There's an App for That!
Losing Weight via an iPhone
August 2012 — In the last month or two, I've become one of THOSE people. You know, the people whose ears may be catching your conversation across the dinner table, but whose every nerve ending is attuned to the latest and greatest beaming in on their iPhones.
It's a behavior that I have found abominable, even heinous, but thanks to a few new diet and exercise apps that I've added to my repertoire, I'm sorry (yet pleased) to admit that I've dropped down the rabbit hole.
So… what happened to my manners?
The whole thing started with a friend's husband who lost 35 pounds while tracking his diet with an online app. When his wife and I decided to emulate his success, we went to LIVESTRONG (www.livestrong.com) and downloaded an iPhone app that counts your food intake and registers your daily exercise. If you miss tracking for a day, it even sends you a text to find out why you've gone AWOL. The app has an easy-to-use interface, with meals and exercise divided into little "plates." One bonus is that your exercise calories are added to your daily calorie total, meaning that the more you swim (or bike or ride or whatever) the more you get to eat — a very convincing reason to work out.
Another app that I really like is the mobile app included on the Weight Watchers plan. This one comes along with the paid program, and uses their points system rather than calories. Both LIVESTRONG and Weight Watchers give you a complete breakdown on calories and carb counts and a place to enter foods that aren't already listed on the sites.
Two sites that offer free tracking and community online include SparkPeople (www.sparkpeople.com) and Joe's Goals (www.joesgoals.com).
Other than making me a constantly clicking person, the apps have really shaped my behavior for the better. Aside from the obvious advantages of seeing what I'm eating and being spurred me to track my consumption, entering my intake on the iPhone often feels more like a game than work. The apps also made me more aware of how often I go to a ‘default' choice when it comes to designing meals, and how creating variety actually makes my diet healthier and considerably less boring. To spice things up on my iPhone registry, I've actually bought mangos, fresh artichokes, and extra seafood.
I've also been inspired to add new exercises, including yoga and a stretching class.
And how are my weight and my blood sugars? Surprisingly, though I'm eating a greater variety of foods, my sugars have remained good, I've had fewer lows and I've dropped a few pounds.
If I think about it, it is a little creepy to think that my behavior is being modified by an admittedly smart machine. But given the constant struggle that those of us living with diabetes have with balancing our diets and keeping our waistlines in check, anything that helps is welcome. Big brother may have an upside, after all.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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