Friday, March 31, 2017

There's an App for That!

Today is Thursday, March 30, 2017.  Since January 1 of this year I have lost 35 pounds. Wow!! 35 pounds. Thirty. Five. Pounds.  I am having a bit of trouble processing this. It has only been three months, and when I stepped on the scale on January 1 I truly thought it would take at least 6 months to get where I am right now.  People have asked me what I am doing. Really, there is no secret.  It's the same thing everybody already knows. Eat fewer calories, exercise more. While it is simple, it is certainly not easy.

How, specifically, have I done it? There is a combination of a few things, which I am happy to share with you:
1. I keep track of every calorie I consume.  While this sounds tedious, it really isn't, especially after you have been doing so for a while.  I use MyFitnessPal to track both calories consumed and calories expended. This is VERY easy to use, and once you have entered a few meals it gets easier because the app will list your recent food entries. For example, below is the listing that comes up when I click on add food for lunch:

As the top tabs indicate, this list can be sorted by frequently used foods or recent foods. I prefer to sort using frequently used foods because I tend to use a lot of the same ingredients on a regular basis.Once you get used to using MyFitnessPal you'll see how easy it is to use and will wonder how anybody ever lost weight prior to smartphones! Also, there is a place to keep track of they type and amount of exercise you have done and MyFitnessPal converts it to calories burned.  

I have found that when I use this app routinely I am much more conscious about the food I consume. It's okay to miss a meal or two or even a day or two, but when I get out of the habit of keeping track of my food I get complacent and start gaining weight.

2. I started running/walking again. An app I use frequently for this is 5K Runner. This app is a couch to 5k running app. There are several good free ones available, but the reason I chose this particular app is because for the purchase price I also received the 10k and 21k apps, along with a 5k and 10k pacer app which will help me boost my speed when I am ready for it. Also, there is a sit-ups and a push-ups app with the 5K Runner.  If you don't want to run, there are plenty of other apps available to help you get active.  Just don't sit around planning on being active. Do something. Anything! Even if it is for just 5 minutes.  That will be 5 more minutes of movement than you did yesterday, right?

3. While I am running I also like using an app that keeps track of my mileage and pace.  There are several apps available that will do this, however, the one I currently use is Nike+Run Club. I like Nike+Run Club because it maps my running route, keeps track of my pace throughout my run, offers ongoing encouragement throughout my run, and is lockable so I don't accidentally pause or stop my run (yes, this is a real issue I had with a different app).

4. I have a support system. My husband and children eat basically the same things I eat (and all are losing weight/getting healthier) and are very supportive/forgiving of my many food experiments. Besides my family, I have an extended support group in November Project. While there is no tribe in my current location, I keep in touch with my many NP friends via Facebook and Twitter. They are quick to offer encouragement and support and I always look for ways to get to a tribe if I am close enough.  If you happen to live in or near one of the 30ish (I've lost count) cities that currently has a NP tribe you really should go.  Don't worry about being in good enough shape or that you run too slow or you don't run at all. Don't wonder if you'll fit in. Just show up. You'll be accepted the way you are. You'll meet lots of interesting and fun people and you will get hugs from strangers (don't let that one scare you).

I would love to hear what YOU are doing to improve yourself, whether it is a physical improvement or mental, spiritual, or whatever.  Please comment and let me know how it's going!  


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