Tired of recording your exercise?

My niece received a Fitbit for her 21st birthday. She is in college and a star lacrosse player. She does regular workouts, including crossfit, to keep in shape. Listening to her talk about how she planned on using a Fitbit, I decided to look into getting one for myself.

They have different ones. Each has a few more “extra’s” you may or may not wish to use. I went for the Charge 2 for:

  • Counting steps
  • Seeing my resting and fat burning heart rate
  • How well I sleep
  • Recording for specific activities (walking, elliptical, and weight training)
  • A stopwatch

What is good about the Fitbit is its linkage to MyFitnessPal. That’s a time saver.

  • I no longer need to record any of my cardiovascular activities (steps/walking, rowing, or elliptical).
  • I do not need my phone with me to catch every step I take in the house.

I set my exercise goals.

  • My step count is now set for 13,000 steps (how many daily steps are you up to?)
  • How many active hours (at least 300 steps per hour) during the day. I have it set from 9a to 7p
  • How many daily exercise per week (I have it set as 5 days per week).

I manage to stick with this most of the time. Snowy/rainy/cold days I may not reach my goals. But seeing my progress daily does motivate me to try.

There are many smartwatches out there. Samsung, apple, as well as others have health apps to go with their smartwatch. These are all more expensive.  Since I wasn’t sure how I would use and like this, I tried the original … the Fitbit. I also didn’t want all the other “features” as I usually do have my mobile phone with me. I didn’t need to read my texts, emails, or accept calls. I just wanted a health app on me.

Linkage

The Fitbit syncs with MyFitnessPal. That’s not the only one. If you have a smartwatch, see which apps you can link to sync. I’m sure Fitbit (as it was the first) is one they include.

You can set up your Fitbit to always sync. I found that to be a battery drain for both my fitbit and my cellphone. It is because the syncing is through the bluetooth. If you have the bluetooth on all the time anyway, no big deal. I don’t. I want a battery that lasts throughout the day.

How the linkage works with MyFitnessPal is through the bluetooth and location settings. Both must be on for the information to be transferred to my cell phone. The syncing happens once my phone locates the fitbit. Once it is complete, I turn off both my bluetooth and location settings. I sync only twice a day. Once in the morning to see my sleep activity and then at night to see how many calories I have left. Each sync takes under a minute.

Warning

I actually found the Samsung S Health to have a more accurate step counter. That’s why I increased my daily step count goal to 13,000 steps a day (over the 10,000 the department of health recommends) in the Fitbit settings.

I realized this when I was sitting on my sofa watching TV. My pup was sitting next to me. I was rubbing his back when I noticed the step count went up with every stroke. Yes, he has a long back to rub. Still, it isn’t an actual step.

Sorry, all those rubs do NOT count towards your daily step count. Remember the old rule:

Over estimate what you eat;

underestimate what you burned

Try it

I do recommend you use a smartphone app for your get healthy journey. If you are tired of entering in so much information every day, find a smartwatch that fits your healthy needs. I found the Fitbit is a good start.

Get Back In Shape To Do List

  1. Weigh In DAILY (recording the date/weight)
  2. Increase your steps every day by 250.
  3. Eat your meals within 12 hours.
  4. Drink 64 oz of water a day.
  5. Record what you eat.
  6. Know your meal-calorie guidelines
  7. Know what foods will heal health issues
  8. Snack on purpose
  9. Add aerobic exercise to your schedule
  10. Burn daily to earn daily
  11. Don’t cheat, earn your treat
  12. Develop a cheap calorie “go to” day of meals.
  13. Use a health smartphone app

Motivational Reminders:

  • Healthy habits help you lose and maintain a good weight and health.
  • A scale is just the provider of information to help you make healthier choices.
  • Don’t just eat more calories; earn them!
  • Flush out the bloat.
  • Know your calorie boundaries.
  • Consistency matters.
  • Eat your way to better health
  • Exercise your heart
  • Over estimate what you eat; underestimate what you burned
  • Underestimate what you burned to record what you’ve earned.
  • Carrying over excess calories leads to weight gain.
  • Earn your treats.
  • Record your efforts in a manner you feel comfortable.

Welcome to the journey to better health! You can do it!

I switched to MyFitnessPal

I originally lost 70 lbs using the Noom smartphone app. It worked great. It was simple to use. It was always on my phone. They made recording exercises easy. Recording foods was relatively easy.

I was so happy with my progress that I even sprang for the “pro” version. This provided me more helpful articles and the ability to save common meals. A real time saver.

The smartphone app had things that I found useful and helpful. I enjoyed their articles and encouragement. For a beginner, they went slow (as I do with this blog) in getting you to lose your desired weight. They provided recipes and conversion of favorites to make the meal healthier. For encouragement, they provided success stories on their blog. Real people having success with Noom. After a 60 lbs loss, I became one of their success story blog posts.

I did find some features lacking. Noom only worked on my smartphone. I could not access or record on any other device (like my desktop). To make matters worse, I lost valuable history data when I upgraded my phone.

I can not lose sight that the Noom smartphone app did help me to lose 70 lbs! For that, I’m happy I stuck with them through their multiple “upgrades” in the software.

I used Noom daily. I recorded my:

  1. weight daily,
  2. meals 4x a day, and
  3. exercises (including the dreaded chore of housecleaning).

Recording food was easier when I “saved” common meals. My “go to” meals for saving daily calories was a time saver. It was a simple click to add the meal versus the time to find and add each food item. My calorie saving meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner were all saved. A big time saver.

Their articles were interesting, informative, and convinced me to adjust what I was eating. All good, right?

Then noom changed

For two years, I used Noom. I adjusted how I used their app as their focus went towards corporate challenges.

I used to help many fortune 100 companies with strategy. I understand why companies change business strategies and the impact it has on their products. Companies look to focus on specific type of clients with more revenue. For Noom, corporate challenges were more their new customers than an individual who needs maintenance guidance.

Over the months I found the Noom app becoming increasingly frustrating.

  1. The foods I ate were not in their database.
  2. After adding the food information, it took weeks to get into their database (if at all).
  3. They upped the yearly price for pro.
  4. More bugs in the updated app prevented me from working easily with the app.
  5. They took away “saved” meals.

The last one did it for me.

If you are using Noom and are happy with it … stick with it.

If you are frustrated with it like I was, take the jump to another app. Yes, you will lose history. That’s okay. You’ll create a better you when you are not frustrated with what you are not comfortable with or find annoying. The goal is to pick a smartphone app you don’t mind using multiple times a day.

My Fitness Pal

I searched for another smartphone app and found MyFitnessPal. I started using the app a couple of months ago while still using Noom.

I used MyFitnessPal daily as well as Noom. I recorded my:

  1. weight daily
  2. foods 4x a day
  3. exercises (even separates strength training from cardiovascular)

MyFitnessPal also had a saved meal. The time saver that Noom dropped in the latest version. In fact, MyFitnessPal went a step further.

  1. Their food package bar code reader was much more reliable than noom.
  2. They have a much more extensive food database. They even have common local restaurants menus to help you know the calories and nutrient break downs.
  3. One could save commonly eaten meals (my “go to” meals).
  4. You could link or add recipes. A wonderful feature where MyFitnessPal calculates the calories for you. You can link to an online recipe or type in your own.
  5. Their app keeps a list of the foods (or meals or recipes) you commonly eat. You will find them quicker and can just click multiple foods at once to add to a meal. Noom required each item to be added separately. This turned out to be another big time saver.

And that’s not all! MyFitnessPal:

  1. Allowed you to recorded the amount of water (something that was a request on noom for two years).
  2. Allowed multiple goals beyond weight (think fiber).
  3. Worked with more commonly purchased accessories (ie: Fitbit). Noom linked with an uncommon bulky watch brand.

Noom was focused purely on weight loss. Not maintenance.

MyFitnessPal is focused on health:

  1. Weight loss or maintenance.
  2. Want to cut down on salt or carbs? Set a separate goal.
  3. Need more protein for bodybuilding? Set a separate goal.

MyFitnessPal smartphone app is made by the fitness clothing company Under Amour. That is important. A bigger company with a bigger development budget. Their business strategy goes beyond losing weight. They want the healthy person who will also buy their fitness clothing to find value from their smartphone app.

Being a fitness clothing company also meant they understood what more people wanted to record and how to record it. Noom focuses on the obesity. MyFitnessPal focuses on weight loss and fitness nuts. MyFitnessPal caters to people wanting to eat and live healthier lives.

Like Noom, MyFitnessPal articles are helpful. Noom focuses on people new to healthy living (the basics) they do not focus on the fitness crowd (think Crossfit fanatics) . MyFitnessPal goes beyond the basics. The exercises may go beyond where you are today. The articles may not include as much about heart attack risks due to diet. The recipes may include no-no’s like bacon.

One important feature lead me to drop Noom and stick with MyFitnessPalMyFitnessPal works on multiple devices. I have the app loaded on my smartphone AND access MY information via the web on my desktop. What a big help that is. Especially if you need a large screen to add recipes or click on multiple foods for different meals.

All is not perfect with MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal has more features and thus can be confusing to someone new to health apps. When you see all the “settings” you may become overwhelmed.

Take your time. Go slowly. Stick with the defaults and only change what you need at this time:

  1. current weight
  2. desired weight
  3. height

Set your calorie guidelines for each of your four meals as you calculated previously.

Set your issue as a guideline to watch. I watch fiber, carbohydrates, sugar, and protein.

Then start using MyFitnessPal daily:

  1. record weight
  2. record water
  3. record exercise (more on this in the next post)

Expand your use of MyFitnessPal after you have used it for a month. Save your commonly eaten meals or link to commonly cooked recipes.

I’m glad I switched and use it. I’ve learned more about where my diet needs to change. I was eating too much salt, fat, and sugars. I was very low on protein. I have switched some of my regular foods and am seeing results.

Try it

I do recommend you use a smartphone app for your get healthy journey. If you are happy with the one you are currently using, GREAT! If you haven’t started using one or are frustrated with the one you currently use, give MyFitnessPal a try.

Get Back In Shape To Do List

  1. Weigh In DAILY (recording the date/weight)
  2. Increase your steps every day by 250.
  3. Eat your meals within 12 hours.
  4. Drink 64 oz of water a day.
  5. Record what you eat.
  6. Know your meal-calorie guidelines
  7. Know what foods will heal health issues
  8. Snack on purpose
  9. Add aerobic exercise to your schedule
  10. Burn daily to earn daily
  11. Don’t cheat, earn your treat
  12. Develop a cheap calorie “go to” day of meals.

Motivational Reminders:

  • Healthy habits help you lose and maintain a good weight and health.
  • A scale is just the provider of information to help you make healthier choices.
  • Don’t just eat more calories; earn them!
  • Flush out the bloat.
  • Know your calorie boundaries.
  • Consistency matters.
  • Eat your way to better health
  • Exercise your heart
  • Over estimate what you eat; underestimate what you burned
  • Underestimate what you burned to record what you’ve earned.
  • Carrying over excess calories leads to weight gain.
  • Earn your treats.
  • Record your efforts in a manner you feel comfortable.

Welcome to the journey to better health! You can do it!

Low budget BIG MEALs

Image result for image fish dinnerGo cheap

We already discussed finding your low calorie meals for Breakfast and Snack. Now, the main meal.  For many of us that’s the BIG dinner meal. For some, it may be lunch.

Avoid the white carbs

I know when I eat white carbs, the scale goes up. However, if I skip them all together, I get such a craving that I gorge on them. The result is a two pound increase.

Instead, I cut white carbs out of what I call my “cheap big meal”.  No rice, pasta, or bread. If I have the craving, I pick a multigrain or whole grain option.

The main course

Selecting the protein is the primary choice to make for every meal. In order of protein preference:

  1. Fish
  2. Vegetarian
  3. Chicken/Turkey
  4. Pork
  5. Beef

If at all possible, skip beef. The same amount of beef is so much higher in calories compared to fish.

If you like fish, pick a fish for your low calorie budget meal.  If you do not, think vegetarian or chicken/turkey. These are higher in protein than cottage cheese (my go to lunch choice).

As far as fish goes, Cod (Pacific or Atlantic) is by far the lowest in calories per ounce. I leave cod for those days I need to have a lower calorie count. I usually grill a slice of pineapple and serve the cod with cooked spinach. I avoid buttery or creamy sauces. I use spices to add flavor.

When you actually record the meal you will be pleasantly surprised how few calories you will have consumed and still feel full.

Repeat

What you just did for your BIG meal of the day, do for the remaining meal. Remember to stick to the calorie pie calculation for that 4th meal. Try not to omit carbs for both these meals. Just for one of them. Whenever possible, switch a refined white carbohydrate to a whole wheat version.

Do not pick the same protein for each of these meals. If you are having fish for dinner, try chicken for lunch.

For both meals, add greens to help fill you up.

Write it down

You have your low calorie “go to”

  1. breakfast
  2. lunch
  3. snack
  4. dinner

Write it down. Record the number of calories for each meal.

Use this list of meals as your “cheap calorie” day. A day you may need if you are going to have cake the next day. A day of meals you can use when you blow it.

Even on good weeks, have this “cheap calorie” day once a week.

Variety

Do NOT have this meal every day. You’ll get sick of it and give up on your new healthy living.

Instead, find different options for low calorie meals. Write them all down. Switch them up.

Get Back In Shape To Do List

  1. Weigh In DAILY (recording the date/weight)
  2. Increase your steps every day by 250.
  3. Eat your meals within 12 hours.
  4. Drink 64 oz of water a day.
  5. Record what you eat.
  6. Know your meal-calorie guidelines
  7. Know what foods will heal health issues
  8. Snack on purpose
  9. Add aerobic exercise to your schedule
  10. Burn daily to earn daily
  11. Don’t cheat, earn your treat
  12. Develop a cheap calorie “go to” day of meals.

Motivational Reminders:

  • Healthy habits help you lose and maintain a good weight and health.
  • A scale is just the provider of information to help you make healthier choices.
  • Don’t just eat more calories; earn them!
  • Flush out the bloat.
  • Know your calorie boundaries.
  • Consistency matters.
  • Eat your way to better health
  • Exercise your heart
  • Over estimate what you eat; underestimate what you burned
  • Underestimate what you burned to record what you’ve earned.
  • Carrying over excess calories leads to weight gain.
  • Earn your treats.

Welcome to the journey to better health! You can do it!

I blew it! Have you?

 Yup, I did!

It started out with breakfast.

  • two ham and cheese croissants
  • one scone
  • one egg

Which lead to lunch.

  • Indian Buffet (multiple trips)

Then came dinner.

  • Stuffed Shells

Then came the snacking.

  • Entire LARGE bag of Maltesers!

I was over calories by 1,390. Which means I basically ate double the amount of food I should eat in order to lose the 15 lbs I wanted to lose. I gained the weight I lost and then some back. I was starting from below zero.

I was mad at myself. I was frustrated. I was starting to talk myself into giving up.

Sound familiar?

What I forgot to do

To be honest, I did leave 5 malteser balls behind. Many dieters would throw them out. I couldn’t since it’s my favorite candy (the british version).

That’s my recommendation … Do NOT throw out food you REALLY enjoy. You will regret it. You will eventually go out and buy another and eat the entire treat when you could have just had a small piece to end the craving.

We are not on a starvation diet. We are on a new way of eating and living. And … eating a treat is part of living.

My problem this time was that I didn’t allow any cheats for a long time. I then went NUTS when I “cheated”. This is the problem with many diets. No cheating leads to gorging.

Earn that treat

I remember meeting this lovely woman who was much older than I at the time. Clare was in excellent shape. She would go to the gym 5 times a week. One of the days was on the weekend. That’s when I would see her.

At this particular gym, they had snack bar. Ironically, not all items were “healthy.” As I sat with her over a lemon water, she looked at the cakes. She selected a deep chocolate cake with cream cheese icing about 1/2″ thick. As I looked in envy and shock, she told me “I’ve been planning for this all week.”

That’s it!

To avoid craving and gorging, plan for a “treat” once a week. Or, plan on a treat after you lose 3 pounds. Either way, you should be able to treat yourself at least once a month. It’s not a cheat if you plan for it.

Clare said she would pick her “treat” at the beginning of the week. With every step, every meal, every day at the gym, Clare would tell herself she was working to earn that treat. This prevented cravings because she knew she would have it. She didn’t gorge because she knew she would have another treat next week. It wasn’t a “cheat” because she was disciplined through the week.

What to do next

I forgot Clare’s story on the day I blew it. If I had remembered, I wouldn’t have beaten myself up about it. I wouldn’t have almost given up. I probably would have stopped “cheating” after breakfast.

When I remembered Clare’s story the next day, I put the 5 malteser balls in a bag and put it away. I told myself, next Sunday! I then made sure I walked my 6 miles (about 13,000 steps). I went to the gym and did my:

  • 20 minutes of light calisthenics,
  • 20 minutes of elliptical, and
  • 20 minutes of weightlifting.

I planned my exercise routine for the week. I planned my diet to be within budget each day.

What I did was to get back on track; telling myself I’m not on a diet. I’m on a new life path to get in shape.

Plan your treat

Planning your treat is not only selecting the treat but the conditions for earning them. Even if you went off the rails before, now start planning for it. You will be able to limit the damage and control your cravings.

  1. What will be your treat?
  2. What foods will you eat this week to earn that treat?
  3. What exercises must you do to earn that treat?
  4. How many miles will you have walked to earn that treat?
  5. How much weight must you lose to earn that treat?

If you meet all the REASONABLE goals, you earned your treat. If you didn’t, then leave the treat for next week. For if you have it without meeting your goals, it is a cheat. Enough cheats will prevent you from getting back in shape.

Earn your treat!

Get Back In Shape To Do List

  1. Weigh In DAILY (recording the date/weight)
  2. Increase your steps every day by 250.
  3. Eat your meals within 12 hours.
  4. Drink 64 oz of water a day.
  5. Record what you eat.
  6. Know your meal-calorie guidelines
  7. Know what foods will heal health issues
  8. Snack on purpose
  9. Add aerobic exercise to your schedule
  10. Burn daily to earn daily
  11. Don’t cheat, earn your treat

Motivational Reminders:

  • Healthy habits help you lose and maintain a good weight and health.
  • A scale is just the provider of information to help you make healthier choices.
  • Don’t just eat more calories; earn them!
  • Flush out the bloat.
  • Know your calorie boundaries.
  • Consistency matters.
  • Eat your way to better health
  • Exercise your heart
  • Over estimate what you eat; underestimate what you burned
  • Underestimate what you burned to record what you’ve earned.
  • Carrying over excess calories leads to weight gain.
  • Earn your treats.

Welcome to the journey to better health! You can do it!

Viditude! Montclair NJ 973.619.9353 Talk2Me@PatFerdinandi.com