Friday, August 20, 2010

iPhone Diet: Making Technology Work for Weight Loss

Well, it turns out that last week's numbers on Lose It! were a little off. That happens when you take your weight measurments at different times of the day--which I should have known. I'm going to have to incorporate my weigh ins into my morning routine so that I have a set time to do it. That way my numbers will be more accurate. On the plus side, I did lose some weight, it just wasn't as much as I had originally thought.

That being said, I'm trying to do a better job of logging my food and exercise this week--OK, well I really started back on it today, but the point is that I did start. Now I just need to keep it up. It seems crazy, but seeing how many calories are in what I eat helps me to stop and think about wheter I really want to eat it. A hamburger could just about use up my daily caloric limits, and that isn't even a full meal.

There are some other iPhone apps I've been using to help me. One is Lose the Belly. It has several videos on how to eat for weight loss. I also use Target Weight because it lets me set up small goals for weight loss. The pounds to lose to reach goal show up as if they are messages. Hubby was playing with my phone and told me I had 8 messages waiting in Target Weight. It took me a minute to realize what he was talking about ;) The last one I've tried is Ultimate Weight Loss Hypnosis. It's very good as a relaxation tool, but I haven't tried it many times yet, so I don't know if it is helping with weight loss. I guess we will find out!

I'm still reading This Crazy Vegan Life: A Prescription for an Endangered Species. It is taking me some time to read it because there is a lot of information to get through. It really makes you look at food differently! I'm hoping that with what I learn reading this book, I can start to take some steps toward living a vegan lifestyle. Wish me luck!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Weight Loss with Technology: iPhone

You know the iPhone commercial, "There's an app for that"? I am slowly becoming that commercial. I go to my parents' house and I pull out my iPhone. I have to show my mom all the apps I've been using. Because for weight loss? Yeah, there's an app or two for that!

I am becoming more of a Nerd the longer I have this phone. All I wanted to be able to do was to make and answer phone calls. I certainly didn't expect to be using my phone for weight loss, photography, geocaching, relaxation, music playing and games too.

The commerical above actually features one of the apps I've found for weight loss. It's the Lose it! app. I use the free version. What I like about this app is that you log the food you eat for every meal. You set a goal based on your current weight and the amount of weight you would like to lose per week. It's similar to the on-line tracking of Weight Watchers, except that you are monitoring calories instead of points. You can also have the app send you a reminder to log your meals. And if you choose, you can add friends to the app so you can encourage each other in your weight loss journey. You also have the option to email a weekly report to yourself or another person as well. I don't share my information with any one (yet).

I found that I lost about 8 pounds the first week. I had set it for a 1 lb/week loss, but I made a point to eat a lot of fruit and vegetables including a salad everyday for lunch. I didn't use all of my calories every day. The second week, I was sick one day and didn't log my food and then I skipped logging for the rest of the week. For this week, I decided to go for a 2 lb/week goal. We'll see how it goes.

I also added a couple of other apps that I use with Lose it! just because I can never leave well enough alone and need to make things more complicated than they are. I'll talk about those apps next time.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

My Readers Love JC Chasez! Gratuitous JC Posting

I know it's a rather general statement to make and it may not be completely true, but the fact is that 80% of the searches on this blog this month have been about JC Chasez. I didn't think I talked about him that much, but perhaps I do.

He hasn't been in the news lately, so I don't have much else to talk about. I am looking forward to the next season of America's Best Dance Crew though! I find it funny that the audience boos JC when he gives the crews constructive criticism. He always gives those crews something to work on to get them to that next level. He's not mean-spirited about it either.

JC has some movies coming out sometime. If you want to see what he's up to, one great website is There are lots of great pictures, interviews and videos there. Of course, you could just come back and visit me here, because I'm sure to talk about him again sometime soon :)

Now, just for some fun, here's another JC video. Basement Jaxx featuring JC Chasez, "Plug it In". It's a quirky video--you've been warned.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Still Researching Going Vegan

I finally made it to the library this week and was able to borrow a few books on Vegan eating. The ones that I really wanted were not in stock, but I found one that I liked: This Crazy Vegan Life: A Prescription for an Endangered Species. I haven't gotten very far into the book yet, but what I have read so far has made so much sense. It's helping me to change the way I think about food in general.

I've also been looking for health food stores where I live. Surprisingly, for a city of this size, I'm not having a lot of luck. I'll keep looking though. Hopefully I'll find somewhere nearby so I can start buying more healthy foods. I'm not without hope that eating better foods will also help my daughter who has special needs, but we shall see.

Made my first foray into vegan baking tonight. I found a recipe online for vegan banana muffins, but I'm not sure how vegan they are as they have sugar in them and regular flour--although I substituted for whole wheat flour and instead of the optional nuts I added chocolate chips (definitely NOT vegan), because the little one really wanted chocolate muffins, and since they are for her snacks at day camp, I figured I'd let her have her way this time. They turned out pretty well. It did feel odd making muffins without milk or eggs! In my husband's words, they "didn't taste too bad". In other words, he's not ready to dive into eating the vegan way just yet. Anyway, that's what's been going on here.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

More Ways to Use Technology to Reduce Stress

Way back in March, I wrote this post about how I use technology to reduce my stress.  Since then, I've found some more ways to make technology work for me, so I thought It was time for another posting.  For my anniversary this year, my husband upgraded my phone from a clunky old Blackberry that had no data plan to an iPhone.  At first, I wasn't too sure about this because really, all I need a phone to do is make phone calls, and then, only when it's important.  Otherwise, I really don't use  a cellular phone.  Or, I should say, I didn't use a cellular phone before he bought me this one. 

Iphone sunset in the Andes

One of the things I am having fun with is the applications (aka apps).  I played around a bit with the free apps and found this great one called SleepMachine.  It is a program that plays different ambient noises and you can add up to three different sounds together and adjust the volume on each one until you find the perfect blend for you.  I used it when we were spending time at my parents' house because our air conditioner was broken during the heat wave.  I set the timer on the program for 30 minutes, closed my eyes and I was out.  I didn't hear it turn off any night while I was there.  For someone like me who tends to be a chronically poor sleeper, this has been a huge help.  I went from having trouble falling asleep every night to falling asleep within a few minutes of getting into bed.  What a treat.  I liked the app so much I bought the full version of it.  The extra sounds and music have been a big help.  There have only been a couple nights that I've had to extend the play time on the ambient sounds when I've been overly stressed and needed some extra time to fall asleep.  It's amazing how much a good night's sleep helps keeping stress levels in check.  {edit: I forgot to mention that we've used this to help the kids fall asleep when they are having trouble sleeping and it totally worked!}

My other favourite app?  (besides getting my Twitter updates whenever I want them).  Geocaching!  I was familiar with this application already because I had signed up to before, but I didn't have a GPS that I could use.  Now I can geocache from my phone.  Geocaching is basically a real world treasure hunt with clues that you find online.  You get the co-ordinates from the site and plug them into your GPS, then go out and find where it is hidden. Usually a cache is a camoflauged container with a log book and some small items in it for trading. We've tried geocaching a couple of times as a familiy now. One time we found the cache, one time we didn't. Both times we had a lot of fun. We got outside and got some exercise as a family. It was a lot of fun and getting out together brings us closer together and helps to reduce stress in all of us.

Healthy Eating: Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free??

Lately, it seems that everywhere I look, different diets are being touted as making huge changes in overall health.  Some of the special needs parenting sites I follow have talked about changing their children's diets and seeing positive results (usually these are gluten free).  Just this week, one of the characters in a book I was reading was a vegan chef.

It's hard to know if these are "fads" like the carbohydrate thing that was going on a few years ago or not.  I don't want to be the kid who jumps in with both feet and then finds that I'm in water over my head.  I've started to look at information on vegan diets.  I'm not lying, it would be a huge change.  The benefits in terms of reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes alone would be a good reason to try it.

Is there any one out there who is currently following a vegetarian, vegan or gluten free diet?  I would really love to talk to someone real who has made this kind of change.  Any suggestions, tips or reference sites would be much appreciated!

Don't worry, this isn't something I'm going to jump into all at once.  I'm strictly gathering information right now.  I imagine that this kind of change is one that would have to happen gradually, but I need to find out more.  I found some interesting books on  If you know a book that would be helpful for starting a vegan diet, please let me know!