Tips for Watching Your Eating During the Holidays

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By Marcus Quigmire from Florida, USA (Thanksgiving Dinner Uploaded by Princess Mérida) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

There are always many new apps coming out at the app store for mobile devices that sometimes it can be overwhelming when searching for a new one to include in your essential app collection. When it comes to finding one that helps you keep track of your eating and fitness lifestyle, these are the free and easiest apps to use.

Use whichever appeals to you most to help you stay healthy, especially during the holidays, as it can get tricky managing your eating patterns during this time of year since a variety of sweets are often offered in plentiful supply.

 

MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal provides a way for you to keep track of your eating and your exercise routines by having you log everything on the app as you go throughout your day.

When first starting out, you will be asked to sign in by creating an account or linking through your Facebook, just like most apps. Then it asks you a series of basic questions, starting with “what’s your goal?” with options for weight goals listed to choose from. The other questions asked request brief information about your lifestyle and body to create a more accurate idea of your overall use of the app. It will customize a plan for you depending on whether you want to lose, maintain or gain weight by setting a calorie amount for you to achieve daily.

Once finished with the app setup, which should only take less than a minute to do, you’ll find the home screen featuring your calorie intake for the day as well as articles on living a healthy lifestyle, complete with everything from exercises to meal recipes. This home page helps enhance your motivation to move towards your goal by including these features.

Next, looking at the directory at the bottom of the screen, you’ll find a “diary”, “plus”, “progress” and a “more” button, where you can start logging what food you eat every day and see results once you start creating some. Within the “diary” section, you’ll find out how easy it is to search for the food items you ate for the day as the app has a food dictionary. To make things even simpler, the app also gives you the option of scanning the barcode of the food product you ate, if you prefer using that method instead of searching manually, or you can use the restaurant searching option.

What’s also nice about the app is that you can log your exercise as well–and then in the final calculation for your calorie intake for the day, it includes your exercise too. This way, you can achieve a more accurate depiction of your calorie count and keep within your goal. Just look at the progress button to see your goal working over a period of time.

Last is the “more” button where you can explore the other features of the app for extra help in making progress from checking out the blog, connecting with friends to even finding fitness classes near you.

 

Lose it!

Another useful app is called Lose it! which, with its ability to help you keep track of what you eat by simply taking pictures of your food, is even easier in many ways than MyFitnessPal to use. Once you take a photo, the app finds the food within its index and calculates the calorie count for you.

If you’re worried about keeping track of the food you eat and tend to put it off until later, taking a picture should be extremely easy to do and the likelihood of your actually doing it will only go up.

The app maintains that simple quality with buttons located at the bottom of the screen. These features are similar to MyFitnessPal, but within each tab here there are a few further options at the top of the screen. For example, the first tab at the bottom of the app is called “My Day”, where you’ll see visual representations of how many calories you’ve eaten so far in a day and the rest of the week shown too. The four tabs at the top of the screen in this section include calories, nutrients, steps and challenges. When you browse through them, you’ll find more visual representations to help you understand your consumption patterns. For you visual learners, this app will probably seem like second nature to you, as it is more image based than text, similar to MyFitnessPal.

The other features include a “social” tab, particularly useful if you are someone for whom community support is helpful when trying to achieve your goals! Speaking of goals, the next tab shows you just that through a simple graph. Then, the last feature is of your “profile” where you will see the badges you can be awarded for accomplishing your goals.

 

 

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