Healthy living is challenging, especially if you have a lifetime of bad habits to overcome. Finding your way out of the forest of poor eating choices, comfy couch surfing, and procrastination can seem like a task too great to even attempt, much less succeed. There are countless methods, diets, and self-help books that promise to fix all your problems for you. Some of these work for a short period, but we then find ourselves going back to the habits we’ve always known. Thankfully we can effectively use technology to help us succeed and never look back at who we used to be.
Where to Begin?
Getting started is the hardest part. Before beginning a new healthy eating plan for the first time I highly recommend keeping a food diary for a week. I recommend the “MyFitnessPal” app or the “Weight Watchers” app. With these apps, you can scan the barcode of your food packaging, or search the database for the meal you are about to eat. It’s quick and easy to use. Be honest and journal everything that goes into your body. At the end of the week, calculate how many calories you eat on average. You can now begin to scale back your eating while keeping a journal of your progress. Seeing your weight drop over time on a chart can be especially encouraging on those days you struggle to keep going.
Run, Run, Run as Fast as You Can!
Now that you know exactly what you’re putting in your body, it’s time to find out how much energy you’re putting out! Enter “Runkeeper” and “Couch-to-5K.” Runkeeper is a straight-forward easy to use app that tracks your pace, distance, calories burned, time and more. The Couch-to-5K app helps slowly ease you into a regular running plan. It starts you off walking 30 minutes a day and over a period of 9 weeks trains you to run on a regular basis. Running has many more benefits than simply weight loss. It’s good for your heart! Smartwatches like the Apple Watch can monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, and even detect a nasty fall. By taking advantage of tracking what goes in your body and how much energy you put out you will see a drastic change in how you look and feel in no time.
Technology is Your Friend
The final way we can use technology to our advantage is for accountability with social media. I remember my first 5K. Toward the end of the 2nd mile, I thought I had nothing left to give. As I rounded the last corner I could see my friends and family at the finish line cheering me on. Suddenly, a burst of energy came from unknown depths to propel me over the finish line. It was the accountability of those around me that saw me through to the end. Utilize your social media contacts and let the people you trust know that you need their support! MyFitnessPal can connect to your Facebook and update your friends when you hit major milestones and reach your short-term goals.
By using technology in the way it was meant – as a tool, not a crutch – you can find yourself well on your way to making lasting change in your health. There is one vital component; however, that no technology can provide you. Your reason why. That can only come from within.