Fitness goes mobile: my favorite iPhone fitness apps

Did you guys know that 30% of people say their phone is the first and last thing they look at each day? Holy guacamole. It’s true for me, as my iPhone is my alarm clock. While sometimes I hate feeling like I’m tethered to the “electronic leash” (aka, why I loved going on so many remote camping trips last year), I have to say that my iPhone is incredibly convenient in many ways. One of the top ways I’ve used my phone recently is to help me get into shape. Here are my favorite fitness apps of the moment! If you have a smart phone, give them a try and let me know what you think.

1) While me and My Fitness Pal sometimes go days without seeing each other (I’m on a 5 day streak now! Let’s hope I keep it up), this app is incredible. It’s very rare to find a food item that hasn’t already been calculated for calories, fat, protein, carbs, etc. In fact, I find MyFitnessPal a better app than the Weight Watchers one, though in all fairness, it’s been about a year since I used the WW app. I’m back onto counting calories/carbs, and having a digital diary of what passes my lips is really helpful for making good food choices. I also like the little surge of victory when I add in my exercise for the day. Add me – @lyssacurran! My Fitness Pal is free.

2) I’ve just recently started using Couch to 5K again because at one point in my life, I’d like to be able to run a whole 5k without stopping. I like the friendly voice and idiot proof interface that tells me when to run, when to jog, etc. I like that you can skip ahead or stay behind if you don’t feel “ready” to advance to the next level, and you can play your own music while you run. Free in the App Store.

 

3) My friend Julie and a few others have swooned over the Yoga Studios app, but for some reason I kept forgetting to download it. This weekend I finally remembered, shelled out the $2.99, and commenced yoga in my backyard after doing a run. I love the calm voice that guides you through the positions, the no-nonsense video model that helps you twist and bend, and the soothing wind sounds and gentle music in the background. I also like that you can customize your classes, schedule reminders, and build your own classes. Super cool — this app has already helped me find my zen twice this weekend!

4) Sometimes you just don’t want to work out. When I get that “arghh nooooo i’m lazy” type feeling, I try and think of the quickest way I can do SOMETHING. Anything! Enter the 7 Minute Workout app. You don’t need anything except yourself to do these workouts, and before you know it, seven minutes is DONE! Usually by the time I finish one set, I’ve overcome my laziness and am ready to do a second. There’s a results tracker and activity calendar so you can applaud yourself for your efforts,  and during the workout, a timer and voice tells you when to start and when to finish. The voice even says “Almost there!” so if you’re suffering during burpees like I do, there’s a glimmer of hope that you’re near the end.

So there you have it – my four favorite fitness apps. Do you have any of these? Am I missing any? Share in the comments so we can all be fabulously fit through our phones!

What I Ate Wednesday: A sneak peek into low-carb life

Ok, so technically, the title should be “What I ate Tuesday” since I ate all of this on a Tuesday, buttttt I’m pretty sure you’ll let it slide. Right?! This week marked a new shift for me in deciding two very important things: 1) I need to get on track with low carb, because it WORKS – for me, anyways. 2) I’ve been prescribed a new medication for stress management… it’s called EXERCISE. When the going gets going, it’s too easy for me to say “Oh, I didn’t eat that much today, I don’t need to exercise.” Wrong! I need to exercise at least three times a week. At least! At the end of the day, 30 minutes on the elliptical is a tiny sliver of time out of my week. I’m worth it. Anyways! What did I eat today?

I started the day with some egg whites and bacon ends. I’m in love with Bacon Ends lately (Sprouts sells them). They cook up way faster, and they’re inexpensive compared to the whole strips. A perfect compromise for a busy, frugal person. I also had a cup of PG Tips tea, sweetened with a sprinkle of Swerve Sweetener.

Breakfast: Egg Whites and Bacon Ends

Breakfast: Egg Whites and Bacon Ends

Then, for lunch, I had a Southwestern Salad. I used the Lean Cuisine Salad Additions pack which included chicken strips, roasted peppers, corn, black beans and tortilla strips. I omitted the tortilla strips, nixed their Chipotle Ranch dressing in favor of a yummy Cotija Cilantro dressing, and added a fresh tomato. Yummy! I also had a small serving of cajun flavored cheese curds and a Diet Pepsi with lime juice.

Take your salad from drab to fab with Lean Cuisine Salad Additions! Haha, no that's not a sponsored caption. Just copywriting fun :)

Take your salad from drab to fab with Lean Cuisine Salad Additions! Haha, no that’s not a sponsored caption. Just copywriting fun :)

Later on in the afternoon, I was meeting a client at a coffee shop. I had an unsweetened iced tea, and when I got home, decided I wanted a sweet snack. In came some frozen mixed berries with a spoonful of Chia Seeds and some cream. NOW – Most people who read that I had “cream” while on a diet would probably finger-wag me, but the great part about low-carb is you don’t need to be afraid of fat. In fact, fat is what satiates you and keeps you full on a diet like this, along with the protein. As long as I’m not poppin’ bacon ends like tic-tacs or drinking cream by the gallon, there’s no harm, no foul in some fatty-flavor-makin’.

Frozen berries with chia and cream.

Frozen berries with chia and cream.

Next up was dinner, which came very late today because of the time change and colliding schedules. Matt made a delicious meat loaf from lean ground beef, ground pork, oats and V8. It’s super yummy! I paired it with a quarter of a huge sweet potato, and a generous helping of asparagus and brussels sprouts. Mmmmmm.

Delicious, filling and fresh dinner.

Delicious, filling and fresh dinner.

I consider this a pretty successful day in terms of eating well. The dark chocolate square and handful of raw cashews aren’t pictured, but those were snacks on the “inbetween” moments of the day, shuttling to and from different meetings. Now what does all this look like in terms of the numbers? According to MyFitnessPal, I ate about 1,580 calories and 98 grams of carbs. I’m trying to stay under 100g of carbs per day, so while this cuts close, I saw success on a plan like this previously. It’s higher in calories than what traditionally may work for people, but that’s one of the advantages to not eating bread is that you can eat higher fat. (Oh, bread. I wish we got along. I miss you. I dream of you.)

I have my follow-up thyroid and weight appointment on Friday the 15th, so I’m looking forward to (ok, not really looking forward to because I hate scales) getting on the scale and seeing what’s happened in the past six weeks. Hopefully, my imperfect road map to weight loss has resulted in a small loss, but ideally, it will be at least a couple pounds. However, there were a few bumps in the road that I talked about on Monday, but I’m not going to let it derail me. I’m back on the wagon!

So now you know what I ate today. I want to know what you ate today. What’s gone down the hatch in your world? Bonus points to whoever describes the best carb-heavy meal!

 

 

Weekly Weigh In #2

Hello!!! Today when I got on the scale, I was pleasantly surprised to see I was down another 1.4 pounds, meaning in 2.5 weeks, I’ve lost 6.4 pounds. Whew!

MyFitnessPal – Free Calorie Counter

Here’s what I’ve been doing differently: 1) I am starting a fun new campaign with Diet to Go, (more on that later – including your chance to win free meals from them!) so I’ve been enjoying their delicious meals, like Italian stuffed potato shells and egg broccoli breakfast pie. Having the meals ready to go is SO NICE… nothing like not having to turn on your oven or stove when it’s 85 degrees in the house! (Thanks, Los Angeles.)

2) I’ve been suuuuuper OCD about measuring and counting my calories in My Fitness Pal. Despite what my body fat test said (that I could eat 1,900 calories a day and still lose weight!), I’m taking in about 1,480-1,500 calories a day. It’s not starvation, but I’m not gonna lie, it’s hard not to snack at night when the “I’m hungry!” voice starts whining. However, as I learned when chatting with my sister April and she suggested I eat carrots… I replied back without even thinking, “I don’t want carrots!” That revealed that I’m not REALLY hungry, as if you were starvin’, anything would do.

Wacky Snacks!

Wacky Snacks!

3) Water, water, water. So much water. No more soda, either. So water and unsweetened iced tea and the occasional Perrier.

4) Exercise! I have a few dedicated gym buddies and me and my gal pal Susannah are walking around the lake tonight after work. It’s great having social time because it “tricks” me into exercising if I can have fun and yap the whole way.

So – I’m happy with this week’s progress, I just hope it keeps up. I know typically when I really “try” again for a few weeks I see a nice loss and then everything stops. However, I’m awaiting blood test results and results from an exam to check for anything else funky going on, so if something other than my eating/exercise is stalling me, I’ll know soon!

I hope you have a wonderful day!

Starting Over: A Clean Slate

Today, I struggled with a feeling that often surfaces — I saw a friend who’s lost an amazing amount of weight, and I instantly thought, “Why haven’t I done that?” I’m THRILLED for my friend, but it reminded me once again that I absolutely cannot compare myself to other people – as everybody is walking a completely different path in completely different shoes. However, recognizing other people’s success is always a good reminder of, “How I can try harder?” Here are the things I need to do to try harder: be kinder to myself, stop beating myself up in my head about my weight, drink more water, stop avoiding the scale, and curb the overeating.

With that, I’ve made a decision to start over. Here’s what I’m going to do: I’m restarting My Fitness Pal, at my current weight. I’ve been yo-yoing the past couple months, and who knows what from – muscle building, eating junk food, water retention, hormones, stress…. who knows! I’d been avoiding updating the weigh-in graph on the app, and for what? Because the number would bother me? Who cares – life goes on. I will start over. I’m starting fresh, with a clean slate, and it doesn’t matter how much weight I lost six months ago, or what weight I’m at today – what counts is that as of today, a new page has been turned. I need to track EVERYTHING on MyFitnessPal. Your support has been huge – I totally love seeing all of you stopping by the blog, writing comments to me, “liking” my updates. It really means a lot, and helps motivate me to keep trying. It’s also been awesome having April join in on the blog, because it reminds me that I’m never, ever alone, and someone with the very same blood and DNA as me shares the exact same struggles!

In addition, I’m going to start adding weekly weigh-ins again. We all know the scale and I have a mostly hateful relationship. However, I recognize that I need it to keep me in check. My first weigh in update will be posted on Friday, and I’m going to try reaaaaally hard to keep it up, because I need some more transparency about that number. I can’t disregard the amazing progress I’ve made so far, in particular, I’m thrilled at my transformation from out-of-shape to somewhat-fit. I look forward to getting stronger, better and faster, and am loving the new support system I have with my workout buddies Susannah, Merrie and Sally.

When you’re trying to change bad habits, do you ever find yourself just wanting to start over? It doesn’t need to be cold turkey, but it needs to be a marked point for me, where I say, “Ok, I’m starting over. I’m going to forget the past and just live in the present and focus on making a better future.”

Now – help me with my first starting over challenge. Next Thursday, I’m going to Mexico for a five day vacation. How do I log my food when I won’t have internet access? Should I go old-school and use a pen and paper, or try and trust myself without logging? Should I enjoy my vacay and eat what I want, but in moderation?

Diet to Go Week Three!

Hello everybody! Let’s start off with some good news – Elisabeth G. won the KalorieBox Giveaway! Congrats, Elisabeth – watch for an e-mail!

I wish I could start this week’s post with another awesome weigh in like last week (Remember, 3.7 pounds?!), but unfortunately, it’s one of those times of the month *cringe, I know, this is awkward* and evidently my body is acting like a camel (ie so much water floating around my body I could hydrate an army). So we’re just going to skip the weigh in this week to give myself a couple days to um… dry out. (I weighed in and I’m up a couple pounds from last week – but I’m staying optimistic and know that I’ve done the work I need to do, and as KJPugs says, you always get the week you deserve eventually!) But on the positive side, I am still absolutely loving this week’s Diet to Go meals! This week was a mess of meetings, appointments and deadlines – so I was happy to see that the meals are truly “to go”, especially when I scarfed a smoked chicken sandwich in between stop lights as I drove to an offsite meeting. You can see photographic proof of that, here.

Diet to Go Omelet Pomodoro

Diet to Go Omelet Pomodoro

I had a lot of favorites, food wise, this week. Let’s talk about breakfast. Several years ago before I started this whole get healthier thing, I never ate breakfast. But now, it’s like “Whee! I get to eat!” when I wake up. Diet to Go has mastered the use of cheese and tomatoes when it applies to eggs. Today, I had this amazing omelet pomodoro (220 cals) – a basil spiced omelet with cheese oozing out of the middle and sicilian flavored asparagus tips. This breakfast was amazing – I even forced my husband to taste it as he was walking out the door to go to work.

Yummy Grilled Cheese French Toast from Diet to Go. Note the Fitbloggin post-its!

Yummy Grilled Cheese French Toast from Diet to Go. Note the Fitbloggin post-its!

Here’s one of my fav lunches from the week – a french toast style grilled turkey cheese sandwich with apricot pudding and a mushroom artichoke salad (560 cals). The apricot pudding was more like ice cream, and the bite I had of my mushroom artichoke salad was refreshing and tasty.. but then I couldn’t eat the rest because my cat licked the bowl and stole a mushroom out of it. Since I’m not a fan of sharing my meals with cat-breath (do you KNOW where they lick?!), I disposed of the artichoke mushroom salad but happily nommed on the rest.

Black Bean Soup and Pretzel from Diet to Go

Black Bean Soup and Pretzel from Diet to Go

This lunch is easily another one of my favorites- see that little pretzel there? I would like to raid the pretzel factory that makes me, because I’m pretty sure I could just lay in my bed and eat soft pretzels all day and be perfectly content. Add an iced cold raspberry lambic and I’m in heaven. Booze, carbs and bed… what could be better?! Anyways, I’m off topic. This lunch was super yummy because it’s something I wouldn’t normally pick for myself but I really enjoyed it. The black bean soup had a nice spicy touch, with lots of smokiness (probably from cumin), some juicy strips of bell peppers, and a lightly salty broth. I dipped the pretzel in it and enjoyed a peach pudding for my dessert. This meals comes in at 700 calories but includes a string cheese which is not shown here since I saved that for a snack. The thing is, when you look at some of the calorie counts for the meals, your instinct might be “My god! That’s a lot of calories!” but when you factor in the portion sizes and the fact that you’re pretty much full all day long, it all equals out. I’ve actually ended up coming under calories a lot in myFitnessPal, simply because I’m too full to eat the “extra” like the string cheese or yogurt that comes with the meals.

Diet to Go Turkey Dinner

Diet to Go Turkey Dinner

This meal does not photograph beautifully, but it was delish! Has anyone ever tried the SmartOnes Turkey and Gravy Dinner? It used to be a favorite of mine, but now that I’ve had this one I can see that was a weak favorite, for sure. These mashed potatoes were REAL – no instant junk here – and the turkey was lightly seasoned with a simple brown gravy. This was truly a comfort food meal.

If you’re interested in trying Diet to Go for yourself, check out their website here. You can use coupon code FEB15PERCENT to save 15% off any meal plan, and you can also enter next week for your chance to win a week worth of free meals!  /

Does anybody have any questions about Diet to Go? Have at it! :)

Thailand Tuesday Week 8

Hello friends! After a couple of weeks of my bitching and moaning, I’m back with a great weigh in – this week

I lost 2.2 pounds!

Avocado and egg white. Yummy, protein-packed, good fat breakfast!

As I’ve learned, weight-loss for some people is black and white – move more, eat less. For me, it’s not so simple. If other people’s weight loss is black and white, mine is like EVERY COLOR OF THE RAINBOW. For me it’s a fine tuning process – moving more (a lot more), eating less CRAP, and focusing on the intracacies of my diet – how much protein, carbs, water, salt…. This past week, I decided to tweak my eating by not completely cutting out carbs, but by eating less of them. You all know I’m a fiend for crunchy, salty munchies – like popcorn, or crackers, or 100-calorie packs. After checking out MyFitnessPal for the past couple weeks, I noticed I was staying within my calories but eating too many little crackery/bready things. I decided to cut back and focus on lean proteins like egg whites, chicken breast, edamame and healthy fats like avocado – and boom – with my fitness schedule – down 2.2 pounds. I just might be on to something.

The scale might not be moving drastically, but I can see changes in things like the way clothes fit. I’m usually not comfortable in an outfit this form fitting – but I feel like on this day, I was able to pull it off!

So clearly at this point, it would take an unhealthy miracle to reach 20 pounds lost before Thailand, but as usual, this journey for me is not so much about the number but of improving my health, feeling better and being able to squeeze into hot jeans. (JK, kinda, on that last part). I’m looking forward to next week’s weigh in now that I feel like I’ve cracked part of the code on why my weight loss was so sluggish – we’ll see what happens! I hope you have an amazing week – I have some exciting news on Thursday related to a new fitness challenge – and April will be here tomorrow!

PS: Have I mentioned how grateful I am for YOU?! Yes, you. The person reading this. You might know me well, or you might not even know me at all, but every time I see that somebody has read my blog I am so thankful! Your support and encouragement is the best thing in the world and I KNOW I will reach my goal with your help. <3