Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Try-it Tuesday - Calorie Count

About 3 1/2 years ago I had the opportunity to travel abroad for work, followed closely by a family cruise and visit to Walt Disney World meant a lot flights. (I boarded 16 different planes over the course of a month.) It also meant a lot of photos of me, as well as plenty of walking. All of which made me realize how out of shape and big I had become. I started out with walking and trying to eat better, and it didn't take long before I was trying to track calories - and while searching for calorie content on something, I stumbled across caloriecount.com. With a little snooping around, I decided to sign up so I could track my weight and food online. That, along with the support of several online friends, I believe was the cause of my weight loss success. Over the course of about 20 months, I lost just over 100 pounds. Yes, I will to carrying almost half of that again (by product of going crazy during pregnancy....) and am back on Calorie Count to lose that baby weight!

The premise of calorie counting and weight loss is simple, eat less calories than you expend. By answering a few simple questions, I was able to set realistic goals for healthy weight loss. Not only are there hundreds of thousands of foods in their database with complete calorie/nutrition information, but you can also input your own recipes to have them analyzed (and save them for future use/reference). The tracking system also makes it easier to look at your meals and days as a whole, so you can make sure you are getting all the nutrients you need over the course of the day. The program does also work for anyone who needs to gain weight, although since my experience is with weight loss, that is where my focus is.

The site also includes ways to track exercise, tools to help you make a weight loss plan, and community forums for support and have questions answered. And best of all, it's free!

So, in Try-it Tuesday fashion.....

Things I really like about Caloriecount.com:
  • tracks both weight and food online
  • huge database of food and drinks - including quite a few dining out items
  • easy to adjust portion sizes
  • the recipe analyzer
  • weight and food logs allow you to compare over the long term and show trends
  • weight log has a space for comments so I can note things that might have been cause for a weight spike
  • it's free!
  • ability to enter by "hand" items not in the database, and then save for future use
  • you can see timelines for healthy weightloss
Things I'm not so crazy about
  • As with many public sites, if you spend much time in the forums you'll find people who see their way as the only way
  • There is almost "too much" available - there are tools and resources I've never made it to
  • it's easy to get pretty attached to -- cutting the cord can be a challenge when you are ready
I will say it is pretty similar to other sites - most notably Sparkpeople (also free) and Weightwatchers online (fee based). If you are looking to start a weight loss program I encourage you to check it out.

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