Have you tried an App to keep track of your lifestyle? It is important to keep track of your progress for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it means that you have a plan and it’s always good to have a plan! Secondly, tracking your progress allows you to re-evaluate your goals meaning that once you hit a goal you can celebrate and push on, rather than celebrating and thinking you can stop trying so hard now. There is always something more you can achieve. Lastly, it gives you motivation and belief in yourself when times get tough. There will come a time where you reach a plateau or you feel you are working hard and seeing minor results rather than the big results you deserve. These things take time and having your initial workout/weight/body composition on paper to compare to your current workout/weight/body composition will help to remind you what you have achieved so far and fuel your determination to strive towards your next goal.
Here’s my Sister-in-Laws review of just one of the thousands of food, lifestyle and exercise App’s out there … My Fitness Pal
I found “My Fitness Pal” in the app store when I was looking for a good food diary app for my iPhone.
My other half and I found it a really useful tool for keeping track of calories and raising our awareness of what we were eating. I won’t say there was an element of competition between us… but actually the other half got ridiculously competitive and that’s another story ;-)
Here’s a list of my favourite things about My Fitness Pal on the iPhone & iPad (you can also get it on Android):
1. It’s free, people. What have you got to lose? (apart from weight, ha!)
2. You enter your weight, height and the weight you want to reach and it automatically calculates a daily calorie total for you to stick to. Easy. I’ll warn you now though, if you’re successful and keep losing weight, the blinking thing reduces the number of calories you can eat accordingly!!
3. As well as having a searchable database of ingredients and food products, you can scan the barcode of your food to add it to your diary. If you can’t find the ingredient or product you need, you can enter it yourself.
4. It hooks up with various other apps and devices in a freakishly useful way; I use Endomondo to track my exercise (walking the dog, walking to and from work etc) and it automatically talks to MFP, telling it what calories I’ve burned. I’ve also got a Withings Wifi Scale which automatically uploads my latest weight (if you don’t have one of these you can of course input your weight updates manually).
5. If you want to, you can connect with other friends who are also using the app, leaving encouraging posts on their profile, viewing their food diary and so on. The part I find useful about this is that if I cook dinner from scratch and enter it on MFP, because my other half is connected to me on the app he can just copy over the meal from my diary to his.
6. You can save recipes on the app. That’s useful because of course it’s quicker to enter on your diary than entering all the ingredients individually; but also because it encourages you to plan what you’re going to eat in advance which I find really helps me cut down on naughty snacks. If you get bored with small screens, you can log in to the app’s website on your computer and update it from there.
7. It really raises your awareness of the good and bad foods. The longer you use it, the better you get at picking foods which are better for you. Even if you don’t have your phone with you, you still check the calories on the packaging out of habit.
8. The app shows you your progress in chart format and also produces a breakdown of how you’re doing on various nutritional targets (fibre, fat, protein, vitamins etc). Sometimes a food can be low in calories but still quite high in fat or sugar, this is a good way of keeping track of that.
In case you wondered, I lost around 16kg (just over 2.5 stone) since starting using the app. You do still need willpower but if you stick to entering everything you eat, it’s much harder to kid yourself that you’re eating well when you’re really not.
Secret eaters need not apply ;-)