor. Here’s where the rubber meets the road, since crappy treadmills will come with poor warranty terms, and good models will usually have a good warranty, often a Lifetime Warranty, for important parts like the motor. That’s confidence. You can tell how confident a manufacturer is by how long they’ll warranty the machine. Of course, if something’s going to break it’s going to break in the first few months, or after many years. Make sure you know what you’re getting.

Lies Treadmill Salesmen Told Me

  • “This is the same deck as their commercial machines.” Yeah, sure it is.
  • “If you need service we’re just a phone call away. Our service to you continues long after you leave the store.” This location was a mattress store three months ago, and will likely be an aquarium supply store six months from now. Base your purchase on the manufacturer’s warranty, not on the service that the salesman claims comes with your purchase (unless they’re willing to give you a service agreement in writing, but even that may not be worth anything if they go out of business).
  • “These machines are the best. That’s why we only sell this brand.” Translation: this manufacturer pays us the highest commission.
  • “I own this one myself.” Sure you do. You also owned a different model I was interested in last month. How many treadmills do you have? This is just the salesman’s way of telling you that they have personal experience with the machine. Who cares how much they like it?
  • “I have ten years experience as a personal trainer and recommend that my clients only walk on RunJogger machines.” The salesman’s employment history doesn’t make the machine you’re looking to invest in any better. They want to assure you that they’re an expert in all things fitness, but make sure they can answer your questions about the actual treadmill you’re looking to buy.
  • “I don’t work on commission.” There’s nothing wrong with selling stuff on commission. I expect that the salesman is getting paid based on sales. The only reason anyone would tell you that they don’t get a commission is to seem more trustworthy. After all, why would anyone who stands to gain nothing from your purchase lie to you about which model to buy? It’s not a bad sign if your salesman doesn’t get paid on commission – a lot of larger retail stores don’t pay commissions. Be leery of anyone who makes it a point to tell you that as a sales tactic, though.
  • “I can give you a special deal on this one.” Regardless of whether this particular model is discontinued, has issues, or what have you, the truth is that the price on the treadmill is really just a starting point. Fitness equipment salesmen can haggle just like car dealers, and you should expect to pay lower than the asking price. Don’t be stirred into making a rash purchase because a model is deeply-discounted or on sale. They’re always on sale. Now or next month is as good a time to buy as any, so pull the trigger on your own time, not because a salesman pressured you into it.

How To Research Treadmills Online (or not)

While there are innumerable websites which will sell you a treadmill you should under no circumstances buy a treadmill from an online store. You’d think the Internet would be the perfect place to do research for treadmills but most “review” sites are actually just thinly veiled ads for treadmill and fitness equipment stores, or affiliate marketers looking to send you on your way to a real store wherein you can buy a new treadmill (while they get a small cut of the sales price).

Consumer Reports may have treadmill reviews, but you can’t read them without being a paid subscriber. The only reasonably interesting site that gives annual awards for treadmills in various price ranges is TreadmillDoctor.com, which is also a merchant but they sell parts for treadmills and elliptical machines rather than the equipment itself, which makes them somewhat less partial.

My point is that a treadmill is something you’re going to have to walk on to find out if it’s a good fit for you. I can tell you how much I like my treadmill, but until you’ve tried it for yourself you just can’t tell.

My Treadmill: True Fitness PS300 Review

After researching as much as possible online and trying a few models in stores we decided on the True Fitness PS300. We paid about $2,500 for ours. It’s $200 more than the True PS100 but includes an orthopedic belt that felt a lot more cushiony. Also, from what I determined from online forums that the ortho belts tend to last longer. I’d recommend it especially if you currently weigh a lot as I’ve found it puts a lot less stress on my ankles than a standard belt. If you try it and don’t like it, though, the True PS100 is a fantastic machine as well (the only difference between the two is the belt).

True PS300 Treadmill
True PS300 Treadmill

Besides the orthopedic belt providing a nice cushion it’s grippier than standard belts as well. The deck is very long (60″) and reasonably wide (it’s 21″ which is more than wide enough although I liked some 22–24″ models better – but only for the generous width of the deck). This treadmill is a consumer model but our salesman told us that it uses the same motor as their commercial machines. I’m kidding. Of course it doesn’t, but that’s okay. It’s beefy enough at 3 horsepower.

It’s super-sturdy – the frame is made of heavy gauge steel. The head is made mostly of plastic, but it’s a good sturdy plastic, too. When grabbing the handrails there’s no shake or jitter. It really feels solid (not that you should be grabbing onto the handrails while you’re walking – that eliminates a lot of the workout!). The specs say that the maximum user weight is 350lbs, which is ample for most people but when I first started my Clean Livin’ routine I would have to have waited to use this machine. The PS300 itself weighs 308lbs, which means it stays in place while you walk on it. It also means it’s nigh impossible to move to clean under it, so be sure to use the free mat that the dealer threw in to sweeten the deal, especially if you’re not using yours in the basement and have to worry about making noise for people below you.

The warranty is above-average:

Frame – Lifetime;
Motor – 30 Years;
Parts – 7 Years;
Labor – 1 Year.

I don’t know why they don’t offer a lifetime warranty on the motor. I mean, 30 years is pretty good – I doubt we’ll have it that long – but why not go the extra mile and support it for longer than most people[1] will own the machine.

PS300 Head and Console
PS300 Head and Console

The controls are very simple to use. When my mother-in-law came to visit she was able to just hop on and start using the machine with no prior training or having to read the manual. There are quick start buttons for setting various speed and incline increments, along with easy to reach up and down arrow buttons to increase or decrease speed and incline. The display also shows your walk’s duration, the number of calories burned based on your weight, METs, and of course distance. It has a safety clip that you’re supposed to clip onto your clothing so the machine stops if you slip. I tried it once and it seems to work. Since then the clip’s been sitting in the console’s cup holder.

It comes with a wireless heart rate monitor that I’ve never used. It also comes with a water bottle that fits the two built-in holders well, and a tool you can use to open the motor compartment for maintenance. I may take my dealer’s advice and have someone from their store come by once a year to do some preventive maintenance, if they’re still in business by the end of the year.

Regarding the heart rate monitor, the brochure says:

TRUE HRC Cruise Control allows you to “lock in” your targeted heart rate. Once your target is entered, one touch TRUE HRC Cruise Control will adjust speed and incline automatically throughout the duration of your workout to maintain your target heart rate.

So that sounds pretty cool. I’ll have to try it sometime.

I tend to just put it in manual mode and adjust the speed and incline myself as I go, but my wife loves the “Glute Buster” and “Calorie Burner” modes because it does a warm-up and cool-down period and adjusts the speed and incline at various intervals to change things up. I think having multiple program modes on a treadmill is like carrying a hand gun. It’s better to have them and not need them than need them and not have them.

Glute Buster
Glute Buster

I’ve used fancier treadmill computers and have never once missed and kind of programming or a full-color display. Of course, I bring my own entertainment.

Mind-Numbing Boredom

There’s not much advice I can offer to make walking in place more fun. I find it better to watch something rather than read or listen to music. My iPad fits on the treadmill’s book shelf and I catch up on TV shows or movies I want to watch. It covers most of the display, but I tend to adjust speed and incline based on feel anyway, and I can always slide it to one side or another to see my incline or current speed.

Whatever you do while on the treadmill – reading, watching TV, listening to music, talking on the phone – I’ve found that anything that’s immersive is better at combating boredom than anything that makes you focus on your walk. For me, it’s watching videos on the iPad, reading a novel, and then maybe surfing the web[2].

When the weather’s nice I still prefer to walk around outside rather than walk indoors on the treadmill. There’s not a treadmill in the world that beats beautiful weather and fresh air. Then again, I can’t catch up on Parks & Rec while walking in an actual park for recreation.

The Verdict

Since buying the machine last November I’ve gone from using it a couple of times per week to using it every morning. I like to just hop on a bit at various times throughout the day whenever I’m home too. I’m definitely a convert despite initially finding it awkward and monotonous. Walking on a treadmill definitely takes some getting used to. You probably don’t realize how much you adjust your pace as you walk since the Earth isn’t moving at 3–4 mph beneath you. Of course, the Earth is moving much faster than all of the treadmills on it combined, but the ground doesn’t move relative to you. That’s probably not a relevant detail.


  1. If you’ve owned and have regularly used a treadmill for longer than 30 years, please contact me. I have questions for you.  ↩

  2. This post was dictated and transcribed by my iPad while walking on the treadmill over the course of a week or so. Well, the first draft was, anyway. If you’re wondering where dictating an article lies on the boredom scale, it’s behind watching videos but ahead of reading. Having said that, writing an article and dictating one are two very different skills and I’m unlikely to do a lot of “writing” while walking on the treadmill. I also edited-out the mistranslations and “ums” later. It was an interesting experiment that would work better as a means of jotting down a quick note about an idea that I had while working out in the morning. I would not recommend trying to do any serious writing while walking on a treadmill.  ↩

Biennial

I’ve been on the path to Clean Livin’ for two years now. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long already. I’ve had some ups & downs on the scale, but mostly downs, as I’ve lost 153 pounds since 16 June 2008.

Okay, so I definitely didn't lose over 150 pounds eating stuff like THIS.The first half of the year marked some major fitness milestones for me; the most notable of which was getting down below the 300 pound mark. I went back over it a few times, and I didn’t help myself in trying all of the unhealthy foods that Seattle and Portland had to offer (see photo). I gained 2-3 pounds during a ten-day vacation, which I quickly lost again to plateau at just under 300 again. These are things that happen.

Plateaus are part of the process, and shouldn’t be too discouraging, but it’s always nice to see the numbers decrease on the scale, especially if it’s a personal best.

What have I learned in the past two years? Mostly that I know I can do this (and you can too) and that I don’t have to eat healthily all of the time; just most of the time, and I’ll still lose weight.

I’m glad my original goal was to be fitter and lead a more active lifestyle rather than just trying to lose weight. With the weight loss being a necessary side-effect of Clean Livin’, there’s been less internal pressure on the process, and I don’t have to fret about my weight training slowing down my weight loss since the number on the scale isn’t what defines my fitness (although it’s the easiest number to talk about).

Into year three I still have a little over a hundred pounds to lose, but it’ll come off slowly and surely, I’m sure of it.

Milestones Ahoy! Under 300 Pounds!

In the past three month’s I’ve reached three major milestones in quick succession:

  • Under 40 BMI (change in classification)
  • Halfway Point (315.5 pounds)
  • Under 300 Pounds

How Morbid

40 BMI is the threshold for moving from “morbidly obese” to simply “obese.” Granted, it’s not much to brag about, but it’s my first major step down the BMI scale (the next is from obese to merely “overweight,” which I’ll reach at 240 pounds for me).

Since BMI is relative to your height (but oddly, not age or gender) your BMI will be different than mine even at the same weight. Still, even a relative win is a win. I’ve apparently reduced my risks of a great number of diseases and have added a couple of decades onto my life.

While I don’t know much about the Obesity Action Coalition, they have more information about morbid obesity.

I didn't lose the weight eating Gray's Papaya dogs, but every once in a while...

Halfway

Since I’ve had to lose so much weight, the halfway point for me was when I lost 135.5 pounds, at 315.5 pounds. By any measure, losing more than 135 pounds is a lot of weight – more than many entire humans!

300

Hail Sparta!

Getting below 300 pounds was a major mental milestone for me. Seeing that number change doesn’t mean that much in terms of how I look or feel, but seeing the first number on the scale change was major, especially since I’m not sure I’ll need to see it change again (I’m still not really sure what my “ideal weight” should be but I figure I’ll know it when I get there and keep re-evaluating as I go).

Since I’m still considering my True Weight to be a two-week average. I just got below 300 (on average) today even though I first weighed-in below 300 pounds (299.8 to be exact) on April 25th, 2010 (two weeks ago).

Constant Feedback

“If you really want to be depressed, weigh yourself in grams.”
— Jason Love

One of the tricks I’ve found for keeping up with my own fitness progress is to try to get as much feedback that I can. When you drive a car you can look at the speedometer to see how fast you’re going, look at the lines that divide each lane to stay on course, and look at other gauges and dials to tell the status of your vehicle. Unfortunately, your body’s feedback is vaguer and less precise. You know when you need water because you feel thirsty. You know when you need food because you feel hungry. In theory, you know when you’ve had enough food when you feel full.

The problem is that my mechanism for feeling full is broken. I tend to not feel full until I’ve already eaten too much. If I eat a little and stop, I’ll feel full (or not) after waiting a while. So my meals have been broken up into small grazing periods where I’ll eat a little, log it, wait to see if I’m still hungry, and then eat a little more if so (sometimes).  So since I don’t have a working mechanism for knowing what and how much to eat, I needed some help. Technology to the rescue!

Plotting Your Downsizing

One of the most important pieces of information you can easily measure is your weight.  Get a scale that is reasonably accurate and weigh yourself every day. Log that weight somewhere, even if it’s just a simple spreadsheet or by using an online service (I like Gyminee, but there are many more out there).  Weigh yourself wearing the same thing (if anything) in the same place at the same time every day if possible. The overall accuracy of the scale isn’t as important as how accurate it is compared to itself. You really only care about the change in your weight, so if it’s mostly accurate, that’s probably good enough.  Most new scales are very, very accurate.  I got this scale and it works great.

I wrote a script to log my weight in a database every day and I can export those weights to Excel or Numbers to draw this graph. A number of online weight loss sites will also provide some great-looking graphs and charts to help you visualize your weight loss.
I wrote a script to log my weight in a database every day and I can export those weights to Excel or Numbers to draw this graph. A number of online weight loss sites will also provide some great-looking graphs and charts to help you visualize your weight loss.”

You can’t really count on your day-to-day weight as having too much meaning since your water balance will vary by up to several pounds per day, but you can plot the trend over time.  As you burn fat you’ll retain more water temporarily, and so you’ll actually gain some weight (since water weighs more than fat) before you lose it.  Contrary to popular myth, fat cells never fill with water, and while they do shrink they never go away. You can read more about how fat is burned.  I’m finding that my weight loss, when plotted on a chart, looks more like a saw blade than a constant negative slope pointing down.

As you can see in the “Weight Over Time” chart (which shows my actual daily weigh-ins) the overall trend is down (in this case each grey horizontal line represents ten pounds and the x-axis is time), but there may be a few days where my weight increases before starting on a downward trend again.  Sometimes it levels-off for a few days.

My actual weight change from 16 June to 10 December 2008.
My actual weight change from 16 June to 10 December 2008.

Just because you’re logging your weight every day doesn’t mean you have to give that weight too much meaning. It’s okay if it goes up for a few days. Of course, human nature being what it is, it feels better when you see your weight decrease, since that’s your goal, but given the trend I’ve been seeing in my graph I know enough now to recognize the pattern of weight loss. Do I tend to eat more healthily and maybe get a little more exercise in on days when my weight increases?  You bet.  That’s good positive feedback. You go off course, you can correct.  If you only weighed-in once a week you’d have that much longer to go that much further astray before you adjusted your habits.

Since a little weight gain is a good thing (as long as it’s temporary) I don’t really worry too much about my daily weight as much as the trend over time. I calculate my “true weight” by taking an average of my weights for the past two weeks and dividing by fourteen.  Even though there’s math involved it’s not all that scientific – it’s just a straight average weight over a two week period, but then I composite that data each week and compare that to a week ago.  Yes, that means that every week gets averaged twice – once it’s the “front” week and the other it’s the “back” week – it makes it easier to see the trend.

It’s been working pretty well so far.  Weighing-in every day is quick and easy.  My scale has a nice big readout and shows me the previous day’s weight so I can compare whenever I weigh in.

Count On It

Another important thing to measure is your calorie intake. You can probably do this with a book and a piece of paper, but this is the kind of thing for which a computer is perfect. You can find lots of calorie databases on the internet, or buy lots and lots of different programs that have the data for counting the calories in a large amount of different foods.  Some even include caloric information for chain restaurants and pre-packaged food.

I’ll tell you one thing – I haven’t been able to consistently count my calories every day. I started out well, but eventually logging everything I ate became too much of a chore to maintain.  I’m still looking for a system that will make this easier, but I haven’t found it yet. However, you should record the food you eat every day and the number of calories it contains so you can tell what you should eat, and how much of it.  I could justify my own lax performance by saying that I recorded my eating faithfully for the first 2-3 months, so I know what I should and shouldn’t eat now, but that’s not really true.

So why did I stop? Because I haven’t found a tool yet that isn’t time consuming and frustrating to use. I still recommend you find one, even a bad tool, and stick with it for a bit, especially if you’re just starting out, because just being aware of what you put in your body will make you conscious of something that used to glide completely under your radar. To control your eating habits you have to first be aware of them.

When I first started counting the calories I consumed and logging everything I ate I discovered three things:

  1. I ate a LOT more calories than I thought I did, even when I didn’t eat that much food overall.
  2. I didn’t really think about how much I ate throughout the day (snacks, candy, etc.) until I started logging everything.
  3. When you have a daily caloric budget and stick to it, you tend to fill your diet with things that contain fewer calories so you won’t be hungry.  Eating lower-calorie foods means you can eat even more than you would have otherwise, although that can be a problem sometimes. If I eat too healthily I have to make up extra calories I don’t want at dinner so I don’t trigger the starvation storage of extra fat.  From experience, I can tell you that this is rarely an issue.

My diet plan doesn’t have many rules. The fewer the rules the easier they are to remember and keep faithful to them.  One of those rules, though, is that calorie savings aren’t cumulative – if I’m supposed to take in 1800-2000 calories a day, I can’t consume 1600 calories for four days and then eat 2800 calories on Saturday. My caloric clock resets at midnight (or when I go to sleep, but realistically I’m not eating that late anymore).  I can bank calories during the day if I know I’m going out to dinner at night, but not for more than a 24 hour period.

So how do I keep faithful if I’ve stopped logging my daily caloric intake?  I eyeball it.  I’ve done enough counting and logging to know roughly how many calories I’m getting from most of the foods that I eat. I like a lot of variety in my diet, but after a while you’ll know roughly how many calories your meals contain, you can do the math either in your head (which I’m bad at) or in a note or application.  I’ve been using a few different iPhone applications, but I still haven’t found one that completely works for me. In any case, I roughly estimate my calories now. I can usually predict within a half a pound what my weight will be from day to day based on what I ate and how much water I drank the day before. I should probably go back to being more stringent in my counting since I’ve been plateauing a little (and not eating right since Thanksgiving – a topic for another time).

Still, I can’t fall too far off the wagon because I know I’ll be weighing-in every day. It’s all connected – your diet, exercise, attitude, etc.  Weighing-in is such a regular part of my day that I almost never neglect to get on the scale.  Sometimes I forget to record it, but I usually get 6-7 weigh-ins recorded per week.  Having that data lets me plan goals, too.  More on that later.

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Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I'm just some guy who lost a lot of weight and studied up on nutrition, diet, and exercise in order to improve my personal fitness. The contents of this site in no way contains medical advice. You should visit your doctor before making any dramatic changes to your diet or activity. While I make every attempt to be as accurate as possible regarding current knowledge and scientific studies (please feel free to let me know when I'm wrong about something), and may from time to time post updates to correct inaccuracies in previous entries, the information on this site is provided "as-is" for entertainment purposes only. Don't do something stupid and then sue me. I'm just trying to help. Thanks.