April 20, 2004

Hospital Customer Service

I'm a bit late posting this, but I was impressed with the thank you card I received from Scripps Hospital after my ER visit on April 6 due to my swollen ankle. It looks like the Admitting Dept and the nurse both signed it, and the nurse even said "...hope you are able to make it to Disneyland." I had expressed concern that my ankle would prevent me from our Disneyland trip. Impressive.

Posted by heather at 11:05 PM | Comments (0)

January 17, 2004

Online Diet & Fitness Journal

The first time I ever recorded what I ate was in 9th grade at Charles Wright Academy as an assignment for my biology class. I found the assignment only mildly interesting.

Later, around age 18/19, I counted my calories for a couple weeks just to see how my eating patterns were affecting me. It was a great eye-opener to see just how that 1 Coke a day affected my overall calorie count, and subsequently, my weight.

In 1996, I took a human nutrition class in college. In this class we used a computer program to record everything we ate. It had cool graphs to show how well we were meeting our nutrition requirements. My biggest complaint about the program was the limited amounts of food in the database and the inability to customize foods. Still, it was great fun to try to get my RDA of various nutirents by eating healthy. (Amazing how there is so little room left for empty calories when you are trying to meet your RDA on a 2000 calorie/day diet.)

Then around 2001-2002, as I started working out everyday at the office gym, I came across an online version of a diet & fitness journal on webmd. It worked a lot like the program I had used in college, but this one also had the exercise component, so I could see if I was burning more calories than I ate.

Last week I went back to webmd and found that they are now charging for access to their online diet & fitness journal. Bummer. I want to use it, but not bad enough to pay for it. So I did more searching. I found a great little online diet & fitness journal: www.fitday.com.

So far, I'll have to say I'm quite impressed with this free site. Although the reports aren't as wonderful as I would like, the food database is fantastic! This is the first database I have found that contains the funky foods I eat, like sprouted wheat bread, almond butter, and rice crackers. In addition, you can create customized foods, so the nutirition facts can be tweaked to match your food exactly as the package says.

The activity database is pretty impressive too. Although I can't find a stairmaster exercise that burns as many calories as the stairmaster in my gym says I'm burning, I just crank up the time spent to get the same result. The activity database even has activities such as "making bed" and "Fishing from river bank and walking." Pretty funny.

Overall, the site is not perfect, but it the food and activty database is sufficient for most users; the interface is pretty usable (I didn't read any instructions or 'take a tour,' but I figured it out pretty quickly on my own, which makes it pretty usable in my book); and the price is right: free.

If you are interesting in seeing how many calories you are consuming vs burning and how much of the US RDA you are getting in your diet, I would recommend you give FitDay a try. Let me know what you think.

Posted by heather at 12:50 PM | Comments (2)

January 05, 2004

My Obesity Rant

Bob and I woke up this morning at 6:20 to go work out. Were we excited about getting out of bed at that hour? No. Would we have rather slept another 40 minutes? Yes. Why did we do it? Because we have to. OK...we really don't have to. We can join the 65% of Americans who are overweight or obese. We can have added health issues like diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, and a host of others.

Living a healthy lifestyle isn't always easy. Yes, I will admit, it is easier for some than others. That's life though—we all have our battles to fight. It is much easier to drive through McDonald's on your way home from work with 3 screaming kids in the back seat than to cook a nutritious dinner at home. It is easier to turn on the TV after dinner than to take a walk around the neighborhood with your pet/family/friend. It is easier to drive that half-mile or mile to run errands than it is to walk. Some of the best things in life don't come easily.

I am tired of reading how obesity is someone else's fault: fast food restaurants, the food manufacturers, television, the government. The simple fact is, unless you are part of an extremely small minority, the calories you burn must be more than the calories you consume or you will get fat. You are the one who chooses how much food to put in your mouth and how much time you spend exercising. Only you can be responsible for your choices.

"But I just LOVE my daily [insert favorite junk food here]!" Fine. Just take an extra stroll around the neighborhood that day. "But I really just want to sit on the couch and watch TV." Ask yourself: How is this going to improve my life? Do you want your children to say, "She only lived to age 48, but she saw every Friends episode 3 times," or do you want to be having coffee with your friends at 58?

Posted by heather at 05:50 PM | Comments (1)

November 20, 2003

Obesity as a Disease

So here's what happens when I try to think something through before posting in an effort to reduce the number of people I offend—James of Outside the Beltway has such an eloquent post that I won't even try to top it.

Posted by heather at 02:33 PM | Comments (0)