Monday, January 04, 2010

Hand-held calorie counting

As technological fate would have it, I have loaded the app “Lose It” into my iTouch. The calorie-counting program was recommended by a New York Times article I read just last week, after days of gorging myself on holiday bon-bons.

The bathroom scale reinforced the Times' recommendation.

All of this means that, post-holiday pig-out, I’m into serious cyber-guided dieting.

Inputted numbers have been flying all over the place, starting with my weight (197), my target weight (175), my height, age etc.

I’m surprised the “Lose It" program didn’t ask for my Social Security number, bank balance, car's mileage and the number of steps to my toilet.

But the very next question came to the point: How quickly did I want to reach my target weight?

I tapped in a modest pound a week.

CRUNCH went the program.

And out came the answer, which I will live with for the next five months. With the diet spread out over 22 weeks, the computer dictated a daily calorie allowance of 1,951.

Definitely do-able. Moreover, if a chocolate bar takes me perilously close to my daily “overage,” I can always pace away calories on the basement treadmill.

The program figures calories expended by long lists of exciting activities (rock-climbing) and not so exciting ones (vacuuming).

Tennis anyone? (30 minutes nets 327 calories.) Or, if you are so moved, you could roll out the vacuum and burn 117 in a half hour.

Today, as I fast approached the dread 1,951 calories, I went down to the basement and “briskly” (3.5 mph) walked away 240 calories.

I’ve been at this cyber-dieting for four days now, and although it’s a little early to break out the champagne (165 calories for 6 fluid ounces), the scale says I’ve lost two pounds.

At the current pace of technological change, in four years we will have itty-bitty iTouches implanted in our brains and the numbers will simply be projected on the backs of our retinas. “Pepperoni Pizza, one slice … 298 calories.”

The intra-ocular message will be clear: Enjoy that slice now, but the price is a hell of a lot of vacuuming.

Then again, it’s 40 minutes of brisk walking. which, least we forget, has its own rewards. Walking is more than merely burning calories and making my computerized weight-loss calculations stay on target.

I’m told that human beings have been walking for centuries to get from one place to another. This was long before they knew about cars, calories, pizza or hand-held computers.

Come to think of it, why is it that you never see fat folks living in caves? Ever wonder just how many calories it takes to live in a cave far, far away from a really good pizzeria?

I've probably burned a dozen of so calories just thinking about it.

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