The Lose It diet and exercise app now lets you scan nutritional information directly from a food label. This should be a big convenience for me. I’ve been using Lose It to keep a daily food diary for nearly 10 years, and I often have to enter nutritional information manually, which can be a pain.
A couple of years ago Lose It added the ability to scan nutritional information from a bar code, which was very helpful, but still, a lot of food wasn’t in their database. So scanning in labels will be a big time-saver.
Hey, now this is pretty cool! Adding that info in the past has always been a bit of chore, but this makes it MUCH better.
I just signed up for premium today. I didn’t like what I was seeing in the mirror or the scale.
The first thing to do is get informed.
Congratulations! That’s how it starts.
10 years ago I was 100 pounds overweight, and taking five pills a day for Type II diabetes, cholesterol, etc. Doctor at my checkup said, “You’re a nerd. There’s got to be an app for that!” I went home and searched the app store for … well, I forget the keyword but it was “diet” or something like that. Lose It came up as top-rated.
I hit my goal weight in Jan. 2011, lost ten more pounds three years later and have been within about 8 pounds of that weight since. I don’t take any meds. And I log with Lose It nearly every meal and snack, every day during all that time.
I don’t want to say “if I can do it anyone can,” because I don’t think science really understands the psychology and metabolism of obesity. If I look at a fat person who is otherwise responsible in his or her life, I reject the interpretation that they’re just weak or lack will power. Still, I really thought I was going to be fat my whole life, and now I’m not.
Yeah, I was frustrated that they went with the flashy – and unreliable – photograph-your-food feature, and did not go with the more basic scan-your-food-label.
I’d like to see them add a feature where you can just take a picture of the package and the app will find the food for you.
Thanks for sharing that.
There is a lot of contributing factors that go into obesity. I was recently watching a show on netflix called Ask the Doctor. They made a point that we -as a society- are looking at individuals negatively but ignoring that this is easily effecting 1/3 of the worlds population. If you said 1/3 had an issue with the brakes, we’d all be doing something about it.
I suspect we’re dealing with a perfect storm of multiple factors with regard to obesity. Environment is some of it – it’s just easier to find junk food than healthy food, although that has changed and is still changing. Workaholism and stress is another factor. Overtired, overworked people eat more crap to compensate.
A lot of misinformation was promulgated regarding the dangers of fat in the diet in the post WW2 period, in favor of eating carbs, and the (processed) food industry took the lead in selling that, seemingly to the detriment of overall health. In the 1950s, Ancel Keys, a pathologist at the University of Minnesota, first proposed that saturated fats raised cholesterol and therefore caused heart disease. The story from there is complex and wending, but ultimately US (and worldwide) guidelines promoted low fat (and therefore high sugar and high carbohydrate) diets even though evidence backing these guidelines was weak - Keys’s own “Seven Countries Study” purported to show a link between the consumption of saturated fats and heart disease among 13,000 men surveyed in the US, Japan and Europe, but Keys did not choose his countries randomly but instead selected only those likely to prove his beliefs – including Yugoslavia, Finland and Italy – while excluding countries with low rates of heart disease despite diets with a lot of fat – such as France, Switzerland, Sweden and West Germany. Moreover, due to difficulties in collecting accurate nutrition data, Keys ended up sampling the diets of fewer than 500 men total (no women), and most of the men had already been sick, and a large minority were smokers. Keys was an outsized personality who successfully prosecuted and marketed his case in the US, but the saturated fat hypothesis remains very problematic to this day, and plausibly explains the rise of obesity around the world in recent decades in countries that duplicate the current Western diet. There’s a great overview of this in an interview with Nina Teicholz in this recent podcast for the British Journal of Sports Nutrition:
That’s a reasonable explanation.
I think economics play a strong factor too.
For purposes of this discussion, we can divide obese Americans into two groups:
Middle class or better: These people started out eating a lot of junk food as kids and in college. When you’re a kid and in college you can get away with that because your metabolism is fast – that was true when I was younger, although today bad habits are catching up with kids too and they’re putting on weight.
As they get older, and start leading more sedentary lifestyles, bad eating habits catch up with them and they put on weight. But slowly. Still, a couple of pounds a year add up when they’re in their 30s and 40s and they’re fat.
Changing eating habits takes time and mindfulness, two resources that are in short supply for today’s overworked and overstressed people. So they keep eating the same junk food and stay fat.
The good news here is that when you invest the time and mindfulness at first, you can build new habits and then not have to focus so much on eating anymore. It’s relatively easy to make a lean turkey sandwich on a thin wheat bun, and a side dish of microwaved fresh vegetables. Tasty and satisfying too! I eventually lost the taste for junk food; McDonald’s and Burger king are downright repulsive to me now. (Though I do love a California burrito now and then!)
The poor: They’re working three jobs and don’t have time to cook. Junk food is cheap and easy to find. It’s also satisfying and a quick pleasure in a hard, scary life. The very sad truth is that many poor people don’t worry about health effects because they don’t think they’re going to live long enough to experience them.
And then of course there are the people who just don’t take care of themselves. But I think there are fewer of those than we sometimes believe. Loosely paraphrasing CGP Grey: It is almost never the solution to tell people that they should just try harder, or that they need more willpower, or that they’re weak or otherwise lacking in character.