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Local diet app can help you eat – often – and lose weight

Derek Alessi practices what he preaches when it comes to his "Eat, Eat, Eat" app. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)


By Mary Kunz Goldman – News Staff Reporter

Not all healthy-eating apps are food diaries – or from far-flung places.

There is a notable exception close to home. Derek Alessi, who runs Alessi Personal Fitness in Clarence, has his own personal app for sale to the public through iTunes. It is called “Eat, Eat, Eat,” and is among prospects among the apps highlighted in today’s WNY Refresh cover story.

It does not have you track your food. Instead it is a collection of recipes, as well as – O happy day! – reminders to eat.

“I invented it as a tool for my private clientele,” Alessi said. “It’s unbelievably important that somebody eats on purpose.”

In other words, it is important that you eat on schedule, so your blood sugar stays steady, and that you eat the right foods.

“The way it works is, you pick your wake-up time,” Alessi says. “The app reminds you to eat within 30 minutes of wake-up time and every three hours thereafter. You want the blood sugar going as straight as possible. A big mistake people make is, they don’t eat, and blood sugar crashes. Next thing you know, you’re looking for a six-inch hoagie from Jim’s Steakout. Your blood sugar goes up again, then it goes down, you get home, and you’re tapping the Stella D’Oro breadsticks. It’s happening because your blood sugar is all over the place.”

Like my old friend the South Beach Diet, Alessi encourages lean meats like steaks and chicken breast, while frowning on carbs and grains. Corn, he said, is grown for starch and sugar. “It’s grown to fatten

Even brown rice and whole wheat bread are bad.

“But they ate bread in the Bible!” I protested. “Abraham told Sarah to bake bread.”

“If you want to go into why that happened, they didn’t have a predictable food source, so they were fat.”

“Abraham was fat?!”

Gentle, Alessi replies: “Yes, because there was an unstable food source.”


“Fast forward to 2013. Am I having trouble finding calories?”

Um ... no.

My remarks in my app’s comment sections were proof enough of that.

“Am starting two-week push under a cloud. Up two pounds.”

“Darn the iron!”

“Calories are good but short on calcium. I have to take the Supplement of Shame.”

“Moral of the story: Never eat out.”

“The promise of a new day.”

Reading back, I had to laugh, but I also had to face up to a tough truth.

Since a year ago, since whenever, I had not lost my 10 pounds. I had lost, well, two.

Two pounds is better than none. And I do not have much to lose. But there is one thing about these apps: They trust you. Don’t fib to them.

I didn’t stay ashamed for long. You should keep going. Such was the advice of Elle, the nutritionist for the popular San Francisco food diet app My Fitness Pal.

“Log diligently,” is her first tip on an online list of suggestions. “Logging foods daily creates an awareness of the energy foods provide in relation to the energy our bodies need.”

In losing my two pounds, I’ve gained a ton of wisdom.

Doing Pilates to YouTube, I realized how half-hour sessions can add up. At the end of the week, you’ve spent three hours at it, and you’re stronger.

My Footsteps app keeps me walking, just so I do not have to leave a day blank.

“Work in any activity you can do,” suggests Elle, of My Fitness Pal. “Small things like walking meetings, parking farther from the grocery store, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, creating a standing work station or doing chores while watching television add up! Take advantage of burning a few extra calories whenever you can.”

Even if you stumble, don’t be afraid to take that app in hand and try, try again.

“Use it. Absolutely use it,” Alessi advises. “Don’t blow it off. Don’t ignore it. Don’t turn it off. If you’re not being perfect, if you don’t want to see it – use it. If you’re not perfect, that’s when you
need it.

“Use it.”



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About The Refresh Buffalo Blog

Scott Scanlon

Scott Scanlon

Scott Scanlon is an award-winning reporter and editor who has covered various topics in his quarter-century as a journalist in South Florida, Syracuse and Buffalo. He is aiming to pass along what he is learning these days about health, fitness, nutrition and family life.

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