Living by the Numbers
Credit: Illustration by Eddie Guy

Calorie Counting
"How are you going to log that?" a friend asks as I bite into a bluefish sandwich. Easy: bluefish, 186 calories; spicy mayo, 110; Portuguese bun, 200. Total: 496. Two websites consulted, 58.7 seconds elapsed, plus another 45 seconds to add a custom food to my Fitbit log with an app (and I added 100 calories because when you're at a restaurant, you're guessing at portion and preparation – and I'm guessing that bun was buttered). Calorie counting is a nuisance, but it's not that hard anymore. Fitbit and other monitors like BodyMedia have libraries with thousands of entries you can rely on; websites like MyFitnessPal and SparkPeople have tons of info as well. And chain restaurants have info online. The logging habit can be difficult to acquire, but when you're burning more than you're eating, the feeling of triumph makes it easy to stick with. And the corresponding feelings of shame when you're not mean you'll work that much harder.

A Case For Going to Class
My first spinning class was over two years ago, and since then, I've become more than just a group-fitness convert – I'm the dipshit in the front row whoo-ing at the instructor when he asks how everyone is feeling. That's because I'm feeling excellent, and thanks for asking. Studies suggest group activities release feel-good chemicals in the brain, and that group fitness fuels a sense of shared goals. And there's even a series of Canadian studies that tells me what I know from experience: A group class means you'll show up, be on time, and actually get a workout in. It costs more than joining a gym, but unless you're among the virtuous few who actually use their gym memberships, it's a cheaper way into appointment fitness than a personal trainer. I used concierge fitness site Fitist to try out boxing and cross-training classes, as well as yoga and spinning. And I stuck with them. Now I'm 18 pounds lighter and have ­better definition than ever. Whoo!