Zero-based diet: Cheat on your diet the right way

I recently started tracking what I eat more deliberately (FYI: iPhone app on my iPad; no review yet, which I’ll do after I get the iPhone 4).

I’ve found it’s great for making me mindful of what I’m doing, and counting servings is always different if you actually figure out how big a “cup” of Cheerios is.

One tip I read in the reviews was so good that I’m sharing it here. A basic failing of all these programs is that they can’t know how many calories is in the ham and gouda sandwich that you make. What they do well, of course, because the data is available, is know how many are in some Denny’s/Friendly’s/fast casual ham and cheese sandwich.

Put square peg into round hole: instead of working to figure out exactly what makes up “your” ham sandwich, just pick something fast food-y that is likely worse for you. It’s a much faster method of adding up what you’re eating, and you get to cheat a bit by over-tracking, i.e., under-eating.

Now, you might think that you will know that you’re probably a little ahead and be more willing to eat more. But I don’t think so: the reason this works is that you’re guessing that the food you pick is pretty much like what you eat. But you don’t really know, which means the technique might be steering you wrong. (In other words, if you’re a mayonnaise and double-cheese person, that’s a little different than mustard and extra tomato, hold the cheese.)

Good luck!

Any great iPhone-related diet/fitness tips that work well? I’m contemplating a Nike Fit+, which I’ve just discovered fits into my running shoes. What’s the lowdown on that tool? Is it dead now that iPhones have GPS?

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