Friday, June 13, 2008

The Government Wants to Help

'Round about last week or the week before, Ann was writing interesting things about RMR tests and habit-changing. Back a while ago here at Italian Camp, I was ranting about Weight Watchers coming into my workplace. (BTW, my fears have not materialized, but I've since found 2 female colleagues--women who are longtime WW devotees elsewhere--who also found it creepy.)

An interesting side effect of finding a way to change careers is that I feel like I can change other things during this time of transition. As long as you're going to the store, could you get lemons, too? As long as I'm making one transition... To my surprise, the volleyball playing has done very nice, toning things for my arms and abs. It's the kind of thing where no one else could see it, but I can. So I thought, why not track food for a while and drop a couple pounds? As long as you're dropping psychic weight, how about losing a little physical weight, too? And don't forget those lemons! Besides, there's nothing like a brutal heat wave to make a person want to have minimal insulation.

Anyway, the point of all this heavily-linked lead-up is simply that the US government has an awesome, free-if-you-don't-count-taxes, interactive version of the Food Pyramid with a calorie tracker and nutrient analysis and everything! Yes, I've always been a little skeptical of the Pyramid, suspecting it may be in bed with the USDA and the Farm Bill, which together create a Machine of Evil for the ages. Still, I think it's a great interface, and it's qualitative enough for my head while being quantitative enough to be useful. Only trouble is the tedium of entering everything every day. And my love of dessert, let's be honest. Two problems. Oh wait, and there's no way in heck I can eat as much dairy as they want. OK, three. Nonetheless, I like the interface.

UPDATE: The Government is giving me a Sad Face because I didn't eat enough grains today. I got happy faces for meat and vegetables, and earned a neutral face for dairy by forcing myself to eat an extra piece of reduced-fat string cheese. Uncle Sam is giving me Sad Faces for my fat intake, but there was no option to explain that I had "Veganaise" instead of mayonnaise on my tuna salad or skim milk in my cappuccino.

UPDATE 2: Hey, there's 2.5 lbs less of me than there were last Sunday.


Narya said...

The Pyramid IS a plot, sort of, insofar as assorted meat and dairy and sugar interests have plotted to keep their foods in place. I haven't used (or checked out) their tracker; I'd built a spreadsheet awhile ago and used that, along with a book I found that had the food values of nearly every damned thing you could possibly want. Plus, I read labels.

The change-a-bunch-of-things strategy really does work for some, perhaps many, people; it helps them see the changes they're making as lifestyle changes (which is what "dieting" really is) and helps them build better habits, which, after all, are the core to any of it. i think the mistake people make isn't trying to make too many changes at once, I think it's trying to make too few--and I think people tend to be over-ambitious about any given change (I'm going to exercise 15 times a week!). Not that I suffer from any of this, mind you.

kStyle said...

Don't even get me started on the number of grains they want us to eat! Who can eat 6 servings a day? Seems like a recipe for bad glycemic index, and I am quite sensitive to that.

I am minded. ;)