Healthier in 2011: There’s an App for That

Photographer: Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot, freedigitalphotos.net

This is it: the first workday after New Year’s. Do you have your plan in place for being healthier in 2011? Here are two important tips to stay accountable:

  1. Make sure you commit to your workout days, by circling them on a calendar AND telling family and friends which days they are.
  2. Keep a food diary.

Keeping a food diary can be done in one of two ways.  The old-fashioned way is when you write down everything you ingest in a day and the calories next to it. It very underrated. It works.  The newer way of keeping a food diary is, of course, with an app.

I just purchased MyNetDiary for the iPad because I read so many great reviews on it and wanted to test it out. In fact, it boasts a 4.5 out of 5 stars with 1110 ratings. The usability of this app surpasses the others I have tried. First, you enter your profile info (height, weight, age gender, and your goal weight) and your activity level. Then you can just start typing in foods. For example, I was able to enter a detail like a half tablespoon of catsup and a tablespoon of a certain brand of creamer. I didn’t think I would find a particular brand of apple chai oatmeal, but there it was. 170 calories.

As you enter the foods, it also tells you the fat/protein/cholesterol content as well as the calories. What is also nice is that you can modify to view sodium content, for example, if you have high blood pressure or heart failure. If you can’t find a food on the extensive list, you can create a custom food item.

If you have a goal for weight loss, it tabulates the current day’s totals and the remaining calories you can consume in order to stay on track.

There is a section for exercise, even mowing the lawn and playing with kids. The Progress section tracks your weight  in graphical form.

The app was certainly not free, but at $9.99, it may well be priceless if it gets you to your goal weight.

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About Linda Pourmassina, MD

Internal Medicine physician.
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