Tuesday, October 15, 2013

technology that's helping me change my life...

...because my life could use some changes. Serious changes! I want to live a long time and be healthy (and comfortable) in my skin. So, I'm doing something to help myself reach those goals. I wrote a few weeks ago about having lost the first 2 lbs and what that mean for me. I said the move toward a healthier life was prompted by something pretty mind shattering (the scale can be such a bitch sometimes!). That two pounds are now eight. I've lost eight pounds so far and I've done it with the help of my gadgets.

The hubs always teases me and gives me a hard time for checking my gadgets so much. Well, he can bite me. Those gadgets are what's helping me to stay motivated and accountable to myself. Technology is, rather than that thing that promotes an unhealthy lifestyle, my constant helper as I learn to make better food choices and change my relationship with eating.

Here're just a few bits of tech that're making my journey a whole lot better (notice I didn't say easier!):

1) SparkPeople: It's such a great web community. SparkPeople makes it possible for me to track my food and nutrition, watch workout videos and demonstrations, get health advice and articles, and has an amazing supportive community. A must for me to plan and track meals, and their site is fun!

2) FitBit: Very cool little gadget. FitBit can track your steps and tell you how many (approximate) calories you've burned. It can also track your sleep and help you see how much sleep you're really getting. Now a days, the only thing I've been using FitBit for is that last little bit, to track my sleep, because sleep is really important. But after a while, I stopped using it because it was one more thing I had to track. It also links up with SparkPeople, which makes using my FitBit easier because it'll report directly to SparkPeople so I don't have to use FitBit's less than user-friendly website. Awesome!

3) RunKeeper: When Melanie and I started walking, I began using the RunKeeper app on my phone. It's a simple app that tracks how far we've walked, how long it took us, our pace, elevation climbed, and how many calories burned (approximate). It relies on GPS to track the distance, but it's a really neat tool that helps me to stay motivated on walks and is great for gauging progress. So far, I've just got RK basic, but my planned reward for losing 15 lbs is to spend the $20/yr and buy the upgrade to RK Elite. The only thing I don't like about it is that it doesn't link up to SparkPeople.

4) SparkPeople Activity Tracker: Admittedly, this little guy is a whole lot like FitBit with slightly fewer functions. I bought it anyway. It's a little bigger than a quarter and tracks a lot of exercises, including running, walking, cycling, and daily activity (and a few others I can't quite come up with at the moment). What makes it attractive and handy is that it links directly to SparkPeople. Rather than having to use a third party application or gadget to track and report, I can just use my SparkPeople Activity Tracker. I absolutely love how simple it is. Oh, and it's very durable. Chewbacca chewed mine up and it still works!! It's not as pretty, but it does the job.

5) GPS for the Soul: A free app that helps me stay in tune with myself. It's clearly not an exercise type thing like the others, but this app is really neat. It reminds you to check in with yourself daily. When you do, it scans your heart rate using your phone's camera and tells you whether you're balanced or stressed, or somewhere in between. From there there's a breathing pacer and guides. Each guide has some positive activity or bit of information/advice such as breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, and nature. It's a pretty easy way to take a few minutes out for yourself each day and do something for your peace of mind.

There're a few other apps, sites, and gadgets I really like that help me to stay focused, track and see progress, and to connect, but these are the ones I use/like the most. These are the ones that are helping me to remember what I'm doing and why, even when I feel unmotivated by naysayers (see: Fat Shaming Week). These are the ones that will be with me as I reach and maintain my goals! :)