I have very poor willpower. I am not sure this was always the case. In high school I was voted "most studious," and I used to be the champion of honest Weight Watcher-ing. But now I feel like a giant lazy-ass who has no control over what goes into her mouth.
I seriously have to go out of my way to counteract my poor willpower. Like, for example, if it's the evening and I'm out of Weight Watcher points, I have to either go straight to bed, or lock myself in my bedroom upstairs so I'm not near the kitchen.
I'm pretty sure my next step is having my jaw wired shut.
In the meantime, my fully-functional jaw and I need some way to keep us honest.
Enter ... the Internet. The Internet will keep me honest!
I admit that my past online attempts to keep myself honest have not been terribly successful. Those attempts consisted of announcing my weight-loss efforts on my blog and on Facebook, the theory being that I would be less likely to flake if I promised the online world that I was going to stick to a plan.
Except, you know what's really fun and interesting fodder for blogs and status updates? Your weight-watching foibles! Everyone loves a good, "Hey, a cinnamon roll is 3 points on Weight Watchers, right?" Or a, "Hey, I'm a big fat weight-loss failure." See, those types of comments make people feel better about themselves and their own transgressions. Really I'm just cheating to make other people feel better. See how selfless I am?
Bottom line, I needed to take my online weight-loss efforts a step further.
So, I am now diligently filling out an online/mobile Weight Watchers journal. I feel beholden to that journal, so I don't want to cheat. The dumb thing is, the online journal has absolutely zero qualitative differences from the old paper journal. You are writing down everything you eat no matter what format you use. You are keeping track of the points you consume daily, whether you do it on your phone, your computer, or a sheet of paper. Possibly the only benefit of the online journal is that it stores information you've already entered, so if you eat a food you've already entered, that food pops up automatically as you start to type it. This probably saves you from having to type maybe 10 words a day, which, in case you haven't gathered from my overly-verbose blogging, isn't a huge percentage of the number of words I type in a day.
But yet I feel like I've discovered this awesome new tool! Oh my gosh, gadgetry! It's in my phone. It's on the Internet. That is just the coolest! The real-live Internet has a record of everything I eat in a day, in case I suffer a head injury between breakfast and dinner and can't remember what I ate earlier the same day!
I should note, by the way, that the Weight Watchers journal isn't even on the public Internet. I have to log onto my Weight Watchers account to view it. So it's not like I have the accountability that comes from somebody else analyzing everything I eat. But still, I'm like, Well, it's on the Internet. I have to be honest!
In an attempt to find that same level of accountability on the exercise front, I have started an account with The Daily Mile. You know, those updates people put on Facebook about their exercise achievements? "Bob ran 10 miles in 15 minutes and felt great!" Man, shut up, Bob. We all know you're awesome. Stop reminding us.
Anyway, I did sign up for The Daily Mile, but I didn't sign up for the Facebook update option, so nobody can get mad at me for cluttering up their news feeds.
So, on The DM, you can log every workout you do. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that you can choose more than just running as your workout. (In the interests of thoroughness, I will tell you that they have: running, walking, swimming, general fitness, weights, cycling, yoga, cross-training, spinning, rowing, commuting (?), inline skating, elliptical, core fitness, hiking, CrossFit, cross-country skiing, and rock climbing.)
You can also report other information like how far you ran/walked/swam/biked/etc., how long you worked out, and how you felt (as ranked on a somewhat dumb-ish happy face chart). The DM keeps track of how many miles you do in a week, which is a number I find only marginally helpful given that I did a couple of different modalities and a mile of swimming does not equal a mile of walking, nor do either of those equal a mile of cycling.
I feel a sense of accomplishment every time I log in a workout. And then today I discovered the best thing about The DM! They sent me an email that said, "Shannon, you had an awesome training week last week!" Wasn't it so thoughtful of them to take the time to send me a personal email like that?
In case you didn't note the sarcasm, I am going to straight-up acknowledge that I know that these days a website can automatically generate those kinds of messages with your name in them. Which is why it is altogether stupid that I would get so excited about such a message. It says I did awesome! I thought. Yay me! (Also I like how it calls my working out training, rather than general movement to ward off schlubbery and depression.)
Though you kind of have to wonder, if there are people out there logging like 100 miles of running a week (as opposed to my 7 miles of swimming/walking/whatever), what do their e-mails say? What is better than awesome? Extremely awesome?
I want to find out!