Friday, March 19, 2010

Counting Calories

I've been trying to lose weight, on and off, for a while.  A few weeks ago I decided to get serious about it again, and as if on queue from an all-knowing universal consciousness (just kidding!), Greta Christina wrote a bunch of blog posts about her weight loss over the past year.  (A few of the posts are here, here, and here.  There are a bunch of others; go read her blog if you aren't already.)

One of the things she said she made it easier for her to eat healthier was to keep a food journal.  Thinking about my obsessive nature, I figured that would be a good way to keep myself from overeating when I'm bored or stressed.  I'm the type of person that will run to my computer to tell it I eat 12 peanuts to make sure my list is up-to-date.

I found a website: caloriecount.com, where I can keep track of what I eat throughout the day, and count not only calories, but also fat, cholesterol, sodium, and various vitamins and minerals.  I can also keep track of how much I exercise, and my weight over time.  So far, it's been enormously helpful.  I have been under my calorie target every day since I started except one (I was 15 calories over yesterday), and I've already lost a few pounds.

Not only is Calorie Count a place to keep track of your food intake and exercise, it's also a social network, like facebook for fat people (again, only kidding)!  Now I certainly don't need another place to waste time reading status updates and joining groups with titles that make me chuckle, but will never visit ever again.  I understand the need for support from others going through similar trials and tribulations.  But I've always been sort of an introvert, keeping my challenges to myself.

But then it recommended a group to me: Nothing Sacred: A Secular Support Group.  That's right, a group for non-religious people!  You know you want some fat atheist love ;-)!

Leaving aside the fact that I have no idea how they would know this group would interest me (that creeps me out a bit), I was really excited and happy to see that group, for a number of reasons.  First, it shows that atheists are becoming more open in their disbelief.  Nearly 200 people on this site are willing to join a group making it explicit that they are not religious.  There's no reason they had to join that group.  They could have joined a group for 20-somethings (or X0-somethings, for whatever age group you belong to), short people (under 5'4"), fans of Korean boy bands (yes, it exists), or whatever other myriad of interests each person has.  But these people wanted to share their struggles with others who shared in their disbelief.

Second, it shows a glimmer of a community helping people with everyday struggles and problems, kind of like a church.  Not only do each of us want support, but we want to support others as well.  Many of the people in that group care about the progress and struggles of others who they've never met, and will probably never meet. It just breaks all kinds of stupid stereotypes religionists have for atheists.  I know there are plenty of places on the internet for atheists to get together, especially on the internet, but when I find one in an unexpected place, it just makes you feel more normal and accepted.*

So far, I've mostly been a lurker on the group site, reading through some of the conversations. I'll be more active once I get more used to using the site.  So if you're trying to lose some weight, or just eat healthier, check out caloriecount.com, and join Nothing Sacred for some secular support!


EDIT:  My fiancée pointed out that she was the one that found caloriecount.com, and that she deserved the credit for that one.  Thanks hun :-).


* Not that I've been particularly oppressed or anything, but you can't escape the nonsense that a small percentage of our uneducated population spews about anyone who doesn't subscribe to their brand of superstitious nonsense.

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