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Using mobile apps to manage your weight loss goals

July 30, 2012 in lifestyle, Member Stories

One of these could be your next weigh loss coach- Group of Smartphones- By gillyberlin (Flickr: Motorola Milestone Test) via Wikimedia Commons

My smartphone earned its place at the top of my list of favorite things when I used it to keep a food diary during a month-long weight loss challenge with a few of my friends in the Spring. Normally, I would be turned off at the idea of jotting down everything I ate, but research has shown that keeping track of what you eat leads to greater weight loss. And during the challenge I found that using my phone was really helpful in tracking the calories I ate and the calories I burned, which is half the battle of weight loss- burning more calories than you consume.

When we started talking about the challenge, I initially felt one month wasn’t enough time. But my friends convinced me that it would be fun to do for the moral support, results aside. My friend suggested using the MyFitnessPal app as a way to monitor our progress. After putting in my weight, height, and goal weight, the app gave me a daily calorie count to meet that goal. It was pretty easy to keep a food diary, too, because my new Pal took care of the math for me. I just selected the foods I ate from the database of food items, with calorie, fat and carb totals pre-calculated, after each meal.

Adding in the calories I burned was pretty easy, too. For every time I went on a run, I just entered the length of the run and about how fast I was going to get a total of calories burned. Granted, all of these are estimates, but seeing these numbers helped me become more aware of how I should choose what I eat throughout the day. Read the rest of this entry →

Benefits of a vegetarian/pescetarian diet: My transition to a (mostly) meat-free lifestyle

July 6, 2012 in lifestyle, Member Stories

Lately, I’ve been considering cutting meat out of my diet. After a recent walk home from an indulgent dinner of General Tso’s chicken at a local Chinese restaurant, I realized just how sluggish I felt. Typically, I’m the girl that craves burgers and loves buffalo wings paired with a beer at the bar, but I’ve given up meat and poultry once before and saw real benefits from it. I lost a little weight and felt like I had more energy. So, now I’m ready to make the transition back to a mostly meat-free diet. Allow me to explain what I mean when I say “mostly meat-free.” I’m not opting for strict vegetarianism. I’m leaning toward taking on the pescetarian diet- avoiding red meat and poultry by opting for seafood alternatives instead. I also think placing a ban on all meat could be too tall of an order for me- more on that later.

Ever thought of trying out the vegetarian/pescetarian side of life? There are many benefits from taking the plunge. Cutting down on meat can lower your risk for heart disease by reducing calories, saturated fat and lowering the bad cholesterol in your diet, says the Mayo Clinic. And if you’re into eco-friendliness, you can feel extra good knowing that cutting back on meat can ultimately reduce your carbon footprint, another benefit touted by the Meatless Mondays movement.

I plan to do things a little differently in my second attempt to cut back on meat by actually cooking tasty, healthy vegetarian food instead of just opting for a tuna sandwich. I found a few websites that could be helpful to the vegetarian or pescetarian in the making: Read the rest of this entry →