Life is hectic, right? We aren’t getting any more hours in the day, So how do we make it all work? I’m an admitted technology junkie. That doesn’t mean I know what’s out there or how to use it but I’m certainly hungry to learn. If you know me, then you know that I work at more than 40 hour a week job, communt 2 hours a day and volunteer heavily at my church. That, combined with a heavy focus on health and fitness and, without help, I simply wouldn’t get enough sleep. So I leverage my time with the use of technology. I also use technology to find support and ideas on how to maintain and even improve my health. I listen extesively during those 2 hour a day commutes to podcasts (am)* and books (pm). That helps me keep up with information and also entertains me. Along with that, here are some websites and apps that help me keep it all together:
Fitbit – This is my go to app for most of my health improvement and tracking. Using my wrist device (also known in my house as a watch) I can track activity which includes what (walking, sleeping, etc.), frequency, and duration. I also track my food consumtion. It even has a stopwatch which I find very helpful. The app on my phone (or the webite on my computer) enables me to track everything in one easy place including my weight. I can also create simple “recipes” (just the ingredients) to better track what I’m actually eating.
Sparkpeople – I’ve rediscovered this site (I don’t currently use the app) when I was researching exercises that I can actually do. It has great videos and instructions. It also lets you save your workout routines for later use. There’s lots more this site can do and I recommend it especially if you are not of the Fitbit camp.
My Fitness Pal – This app was my first love for building recipes that calculate my calorie intake. Part of the difficulty in tracking what we eat is that it is seldom simple foods by themselves. This is also the app I use to track physical measurements (chest, hips, etc.) which is a great idea so that you can see progress even when the scale isn’t moving.
All three of those tools also provide blogs to keep up with health and fitness information and communities where you can learn from others and even share your experiences. I’m not sure about Sparkpeople but Fitbit and My Fitness Pal also enable you to participate in friendly challenges with friennds who also use those services.
Recipes – If you’re like me you like to try new food options and recipes. While I do use Google a great deal to find new, healthy recipes, here are some sites I’ve found that have great recipes and food ideas:
My fitness pal – I’ve been able to find snacks that meet my specific needs (150 calories and 10 grams of protein)
Pinterest – you can find almost anything here. If you are interested in participating in a shared board of recipes please let me know.
My Cookbook Online – this is an app I use on my Kindle Fire pad. It enables me to search for recipes online and save them to my cookbook. It will import not only the ingredients and directions, but also the nutrition if available. I can then search my recipes by ingredient to or create my own recipes. This one is lots of fun. There’s a feature on here when I can share recipes with friends so, again, let me know if you are interested in that. Finally, it will create a shopping list for you.
Out of Milk – While not a cookbook this app has become a household must use app. Not only will it enable you to keep shopping lists for multiple stores but our family shares these lists so who ever is closest to the store has the most current list. Plus, you can scan foods onto the list. So the rule in our house is that if you use the last one you’d better scan it onto the list! I even use this app to create packing lists for trip and to keep my prayers list of people I want to prayer for. Lots of uses.
Websites. Here are a few of my favorites:
Genius Kitchen (www.geniuskitchen.com)
Betty Crocker Recipes (www.bettycrocker.com/recipes)
More apps and ideas:
Habit Tracker – This app helps me build healthy habits one by one. In it you create habits you wish to track (e.g. excercise, taking medications, etc.) and you can set reminders. This includes habits that are daily or periodic (such as 2 times a week). The habits pop up reminders and you can either swipe them away (as not accoomplished) or check them off. There are charts so you can see how faithful you’ve been to the small steps you need to take to reach big goals (one of mine is getting in bed by 9:30 each night). Nothing like data to provide a clear picture of where you have stumbling blocks or success when you feel like you’re stuck. I also have symptom trackers for the various medical issues I deal with which help me provide data to my doctors on how I’m really dealing with my diseases. Just search the app store – there are tons of them.
Smart Chef – This one is a new one. We purchased a smart scale (thank you Rachel) which works with an app on my phone (it helps that I live with a tech savvy 28 year old). As best I can tell so far, this not only weighs food, it will log that measurement to my fitbit account. Wild.
So get out there and find the technology that will support your journey to health. It’s the little consistent things that help me make some steady progress.
Speaking of progress: so far down 13.6 lbs. That’s another 1.5 pounds from last week.
Speaking of progress – I did a lot of reseach this last week and built a routine that I can do for upper body weight bearing exercises and stretches. Yes, I put it all in a spreadsheet so I could organize it by type (push exercises vs pull exercises) and muscle type (large vs small) with warm ups and cools downs. I keep that printout by my exercise chair and hand weights (and a resistance band). They were challenging enough that yesterday after I finished my routine I could barely reach my head to apply shampoo – now that’s muscle fatigue. Today, however, I have no pain so I think it’s a good routine for me. Now to work toward consistency.
Have a great week friends! (Be sure to check out the recipe for Skinny Mexican Casserole in the recipe section of the blog!)
* Some of the podcasts I listen to include Optimal Health Daily, Not Your Mother’s Menopause, Zestology, The Model Health Show, and various Ted Talks.