I am "Good Morning America's" technology contributor but also a lifelong athlete. I played varsity sports all through high school and college. I played rugby for 15 years, including a brief stint on the U.S. national team. I ski, mountain bike, surf and run. And I am probably just like you: I hate it when my jeans get too tight.
So combining my love of gadgetry and my quest for fitness, I should be able to point you to any number of devices that will help you lose weight: body-fat analyzing scales, treadmills, hand-held diet trackers, the latest diet powders and pills … The list of products marketed to dieters is seemingly endless.
The truth is, weight loss is very simple. You don't need to spend a lot of money, buy a bunch of gadgets or collect a gym's worth of exercise equipment. To help you lose weight, I am recommending only three tech products, which cost less than $100 (I'm assuming you already have two of them).
If your caloric output is 3,500 calories more than your caloric input, you will lose a pound. Simply put, it takes 3,500 calories to lose one pound of fat. If you want to lose 10 pounds, you must reduce food intake and increase exercise output in the amount of roughly 35,000 calories.
Step one: Know your daily dietary intake
If you know nothing about food, you probably eat indiscriminately and have no idea what's fattening and what's healthy. If you know nothing about food, you need to go to a dietitian. These are basically food and diet consultants who will give you tools to understand the food you eat, what types of food you need and how much you should be eating each day.
Most of us, though, have grown up food-conscious. According to one national study, 80 percent of women have dieted by the time they are 18. Food labels on packaging also give us a pretty good idea about calories, but many of us eat much bigger portions than the serving sizes allot. You may need to check your portions with a scale, but using a Web site like nutritiondata.com -- http://www.nutritiondata.com/nutrient-search.html -- you can get a good idea of how many calories you consume each day.
Step Two: Record your daily intake
It is a royal pain to count calories, but to get a handle on out-of-control eating, commit to counting your calories for at least two weeks. The cheapest way to record your intake is to make an Excel spreadsheet listing everything you eat and its caloric value. Excel is basically your computer's version of a lined notebook with a calculator built in to it. Many Windows computers have Excel already installed. If not, there are free downloadable calorie tracking programs, like this one: http://www.download.com/CalTrack-Pocket-PC-Calorie-Tracker/3000-2161_4-10207747.html?tag=lst-0-1.
Use the spreadsheet to record and total the calories you consume every day, and you will have your caloric input.
Step Three: Use a heart rate monitor to count the calories you burn.
A heart rate monitor consists of an elastic strap that goes around your chest and a wristwatch. The chest strap counts your heart beats and sends your pulse in beats per minute to the watch. You can use your pulse rate as a way to monitor exertion -- and the harder you exercise, the more calories you burn.