Nourished Living by Dietician Kelly Hamlin MA, RD, CDN

Technology advancements make it easy to monitor health, weight loss

Though I don’t consider myself all that old (stop laughing!), it really is amazing how far technology has come just in my lifetime.

Who remembers having to get up to actually turn the dial to change the TV? Not to mention there were only four channels!

Heck, who remembers when MTV actually played music videos? Remember how HUGE cell phones were when they first came out?

We have also come a long way in healthcare technology.

When I was first diagnosed with Diabetes, people were still using urine dip sticks.

Fortunately I had one of the first blood glucose meters, but it was huge and took forever compared to what I have today.

I actually just ordered one that has a USB connection so I can download my numbers to my computer and email them to my MD! Thirty years ago this would have been incomprehensible!

Now there are all kinds of apps you can get for your cell phone, pads, computers, etc. to help keep track of your fitness and nutrition.

Here are some examples that are available on a number of technology platforms:

Fitness Buddy has been described as “The Swiss Army Knife Of Fitness Apps.” It features over 1,000 exercises for every part of the body.

Each exercise is accompanied by detailed instructions, photos and animations, and the user-friendly interface allows you to track each exercise and know exactly how you are doing.

There are also 45 full workout routines tailored to your specific goals, and you don’t need access to a full gym.

The app provides a workout routine based on the equipment you have available. Platform: iPhone, iPad.

Lose It! One of the top-rated weight-loss apps, Lose It! allows you to set goals and establish a daily calorie budget to meet them.

You stay on track by logging food and exercise totals, which can be synced with a account.

Lose It! places lots of emphasis on sharing with friends for extra support and motivation.

According to product claims, the average user has lost more than 12 lbs., and more than 85% of active users have lost weight. Platform: iPhone, iPad, Androi

Fooducate. Use your phone’s camera to scan barcodes when grocery shopping to find out a product’s “grade” based on nutrients and ingredients.

They also have information regarding allergy and gluten-free diets, as well as diabetes nutrition and daily tips. Platform: Android and iPhone.

Map My Fitness is geared towards those who travel and want to workout outside. The app finds a running route wherever you are and uses GPS to track and map your workout. Platform: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android and Blackberry.

There are also apps for such weight loss programs as Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, and Medifast.

I don’t have a “smart” phone but I do have a Kindle and I just downloaded My Fitness Pal.

I’ve never used an app like this so we’ll see how that works out.

Northwestern University did research and found that people who use apps increase their weight loss by 15 pounds by tracking calories and activity.

Research also showed that the weight was kept off for at least a year.

However, even with these great results, the scientists believe that people who want to lose weight with the help of an app also need support from others.

The findings of the study were recently published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. App users were also enrolled in exercise and nutrition classes.

Obviously the weight won’t fall off instantly once you download the apps.

You still need to make behavioral modifications to how you eat and how active you are.

The apps help you keep track of your progress as well as offer encouragement.

So, if you find that you need a little extra something to help you along, research and see which app may work best for you.

Good luck! And if you decide to start using an app, give it some time. Then let me know how it’s going for you.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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