Part 2: Food Journaling Matters A LOT

Weight Loss Unmasked: A five part series looking deeper at why we struggle with losing weight

By: Briana Boehmer

There is that saying…how does it go?  Oh yes, “KNOWLEDGE IS POWER”.  Of course, there’s also that little saying “ignorance is bliss,” but I’ll argue there’s nothing “blissful” about living in an unhealthy body.

In an extensive weight loss study, conducted by the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, the single greatest factor in weight loss shown by the 1,685 overweight and obese subjects studied was the number of days they logged their food in a journal each week.  Yep, you got it – Journaling was more important than regular meetings or even how overweight a subject was to start.  Subjects that logged their food 6 days per week lost twice as much weight as those who did not keep a food journal.  Certainly we can infer many reasons for this result, but researchers have found we just don’t realize how much we are eating!  Even when asking a degreed health professional or dietician, researchers have found they too underestimate calorie values!

Let me add one more twist:  All calories were not created equal.  Sure, a calorie is a calorie in the strict sense of the energy it contains.  However, how your body processes and utilizes carbohydrates, protein and fat vary greatly.  I will not go into different ways calories were not created equal just yet (you’ll just have to wait for the next installment!), but the point I do want to make now is that journaling will help you better balance the calories you are consuming.  Your body has distinct needs for all three macronutrients based on your own personal health and activity level.  Deficiencies or over consumption of any one macronutrient in many cases can have real consequences.

So what are the keys to journaling?

Consistency – Make it a habit.  You benefit most from journaling when you do it day after day.  An easy way to make it easier on yourself – journal throughout the day!  As soon as you eat something, take note.  411Fit’s mobile site makes logging your nutrition on the fly very easy.

Understanding portion sizes – Start at home by measuring what you are eating so that you have a better understanding of what a cup etc. is.  For a running start on understanding how to identify portion sizes, we like this WebMD interactive portion size plate:

Don’t skip “indulgences” – Be honest with what you are eating.  If you have a “bad day” or go out to eat, do your best to write down everything you can.  The only way you learn is through awareness of your habits!

411Fit has worked very hard to create a food journal with a purpose to help with this critical component of healthy lifestyle changes.  When you go into 411Fit you have the ability to set your own personal parameters for calories (weight loss), macronutrients, hydration, exercise, health measurements and goals.  You then have your own personal grade each day that specifically matches what you are doing against what you told the system you WANT to do.  The closer to an A you are, the closer you are to the goals you set in the system.  With regards to journaling your nutrition, the grade alone is an easy way for you to see how “on track” you are.  That is YOUR grade!  Pretty cool stuff if we say so ourselves!

Whether you use a tool like 411Fit or simply a scrap of paper, start journaling what you are eating NOW!  You will be amazed at what this simple act will teach you about your health.

Read Part 1: You Have to EAT to Lose Weight by clicking here.

Don’t Be A Fitness Casualty

Top 5 Secrets To Start and Maintain Your 2012 Exercise Plans

By: Briana Boehmer

The first two months of the year my health club is JAM PACKED (and I mean it!) with people exercising like it’s their job.  Then March hits…and all is back to normal.  Same regulars – no hustle and bustle.  The yearly question rears it’s head – why is it so hard to stick to our well-meaning goals?

My take on this never-ending phenomenon – we set ourselves up for “failure” before we even start.  When we peek into other aspects of our lives, take finances for example, we find that proper planning and paying attention to our personal circumstances is critical.  So why, oh why, would it not be the same when it comes to health and wellness goals?

If you’re sick of starting your fitness regime over and over again, follow these 5 key tips I tell all my clients to take very seriously.  If you do, you will find it VERY hard to quit!

  1. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.  Be realistic with where you are at and what you should be changing.  One of the biggest mistakes I see people make when setting up a new exercise routine is trying to “do it all”.  Not only is this dangerous, it is in most cases very counterproductive in relation to your end goals.  Please heed this advice; there is value in gradual change.  True habits are formed with careful consideration and dedication.  Taking goals in incremental steps ensures you actually learn a new habit that sticks.  Little changes turn into big successes.
  2. Create accountability.  Top on my list for successful behavior change!  When you are accountable in a MEANINGFUL way to someone or something you are more likely to feel a greater sense of responsibility toward what you are doing.  Find a friend, family member, group, coach or even on-line support that will help you stick to the goals you have set.  Tell your accountability source what your goals are and give them specifics on how you need help!
  3. Journal your activity and progress.  411Fit knows that when you journal your exercise and nutrition (meaning actually WRITE IT DOWN!) you are without question more likely to lose weight, gain fitness, and make behavior changes.  Knowing what you are doing helps you clearly see where you need to go.
  4. Make it fun.  Sure, seems obvious.  We don’t stick to things in life when they aren’t fun. When you enjoy what you do, change is easy.  Given the proper oomph, you can make anything fun…see our blog about fun ways to exercise … but more importantly take a look at what you enjoy!  Then decide how you can turn what you enjoy into a healthy habit.
  5. Enlist SMART resources!  Fitness software that is easy to use and easy to find!  Tools like 411Fit help provide a huge chunk of what I have laid out here.
    – Guidance on appropriate goals that aren’t too big to chew
    – The ability to create accountability with friends, a community, and experts
    – Journaling
    – Challenges, reports, a social network…so much fun to be had!

Believe me when I say change doesn’t have to be hard…we usually just make it harder than it has to be.  Set yourself up for success and be one of those gym regulars.  Come on! Prove me wrong come March!  We would love to hear from you and what you have done to stick to YOUR goals!

Want to lose weight? Burn bad habits, not excess calories!

By Briana Boehmer

MYTH:  Burning an extra 100 calories a day, multiplied by 365 days in the year means you have an extra 36,500 calories burned if everything else you do stays the same. This means about 10.5 lbs. a year! People hear that cutting 100 calories here and there is the fastest way to lose fat. Wrong!

FACT: There are a decent number of scientific studies that suggest small caloric changes have very little long-term effect on weight. BUT there is good news! Small changes, like adding in an extra walk a day, cutting out a soda, increasing your fiber consumption, or watching less T.V. can create a snowball effect of sorts that eventually leads to long term behavior change.

What we do know is this:  whether the small extras definitively create weight loss or alter metabolism, they do have the potential to create lasting behavior change. Your extra walk turns into a run, your increased fiber consumption turns into cutting out large amounts of sugar.  The extra’s turn into a new lifestyle – and lifestyle change is what scientists and doctors (and 411Fit!) are after.

So, instead of five ways to burn 100 extra calories a day…how about 5 ways to instigate lasting behavior change for the long haul?  Give one a try and you may shed that extra 10 pounds after all!

  1. Fiber is the spice of life.  Fiber is actually a form of carbohydrate that is not absorbed by the body.  It will not just create a sensation of feeling full; it aids in digestion and has several meaningful health benefits including increased heart health.  SO, spice up your diet with a little fiber!
  2. Add power to each hour.  Get up and move on the hour, every hour, during your normal workday.  Just a few minutes will do.  Walk around and do some light active exercises like squats or push-ups.  The movement will help prevent chronic pain and open up tight muscles.
  3. Don’t starve yourself.  Numerous studies have shown us that the fewer calories you consume, the fewer calories your body burns.  Your body is wired on survival, plain and simple.  Research has suggested that eating for your metabolism at regular intervals throughout the day (5-6 small meals) can help create an uptick in your metabolism and avoid causing a slowdown.
  4. Eat REAL food.  If you can’t pronounce the ingredients on the label, chances are it’s not real.  The body is wired to digest REAL FOOD. Give it what it knows!
  5. Journal!  We see it in research, and we see it on 411Fit.  When you journal your food and exercise you are more likely to lose weight!  Knowledge IS power!

411Fit Soon to Release New Coaching Technology

Making a Deeper Connection + Real time feedback = Real time progress

As a company committed to helping individuals and corporations reach their health and wellness goals, we are constantly analyzing what works and what doesn’t in personal training software, online nutrition journals and corporate wellness. It is very hard for individuals to discern what is best when it comes to better health – especially with all of the medical, fitness and diet related information in the media today. That is where the health and wellness professional comes in. Whether advice is sought from a coach, personal trainer, nurse, or doctor, people are looking for someone to decipher the code.

411Fit has found the biggest obstacles in getting the information an individual needs to make the right decisions are:

  • Proper access to health professionals.
  • Proper feedback as it relates to their own personal issues.

This is where the 411Fit coaching dashboard comes in. For the health professional, finding better ways to connect to a client is always needed.  Clients craves feedback and professionals craves meaningful health data. For the first time, 411Fit has created a platform that facilitates both needs seamlessly.

411Fit has created an innovative blend of education, tracking, accountability and reporting that allows health professionals to monitor and provide real-time feedback to  facilitate behavior change and goal progress.

For the Professional:
Using the 411Fit Coaching Dashboard as personal training software, professionals can offer 24-7 personalized service at a fraction of the cost. How do you know how well your client/patient is progressing with their goals?  It is often a combination of many factors, isn’t it? Professionals often manage exercise, diet, disease factors like diabetes, blood pressure, and weight. This new tool allows you to set guidelines, prescribe goals, and run reports to analyze how clients are doing and where they need help.

  • Minimize the number of systems you use for each client by consolidating all of your data into one, comprehensive solution.
  • Motivate anytime, anywhere – The beauty of an integrated, on-line, real time system!
  • Set alerts that fire when a client or patient falls out of acceptable ranges.
  • Have daily and weekly summary reports sent directly to your email for review.
  • Share training tips, exercise plans and nutrition advice – to just one client or to all of your clients.
  • Set goals and track measurements – Be specific about what you want  your client to work on and run reports daily and weekly to monitor their progress. 411Fit’s robust reporting features allow for quick and easy data analysis.
  • Use 411Fit’s proprietary grading system to quickly and easily see when a client or patient is doing well or poorly.
  • Communicate with your clients and share information, awards and motivational notes all with a click of a button.
  • Expand your client base by being able to reach more individuals in less time.
  • Create a library of plans that you can utilize across multiple populations.
  • Build stronger relationships by providing your clients and patients a truly personalized experience.

The concept: Prescribe in real-time and give real-time feedback – a level of interaction only surpassed by one-on-one contact. Using 411Fit’s robust nutrition and exercise tracker, individuals are able to follow guidelines set by their health professional all while their health professional monitors and tracks their progress. Clients feel a sense of confidence knowing you are on top of their health!

The 411Fit Coaching Dashboard will be released January of 2012. Questions? Contact us!

Sure, Overeat on Thanksgiving…But Learn this One Habit to Avoid

By Briana Boehmer

Sure, we all know eating too much has its implications. Let’s not dwell on the obvious. And we all know the saying “everything in moderation.” Clearly, Thanksgiving throws a big hand in the face of that one. However, have you ever taken the time to really think about what happens when you overeat? Have you ever wondered if there is more to it than meets the eye? Well let’s sit down with our nemesis overeating and see what we find when we dig into the facts…

The Good News
Your body is SMART. Oh yes, very smart. The key is to understand how the body operates, which at its purest level is survival. When researchers and scientists look at how the body reacts to various stimuli, the pattern is almost always linked to survival. Our body is wired to adapt to sudden changes in order to achieve balance or homeostasis as quickly as possible. In the face of a change in the norm, your body will do its best to counteract that change to create what it is used to. Case in point, if the only day I ever overeat is Thanksgiving, my body is going to do its best to take care of those calories and get “back to normal”.

The Rub
We never JUST overeat on Thanksgiving Day. The trend?…To overeat from Thanksgiving up to the New Year. It is this CONSISTENT overeating, albeit a short period of time, that wrecks havoc on your waistline. In a recent 2010 study out of Linkoping University in Sweden*, researchers found that short bouts of consistent overeating lead to long-term weight gain. While further research needs to be done, the study confirmed what we already know from years of looking at weight gain and loss – everything in moderation. One day of overeating a year – no big deal. One month of overeating – Houston, we have a problem.

The Take Home
Don’t beat yourself up over that piece of cherry pie or extra piece of turkey. Be more aware of what you are doing throughout the holiday season to keep your eating on track. Counter excess eating with regular exercise and see if you can aim to NOT gain weight during this most wonderful time of the year!

Ready to get fit? Visit

*Ernersson, A. Nutrition & Metabolism, Aug. 25, 2010

411Fit Provides Full Suite of Services for Wellness Professionals

By Briana Boehmer

When we think about the needs of health professionals in today’s ever-evolving health crisis, we don’t put our hands up in mutiny; we put our heads down and keep creating. The creators of 411Fit are passionate about making a lasting impact on the health of our world. We believe that everyone has the opportunity to live a healthier life with the right knowledge and action. This is where you come in.

Certified Personal Trainers, Health Coaches, Dieticians, Nutritionists, Doctors and other health professionals have a wide range of needs based on their specialties. Our mission is to bridge the gap for ALL health professionals putting effective tools in their pocket and making their job of educating the public easier and more effective.

We know there is still a big disconnect. You want to provide individual and corporate solutions but don’t always have the right tools to do so. 411Fit has worked hard to provide the missing link for ALL wellness professionals. The chart below highlights key aspects of 411Fit’s suite of services along with a comparison to the needs of health professionals.

411Fit is the first web-based application to provide tools to the individual, corporation, and health professional all in one.

  • An individual needs tools to help keep them on track, provide education and motivation, and ultimately see progress with their health and wellness goals.
  • Corporations need viable tools to create a happy and healthy workforce. We spend more time at work than we do anywhere else…if we are well at work that translates to being well in other aspects of our life.
  • Health professionals are our most personalized avenue to understanding and working on our health. At the highest level, health professionals can provide the missing link to reaching one’s desired level of wellness.

Use the chart below to fill out what areas you address with each client/patient. Compare the spaces that are missing with 411Fit’s offering.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

How would your capacity be enhanced if all of those services were available to you in one robust tool? Good news! They are!

Ready to get fit? Visit

411Fit Accountability for the Holidays

By Briana Boehmer

In the coming weeks you will be hearing news stories, reading articles and watching commercials keying off the holiday season. One of the most talked about holiday topics? – Food and Weight. It seems like you can’t talk about one without hearing a reference to the other. 411Fit has a challenge for you this holiday season…use this time of festivities and food to learn one of the key components to successful weight loss and health – ACCOUNTABILITY.

In the purest form of the word, accountability evokes a feeling of responsibility. Whether the responsibility comes from an outside source or from you, responsibility is a powerful thing. It is my belief that we don’t arrive at any success in our life without the help of at least one other person. The people who surround us both influence and often times support our endeavors and biggest dreams. Hence, why would we not seek support in one form or another when we are looking to make changes in our health?

Let’s start simple. Try one or all of the three suggestions below to add a little accountability before the New Year rolls around:

  • Accountability from a friend or family member Tell someone what you are trying to achieve and ask them to check in on you regularly! Sometimes this can be done more formally with a trainer or a coach, but don’t underestimate the power of friends and family. Tell your accountability partner your weaknesses and devise a plan to attack them. Maybe you need a daily text message with encouragement? OR maybe you need them to meet you for a workout on Friday when you tend to skip it?
  • Accountability from technology I am a little biased, but I love the accountability that tools like 411Fit can provide you. Not only does our site educate you on your personal goals with our grade tracker, it provides a robust social network for you to engage with like-minded individuals, friends, and experts. Our technology is so customized that even your nutrition labels detail the nutrient breakdown for YOUR specific needs and goals that YOU told the system!
  • Accountability from YOU! Sometimes you just need to give yourself a swift kick in the pants. Write down your goals and read them often. You can be your harshest critic and biggest fan. Use the power of your own determination and don’t give yourself outs when you know you should be sticking to plan.

In the coming weeks, take baby steps to try and fill your life with more accountability. If you do, we bet you won’t have a need for New Year’s resolutions in the traditional fashion…that tried and true goal of losing weight needs its own kick in the pants!

Ready to Get Fit? Sign up today!

Top 10 Ways People Are Finding Success with 411Fit

By Briana Boehmer

  1. Quick and easy journaling of exercise and nutrition. We have a database of 481,153 USDA, commercial, and packaged foods along with 2,925 exercises, which makes logging what you do effortless.
  2. Learning new ways to eat. The 411Fit Recipe Exchange is a great way to find ideas for your next healthy meal. Search the exchange by nutritional content or ingredient, download the recipe to your own library with the click of a button, and add your comments and ratings for the recipes you use.
  3. Personalized reporting. 411Fit’s Net Calorie Intake report allows you to not only look at your net calories over time but also identifies days where you may be missing nutrition data. 411Fit’s Trend Analysis report lets you look for trends in your data. Plot multiple metrics on the same chart to see how your sleep affects your blood pressure or your sodium intake correlates to your weight measurements or any of a thousand different combinations.
  4. Extensive goal-setting capabilities. Wellness is a personal thing. 411Fit allows you to create goals and programming that helps YOU where YOU are at!
  5. Unique and individualized grading system. 411fit’s grading system provides users with immediate feedback on the impact of the choices they make with each and every piece of information entered. Users can see the progress that they are making long before the scale ever moves.
  6. 411Fit’s “What If?” analysis. This fantastic report allows you to hypothesize what you could have done differently to get closer to your personal goals. Try switching out food items, changing servings consumed or adding new foods to see how your grade would have changed.
  7. Mobile access. 411Fit’s mobile site lets you stay on track and in check when you are on the go. You are at your favorite restaurant but can’t decide whether to go for the salad or the sandwich. Thanks to 411Fit’s extensive database and our innovative “What If” feature, you can see the impact of either food selection on your nutrition grade – right there as you are standing inline waiting to order.
  8. Weight loss success tools. 54, 526 pounds have been lost on the 411Fit system!
  9. Access to experts…ANYTIME! Besides what you learn from just using 411Fit on a regular basis, we also provide access to experts in the areas of nutrition, exercise and general health. Read blogs written by our experts on topics that are pertinent to the sorts of challenges that you face daily, or contact them directly with specific questions via our “Ask An Expert” forum.
  10. A supportive community. Using 411Fit’s extensive social networking features, you can create your own support group of family and friends to encourage you along the way. With our vast array of community features – groups, blogs, forums, challenges, recipe exchanges and polls – you will never run out of new things to keep you engaged and invigorated. Compared to lone individuals, members who have social ties – whether in-site friend relationships or group membership – enjoy a 600% increase in weight loss and an extended commitment to return to the site!

Ready to Get Fit? Sign up today!

Dublin, OH Selects 411Fit To Power Community Program

The City of Dublin, Ohio faced a considerable challenge. They needed to be able to manage, and monitor the progress of, a diverse community wellness program – “Healthy Dublin” – while engaging a wide variety of different community organizations, corporations and individuals.

Healthy Dublin LogoThe goal of the “Healthy Dublin” program is to provide those who live and work in Dublin with the tools, resources and support necessary to improve their overall health and well-being. The innovative program provides participants with free health screenings, wellness seminars, local events and community resources to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

After an extensive search for a solution that provided the capacity, flexibility and ease of use that they needed, the City of Dublin selected 411Fit to power their wellness program.

“What makes Healthy Dublin unique from other fitness programs is our interactive website developed through the 411Fit software, which allows participants to enter their health information and determine an activity program tailored to their needs and interests,” said Matt Earman, Director of Recreation Services.

Through the website participants can set health and nutrition goals, track their progress, network with other community members and take part in a variety of community activities, events and challenges.

“Our goal is to not only help individuals succeed in achieving their health goals, but to make the entire Dublin community healthier each year,” said Earman. “Through the Healthy Dublin initiative, we hope to foster a culture of wellness, making our community’s health and well-being a key component for a vibrant Dublin.”

411Fit is an ideal partner for the City of Dublin. “411Fit was developed carefully over 7 years at the University of North Carolina Charlotte (UNCC) to leverage a web based “platform” in bringing together individual fitness, wellness program management, wellness coaching management, social networking and analytics, all on a robust reliable software platform” said Terry Montgomery, President/CEO. “The breadth, flexibility and customizability of the 411Fit platform are a perfect fit for a program as inclusive as Healthy Dublin. 411Fit’s ability to manage multiple programs across multiple locations while providing real time visibility of results is a key feature of the software” Montgomery added.

411Fit, LLC is a “spinout” from the University of North Carolina Charlotte that provides “next generation” web based capabilities for health professionals responsible for managing the wellness of individuals, corporations and communities. The 411Fit team is based in Charlotte, NC and Madison, WI and serves clients nationally.

If you are in need of assistance with your community or corporate wellness program, please contact us to learn more about how 411Fit can help.

Ready to Get Fit? Sign up today!

Let’s Talk About Stress

By Briana Boehmer

It has become increasingly apparent to me that most of us live very stress-filled lives. Sometimes I wonder why we stress ourselves out so much. Why the hurry? Why so many commitments? Believe me, I am no stranger to overcommitting my time and overfilling my plate. Recently I sat down and thought about times in my life where I was nearly stress-free, when relaxation was the name of the game. One thing kept popping up in my mind, summer break from my grade school years. Ahhh, those were the days!

In the real world, summer is like most other seasons for the most part…BUSY! However, the idea of relaxation and taking a break is something we should think about and make a priority year round. I want you to think back to the time when you had those extended summer breaks. What did you do? How did you feel? Wanting to go back to those days? Good! Let’s brainstorm how you can recreate relaxed moments in your busy schedule.

Time Management Is Key

One common culprit of stress is the “feeling of overwhelm” – too many things to do and not enough time. First and foremost, work to NOT over-commit yourself. If you are one of those people who just can’t say no (like me), learn to put your foot down and just say NO! It is OK to not do everything for everyone. Next look at how you manage the things you do.

Do you:

  1. Have a plan each day? Clearly lay out each day and week. A plan keeps you on track and notifies you of things you don’t have time to do.
  2. Prioritize? When you plan your days and weeks do you put the important “must do” things top on the list? Don’t procrastinate the important tasks and obligations. When important things get put to the wayside, stress is inevitable.
  3. Write things down? When you plan and prioritize how do you remember what you are doing when? When you keep track of your tasks and write them down you are more likely to remember what you have to do and when they must be done.
  4. Take on tasks in manageable chunks? If you have a big project due break it up into manageable pieces. Trying to do too much all at once will bring on near immediate stress.
  5. Delegate? Your co-workers, family, and friends are all a piece of the puzzle. Don’t take on tasks that are truly meant for others to do or that another can do more efficiently (meaning it is their job!).
  6. Work efficiently? Efficiency has many components. Taking the time to do something well the first time means you were efficient! Giving the proper time and environment to complete something also lends to efficiency. Don’t rush an important task AND create an environment that allows you to complete the task well. Close your door, turn off the radio, and keep distractions at a minimum!
  7. Take breaks?! 1 hour of concentrated effort is often better than 3 hours of interrupted and distracted effort. Everyone is different in how long they can stay on task, but studies show that most people tend to loose focus around 50 minutes to 1 hour. Taking a 10-15 minute break to either work on a different task or just relax can rejuvenate and refocus your efforts.
  8. TAKE CARE OF YOU? Above all make sure you are getting ample sleep, exercise, and proper nutrition. A tired and fatigued you is a very inefficient you. Also make sure you surround yourself with people who support you. A good support system can create an excellent framework for defusing stress and managing time.

Time management and stress reduction is no easy task. However, if you follow the simple tips above you will be on your way to creating more time for YOU and the things YOU love to do! If you find yourself trapped with more than you can handle don’t be afraid to talk to a professional. Strategizing with an objective perspective can help you better determine where you can improve your daily schedule and create the serenity we all need!

With summer now in full force, I wish you a few days with your feet up and sunglasses on!

Ready to Get Fit? Sign up today!