October RESOLUTION? (aka: An Early New Year’s Resolution)

Did you make a New Year’s Resolution to lose weigh this year?  Don’t be ashamed to admit it.  I’ve made that resolution many years and failed within a few short weeks.

For some strange reason I made my “New Year’s Resolution” this past October.  I knew I wanted  I NEEDED to lose some weight.  I had reached a weight that was somewhat higher  quite a bit higher A LOT HIGHER than when I gave birth to my second child.

I’m not proud to admit that.  I could blame a lot of  things (job stress, a career ending, starting retirement, etc.), some of which are VERY valid, however, I need to be honest. I was NOT making smart choices regarding what I was eating or the AMOUNT!

When my husband and I returned from our New England cruise on October 7 (see post:  Time Flies! at http://wp.me/p2GwCj-P ), we both were at an all-time maximum weight!  We knew we HAD to somehow find the determination to lose weight and get in shape.  Both of us will be celebrating our 60th birthdays in 2013, and we want to be in the best health possible so we can live life to the fullest.

On October 8th my husband asked me for a pocket-sized notebook so he could write down everything he ate each day to monitor how much he was eating.  I found him a notebook, but a short while later I had a “light bulb” moment!  I told him I had something better for him to use.

Last spring I discovered an iPhone app designed to keep track of what you eat.  I downloaded the app to my iPhone, looked it over, discovered it was quite “user-friendly,” and promptly forgot about it.

I told my husband about the app My Fitness Pal, he downloaded it immediately, and we looked at it together.  We both committed to using the app to lose some weight by Christmas (I know…this was NOT the best time of year to try to lose weight with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years coming).  I set TWO goals:  one was to lose 20 pounds by Christmas.  The other was to NOT gain more than 5 pounds back through the holidays.

WARNING:  PLEASE consult your doctor BEFORE starting ANY weight loss program!

So, the app looks like this:




If my husband and I can figure out how to use this app, you can be assured it is easy to use!  First you will have to set up your account which won’t take very long at all.

It opens to the “HOME” page.  At the very bottom you will see several categories:  Home, My Diary, Progress, Friends, and More.  You will mainly use “My Diary.”  You can chart your Progress in that section, connect with Friends….well, you get the idea.  Just play around with it!!


Click “My Diary” (at the bottom) or the “Add to Diary” button to start entering the items you eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks.


Select which meal you are eating (you can also enter your cardiovascular and strength exercises here, and it will add calories to your daily allotment!).  Then type in a food item in the “Search” box and tap “Search” in the lower right corner of screen (or scroll down to select a food you have already eaten).  When you are eating out, just type in the name of the restaurant, and it will pull up the items on the menu (NOTE: this works best with national franchise restaurants).  You can see I ate at Olive Garden not too long ago.


Click on the food item that most closely matches what you’re eating, select your portion size, and tap the “Add” button in the upper right corner.  It’s as simple as that!  But wait…..it gets BETTER……….


Just to the right of the Search box, you will see a picture of a bar code with a line through it (right under the blue button that says “Multi-Add” (I’ve never used the Multi-Add feature).  When you tap on the picture of the bar code, you can actually scan the bar code on the package of whatever you are eating.  It will pull up the serving size, calories, nutrition information, etc.  I love this!  Here is my snack of some sourdough pretzels after I tapped the bar code button to scan the pretzel bag.


I can’t believe I actually got the above picture before it started scanning!!  It scans very quickly if you have good lighting.  However, if you are sneaking a midnight snack, and you want to scan the bar code, you will have to turn on enough light to scan.  Be prepared to get caught snacking! Been there, done that!  😉




There’s all the information.  You can change the serving size by tapping “Number of Servings.”  Note:  if you are eating less than ONE serving, don’t forget to change the number “1” to “0” or it will show you ate 1 and 1/2 servings instead of a 1/2 serving!  I’ve done that and wondered why the calories went way UP instead of down!  Duhhhhh!!


  • OMGoodness!  I could NOT believe how many calories I was eating each day!!!
  • Buy a food scale because your husband (and you) will NEVER believe portion sizes until you weigh them to show the exact amount you are eating!  I got a cheap one for a little less than $20.00.
  • Fast Food restaurants = very high calorie, unhealthy foods – STAY. AWAY. PERIOD!
  • Buying fresh fruits and vegetables and doing your own cooking at home definitely results in eating healthier, less calories, and quicker weight loss.  Check out Pinterest for great ideas!
  • Did you know that you can eat a WHOLE bell pepper for about 30 calories?  Neither did I!  I eat A LOT of bell peppers and cucumbers, celery, carrots, apples, and grapes. 
  • Vlasic Kosher Whole Dill Pickles are ZERO….YES!….I said ZERO calories!!  They are a little high in sodium, so you have to watch that.
  • I am convinced that sugar IS ADDICTIVE!!  When I don’t eat sweets, I don’t crave them.  It’s that simple.
  • Allowing yourself to have a special meal or dessert is ABSOLUTELY OK.  Just don’t do it very often, stick to SMALL portions (only eat HALF at restaurants and take home the rest), and think about your choices.  SAVE THOSE EXTRA CALORIES FOR SOMETHING REALLY SCRUMPTIOUS!
  • Eating healthy MUST be a lifestyle change.  I’ve lost weight, gained it back, lost it again, gained it back, just like everyone else.  I am determined to make this my “lifestyle” now, NOT just a diet!

I have to admit, I really didn’t do anything special to lose weight other than count calories and eat healthier.  I walked some in October and November while the weather remained nice, but I really did not do much exercising…and the weight still came off.  You don’t need a bunch of expensive workout equipment, fancy recipes, a gym membership, or a “smart” scale.  I just have a plain, really old, cheap scale that I weigh on every single morning.  You DO need determination, a way to monitor what and how much you’re eating, and encouragement.  Encouragement and compliments from my husband and friends were the BEST motivators that helped me stay determined.  When friends started noticing I’d lost weight, my motivation kicked into high gear!


  • met my goal!  I lost 20 pounds by Christmas Day!
  • I did NOT gain more than 5 pounds over the Holidays — and I ate A LOT of Christmas goodies!  I have already lost 2 of those extra pounds.


  • Lose another 10 pounds.
  • Start an exercise program (with the help of a professional trainer and permission from my doctor, of course!)
  • Keep eating healthy and counting calories as a permanent life style change!

Did you make a New Year’s Resolution this year to lose some weight?  Why not try monitoring your eating habits by downloading My Fitness Pal?  It worked for me!