Get fit with apps

overweight-nurse-on-scaleFor the past 10 years I have spent a lot of time advocating the benefits of dairy products to my urban friends and people I encounter on Facebook and Twitter. I believe this to be a useful and necessary activity and as dairy farmers we should feel good about the health benefits our products provide. But a few months ago I saw myself in the mirror and a thought struck me like a lightning bolt, “why would anyone take nutrition advice from a fat slob?”.

Maybe “fat slob” is a bit of an overstatement but I was 35 pounds overweight and bordering on Type II diabetes. With two Type II diabetic parents, a six-year-old, a one year old, and 45 years of life behind me, I decided to do something about it. I lost 25 pounds in two months and did it in four easy steps with my mobile phone. You can too, and here’s how.

1. Education: I first learned about how I became fat by listening to the audiobook version of Gary Taubes’ “Why we get fat” on Audible. This book explains how easily digestible carbohydrates cause Insulin spikes that tell your body to store fat. Armed with this information I decided to eat nothing but meat, vegetables, and dairy. I lost 20 pounds in the first couple of weeks and have been losing about a pound a week since then. Oh, by the way, Beer is an easily digestible carbohydrate, that was the first thing to go!

2. Diet: One of the hardest parts of dieting is knowing what to eat so I signed up for emeals.com. Emeals is a program that lays out a weekly meal plan in any of 13 different diets, including Low-Carb, Slow Cooker, Paleo, and Mediterranean. You can switch between the diets as often as you like. Each week, emeals provides a meal plan for seven dinners (lunch and breakfast available for additional fee). The app has a shopping list with each item categorized by department in the supermarket. There is an option to select specific grocery stores and helps save money by offering the lowest cost items. With shopping complete, the app provides the recipe and preparation instructions for each meal.

3. Exercise: Once my weight loss slowed down I realized I needed to exercise to keep things moving. I don’t have time for the gym so I use the Johnson & Johnson 7 Minute Workout app every morning on my iPad or Android. The app offers several routines from the original 7 minute workout to a 24 minute power set. After each workout there is a feature to rate how difficult it was and tracks progress. It also plays music from the iPad’s iTunes library to help improve motivation.

4. Data management: I’m a data junkie and I like to analyze my progress so I use a Fitbit to monitor my activity and log my meals and workouts in the MyFitnessPal app. MyFitnessPal tracks how much protein, fat, and carbs I eat each day and is customizable to any diet plan.

Now that I’ve gone from 200 to 173.5 pounds (on my way to 165), not only do I feel better about promoting dairy products, I feel better all together. If a fat, lazy California dairy farmer can do it, you can too. Now go do it!

Extra Content:

Glycemic Index: One of the primary drivers of my lifestyle change was to regulate blood sugar in order to prevent Type II Diabetes. The Glycemic Index (GI) is a measure of how quickly blood glucose levels (i.e., blood sugar) rise after eating a particular type of food. If you eat foods with a low GI you will avoid spikes in Insulin and lose weight. There are many apps available for IOS and Android, you can find them by searching your app marketplace.

Diary Today – March 2014

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