Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Weight Loss Resolutions and Wireless Weight Loss

FTC disclaimer:  I am part of the U.S. Cellular Better Moments Blogger brigade, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

U.S. Cellular offers a FREE PRINTABLE Parent Child agreement to help you discuss safety of the Internet, cell phone usage, limits, and courtesy with your teen or tween.  You don't even need to be a U.S. Cellular customer to access this, although I have been for 10 years and highly recommend them. 

Long time readers of my blog will remember in May 2013 I attended a fitness camp for people to help them integrate faith into their fitness routine.  All of us were overweight, and it was physically the most demanding five days of my life.  But I'm glad I went.  I made friends, gained two pounds (it was likely muscle as we were doing weight training!  The next week I lost seven pounds) and learned so much.

When we weren't having one of our four exercise sessions a day, we had some instructional times.  We were taught to integrate our cell phones into our weight loss routine.  It was funny being in a class with cell phones out, and everyone downloading apps -- because we were told to do so!  Even though I was in Texas, which is a state that has no U.S. Cellular stores, I was able to download apps onto my iPhone just as quickly as anyone else because of U.S. Cellular's great nationwide coverage.

While this was a few years ago, we are just part of the 22% of cell phone users who use our phones to keep track of fitness goals.  Because the holidays are a busy time the new year is always a great time to look at our goals and set new ones.  (Ones that don't include my current habit of fast food nearly every day because of my busy schedule.  Can we just forget I said that?  I mean, I will start using my weight loss apps again soon.  Right after I have some pumpkin roll.   I promise!)   Aside from my confession here, I think everyone can agree it's easy to get off track during this time of year and I have found that using my iPhone really helps me to get focused again when I've been tempted with one too many egg nog flavored donuts.

One of my favorite apps we learned about at camp, and probably my most used one is Fooducate.  We downloaded this app, and the trainers had some different packages of food for us to scan.  Each food gets a rating from A+ to D-.  There are over 250,000 barcodes in the database to tell you nutritional information on each item.  One of my favorite things is it will suggest healthier alternatives if some are available. For instance, if you are scanning a cold cereal, if you can super-sugar-loaded-color-added-puffs, it will suggest a cereal that has less calories, less additives.  This is one I use most at the store.  I have also found that it has a number of meals at restaurants in it, and I have looked up meals when I was out to make the healthiest choice possible when I'm in a hurry.  This also integrates with Apple's health app, which is a big plus.

One app that I thankfully don't need but I will mention is iBP Blood Pressure app.  It is available for only 99 cents.  This does exactly what it sounds like, help you track your blood pressure.  I know there are also a number of other apps for other conditions, such as diabetes that will help you track health numbers.

At camp, one of the things we discussed was the different fitness devices.  In fact, those who pre-registered at camp received a Fit Bit.  The Garmin Connect app integrates with any Garmin product to help you see how your daily routine is helping you reach your fitness goals.  I know I love it when I'm on Facebook and see a post from a friend from camp who has uploaded an image from their app saying how far they have walked or such.  (I've also heard if you mention your weight loss goals on social media, you are more likely to stick with them because of the accountability.)

During one of the sessions at camp, we all downloaded the My Fitness Pal app and started using it.  This is a great app as you can add 'friends' and see your progress as well as cheer on others (and be cheered on!)  You can scan barcodes of food you eat to give you calorie count, as well as you can set up a number of other things to track with your food.   I have been told to eat as little sodium as possible, so I selected sodium to be tracked.  I tend to not eat enough fat grams when I am watching what I eat, so I also tracked fat as well as sugar intake.  You can put in your activities for the day and it will tell you if you are not exercising enough for your calorie intake.

The final app I will mention is Lose It.  It helps you track calories, monitor your diet and make sure you are consuming proper foods.  This app also integrates with Facebook and Twitter making it easy for you to connect with friends who also use it.

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