The byte vs. the bulge.


It’s that time of year again. Gift baskets, holiday parties and New Year’s resolutions. As we open just one more box of festive chocolates we console ourselves with our planned commitment to healthier living in 2007.

Yes, the hope for weight loss tops most lists of resolutions for the New Year, running close behind “spending more time with family and friends”. I call my list the “Seven UnDeadly Resolutions”.

So, are we destined to five pounds of Holiday Weight Gain? Thankfully not,according to the National Institute of Health. Their research shows on average we tend to gain less than a pound over the holiday season. But before you upsize your Egg Nog latte to Venti (that’s “Starbucks” for extra-large), also know that these holiday weight gains tend to accumulate and may be a major contributor to obesity later in life.


It was hard to find good research, but we do know that sitting burns 81 calories and hour. So I would hazard a guess that sitting and clicking burns about 82 calories an hour. Elite computer users have been know to burn well over 500 calories in one session.


No one ever won the New York Marathon sitting at a computer, although you may want to go here if you want to enter. During the work-day we have evolved from bolt-turners to mouse-clickers as most of us can be classified as knowledgeworkers. With our new lives we are spending more and more time sitting at a computer, and one of the major factors contributing to obesity (aside from just eating too much) is having a sedentary lifestyle. Research shows that since 1990 there has been a per capita decline of 15 percent in frequent exercise activity among adults(100+ days per year in any one activity). Among teenagers and adolescents aged 12-17, the plunge is 41 percent. Over the same period there has been a 'Striking' rise in computer time seen among teens. Me? I am hardly ever online...


If you want the fast approach, try Ebay. If you are looking for the NEW Hoodia Patch slimming system, a "Complete Weight Loss System using Hypnosis", or the time-tested Sauna Belt no better place to look than Ebay.

Next step: Amazon, because nothing works better than a diet book. Thanks in part to Oprah, the number three book on Amazon these days is You: On A Diet: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management I pre-ordered my copy. Mind you, there is a listing on eBay for 33 (used) diets books for $19.95. Dr. Phil, Atkins, Zone, etc. I guess this seller must have successfully implemented each program and no longer needed them.

Maybe you could incorporate the use of desktop software into your progam. Weightmania is recommended by Runner's World for offering "the best balance of exercise and nutrition." DietPower "turns your PC into a nutrition counselor." It comes with a database of 11,000 foods and there is a free trial available. Fitday also looks good.

The real trend is with online services. Fitday (mentioned above) offers a free online diet journal used by over 2 million people. Diet4UOnline offers meal plans and tracking for all the major diet plans (Zone, Meditarrean, Lo GI). First into the game,EDiets offers recipes, meal plans, fitness plans, expert advice, community support, and "weekly virtual meetings". And if you buy into Weight Watchers, the Zone, or South Beach, the suppliers of these programs also have sites offering online services.

There are many resources for those of use who want to focus more on exercise. offers a "FREE personal training service because we believe that everyone has the right to reach their dreams" (I am sure you will need your Visa card at some point). FitPractical offers online fitness training via a coach you can email for a monthly fee. If you have a Blackberry you can email with one hand and lift a dumbell with the other.

Taking technology-enabled exercise to the next level check out Tacx for a rig that turns your indoor cycle trainer into a virtual reality experience where you can "ride" legendary (race) stages and cycling classics. Your cycling pace determines the speed of the film. As you climb a gradient you can really feel the resistance. I have a friend who likes toys and my little heart skipped a beat when I saw his setup. Who needs to go outside?

Of course, most of us know WHAT TO DO, we just never get around to doing it long enough to make a difference. Steve Palina has a good site that deals with getting your wheels in motion. He tells us to replace 'have to' with 'want to'. Tonight for dinner, I "want to" have a steak, I mean, salmon with steamed veggies!