After recently switching careers as an event DJ to full-time freelance blogger, I put on a bit of weight due to my lifestyle change. My old job had me lugging DJ and sound equipment out of my storage locker, into my car, out of the car, into an event space and then all over again at the end of the night. I took for granted that all this physical work was the one thing keeping me in shape because of my slack eating and workout schedule.
When I decided to give food and travel blogging a try, I launched my own website <www.hipurbangirl.com> and started writing full-time from home. Which meant the minimal walking that I did was eliminated and my physical lifting of DJ equipment two or three nights a week were gone. Since I was writing about food and events, I was eating out three or four nights a week, usually at multi-course tastings. Then came Christmas, and then came the pounds.
I felt sluggish, tired all the time and my clothes were too tight. Even though I’m a go-getter and incredibly ambitious, I’m lazy when it comes to working out and getting to the gym.
So what finally worked for me?
I downloaded these three smartphone apps to start keeping me in check and they helped me finally kick those last five pounds to the curb. Now these apps may not work for everyone, but because I’m hyper-organized and very goal oriented – they worked for me.
1. Get Running
It’s essentially a couch-to-5K app and the approach to running is slow and steady. You’ll start with running one minute at a time with walk breaks in between. By the end of the nine-week program you should be able to run 30 minutes without stopping — and you’ll be burning lots of calories because of it.
To help you stay motivated, sign up for a 5K race. I know the weather is cooling across Canada, but many cities host “Santa Runs” right up until the first week of December. I recently ran the CIBC Run for the Cure and set a maximum time of 45 minutes for my FIRST 5K run. I was so focused and motivated that it kept me training two or three times per week for only 30 minutes per day.
Let me just clarify: I am not a runner. I’m the lazy girl that eats chips in front of the TV at night – so if I can do it, so can you!
2. Grocery IQ
So part of the reason I ate out so much was not just because of work events, but also because after a work event (full of hors d’oeuvres) I was too tired to go home and cook myself a proper meal. I would end up eat something totally unhealthy.
I downloaded this grocery app to keep me organized and my fridge full. If I had something healthy and delicious to come home to at the end of the day, I would be less likely to eat a greasy pizza or French fries. An empty fridge would pretty much mean sabotage and give me the excuse I needed to order take-out. Don’t do it! Make a grocery list and a meal plan at the start of every week and stick to it as best as you can.
3. Livestrong Calorie Tracker, My Plate.
As someone who has no idea about portion control and calorie counts, I needed this. This weight-loss app is basically a food journal that helps you keep your intake and portion sizing in check. Once I saw what a couple regular days of healthy eating looked like, I didn’t need to calorie count everyday. But it was a good thing to try out for two weeks straight, just so you know what a normal portion size looks like and have an idea of how many calories you should be eating.
I gave myself days off every once in awhile from tracking – especially if I had a tasting dinner or wedding to attend. But since the app also tracks your exercise, I could gauge how much exercise I needed to do to make up for that plate of French fries. Most common foods are easily found in the app, and out of the many food journals that I have tried, this is the best one. There’s a free version and then a $2.99 version if you prefer no ads.
What are your weight-loss tricks? Have you found any apps out there that were very useful? Any that people should not bother with?
Lisa Ng is the Editor-in-Chief of The Hip + Urban Girl’s Guide, a lifestyle website that blogs daily about food, travel, fashion and events. When she’s not chasing after the best taco or donut somewhere around the world, you can find her in Toronto sharing her finds online.