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: http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthtool-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.

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Part I: You Have To EAT To Lose Weight

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

By: Briana Boehmer

Photo c/o: Britt Selvitelle

Naturally when I hear most people talk about losing weight the word diet is mentioned in one way or another. Diet by definition assumes restriction of food in some form, which often leads to unfortunate behaviors – namely, not eating sufficient calories and more importantly the nutrients your body needs.

I am forever perplexed over why we work against our body’s natural biology.

Here’s a hard fact: Our body is built to SURVIVE. At the most fundamental level your body does what it does to SURVIVE. Bottom line, there comes a point where the fewer calories you take in the fewer calories your body burns. This is your body’s basic response to survival…in other words; it doesn’t want to starve so it will run on less energy to make the most of the calories it does get. This WILL happen when you hit that “danger point” for YOUR body.

This fact has been studied and studied. In fact, you may have already experienced this phenomena: You’ve been cutting your calorie intake by 500 calories a day so that you lose 1 pound per week (500 calories/day x 7 days = 3,500 calories =1 pound) and at first it worked like a charm but suddenly you hit a plateau and the weight loss is less and less each week. Frustrating isn’t it? The simple and hard fact is, your body is just not built to follow such a simple equation. There are so many more variables to consider.

Bottom line – You have to EAT to lose weight safely and effectively. Not too much and not too little…confusing right? Weight loss is a tricky equation but ultimately there is no magic pill or extreme diet that can replace simple healthy eating at regular intervals that corresponds directly with your personal needs. Because all calories are not created equal (an issue I will discuss in the next part of this series), it is critical that your body is getting the nutrients it needs to do basal metabolic tasks. Add in exercise and personal physiological circumstances and there certainly is a lot to think about. Yes, what AND how much you eat aren’t the only factors!

Current research is telling us the best way to keep the body in an optimal state of metabolic bliss is to eat smaller more frequent “meals” throughout the day. There is research to suggest that even small calorie deficits within a single day may alter our metabolism in ways that have negative effects. While the ultimate goal is for the body to burn stored energy, we have to always keep in mind the fact that we don’t want it to enter starvation mode either.

So now you’re wondering how to strike the perfect balance between calorie consumption and energy expenditure aren’t you? Great! Check back next week for my next installment looking deeper into how to set proper weight loss in motion.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for a way to track, check out our nutrition journal at 411.com.

Read Part 2: Food Journaling Matters a LOT by clicking here.

A Year From Now You’ll Wish You Had Started Today



By: Guest Blogger Mary Moran

I’m thrilled to have been asked to join 411fit.com‘s bloggers and I look forward to helping motivate and inspire YOU because I know that you will do the same for ME!  Together, we can do this! And I can GUARANTEE you that no matter how much you have to lose – whether it’s 10 lbs or 110 lbs – if you start to make small changes in your life today, you’ll be SO glad you did!  Just imagine where YOU could be in just one year from now!

July 2008

For almost my entire adolescent and adult life, I’ve begun each new year saying “I want to lose weight.” I’d try for a month or two but then get frustrated with the process when the weight didn’t come off fast enough, thinking, “This isn’t working!”  I’d end up disappointed with myself, feeling as though I failed…yet again. What I know now, but failed to realize at the time, is that the only “failure” was having given up!  Weight loss is not a race and EVERY ounce lost was a step in the right direction!

I began the journey to re-claim myself in 2009 when I declared it to be “The Year of Me!”  I finally sought help for the extreme upper back pain I’d been dealing with for four years after it had gotten so bad that I was having visions of a wheelchair in my not-so-distant future. I was given a diagnosis of Myofascial Pain Syndrome, which is a chronic condition that affects the fascia (the connective tissue covering the muscles) and to help alleviate the pain, I was told I needed to strengthen and stretch my muscles.  Apparently the years of general inactivity and sitting at a desk job had caused weakness.  But deep down I knew what nobody – not even my doctor or physical therapist – was willing to come right out and say… that being 100+ lbs overweight was not helping me.  
In fact, it was hurting me – literally!

August 2010

I started to workout sporadically on my own and then signed up for my (former) company’s wellness plan with Salus, Inc. in Delafield, WI, run by 411fit.com’s own Briana and Michael Boehmer.  I was pushed beyond belief, gained confidence in my abilities and became extremely strong in a relatively short amount of time!  I felt better than ever but despite working out intensely 4-6 days/week, I’d only managed to lose 12 lbs during 2010. It was a loss, but come on…a ONE pound per month average?  With as much as I was working out, it should have been coming off MUCH faster.  Michael and I joked around a lot but during one discussion about my food journaling (or lack thereof), he looked at me and calmly said, “You know what you need to do.”  I knew I was standing in my own way.

January 2011 – 55 lbs lost!

Two months later, after a long discussion with my sister, Laura, we decided that we would begin Weight Watchers together.  We were both ready to make changes in our lives and that meant getting the food under control.  We went to our first meeting on January 11, 2011 and it was one of the best things that we’ve both ever done for ourselves!  My average loss has been slow but I have learned many things about myself along the way. I have been extremely reflective during my journey and I am focusing on finding balance and making true changes in my life that will not only help me get to my goal, but ensure that I stay there once I do! Am I glad I started a year ago?  Absolutely!  
Just look at the difference!

Like you, I am going through this journey right now.  I’m well acquainted with the negative self-talk, the embarrassment and the excuses that come with being overweight.  I have lived with the doubt, the struggles and the damage it does to your confidence and self-esteem on a daily basis.  I’ve heard the whispers and the assumptions of laziness or “simple” lack of willpower.  Oh if it were only that simple, right?!  I’ve had to listen to well-meaning people who’ve never had a weight problem lecture me on how I should go about losing my weight.

But, more importantly, I know what it feels like to start to believe in yourself again and I know what it feels like to have had that “click” in your brain that says “I AM worth it!” and “I don’t belong in this body any more!”  I also understand how important it is to have the support of someone (or thousands of others!) going through the same thing and/or with someone who believes in you…even when you don’t.

So if you’ve been on the fence…or you need a gentle push back into action, go to www.411Fit.com today and register. It’s free for individuals. Start today!

If you’re a trainer or a health coach, 411Fit just launched a new coaching dashboard to help you track your clients more easily and with greater interaction. The best part? They’re offering 45 days free! Click here to learn more or sign up today!

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.
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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.com.

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! www.411fit.com

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! www.411fit.com