Columns, Opinion

WHITING: The repercussions of handheld calorie-counting

While getting dressed a few days ago, I was dismayed to find that I had ripped yet another pair of jeans. I’m unsure as to how it happened, but I now have to hit the stores to find a new pair. Shopping for jeans is such a task; they have to have the best inseam and just the right color or else my entire wardrobe will be ruined. The search, therefore, is not a quick one. Finding the perfect pair of jeans is, of course, very important.

But it’s also nearly impossible &- I tried last weekend, but as a result of my collegiate diet of midnight pizza, Frappuccinos and dining hall cookies, it appears I have some winter weight to shed before entering the dressing rooms for a second time.

However, I will not fear: Someone informed me of an iPod application called “Lose It!” into which users can log their day’s worth of food consumption, and the application, in turn, provides them with a calorie budget in regard to their weight-loss goals. It’s a good idea to get people on the track to maintaining healthy eating habits. To those obsessed with fitting into skinny jeans like I am, it seems like the perfect plan &- that is, until one actually records what he or she has consumed.

I spent a good week or so blogging what I ate when I first started using the calorie counter. According to my iPod, I would be snug in a size six within in a month, if (and a big “if”) I could avoid hitting the red line that marks when a person has eaten too much.

But I was thinking just the other day, as I recorded a bag of white chocolate-covered pretzels and a Chipotle burrito into my calorie log, what a pathetic use of time this “Lose It!” application really is. There are people who have no food, and whose homes were recently demolished by an earthquake, and here I am, sitting in my comfortable dorm room, listening to Miley Cyrus through my earbuds as I record “Lindt Chocolate Bar” into my daily calorie log. My biggest problem always seems to be finding the time to walk to Newbury Street; I have become overly overwhelmed with my own petty “Lose It!” obsession and need for new denim that I’m forgetting to think of those far less fortunate than I.

That I have any weight to lose at all is really a luxury, as is the leisure of spending hours in a dressing room. There must be a better use of my time. When I’m not devouring the philosophy of Aristotle for class, I always seem to find myself looking at jeans online or focusing my energy on not eating the cookie dough my roommate stores in our fridge.
And when we hit the dining hall, my friends and I still ended up eavesdropping on the frat boys across the aisle and their poignant observations on short skirts. Maybe it’s that we’re spent after class, but we don’t discuss how we can use our education to start helping our communities. We complain about the redundancy of cafeteria dinners and the danger that consistent all-you-can-eat buffets pose to our svelte female figures. Instead of focusing on the world, I focus on what to eat for dinner so as not to exceed my allotted 1,356 calories per day. I’m lucky to have any dinner at all.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight, but why do we have to stare at a screen to do it? “Lose It!” becomes an obsession not worth our time. We could walk around the Charles River, eat a salad every now and then and document good times instead of the details of our breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’ll find new jeans someday, and when I do, I doubt anyone will care how they are sewn or what color they are. I’m being conceited for no reason.

And so, I’ve resolved to give my meticulous calorie calculation a rest. It’s not every day that someone gets to break into a college cafeteria at 2 a.m. like I did this weekend at Wellesley College. You’d best eat what you can during such an opportunity. I’m going to get off the “Lose It!” cycle, stop worrying about every bite I put into my mouth and whether or not I’ve exceeded what my iPod warns me not to. Carpe Diem.

Measure your life in love, not inches. And let me eat cake.

Anne Whiting is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences and a weekly columnist for the Daily Free Press. She can be reached at

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