A Simple Breakfast, and A Useful App

Diced fruit (strawberries & mangos), a shotglass (1 oz.) of half-&-half, a bit of sugar.  About 200 calories.

I've been trying to eat a little healthier.  One of the annoying side effects of breaking the arm is that I get a lot less exercise when I stay at home.  (My job usually called for about 3 to 5 miles worth of walking per shift.)  So I gained about eight pounds in the first month after the accident.  Since extra pounds had already been slowly creeping up on me even before the accident, that meant I got back up into the 190's.  Ideally, I'd like to be about 165 pounds.

Those height-&-weight charts say my ideal weight should be about 155, but on the rare occasion when I've gotten down to that weight, I look gaunt, I don't feel great, and I'm hungry all the time.  (True story: The last time I got down to 155, I was still working as a letter carrier, and several of my customers expressed concern that I had cancer.)

Getting down to 165 is do-able (I've done it before), I look good and feel good, and with a bit of time management and planning I can usually stay within a few pounds of that goal for a considerable time.  I've managed, even with the arm restricting my exercise, to drop back down to 187 since the end of February, about a 5 pound loss.

The main tool I've been using to monitor my eating habits and activity is an Android app called Noom.  No, I don't know what "Noom" is supposed to mean, other than being "moon" spelled backwards.

I've used earlier versions of Noom before with some success, tempered by problems with the application.  An earlier version kept freezing up in mid-action, and a later version presented itself in ways that annoyed me.  One example was that they used sports-similes to judge food amounts: "golf ball size", "tennis ball size", etc.  Hey, there are people who have so little interest in sports that they have only the vaguest idea how big a baseball or softball is.  (I'm the only person I know of who flunked grade school P.E.  Yes, I really did.  I was the original "does not play well with others" kid.)

The newest update, which I downloaded onto my smartphone last month, seems to have fixed most of those problems.  Operates smoothly, and you can now choose between measuring by simile or by actual measurements.

One of the things I like about Noom, compared to other diet or fitness planners, is that they use an estimation system for food calories and value.  Other planners I tried had huge databases of specific foods and brands, and it was easy to get lost and spend lots of time finding and entering  those specific choices. 

Noom's first-level food choices divides food into three major categories, "Green" for healthy foods, "Yellow" for okay foods, and "Red" for foods that should be avoided or minimalized.  Each of those wide categories has two to three dozen subcategories, broken down into more specific but not too-specific choices (egg whites are "Green", whole eggs are "Yellow", bacon is "Red").  Clicking on one of those subcategories gives you various amounts to choose from for what your meal contained and calorie counts ranging from 25 for a tiny "Green" portion to 600 calories for a large "Red" portion.  I find this system a lot easier and quicker to use than other planners' more detailed breakdowns.

But it can get even quicker and easier.  When you've familiarized yourself with a bunch of portion sizes and calorie counts for various foods, you can go straight to a "Dial A Menu" feature that lets you enter the general category, portion size and calorie count in a single click.

Noom also has features to track exercise and weight, and provides daily tasks and advice to help keep you on track and motivated.

I use the free version, which I find sufficient.  The paid version ($9.99 per month, yikes!) features extra individualized coaching and guidance.  Android-only, though they're supposed to be working on an iPhone version.


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