We’re a couple weeks into the New Year and you know what that means: resolutions are in and gyms are full.
For some people, this new year rush to the gym is a last-minute attempt to lose all that weight gained thanks to holiday binge eating and drinking (mostly drinking). For a lot of us the statement “this year, I promise to eat healthier and lose weight” is a new year’s mantra when this holiday rush comes around.
The thing about living a healthier lifestyle is that it has become increasingly difficult due to the abundance of excuses we make for ourselves. Too much work, no time to eat healthily, too tired for the gym, etc. We also have an abundance of distractions, many coming from our phones.
While too much phone use can have negative effects on your health, using it productively has its advantages, as well. In fact, it can be used to aid you in a journey to enjoying a healthier lifestyle. Here are some ways you can use your phone to help you.
According to a 2008 study conducted by the Kaiser Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon, keeping a food diary can help immensely in your efforts to lose weight. In the study, those who kept a food diary for six months lost twice as much weight than those who did not. That is because it allows you to keep track of your eating habits and holds you accountable for every piece of food you put in your mouth.
There are plenty of apps available on the Play Store and App Store that can help you keep track of your eating habits. These apps not only allow you to add specific meals and the quantity/amount eaten, but they also allow you to add specific ingredients if foods are unavailable. These apps also provide you with nutritional information and give an idea of any nutritional deficiency you may have. Not only that, they provide you with a better insight into how certain foods interact with your body and mind e.g. fatty food can make you sluggish, coffee can make you cranky, too much sugar before bedtime makes you too active to sleep.
Instead of being distracted by your phone and losing precious time use it to save time. Put your phone to good use and make it your personal time tracker. And no we don’t mean obsessively checking the time.
There are many ways in which you can use your phone as your time tracker. The clock app not only tells you the time but also allows you to set alarms for various activities or reminders at throughout the day. For instance, you can set an alarm for when to drink water, when to start your daily exercise, when to stop drinking caffeine, or when to stop any food intake. You can also set your alarm to deliver certain messages like the unoriginal but always encouraging “hang in there” or “rest up but don’t quit.” Often times, all we need is a gentle reminder to keep going.
One lesser-known fact about the human body is that our physical health is deeply tied to our emotions. Our body responds to various stimuli coming from the brain, it’s the mind-body connection. The stimuli your body respond to your feelings. Whenever you experience strong emotions such as anxiety, anger, or depression, your body will react in a way that interprets these stimuli as “something not going right.” This is why you feel weak when you’re depressed or you get a headache when you get angry.
In order to improve emotional health you must recognize that negative emotions exist and more importantly that you should track them. You can do this by identifying these emotions and noting them on your phone. Describe any physical sensation that comes with certain feelings. Knowing the symptoms, time of day, and duration of certain feelings will help you get a better handle on them.
Perhaps one of the best ways to use your phone to live a healthier lifestyle is to take advantage of its primary perk – its mobility. There are certain apps that you can use to keep track of your daily activities.
Since your phone is most likely in your pocket or your bag when you’re walking around you can track the number of steps that you take in a day. Although studies show that fitness trackers and activity monitors do not directly contribute to an individual’s health, they can certainly provide you with a better insight on your fitness habits and give you extra motivation to keep moving.
Take it a step further (no pun intended) and set goals for the number of steps that you should take each day and your active minutes. You can then act on those goals to improve your pace further.
Other fitness apps don’t just stop at activity tracking. They incorporate the ability to monitor your sleeping patterns, heart rate, and stress levels to give you an even better idea of your overall health condition.
Rather than keeping your eyes glued to your phone and wasting time in the New Year you should put your phone to good use. Take advantage of your phone’s powerful features and use it to improve your health and put you on track to live a healthier lifestyle. And hey, maybe this year it’ll stick!