Saturday, February 24, 2007

A Pilot Program

Last summer I obtained a Palm Pilot Treo 650. I have placed a few third party applications on it. Yes, this is very much like a computer you can pick and choose which applications to place on it.

Then about three-four weeks ago I received an e-mail from PalmGear an online retailer of smart phone applications. The featured product in the e-mail was Diet & Exercise Assistant. It intrigued me as I do carry a goodly sized pot-belly. I downloaded the trial (i.e. crippleware) version and played with it for about a day. I then went back and purchased the full version for change short of $25.00 (US Dollars).

Let me tell you, it was worth every mil. I use this software now to monitor my food intake and my exercise output. I am making progress on the weight. I started off at 240 and today weighed in at 233.8. I suspect the 240 start was a touch high, but I am using the same scale now and this scale has me at about 3 lb.s under my last weigh in.

I don't have a source for the following factoid so take it with a grain of salt. I recall hearing that consuming JUST 10 more calories per day than what you burn will lead to a weight gain of 10 lb.s per year. Ten calories is not a lot, an apple (with skin) is about 81 calories, a package of peanut M&Ms is 250 calories.

The software takes minimal configuration and just needs your age, sex, current weight, height, your target weight, your activity level, and the date on which you want to be at your target weight. Diet & Exercise Assistant (DEA) then calculates the amount of calories you need per day to achieve your weight goal. As you eat & drink you input this into Diet & Exercise assistant which you select from DEA's extensive database of foods: raw, prepared, and restaurant foods. If the food you are eating is not present DEA has a simple scheme for you to add the food item.

You simply find the correct category, type in the name, and supply nutritional information that comes on the food's package. You can even create entries for complex recipes.

When exercising, again DEA has an extensive database of activities you can select from. If you can not find your activity (e.g. wood splitting) you can look up the activity on the internet and just fill in the user defined exercise category. However, for undefined exercises & activities I have yet to find a way to permanently store the activity.

You are not going to track your calories down to the last calorie (what we refer to calories are 1000 real calories, so to be technically accurate we should say Kilo-Calories). However, what DEA does is forces you to thoughtfully consider your eating and exercise regimens. It has made me think in terms of budget as in dollars. I have so many dollars a day to spend and I have to consider what is important when I spend that money (calories). Losing weight is a lot like saving money. When spending is out of balance with income you either lose savings or gain it. Same with caloric intake. When intake is out of balance with output you either gain or lose weight. DEA helps you keep things in balance to achieve your goals.

DEA also tracks carbohydrate, protein, fat, saturated fat, and fiber intake. So, with DEA you can get a very good picture of how healthy your diet is.

Is DEA perfect? No. I wish its recipe functionality would allow me to go in and view and edit the components of a recipe.

DEA also comes in a desktop version so you can access the same functionality on your desktop and my guess is when you synchronize your device with your computer all the data from your device will be sent to the desktop application. This is another pet-peeve. They have yet to develop a Linux version of the desktop software.

Labels: , , , , ,