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  1. #1
    Senior Member squirtdad's Avatar
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    weight watchers vs livestrong vs ?????

    Ok I know one thing I am not doing that I need to do is track by food in detail. My downfall is home at night and weekends...espcially the "little tastes" when cooking.

    I have used both weight watchers and Livestrong on a less than consistent basis. I see advantages and disadvantages to both.

    I am looking to see what other peoples experience has been and what they reccomend...especailly with the android app part.

    Again I recognize that it still comes down to me using the tool, but people's input on the "best" tool is helpful

    thanks
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  2. #2
    Senior Member The_DK's Avatar
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    Weightwatchers - Meh. No macronutrient tracking. It's good for a straight calorie deficit, but not for carefully watching what you are eating.

    I've used Livestrong - it's messy and there's NO support. There is some community, when the forums aren't broken (which, if your account stops working, never gets fixed)

    I've used Dailyplate - It's pretty good, and there's NO support. The app sucks out loud. There is virtually no community.

    I use MyFitnessPal now. It's not as flexible w/r/t to weight training tracking, but it's excellent for food tracking. The app is really good and there is a huge community.


    With any, you have to intelligently look at the food you pick out of the list to track. Some people are stupid/lazy and leave important things out or fill things out utterly wrong. For example, I saw some Orowheat bread in there the other day with 40 grams of fiber per slice. Lots of food with ONLY calories and nothing else.
    You get that in any site with user-created database entries.

  3. #3
    Senior Member RedC's Avatar
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    I tried Livestrong a couple of years ago, I followed their guidelines but lost no weight, Been on Weight Watchers for 4 weeks and I'm down over 10 lbs
    Red, like the color my hair used to be.

    Lemond Buenos Aires(Broke) Madone 5.9 for sale,Navigator 2, S-Works Roubaix

  4. #4
    Senior Member gunner65's Avatar
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    My fitness pal is great for tracking food love tracking nutritional values as well as calories.

  5. #5
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    Depends on what your goal is. Heck, if you just want to track, use pencil and paper. For me Weight Watchers has been working for me. 25 pounds down since Dec 27th.

  6. #6
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    myfatsecret.com is a pretty good site for food tracking - I use it sporadically to get my eating back on track when I stray, and the phone app is pretty good. And it's free.

    I think weight watchers is MOST effective if you actually join a group and go to get weighed once a week. That's probably true of any of these - community support is critical. I can't lose weight at all if my wife isn't helping me.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Seve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
    myfatsecret.com is a pretty good site for food tracking - I use it sporadically to get my eating back on track when I stray, and the phone app is pretty good. And it's free.
    x 2
    http://fatsecret.com/connected/

  8. #8
    Registered User
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    I am a big fan of loseit.com

    Their iPhone app is really good and it connects to the Withings scale flawlessly. It's exercise calorie consumption is about 15% over when compared to Garmin's calculations with a heart monitor though.

  9. #9
    Carpe Velo Yo Spiff's Avatar
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    I don't use any sort of tracking. I don't weigh myself regularly, just when I go to the Doctors office. If I had a scale at home I would obsess over daily fluctuations and that's no good for me. I can tell if I'm dropping weight by my belt regularly getting looser. I just try to develop good judgement about what I'm eating and how much I'm exercising. This time last year, I wore a size 48 and some of those 48's were uncomfortably snug. Just bought a 42 while out at lunchtime today.

    It seems to be working for me.
    2000 Bianchi Veloce, '88 Schwinn Prologue, '88 Trek 900, '92 Trek T100, 2000 Rans Tailwind

  10. #10
    Senior Member tony_merlino's Avatar
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    I think any system will work if you stick to it. Goldfinch recently posted a link to The Hacker's Diet, which is a really no-BS approach to tracking weight, eating, and exercise developed by an engineer. He makes the point that, unless you're eating really stupidly, i.e. as long as you're eating a varied diet and not living on chips and beer, the calorie content of the food pretty much sums up all you need to know about it.

    He makes the point that it's important to know - not perfectly to twenty decimal places, but pretty well - how many calories you're consuming, and how much you weigh. He provides some applications to extract trends that smooth out the daily variations in weight, but remain sensitive to gaining or losing trends that might not be obvious from noisy measurements. And then, he uses the simple equivalence: 1lb of fat = 3500 calories of energy. (A little too simplistic, but a decent starting point). If your trend shows that you're gaining a pound a month, you need to cut out a little over 100 calories per day, etc. It doesn't matter what you cut - it just has to be 100 calories worth.

    The real trick is to change some behaviors. DON'T taste while you're cooking. DON'T finish up leftovers "just so they don't go to waste", or just so you won't have to take up room with them in the fridge. Know how many calories are in what you eat, more or less. If you don't do these things, there isn't a system in the world that will work. If you do get into the habit of "no unaccounted-for ingestion", any system will work.
    L'asino di Buridano...

  11. #11
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    What Tony said.

  12. #12
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    I've been having some pretty good luck with myfitnesspal and a scale. I like that you can scan the bar codes of things from an app. I'm working with a trainer now and we're trying to find a balance on calories between weight loss and muscle building. I used live strong before and found the nutrient data less accurate. All of the counters I've seen don't measure the calories out very accurately.

  13. #13
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    I totally distrust calories out counters. Too many variables. Plus, they always seem to err on the high end.

  14. #14
    Senior Member redvespablur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by matthewk459 View Post
    I am a big fan of loseit.com

    Their iPhone app is really good and it connects to the Withings scale flawlessly. It's exercise calorie consumption is about 15% over when compared to Garmin's calculations with a heart monitor though.
    +1 lost and kept off about 50 pounds with lose-it. Free. Good database. Good community. But anything will do if you do it

  15. #15
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    myfatsecret.com is a good one with a solid android app. The app does have a small learning curve, but that's purely based on the interface. dailyburn.com is great and I only stopped using it because I got rid of my iphone. Their barcode scanner is a stand alone app that, last time I checked, had not been developed for android. Also, with all of these you still need to watch what you select. I found out on myfatsecret.com that Walmart brand fat free sour cream has different calorie contents across the country. Almost every day someone would change it by 10 calories or so.

  16. #16
    Senior Member tony_merlino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
    I totally distrust calories out counters. Too many variables. Plus, they always seem to err on the high end.
    Calories out counters are irrelevant if you have a scale and know your calories in. Your weight versus your intake is the best way to measure calories out.

    There are formulas online for figuring basal metabolic rate (BMR) based on your age, height, weight and gender, and then multipliers you can apply to that number to get your active metabolic rate based on exercise. The AMR is supposed to be a measure of the calories required to maintain that weight given your age, height, gender and amount/frequency of exercise that you do.

    But the formula is just an average, rule of thumb sort of thing. I've been keeping fairly careful records of calories, and know my exercise patterns, and have found that my weight measurements don't match what was predicted based on calories in and the stock AMR formula. I calculated projections of weight based on my average calorie intake for several different activity profiles, and derived a fudge factor that minimized the mean squared error between the predicted curve for my activity level and calorie intake, and my measured weights. Once I did that, the measurements matched the predicted loss curve almost exactly - with a MSE of less than a pound over an observation period of two months.

    The point of saying this is to illustrate that the only way to calibrate a calories out counter is to use a method similar to the one I used to find my own body's "transfer function". Then, if you keep your calorie intake constant, you can determine how your body translates exercise into calories burned.

    While it's fun to know this, it's not really necessary - the scale tells you all you need to know. If the trend is downward at the desired rate, you're doing fine. If it's not, you need to either eat less or exercise more (or both), letting the scale be your guide as to how you're doing.
    L'asino di Buridano...

  17. #17
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Tony, that is very interesting and I agree, the scale tells you all you need to know. Right now I have started using trends for my weight maintenance. What I am not sure that I want to continue to do is a daily weight measure and think that I will go back to weekly. I still should be ok with figuring the trends.

  18. #18
    DEK
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    Senior Member DEK's Avatar
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    No Weight Watchers. No Livestrong. No apps.

    I know what's good for me - fruits, veggies, etc. And what's bad for me - cake, cookies, chips and especially overeating of anything.

    I cut back on all the bad stuff. Increased the good stuff. Rode my bike a lot and I've lost 50+ lbs in the last year. I've just about reached my ideal weight and don't have to worry about tracking anything or "will I put the weight back on" because I've changed my eating habits overall which, to me, is the whole key.

  19. #19
    Senior Member tony_merlino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
    Tony, that is very interesting and I agree, the scale tells you all you need to know. Right now I have started using trends for my weight maintenance. What I am not sure that I want to continue to do is a daily weight measure and think that I will go back to weekly. I still should be ok with figuring the trends.
    Least-squares line fitting to arrive at a trend-line is a great and robust method, provided you have enough data points to fit to. The problem with taking a single weekly measurement is that (at least for me), the signal to noise ratio is very low, which can really skew the trend line if you don't have enough measurements. And it takes so long to collect enough measurements that way, that you may delay catching a dangerous trend longer than you'd like.

    I've been looking at my weight daily, and, for me, the best compromise between responsiveness and robustness seems to be to use two weeks of daily measurements to estimate linear trends (and also to smooth the data). The best predictive model, again for me, is the one based on AMR, where the prediction for the next day's weight is based on the current weight, the smoothed (or just the average) calorie intake, and the AMR for that weight.

    Yeah - I know - this is obsessive, and I'm totally over-thinking the problem. But it's been fun to do...
    L'asino di Buridano...

  20. #20
    Senior Member tony_merlino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DEK View Post
    No Weight Watchers. No Livestrong. No apps.

    I know what's good for me - fruits, veggies, etc. And what's bad for me - cake, cookies, chips and especially overeating of anything.

    I cut back on all the bad stuff. Increased the good stuff. Rode my bike a lot and I've lost 50+ lbs in the last year. I've just about reached my ideal weight and don't have to worry about tracking anything or "will I put the weight back on" because I've changed my eating habits overall which, to me, is the whole key.
    That's great if your habits stay changed. I've been in your position several times in my life, and have managed to keep weight off for as long as five or six years. (For example, I lost 93 lbs in a year when I was 25, and pretty much kept it off until my mid-30s). But then, for a lot of us, life happens in a big way, and bad habits start sneaking in, and eventually the weight comes back. Often this happens without us even being aware of it until the bad habits have become ingrained. I now believe that, for me, monitoring weight is the best way to keep me honest.

    I think of being chronically overweight (or yo-yoing) as a medical condition that doesn't have to be disabling as long as it's monitored, and appropriate corrective action is always taken quickly.
    L'asino di Buridano...

  21. #21
    Senior Member NCbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
    I have used both weight watchers and Livestrong on a less than consistent basis. I see advantages and disadvantages to both.
    Sometimes all we are missing is a simple link in the chain.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by tony_merlino View Post
    Least-squares line fitting to arrive at a trend-line is a great and robust method, provided you have enough data points to fit to. The problem with taking a single weekly measurement is that (at least for me), the signal to noise ratio is very low, which can really skew the trend line if you don't have enough measurements. And it takes so long to collect enough measurements that way, that you may delay catching a dangerous trend longer than you'd like.

    I've been looking at my weight daily, and, for me, the best compromise between responsiveness and robustness seems to be to use two weeks of daily measurements to estimate linear trends (and also to smooth the data). The best predictive model, again for me, is the one based on AMR, where the prediction for the next day's weight is based on the current weight, the smoothed (or just the average) calorie intake, and the AMR for that weight.

    Yeah - I know - this is obsessive, and I'm totally over-thinking the problem. But it's been fun to do...
    "Libra- Weight Manager" is a free Android App that I've used before that does a nice job generating a trend line and a goal weight date. I believe you can adjust the smoothing days to generate nearly the same trend line as the Hacker's Diet.

  23. #23
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DEK View Post
    No Weight Watchers. No Livestrong. No apps.

    I know what's good for me - fruits, veggies, etc. And what's bad for me - cake, cookies, chips and especially overeating of anything.

    I cut back on all the bad stuff. Increased the good stuff. Rode my bike a lot and I've lost 50+ lbs in the last year. I've just about reached my ideal weight and don't have to worry about tracking anything or "will I put the weight back on" because I've changed my eating habits overall which, to me, is the whole key.
    That is great that you can do that. I have no appetite off switch and I have to track. I already eat good stuff and minimize the bad stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by tony_merlino View Post
    That's great if your habits stay changed. I've been in your position several times in my life, and have managed to keep weight off for as long as five or six years. (For example, I lost 93 lbs in a year when I was 25, and pretty much kept it off until my mid-30s). But then, for a lot of us, life happens in a big way, and bad habits start sneaking in, and eventually the weight comes back. Often this happens without us even being aware of it until the bad habits have become ingrained. I now believe that, for me, monitoring weight is the best way to keep me honest.

    I think of being chronically overweight (or yo-yoing) as a medical condition that doesn't have to be disabling as long as it's monitored, and appropriate corrective action is always taken quickly.
    This.

    The fat cells are there, waiting to be refilled.
    Last edited by goldfinch; 02-29-12 at 01:31 PM.

  24. #24
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tony_merlino View Post
    Least-squares line fitting to arrive at a trend-line is a great and robust method, provided you have enough data points to fit to. The problem with taking a single weekly measurement is that (at least for me), the signal to noise ratio is very low, which can really skew the trend line if you don't have enough measurements. And it takes so long to collect enough measurements that way, that you may delay catching a dangerous trend longer than you'd like.

    I've been looking at my weight daily, and, for me, the best compromise between responsiveness and robustness seems to be to use two weeks of daily measurements to estimate linear trends (and also to smooth the data). The best predictive model, again for me, is the one based on AMR, where the prediction for the next day's weight is based on the current weight, the smoothed (or just the average) calorie intake, and the AMR for that weight.

    Yeah - I know - this is obsessive, and I'm totally over-thinking the problem. But it's been fun to do...
    I think that obsessive in this case is just fine. Not all obsessions are bad obsessions. I thought about this after I posted and decided that I will keep up with the daily weighing to catch the trends quickly, given that I do not seem to be a person like DFK that can change habits in the course of a year and get along without tracking. A year and a half of new habits has not in any way become ingrained in me. I have as much a need to weigh myself and count calories as I did the first week of my weight loss venture.

  25. #25
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    I'm using the put fork down and push plate away diet, recomended by myself. He said, hey you're a smart guys loosing weight is easy. We all know whats wrong and what's right, he did give a few tips, don't drink 20 minutes before then during then after eating to let enzymes in stomache do their thing, eat food high in fiber, veggies are your friend, use smaller plates, eat big meal at lunch and keep riding that bike. I'm down 25lbs since January 1st.
    Best thing about cycling is when I'm at work I'm thinking of cycling, when I'm cycling I'm thinking about cycling.

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