Trying to lose weight has pretty much been my entire life goal. I’ve been overweight since I can remember; I’ve made attempts at every easy way out that’s been marketed to me.
I’ve been through the gastric bypass seminars, been hypnotized, gone to Weight Watchers, ate Jenny Craig’s food, did the low-carb diet … you name it, I’ve tried it. I even took extremely cold baths to get my metabolism going.
I never stuck to any of those attempts.
Simply put, I love food and I hate exercise. I am not afraid to admit it because we’re all alike: No one hates food. Some may love exercise, but those people aren’t worried about weight loss like you and I are, and they were probably born with skinny genes.
This year will be different for me: I’ve reached my late-30s and my doctor, who has preached weight loss to me for years, has actually gotten a little mean about it. She doesn’t like my heart rate and my blood pressure, and she’s warned me I am close to being diabetic.
I’ve known these things for awhile (when you are fat, you know you are at a higher risk for every disease or ailment in the book; it’s always haunting you). But something has been missing in me: The true desire to get moving, or give up the one thing I feel I truly can control: The taste and amount of food that enters my mouth.
I’ve been smart about my eating habits here and there, but never anything long-term. It was something in my doctor’s voice this time around — that little bit of meanness I mentioned before — that has me thinking hard about it. It’s clearly time or I’m going to be spending way more money and time on doctors and temporary fixes.
Not only do I need to track my food intake, but the harder part for me is getting up off my butt. Movement is just not my thing — I’m lazy, but years of being heavy has made me weak. My bones hurt! I have made the decision to push through the pain and stop having to even go to my doctor at all. It’s just time.
I checked out some of the weight loss and diet apps most of us have heard of on social media and commercials and downloaded a few to try them out. Here’s what I discovered:
The free version of Lifesum is a plain-and-simple calorie and weight loss tracker. It’s not frilly — It’s more upfront about numbers than some of the other apps. On your home screen each day you’ll see the amount of calories you have left, but also amounts of carbs, protein and fat. It offers you meal suggestions, but you have to pay for those. The month-to-month plan costs $9.99 and there are cost reductions based on whether you pay for six months or a full year. If you’re simply tracking numbers, this app is fine. If you’re seeking advice, this isn’t the app you want. It does offer phone notifications and emails to remind you to keep doing your thing.
CALORIE COUNTER AND DIET TRACKER BY MY FITNESS PAL
I’ve used this app off and on for years. It’s been my go-to app every time I’ve gotten on my weight-loss horse. It has recently added a restaurant logging feature. What I like about MFP is that it offers a lot more for free, including tons of blog articles about fitness and weight loss, eating healthy, and other health topics. It connects to your wearable fitness devices if you prefer and you can follow how others are doing in their weight loss voyage. I am encouraged when I see my aunt’s check-ins because she has always fought obesity, too, and I see when she has been out walking and how long she did it. There is a premium version of this app, but I never have felt I need it — MFP offers enough in its free version. The premium version is $9.99 per month, or $49.99 per year. This app gives me far fewer calories to work with than Lifesum does (300 per day, which is a huge difference).
Seven is a workout app that offers exactly what it says in the title: A seven-minute workout routine. It’s basically a timer with a voice that offers some encouragement. It starts out with 30 seconds of jumping jacks, then gives me 10 seconds of rest. It then moves to a 30-second wall-sit, and then I get another 10 seconds of rest. After that — 30 seconds of push ups, and so-on. I actually really love this app. What a simple way to get in at least a few minutes of easy exercise every day! It’s free and available on iPhones and Androids. Be careful when searching for this one: There are several 7-minute workout apps, and some of them cost. This one is free.
Running — every fat girl fears it. We are not runners … which is obvious from our appearance alone. But then there are the thoughts of getting out of breath, sweating, muscle cramps … I’d rather do anything else. But this free Couch to 5K app from Zen Labs attracted my attention because its name is basically my goal: I am a couch-sitter thanks to DVRs and Netflix, but I’d like to be one of those “I ran a marathon” people. I want to buy spandex because I need it for running, not because it allows more room for my midsection fat roll. (Yeah, I said that.) C25K is a run-walk program; you’re going to start off slow, which is what we need. On Week 1, Day 1 it had me do a 5-minute warmup walk, then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes. Guess what? I bet I’m less fit than you, and I was able to do this. The C25K app defines the cliché “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” and gives you 8 weeks to get there. It has an audio coach that tells you when to walk or run and it syncs up with your personal music playlist. We’re doing this, ladies. Download it.