Exercise and nutrition apps

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Now that most of us carry smartphones at all times and can hardly function throughout an entire day without our favorite device in hand, software developers have created an abundance of apps that allow us to plan and track our exercise and nutrition habits in real time.  Some of these apps, indicated below with double asterisks, are available as an internet-based service as well, so no smartphone is necessary.  Please note that this list is not exhaustive and that there are many more apps out there.  Let us know about your favorites!

Exercise

Nike Training Club (free): offers workouts consisting of resistance, flexibility, and cardio exercises; provides videos and audio for instruction and motivation

iFitness (currently $0.99): provides workouts for your home or gym; allows you to focus your workout on target areas and includes detailed instructions for every exercise

Fitness Buddy (currently $0.99): includes exercises specific to target areas and exercise equipment; allows you to track your body metrics and fitness progress

Workout Trainer (free) **: provides thousands of exercises based on your area of focus: running, weightlifting, yoga, weight loss, etc; use with or without exercise equipment

JEFIT (free) **: keep track of and plan your weight lifting routines; winner of  2011 Best Fitness and Workout App – 2011 Best App Ever Awards

MapMyRun (free): keep track of your pace, distance, and location while you’re walking or running; you can also post your workouts to social media to let your friends see your progress

Nutrition

Naturally Slim (free): tracks daily food/fluid intake and weekly weights; includes a timer that reminds you take a break during your meals

Restaurant Nutrition (free): allows you to keep a food journal and find out the nutritional information of foods at your favorite restaurants

Calorie Counter by FatSecret (free) **: find nutritional information for the food you usually eat, and keep track of your daily calorie intake

Combo Nutrition and Exercise Journals

My Fitness Pal (free) **: a calorie counter and exercise tracker; includes a large food and exercise database to help you balance calories consumed with calories burned

Lose It! (free) **: set a daily calorie budget; adjust your food intake or exercise level to meet your goal

FitDay ($1.99) **: track your food and exercise habits; chart your progress daily, weekly, or monthly

Cronometer ($2.99) **:  track diet, exercise, and other health-related information

**also available as a free internet service

Katie Huffman

Pastor spotlight: Charles Lindquist

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Rev. Charles Lindquist, one of our Group 2 Spirited Life participants, has had great success using the mindful eating program Naturally Slim and creating his own exercise routine.  Read on to hear more about Charles’ experience in his own words!

“I started the Naturally Slim program on March 13, 2012.  I found it to be jam-packed with great and useful information.  So far I have lost 35 pounds and over 20 inches overall in body measurements.

Because of Naturally Slim, I feel better and better every day.  My clothes are all too big and I am choosing to purchase temporary replacements from Goodwill and other thrift stores until I get to my ideal weight and can purchase a new wardrobe.  What a great problem to have!

For exercise, I use my Total Gym (Chuck Norris and Christie Brinkley advertise this), which I have been using off and on for several years.  I have recently, within the last three weeks, incorporated a StreetStrider into my exercise routine.  I choose to work out two short periods (20 minutes on StreetStrider and 15 minutes on Total Gym), once in the morning and once in the evening, rather than doing it in one long workout each day.  I also try to play at least nine holes of golf a week, which is my way of relaxing and reducing stress.

I love the StreetStrider because it actually makes working out fun.  I have always loved the elliptical machine because of the cross training it provides; however, I find staying in one spot, staring at the wall or other people boring!  The StreetStrider is the elliptical that moves with you.  I usually ride mine about 6:00 am, a good time to view rabbits, deer, and other wildlife.  Besides that, it truly works.

My advice to other pastors: If you’re on the Naturally Slim program, just do it; have faith and follow the program.  As Marcia says, ‘the best exercise to get in shape is any exercise that you will do.’ She also says, ‘it is not what you eat but when and how you eat!’  If you have an opportunity to sign up for the Naturally Slim program, jump at it. It is not a diet but a way of life.”

Do you have a success story you want to share?  Leave a note in the comment section below.  We’d love to hear from you!

Compiled by Katie Huffman

Book Review: The No S Diet

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For all of us, maybe clergy especially, forbidden food diets or the time-consuming calorie counting diets might be good enough for a while, but what happens when we are late to our board meetings, attend potluck number seven, or forced to eat out as we travel?  We need new eating habits that are simpler, natural, and hopefully sustainable.

I’ve stumbled upon a diet that I can’t really call “new” because I think many people have been doing it their whole lives.  The “rules” for the No S Diet can actually be found on the cover of the book: “No Snacks, No Sweets, No Seconds.  Except on days that start with S.” For a weight loss program, those guidelines seem pretty straightforward and simple.

But does it work?

The author and creator, software engineer Reinhard Engels tells the website CalorieLab during an interview, “I admit it does seem suspiciously cute, but I actually lost 40lbs and found that I was able to keep it off over time.”  Other encouraging and inspiring reviews can be found at the No S Diet free website.

Unlike many other diet books, the reasonably priced slim paperback is packed with practical advice, with chapters that explore each of the three S’s in depth instead of focusing on nutritional content and research data.  Although good research is important, I appreciated Engel’s direct approach and acknowledgement that he isn’t an expert.  He gives simple advice that has worked for him and many others.

This is week number four for me on the No S Diet.  The S’s are simple to remember, but I’ve been surprised what hard work it is to reform my habits.  In my favorite chapter – Building the No S Habit – authors Engels and Kallen paint this picture: “Your rational self is like an animal trainer locked in a cage with a fearsome beast” (p 115).  My tiger is addicted to sugar.  It’s going to take a lot of retraining to tame this wild habit of mine!

If you read the book or try the diet, let us know.  Share your feedback in the comments.

Find The No S Diet on Amazon.com

— Kelli Christianson

You snooze, you lose!

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Getting enough sleep can be challenging for pastors.  You never know when you will receive a call from a parishioner in need in the middle of the night, and the demands on your time often leave space for yourself only very early in the morning or late at night.

sleep on deskBut if you’re trying to lose weight, not getting enough sleep can set you up for failure.

Perhaps this story sounds familiar: Lack of sleep results in mid-day fatigue.  To combat this, you reach for a cup of coffee and snack to get through a mid-day meeting, but feel too fatigued to fit in an afternoon workout at the Y.  In the evening, the caffeine from earlier in the day is still cycling through your bloodstream, so you decide you may as well work on a sermon or channel surf to de-stress from the day.  Late night hours then become a dangerous time for snacking on comfort foods before you finally get to bed, only to start a similar routine in a few short hours.

The result is sleep debt — a deficit that continues to build and carries high interest rates, just like a credit card.  Not getting enough shut-eye has implications on your overall health, particularly when you are trying to lose weight.

Persistent lack of sleep influences the hormone levels that play key roles in metabolism.  When you are sleep-deprived, your body maintains more ghrelin, a hormone that triggers hunger and reduces energy expenditure, but it also holds onto less leptin, a hormone that signals satiety.  The result is a perfect hormonal storm of more eating, a lessened satisfaction with food, and a slowed metabolism, all ending in weight gain.

Emerging research suggests that sleep is critical to fat loss as well.  A recent study out of the University of Chicago compared the weight lost of dieters over a two week period.  Some had sufficient sleep; others were sleep deprived.  Though the two groups lost similar amounts of weight, those who were well-rested lost twice as much fat as those who burned the midnight oil.

So, if you’re making commitments to improve your diet and exercise more, these ten tips for improved sleep may help you on your way to weight loss success.

by Catherine Wilson