Thursday, February 20, 2014

Losin' it with Lose It!

Hello everyone. I hope you're having a glorious day. The clouds have parted and we've had a few days in a row of above freezing temperatures. Woo hoo!

Today I'd like to review a health app I've been using with pretty great success. My Mom told me about it a while ago and it wasn't until the beginning of the year that I started using it. It's called Lose It! and it's available for Android, iOS, Nook, Kindle, and the Web. With Lose It! you don't have to keep track of points or exclude certain foods from your diet. And here's the best part... Lose It! is totally FREE!

To get started you enter your current weight, height, age, gender, your goal weight, and how many pounds you'd like to lose per week. Lose It! sets a daily calorie budget for you and then you just track your food and exercise. But here's the great part. Tracking your food is so easy with the ability to scan barcodes. Even if you try to eat a lot of whole foods, you can often find a bar code on a box of strawberries or a bag of romaine lettuce. And if it's a single apple, you can look it up in Lose It!'s expansive database. It's so easy! I love easy and that's the only way I've been able to stick with this for six weeks. The app also includes thousands of restaurants, grocery stores, and brand-name foods that are easy to look up. If you can't find a particular restaurant, I've found that most places have their nutritional information online and you're able to add new foods to your log. Lastly, you can duplicate or search from previous meals so if for instance you eat the same thing for breakfast once a week, you can do a look up of previous meals and select the foods you ate again to be added to the new day.

I had always thought of myself as a fairly healthy eater but becoming aware of my caloric intake was pretty eye opening. My goal is to lose 28 pounds at one pound a week. I figured that would be an attainable goal without having to take drastic measures. Because I'm doing this for health reasons, I don't have any time restraint on myself so I don't care if it takes me until the summer to reach my goal. As of today's weigh in, I've lost 13 pounds since starting on January 9th and that's all just from using this app and becoming more aware of how many calories I eat in a day. I can still have my Starbucks or deep dish pizza but then I might have to skip a few snacks during the day. The other thing that I've learned, and this is a big one, is what an actual serving size is. Now I read labels and if the box says that a serving size is one cup, I break out a measuring cup and I make sure I'm only eating one cup. I have to admit, the first few days I was feeling pretty hungry but it really didn't take long before I was feeling satisfied eating the amount I should. I still have a nasty sweet tooth and that's something I have to keep in check, but at least I'm no longer finishing the little nibble here or little nibble there off my kids plates when they don't finish something. Now I either wrap it up for later or when possible, I put it back in the container. It's really just about becoming more aware of what I'm putting in my body.

I weigh myself once a week, on the same day each week, around the same time of the day, and wearing the same amount of clothing. I'm able to input my weight and see a graph of my gains or losses. If I've lost a certain number of pounds (I'm not sure what the exact amount is) Lose It! will automatically adjust my daily calorie budget. So, to sum it up, the app tells you how many calories you should be eating per day in order to lose the amount of weight you've set and you can track the calories you intake by just scanning the foods barcodes, looking up food from their extensive database, finding meals from popular restaurants, or inputting the nutritional values from recipes you create yourself. Speaking of recipes, a cookbook that has really helped me make great tasting food while still keeping track of calories is this one from Good Housekeeping. I also just got this one from a bargain bin and I'm hoping it's as good as the Good Housekeeping one.

Lose It! also allows you to share your weight loss success and give/receive motivation through different social media channels as well as participating in various challenges. I don't use these features so I can't really comment on them.

The last piece of the puzzle is exercise. I have been very fortunate to receive some amazing advice from a dear friend of ours who calls herself The Running Rhino and has managed to lose quite a bit of weight and keep it off. She mentioned that she does boxing/kickboxing with a free-standing heavy bag in her house using video tutorials from YouTube and how that has really made a huge impact in her weight loss success. Taking her advice, I looked into boxing gyms and found one that was fairly close to us, a Title Boxing Club. See, unlike my friend, I *need* to go to a class for that group comradery and accountability. I like loud techno music to motivate me and an instructor who walks around and says, "Keep it up!" Thankfully, before I signed up for a membership, I found a Groupon for a one month trial membership for a discounted rate. After our first class though, we were hooked and signed up for a full membership. The instructors are great, the people in the classes seem really cool, and the classes kick our butts (in a good way). One of the great perks of our membership is that we can go to any Title Boxing Club in the U.S. and anyone in our household is able to come with us (including K - they have a Kids Power Hour). Unfortunately, due to some extreme weather and the fact that there isn't an option for child care, A and I have to go on separate nights after he gets home from work. That being said, I think we've only been to three classes each. That's definitely a spot where we can both improve.

Oh and that reminds me, I can record my exercise in Lose It! too. The app has a ton of different exercises already in the database and all I have to do is pick Boxing and the amount of time I was working and it calculates how many calories I've burned.

This was on Facebook from one of our instructors at Title Boxing

(By the way, I am in no way affiliated with Lose It! or Title Boxing. I have just found this app and gym to be extremely useful in my healthy weight loss goals and I hope it can work for you too.)

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