It takes a big man…

… to write about a weight loss website.


Seriously, as we get on in age, sometimes we are faced with having to deal with some extra weight and facing the reality that it is harder to keep in shape.  This is just a fact of life for many (most?) folks.  Combined with the fact that professors often lead a “life of the mind” and otherwise a fairly sendentary life-style, staying fit requires resolve and determination.

I am not an MD, nor do I play on TV or even on the web, but I find the whole process of dieting and weight loss fascinating.  The general paradigm is simple and straight-forward.  Here’s how I understand it:

  • A body requires a certain amount of calories to maintain its weight (let’s call that X)
  • Every pound of weight contains 3500 calories
  • To lose one pound of “fat” requires taking in 3500 less in calories than your body needs to main its weight (that would be X minus 3500 calories = 1 lb of weight loss)
    • Therefore if one wanted to lose 1 pound per week by reducing caloric intake, then one could eat 500 calories less each day than is needed to maintain one’s  current weight.
  • Alternately (or in addition to), one can lose weight by consuming calories through exercise.  Depending on your size, weight and the vigirousness of the exercise, one can “burn” 500 calories a day through exercise.  So you could maintain one’s weight maintanence calorie intake and still lose weight each week through exercise.

Weight loss systems generally, as far as I can tell, are variations on this algorithm.  Weight Watchers, perhaps the most famous of all weight loss systems, is definitely a variation on the “reducing caloric intake” model.

In fact, I have used the “Weight Watchers Online For Men” in the past successfully (at least temporarily.)  And for the past month or so I have also been paying for it —  to the tune of $16.95 per month.  $16.95 per month for a calorie 

counter, activity tracker and weight tracker.  Granted it is  elegant as conceptual system, and is a decent web application, but still 17 bucks a month would buy a new song from iTunes every other day all month!  🙂

sparkpeople-logoSo, by happenstance, a colleague directed me to, a free dieting and healthy life style website.  The weight loss system is, of course, a calorie counting system.  (Not simplified (and elegant) like Weight Watchers, but still quite effective with a strong user-added database to cover most of the foods that I regularly eat.)  

One of the things that looks cool about is the ability to add custom teams for yourself. That could come in quite handy: have a group of weigh-in buddies to inspire (is that quite the right word?) you to keep with the plan.

Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you on the web!





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