e-Tools for a healthier new year
1/30/2020 by Rose Prissel, MS, RDN, LD, and Michaeleen Burroughs, MS, RDN, LD
Monitoring, whether it's jotting notes in a pocket notebook or logging onto an online or app-based tool, can help keep your New Year's weight or activity goals on track. Tracking isn't a magical fix, but it can be a good place to start as you adopt better lifestyle habits. You may want to track your progress as you undertake your journey, but once you get more established in new habits, use it as a tool now and then to check your progress or help you back onto the path.
Keeping a food/activity journal uses self-awareness to better understand and change behaviors. It can build confidence for long-term success. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Choose the format that works best for you: paper and pen, sticky notes, charts, etc.
- For weight loss, be accurate about what, when and where you're eating — including snacks, condiments, beverages and portion sizes — even if you didn't stick to your plan.
- For activity, be accurate about what you're doing and for how long (time/distance). Even a comment on intensity, say on a scale of one to 10, can build awareness and motivation for future fitness.
- Jot your notes right after eating or activity.
- Review your journal to see how you're doing compared to your goals.
You might find an app easier, more convenient and fun to track your weight loss or activity progress. Online tools and apps can also boost your motivation, discipline, accountability and remind you when it's time to celebrate. No matter what website or mobile app you use, make sure it:
- Uses nutritional databases from a reliable source
- Is easy to use and gives you the information you're looking for
- Clearly labels food items entered by other users
- Is compatible with your smart phone and computer devices
We've selected a few, based on their quality, reliability and user reviews. They're available on both iPhone and Android platforms; many are free.
- Uses a psychology-based approach to create healthy habits through behavior changes
- Helps you set weight-loss goals and see progress
- Logs your exercise
- Cost: Monthly plan starts at $59, annual membership is $199
- Calorie and exercise tracker
- Community support
- Barcode scanning option
- Has QR barcode scanner to use while shopping
- Tracks major nutrients
- Analyzes recipes
- Tracks food and exercise
- Set reminders to log meals and snacks
- Maintains your favorite foods and typical service sizes
- Search food via barcode scanner or snap picture of food for tracking
- For weight gain, weight loss or maintenance
- Eight-week meal plan and shopping list
- Active community for support and motivation
- Short workouts
- Tracks caloric intake and diet plans
- Analyzes recipes
- Individualized exercise development component
- Tracks your distance, time, speed, elevation, calories burned
- Helps you analyze your training patterns
- Provides motivational audio feedback from the Voice Coach
- Detailed workout programs
- HD video exercise instruction
- Tools to log and track your workouts
- More than 185 free instructor-led workouts
- Daily "Picks For You" personalized workout recommendations based on your requirements and ability, along with your routine
- As you train with the app, recommendations become more personal
- Tracks your activities
- Provides support and motivation from its community
- Provides challenges, personalized fitness plans, guided workouts
- Monitors your distance, pace, speed, elevation and calories burned
- Provides monthly challenges
- Swim option only available on Apple products, running/cycling available on all platforms
Rose Prissel, MS, RDN, LD, is a dietitian at Mayo Clinic working in pediatric and adult nutrition, with a focus on preventive care, sports nutrition and weight management.
Michaeleen Burroughs, MS, RDN, LD, has worked in Primary Care in Rochester/Kasson in Family Medicine for 20 years. She currently helps patients at Mayo Family Clinics Northwest, Southeast and Kasson, and Baldwin Family Medicine and Community Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine (CPAM). Her areas of interest are diabetes and child and adult weight management.