Friday, January 1, 2016

Food and Fitness for the New Year: Apps to Help You Track

Losing weight and getting healthy are almost tradition when it comes to the New Year's resolutions. Many of us feel like we need to shed a few pounds and get back on track after the overindulgence of the holiday season. From Halloween to New Years Day we are surrounded by food, and those tasty treats can be hard to turn down. This often adds to our waistlines. If your New Years resolution involves shedding those extra pounds or getting more exercise in your daily routine, we have a couple app suggestions that may help you with your goals.


The first app is one that I have used on a daily basis for the last two years, and it has helped me considerably. I often flip through fitness journals and read diet articles, and the suggestion I come across most often is tracking or food journaling. This approach encourages mindfulness. It requires you to track every item of food that you put into your mouth and helps you monitor your caloric intake. From personal experience I can say it works--if you stick to the plan. In order for this to be successful though it helps if it isn't too complicated, and guess what, there is an app for that! Actually there are several apps, and I have tried a few, but this one is my favorite.

It is called Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal. Often you will hear it called MyFitnessPal, or for the rest of this article I will refer to it as MFP. I have been using MFP daily since September of 2013. When you first register the app, you will be able to set up your goals. It will also recommend your caloric intake based on your height, weight, and whether you want to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain your weight.  Keep in mind that these are customizable, so if your doctor or dietitian recommends a different caloric intake you have the option of adjusting that value. Every day I enter the calories I eat to help me keep track. You can enter your calories by scanning barcodes on food items or by looking them up in MFP's impressive database.  They even have a large selection of restaurant foods in their database. With this app you can also create recipes for meals you commonly make at home and the app will calculate the calories in the dish and store them for future use.
  • Name of App: Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal 
  • Audience: Adult
  • Platform: iOS, Android, and on the web from a home computer.
  • What the App Does and why we recommend it: The app helps you track your daily caloric intake, your exercise, and your water intake. 
  • What platform we used to recommend the app: iOS and web
  • Cost of App: Free, though it does offer an in app purchase for the extended version with more options.

Map My Walk

The second app I would recommend is great for increasing your activity. If you don't have a pedometer you can use your phone to help you track your walking distance and speed with Map My Walk. It will also recommend areas near you that other Map My Walk users have recorded. It is a great way to get yourself moving and add some exercise to your day. Map My Walk also has related apps for tracking your cycling (Map My Ride), running (Map My Run), and even hiking (Map my Hike). As a bonus it will even connect to MFP so your exercise can be added into your tracking so you get credit for your exercise!
  • Name of App: Map My Walk
  • Audience: Adult
  • Platform: iOS and Android
  • What the App Does and why we recommend it: The app helps you track your walking distance, routes, and speed.  It will also allow you to connect with friends who are also walking for fitness.
  • What platform we used to recommend the app: iOS
  • Cost of App: Free, though it does offer an in app purchase for the extended version with more options. 

We hope these apps will help you with your fitness goals. I know I have found them both to be great for mine. If you need additional information, diet books, cook books, or even some music or audiobooks for your walks, check out this month's post on our #whatIread "New Year's Fitness Resolutions" blog for books, music, videos and more!

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