Letter to the Calorie Counting App on My iPhone

Calorie Counter

Dear Calorie Counting App on My iPhone

I still cannot believe I opened myself up to you. Really, the wedding is to blame, and probably Society a little bit, what with its unrealistic expectations of women and whatnot. But I pride myself on not giving in to peer pressure, so mainly it’s the wedding. You see, I bought this dress—it’s white and expensive and if it doesn’t fit in two months when I pay someone to make alterations on it, or in four months when I wear it on what people might call the most important day of my life, then I’ll be pretty upset.

And with that in mind, I turned to you, Calorie Counter, to keep me in line. I’m not the type of girl to do this normally but I need to be sure that dress will zip up. You declared your ability to fill that need, thus ensuring my future weight was safe in your hands.

Your $0 price tag didn’t hurt either.

At first, it all seemed simple enough: enter the food I ate, either through a search screen or by scanning the food’s barcode, let Calorie Counter keep track of what’s in everything and alert me when I’ve reached my intake limit for the day. Done deal! Or is it? Unfortunately, you’re not as “user friendly” as people would like to think, Calorie Counter. In fact, there is so much room for error it’s unconscionable.

Let’s start with that nice little search screen—not all foods are represented there! How can I trust what you have to say about my calorie count, Calorie Counter, when you don’t even have the option to add some of the foods I eat? For instance, that soup I got from the deli. Is their special soup of the day, lentil with roasted carrots and lime, the same as just any lentil soup? I have no way of knowing and apparently you don’t either.

I understand that my expectations might be high. After all, how can you really be expected to know how many calories are in this one weird, yet delicious, soup that is made occasionally at this one restaurant? Oh, I don’t know. But it’s your job, so maybe you could figure it out. Or, if you can’t do your job well, don’t bother doing it!

After that it’s just a slippery slope of human error. Sure I’m the human making the errors, but maybe I wouldn’t if you were a better product. Ever thought of that? Say I choose the wrong lentil soup in your search, Calorie Counter. If it’s all fucked already, what’s to stop me from fudging other things? For instance, if I eat some Doritos but dance a little for a second while cooking dinner, I can pretend it all evens out and not even tell you about them, right?

And that’s where we both start lying to each other—you about the soup, me about the Doritos. What kind of relationship, professional or otherwise, can last if it’s built on lies? None, Calorie Counter. None relationships.

Oh! Oh! Also, what about all those carbohydrates you’re letting me eat? That can’t be positive for my waistline. Or rather, it IS positive for my waistline, which is definitely a negative. Since you only care about calories and not where they come from, I can continue to stuff buttered bagels from the bodega downstairs at work into my maw without a thought of the carbs I’m racking up, because they only cost $1.25, my break is only 15 minutes, and the calories work out in my daily allotment.

I think the more time we spend together, the worse things are becoming. I’m at risk of getting softer. Maybe it’s just to spite you or society. Or maybe it’s because I have no self-control. All I know is that eating in defiance of you has become compulsive, like doodling or checking my phone at work. I’ve had more jellybeans in the last two weeks than I’ve had in my lifetime and I’m pretty sure it’s because I get to enter them into your program—force you to see what you’ve turned me into.

Think on that,

Sara P. Roan