Tools of My Workout Trade
Like many people out there, I have been battling the bulge for years. I've tried nearly every diet or exercise program I could muster. Until I got over my mental hurdles, I saw few results. Yet, my life-style change wouldn't be complete without my fondness for technology and incorporating gadgets into my nutrition and workout programs.
It all started a little more than two years ago when I purchased a new smartphone. The phone itself is not important as much as the apps I could use to empower it. Nothing could be more tedious than counting calories when on a weight loss program, but I was undisciplined and the only way I could actually monitor what I was eating was by writing it down.
The Android Market (now Google Play Store) is flooded with health and fitness apps, so how was a girl to choose? I settled on an app called "My Fitness Pal." It has a robust database of food items and I could easily record my meals and workouts. Yet, the game changing feature for me was the ability to use the rear camera of my smartphone to scan barcodes to enter food. While I tend to eat more whole foods now, at the beginning I was married to prepackaged foods and the barcode scanner on my new favorite app was my best friend.
As I began to add more fresh fruits and vegetables to my diet, the next gadget of choice was a simple food scale. Portion size is very important and I'm always wary of appropriate amounts of food that I consume. With the food scale, I weigh all my fruits, vegetables and lean meats. The "My Fitness Pal" app has calories for all these foods based on grams, ounces, or cup measurements; making my job easier.
As I learned portion control, balancing my nutrients throughout the day by eating 4-6 small meals, and increasing both my protein and fiber intake, the pounds started coming off. I realized that the types of foods I was putting into my body was more important than my exercise routine. Not to say that exercise isn't important.
I started slowly and have eventually built myself up to 5-6 one-hour work-outs per week including cardio (elliptical/stationary bike) and light weight training. Despite my efforts, plateaus could not be avoided and I looked for other ways to motivate myself. In comes the "Fitbit," an activity tracker that monitors steps taken, miles traveled, calories burned, flights of stairs climbed, and sleep patterns. The social features of the "Fitbit" are addictive and keeps me moving in order to achieve my daily goal of 10,000 steps.
In a little more than two years I'm down nearly 50 pounds in body fat, and while I haven't reached my ultimate goal, I'm healthier and happier than I have been in years. I'm still challenging myself every day. I'm now looking to add running to my exercise routine and have recently purchased a "Polar WearLink+" transmitter in order to use with the Endomondo Pro and/or RunKeeper smartphone apps.
Whether it is my trusty tablet mounted on my elliptical trainer, watching past Star Trek episodes on Netflix on TV via my Roku streaming player while lifting weights, or jamming to a Songza app playlist while on the stationary bike; technology is always by my side. And it always will be with me as I continue my journey. Thanks for letting me share!