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Posts Tagged ‘Technology’


Friday, March 4th, 2011

I have been traveling for work lately, which is something that can easily throw one off of their diet and fitness routine. Today, I’d like to offer a few travel techniques that I have found to be helpful for successfully staying on track.


1. Be prepared. I had a late-morning flight out, I made sure to eat a hearty breakfast with a lot of protein and little sugar (ham and green pepper 3-egg omelet with black coffee). This keeps me feeling satisfied and keeps hunger at bay for a longer period of time.


I also packed a bag of cashews for eating on the road. Again, these are a nice source of protein and easy to carry and eat in transit – you’ll see that they came in handy later on… (plus $3 for a pound of cashews? booyah! thanks manager’s special!)


2. Choose wisely. I had a couple of meals out in Minneapolis and one was at a great restaurant called Restaurant Alma that focuses on local and organic food. Eating out can easily help you get off track and so I wanted to see if I could do the prix fixe menu like my other colleagues and still eat well. In addition, I have been experimenting with eating according to a Paleo lifestyle (see here and here) and so I wanted to try to do that as well. The menu is below – what do you think I ordered?

Well, I started with the Arugula and Smoked Whitefish app (avoided the bread and custard). I had the Squash and Chestnut Soup for a second course (avoided the grains). And then I had the Glazed Beef Short Ribs for a third course, which was delicious. With a nice pinot noir to wash this down, I was feeling satisfied and not too full. Unfortunately, that is not where things ended. I succumbed to the pressure of dining with others and to my own temptations, and I ordered dessert. I had the Bittersweet Chocolate Tart, which I thought was a pretty good choice, but it did also leave me feeling more full that I would have liked. I actually regret having ordered it. However, it did remind me of how your eating companions can influence your eating behaviors and how it is easier to overconsume when you are not picking up the tab.


3. Have tools on hand. On the way back home, I had a two-hour layover in Chicago, which was extended to about four hours by delayed flights as is often the case at O’Hare. The good news is that this allowed me to have a relaxed sit down meal at the Macaroni Grill between the terminals. When I sat down, I asked the waiter what he recommended and he listed three things that sounded good to me, the Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Salad, the Chicken Scaloppine, and the Grilled Chicken Rosemary Spiedini. Now, I could have guessed at the nutritional information associated with each of these options (and to be fair, I didn’t ask for it at the restaurant), but what I did instead was to quickly and discretely pull out my iphone and fire up the app below.

This quickly and easily gave me the following information:

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Salad: 870 calories, 57g fat, 1180mg sodium, 40g carbs, 5g fiber, 48g protein

Chicken Scaloppine: 1090 calories, 59g fat, 3030mg sodium, 59g carbs, 7g fiber, 38g protein

Grilled Chicken Rosemary Spiedini: 390 calories, 9g fat, 970mg sodium, 31g carbs, 7g fiber, 48g protein

So, before the waiter had even returned to my table to take my order, I knew what I wanted (any guesses?). Having this tool right in my pocket allowed me to be a more intelligent eater and avoid the first two options. I can also say that the Grilled Chicken Rosemary Spiedini was pretty good and went down well with a Stella Artois. For dessert, I revisited my bag of cashews about 2 hours later in the airport terminal, but that is a story for another day…

So, those are a few recent adventures of mine (by the way, I weighed in at exactly the same weight as when I left – something I can’t quite say for previous business trips). So, what about you folks? What are your travel techniques for staying on track when you’re on the road?

Have a great weekend and safe travels.



Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

A few years back a friend told me a story about his grandfather who was in WWII. According to the story, his grandpa determined that he was at his best weight when he was in the army. So after the war was over and he kept his uniform neatly folded in his closet where he could easily reach it. Every morning he would put on his uniform slacks. If they were tight, he’d eat a little less. If they were loose, he’d eat a little more. If they fit as they should, he’d eat normally. He did this his whole life and, and as I was told, he spent his entire adult life at roughly the same weight.

This story represents the virtue of feedback. This WWII hero was able to make small modifications to his daily habits because he had a reliable benchmark that would guide his behavior. He didn’t put his slacks on every 3 months or once a year, he put them on daily.

Weighing yourself on a scale can serve in a similar capacity. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or sustain your current weight, having an easy-to-use scale that lets you know how you’re doing over time can be really useful.
For years, I have weighted myself almost every morning and I write it down. Every so often I’ll transfer that data into an Excel sheet so I can graph the results; it’s time consuming but I like the consistent feedback and it’s also really interesting to see how my weight changes over time, or when it stabilized for long periods of time. Because I have been doing this consistently and have taken the time to review and contemplate the data, I have developed an intuitive sense of what works in my life regarding weight management. So, this is really informative but it’s also laborious to maintain.



My actual data from a few years back


Dan’s Plan Product Philosophy

At this point, let me briefly remind you of the Dan’s Plan philosophy regarding products: You don’t need any product to be healthy. However, products can be useful as they can provide feedback, add convenience, serve to motivate, and can even make goal attainment more fun. When you find the right product for you, it can serve as a great health advocate to support your efforts! With that in mind, we explore and evaluate the world of health-related products and select novel, innovative and functional productions that we think can help.


Enter the Withings WiFi Scale


My actual data from my Withings Scale

We also really like products that collect information for you in the background so you don’t have to do a lot of work to get the useful feedback. When we tested the Withings body weight scale, we knew it solved a problem: After a quick configuration (it took less than 2 minutes), when you step on the scale, it automatically sends (wirelessly over WiFi) your weight, body fat % and your body mass index to your Withings account (which also take just a minute to set up). Then, you can view these parameters on your computer and / mobile device (i.e., iphone) just by logging in; no other input required, it’s all there for you automatically. Check out some of my screen shots above! So now, I just have to step on the scale and it does the rest of it for me: record, track, and graph.

The easier it is to track data, the more consistent you’ll be in measuring something. The more regular you are about collecting data, the more information you’ll have at your fingertips to guide future behaviors. I really like my Withings scale and I think this would make a great holiday gift for you or someone you love. Also, if you think you’ll have New Year’s resolutions related to health and weight, a product like this can really support you in your quest.

Find it here: Dan’s Plan Store

Tomorrow we’ll highlight the Zeo Sleep Monitorying device.

More Info about the Withings Scale



Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

For those with an iphone, here are 9 cooking/food apps (link) that you might find helpful in planning and executing your meals.


We personally like the Locavore app because it lets us know what is in season, what is coming into season, and what we should be looking out for at our farmers’ markets. We also like the Epicurious app as a good resource for quick and easy recipes. The recipes come with pictures, user ratings, and the ingredients can be exported to a grocery list. We haven’t checked out the Food Substitutes app yet, but it looks interesting and it is free – did you know that baking soda and yogurt could be substituted for baking powder?


Pretty cool stuff.