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 How to Lose Weight using your Droid, iPhone or other Smartphone

Probably the best way to use your Droid to lose weight and get more fit would be to leave your Smartphone on a different level of your home or office so that every time you need to use the phone, check or send an email or surf the web you'll have to run up a flight or two to do it.

Another way is to download one of the many fitness apps available, and most importantly, stick to the program.

I'm going to take a look at one app that I've been using for the past two weeks. So far, I've lost five pounds. (Which is good, but in all honesty, is about equal to a big dump.)

The app is called My Fitness Pal and is located in the Android Market and the Apple App Store. It's free and, although I've seen a number of calorie counting weight-loss programs, this one is pretty damned cool. If you don't have a Android phone or an iPhone, you can also sign up online (http://www.myfitnesspal.com/) and set up an account there. (I think that's the way Fred and Barney used to have to do it.) In any event, signing up and using this program is completely free wherever you do it.

Basically, what the app does is gives you an easy way to keep track of the number of calories you're consuming and burning on a daily basis and helps you set up a program to safely lose, maintain or gain weight. You simply start by entering some very basic info (your current weight, your age, how much you'd like to weigh and when you'd like to reach that goal). Then, the app will tell you how many calories you need to consume each day to reach your goal in your chosen time period.

I am allowed 1,590 calories per day. At first it seemed like a lot, but if I had continued on my normal (and relatively healthy) eating schedule, I'd probably be somewhere in the 2,400-2,800 calorie area (which is said to be normal for my weight and height).

So, once you download the program, you click on the MyFitnessPal icon and it takes you to the home page which gives you an overview of your daily plan. You can see how many calories you have remaining for that day, how many calories you've consumed and how many extra calories you gained by doing cardiovascular exercise.

To add a particular food, you click on Add to Diary and select your meal (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack). Then you can either select the food from your list of recent and frequently consumed stuff, search in their massive search engine by name,  or use the scanner option in MyFitnessPal to scan the food in.

If you cannot find the food you wish to add, there is also an Add Calories option so that you can just add them manually. The same is true for exercise. I learned this because they don't have a listing for vacuuming and dammit, you burn over 200 calories an hour vacuuming and I want the credit.

Once you get going on the program, your most common way to enter food is from your list of foods you've already entered. I do use the scanner and search engine (with voice recognition) often though. The scanner is very useful for snacks and meals. If, for instance, you're having frozen brocolli from Kroger, you simply scan the bag's bar code and it will enter one serving on your screen. You can adjust that meet how much you actually ate. For example: if you only ate half an apple, you can put .5 in the serving size area. But what the hell are you doing eating only half an apple. Dummy! Eat the rest of the damned apple.

I find this program really easy to use and it is very helpful in keeping me mindful of portions. I passed on a small bag of pretzels because I figured if I was gonna blow 230 calories, a couple of scoops of ice cream sounded a lot better.

Here is a very simple (and blurry) tutorial on how to use the My Fitness Pal application on your Droid or iPhone to lose weight and count calories.

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