When you are ready to change a habit, it is easiest to see how you are doing if you track your progress. If you set a goal of going to they gym four times a week, writing down the days that you go will help you to appreciate your efforts when you are doing what you planned, and motivate you to go one more time if you have not yet met your goal for the week.
Two iPhone apps that help:
MyFitnessPal allows you to record your exercise, water intake, and food that you’ve eaten. It calculates how many calories you have burned in exercise compared to how many calories you have eaten. Although weight loss is not a simple math equation, it can help you become more aware of what you are doing. The library of food choices is excellent. I was able to type in Key Lime Larabar and Happy Planet Thai Coconut Soup, and found that another user had already entered the calories, protein grams and vitamin percentages. There is a social component if you choose to use it, to allow you to add friends or strangers to cheer you on as you develop new habits.
Diet & Food Tracker by SparkPeople allows you to do similar logging, but doesn’t have quite as good a library of food choices. They have a large group of contributors to their main SparkPeople website, with lots of inspiring ideas.
The apps are also available for Android phones and Blackberry. You can also use just your computer to track your progress and connect with other people.
Have you used either of these? If so, what is your experience with them?
I used to think that George Foreman grills were over-hyped and not worth purchasing – just another electrical device to take up room in my kitchen cupboards. If my husband didn’t want to barbecue the chicken breasts, I could cook them on my frying pan. Then my 7 yr old daughter and I were visiting garage sales, looking for toys and other things she didn’t need, when I came across a George Foreman grill. At a cost of $9 I decided to give it a try. They were selling it because they felt that burgers cooked on it were not juicy enough. Since we rarely cook burgers I didn’t feel that would be a problem for us.
The first thing we tried was cooking raw chicken breasts. Wow – was it fast. And they tasted good! Since then we have cooked pork chops, lamb burgers, frozen chicken breasts, lamb skewers and bison burgers. I have also used it to quickly grill sliced red peppers and red onion. We still use the barbecue outside sometimes, and we can’t grill a whole salmon on it like we can outside, but it sure is nice when it is raining or we are out of propane. It is also faster than our outside barbecue. I’m a George Foreman grill convert!
Will you be healthier in 2009? Will you choose to make the changes?
Take the first step: decide what you’d like to be different.
Now take the next step: what is one thing you can do that will take you in that direction?
Last step: remind yourself to make that change. Whenever you change habits it takes time before the new habit is integrated into your life. Put appointments on your calendar, sticky notes on your bathroom mirror, send scheduled emails to yourself, put a symbol of the change in your pocket or on your bedside table.