I gained weight during the last sixteen months of Covid restrictions. Not only that, but I was already above my fighting weight before all the isolation and social distancing started. So, about a week ago, I signed on with an app that is very popular in helping people lose some of those pounds. Here is my analysis so far.
To cut a not-very-long story short, I am not impressed. The TV ads presented this as a weight-loss system unlike all the others. It promised to be based not on denying oneself of favourite foods but on psychology. Yes, science! One of the ads has an attractive woman declaring how much smarter she feels now that she knows what she has been doing wrong all these years. It’s as though she never really knew how many calories were in potatoes.
Well, here’s the skinny, so to speak. It’s all about calories.
The app does present some daily instruction in the form of bite-sized truisms and rah-rah encouragement, and I admit to finding some of that helpful. At the same time, it all boils down to itemizing and registering everything the user eats and drinks. The app then turns all that into calories and a red/yellow/green approval gauge. It’s not that simple, but that’s how it seems to me.
Another portion of the system involves physical exercise which for me involves walking. The app is still tied in to the 10,000 steps per day concept which has since been debunked. I go for a good long walk every other day and when I do 6,000 steps is a good day. The step counting plan fails to take into account age and/or height and/or gradient and/or the outdoor environment.
Related to this is the temperature and the breathability of the air. I cannot walk outside when the weather is too hot, too cold, or full of smoke from wildfires. Two of these are currently a problem. When the temperature is consistently over 30C and there are wildfires to the west, north, and east, I am staying indoors. There are also wildfires to the southwest, but given how much smoke is in the air I doubt if that contribution matters much.
Anyway, today I tried to keep to the calorie count. I had coffee with creamer, blueberries/yoghurt/granola, water, lettuce/cucumber/wraps, green tea, a lemon square, and mixed raw veg with ranch dressing. That was it. I was already close to the calorie-count maximum. So I decided a glass of wine was in order. That’s what put me into the dunces corner. So, I had another couple of glasses.
They don’t actually ask you what you drink, but when you add it in to the system the calorie count goes way up. Your diet goes from good to bad in a hurry.
I shouldn’t be surprised because I have walked this path before, but I was drawn in by the ads that made it seem like this was a different process. In my few days of participation I have found that very little is different. Don’t get me wrong, I like the rah-rah and the informational tid-bits. But in the end, they wanted this old lady to go from 0 to 60 in very short order, even though I had my pace set to a tortoise instead of a hare.
The bottom line (no pun intended) is that I need to exercise more, drink less alcohol, and eat fewer calories. Got it. But, I think I already knew that. I never did get to know the group that was supposed to keep me motivated, but that’s probably because I didn’t check in with them. I’m not even sure that I had a group because I was still in the first free two weeks of the program.
I did, however, contact the online support person and told them that it is impossible for me to meet the prescribed exercise goals. They told me how easy it was for me to change the settings on step counting. I told them they should make that “get out of jail free card” more evident. They said they would pass my message on.
Having said all that, if any weight-loss system works for you, stick with it. My experience is not representative. I think what I am looking for is a potato-eaters and wine-drinkers plan. They should also give me lots of time to use up all the muffins, wine, and potatoes I already have in my fridge. Oh, did I forget to mention the muffins?