Like so many of us, Julie is a tech addict. More than once she’s bumped into a total stranger on the street because she was staring at her phone. She misses her stop on the subway with regularity, and is known to tune out in the middle of conversations because something on that phone has grabbed her attention.
She’s always been the distracted techy type. Spending all night goofing around on the web isn't unusual for her, and it’s stagnant activities like those that had her weight pushing dangerous levels. It’s easy for weight to pile on when sitting at a computer comprises the beginning, middle and end of your day.
However, since she got her first smartphone, she’s lost 35 pounds. She’s still in front of a computer all day, it’s just in her hands now, and it comes with a buncha apps that help her stay on top of what she’s eating and how active she’s being.
Like Julie, your greatest ally in the battle to lose weight and get healthier may just be sitting in your pocket right now: your smartphone.
Odds are you have one, as over 50% of adults in the US have one, and there are over a billion of them worldwide. You know how handy it is, even if you think it’s a pain in the ass sometimes to be connected to the world - and work - 24/7/365.
That smartphone can help you in so many different ways, from exercise tracking apps to calorie counters. Even scientific research has shown that the convenience and flexibility of smartphones help people stay on track better than “offline” methods such as food diaries.
Here’s a list of five free or cheap apps that can help you on your way to weight loss and a healthier life:
- MyFitnessPal - Maybe the most popular calorie counter out there, MyFitnessPal has nutritional information on nearly a million foods, including menu items from many restaurants and fast food joints. It also allows you to set goals, and will let you know how many calories you have left each day to meet that goal.
- RunKeeper - This app tracks your cardio workouts, from running and cycling to hiking and rowing. Using GPS and information you enter, it’ll tell you how far you’ve gone, how fast you’re going, and even how many calories you’ve burned. Bonus: RunKeeper plugs into many other apps, including MyFitnessPal so you don’t have to worry about entering workouts there. You can also connect to EveryMove, a program that gives you actual rewards for meeting fitness goals.
- LoseIt - Similar to MyFitnessPal, LoseIt is a nutrition and weight tracker. Tell it your goals, enter your food, and it’ll tell you what you have left to eat. You can also connect with friends for accountability, as well as connect the app to scales and other apps (such as RunKeeper.)
- Fooducate - We blog a lot about eating where you want, but finding healthier options on the menu. Fooducate gives you a wealth of information about a product by scanning a barcode, including healthier alternatives.
- Moves - While fitness bracelets that track your activity throughout the day and night are popular, they’re not for everyone. Moves aims to do what those devices do, just without the extra hardware, since you’re already toting around your smartphone everywhere anyway. Moves quietly runs in the background, keeping tabs on your steps, whether walking or running, the places you go, and the calories you burn.
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