Can your computer help you lose weight and virtually guarantee that you'll meet your goal by a specific date? It can if you're running a new program called DietPower
Terry Dunkle, president of DietPower, Inc., sent me a complimentary copy of his new computer program to see if I believed it could help folks lose weight.
The idea behind the program is that if we can see how every morsel we eat and every minute we spend exercising will affect our progress, we will make healthier choices.
First thing I did was install the program on my computer. After I started it up, the program asked several basic questions: my first and last name; whether I wanted a password (to keep personal information from other users, like a spouse or kids); my height, my waist and wrist measurements (optional); whether I smoke, drink alcoholic beverages, have high blood pressure or am on a sodium-restricted food plan; and, if I am a woman, whether I'm pregnant or lactating.
Then a Food for Thought box appeared, offering me a bit of advice or inspiration. (I later learned this screen pops up every time the program starts.) When I clicked OK, the program asked me my weight.
After I typed in my weight, the next screen asked what goal weight I want to reach and when I would I like to reach it. After confirming my answers, an Introduction window appeared to explain the buttons on the screen and how the program works. Reading this takes about seven minutes.
One of the things explained is how the program can virtually guarantee weight loss. It does this by using a new technology that "learns" my body's metabolic rate and continuously adjusts my caloric budget to match.
The help system built into the program seemed intuitive and unambiguously answered every question I asked.
Several people can use DietPower simultaneously and the system will track them separately.
However, the program is limited to folks 14 years old and older who weigh between 75 and 499 pounds and who are between 4 feet and 7 feet tall.
This is how it works: Every day I enter my weight for that day, all the foods that I eat, and how much, if any, exercise I get. The program then tells me if I am on target. At the end of the day, if I have calories left over, it puts them in a special account that I can use later if I want to splurge. Pretty easy.
The program includes a Food Dictionary that lets me look up the nutrient profiles of the 16,000 entries in its food list. [ Editor's note: Today the program's Food Dictionary includes 21,000 entries.] To add foods not on the list, you simply input product information from the food label.
Foods also may be combined into recipes and folded into the dictionary, making it possible to enter the meals I make directly into my food log.
The Exercise Dictionary lists more than 200 types of exercise and their calorie burn rates to make it easy to fill out the Exercise Log. [ Editor's note: Today the program covers nearly 1000 forms of exercise.]
Another feature of DietPower is its ability to plot weight history and nutrient history on a graph for easy review.
All I need to make this work is an accurate bathroom scale, measuring cups and spoons, and a food scale.
In the short time I used DietPower, I became confident of my ability to balance my calorie intake against my activity levels. In a way, it was like having my own personal trainer. I like the idea of maintaining my current menu, yet controlling the volume of those meals against my exercise regime to achieve weight loss, weight gain or weight maintenance.
How do you get DietPower? Go to www.dietpower.com
, where you can download a 15-day free trial copy or purchase the program for $39.99.