Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A social way to lose weight?

Don’t get me wrong...I’m not one of those people that walks around all the time, smart phone permanently attached to hand, head down and texting. But I have found that my iPhone is pretty dang handy when it comes to things like tracking calories, finding low-fat and nutritious meal recipes and monitoring my exercise regime. In addition to my ongoing use of the Calorie Control Council's handy Healthy Weight Tool Kit, I've recently discovered free phone applications like MyFitnessPal, StepTrakLite and SparkPeople. And believe me, some of these tools are downright motivational. For example, you can connect with other friends via MyFitnessPal to share food and exercise diaries. I don’t know about you, but I tend to think twice about scarfing down a few pieces of pizza and a slice of cake when I know that several of my friends and acquaintances might see it. And on the flip side, if I notice that one of my besties is regularly eating a large healthy, colorful salad and hitting the local gym for an hour of exercise every day, I might be more encouraged to do the same. So for all of you technology lovers, check out a few of these handy health-related applications, courtesy of the New York Times.

MYFITNESSPAL - Free; Web, iPhone, Android, Tracks food and exercise calories. Shares food and exercise diaries with other users and friends on Facebook and Twitter.

DAILYBURN - Free (pro membership $9.99 a month); Web, iPhone, Tracks food and exercise calories. IPhone app scans product bar codes to automatically enter calories. Lets you sign up friends as motivators or engage in challenges.

GAIN FITNESS - Free; Designs randomized gym or home workouts based on time, experience level and available equipment.

LOSEIT - Free; Web, iPhone, Tracks food and exercise calories. Broadcasts activity reports to Twitter and Facebook.

SOCIALWORKOUT - Free; Web, Lets users sign up for challenges and report their progress on Facebook. Activities range from standard food and nutrition goals to more esoteric ones like avoiding plastic-bag use or taking a break in the middle of a workday.

How about you, dear readers? Any awesome nutrition phone applications or websites that must be checked out?

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