Looking for a leg up on how to stay fit and healthy this holiday season?
Digital health may be your new best friend.
Statistics show the average American gains 3-5lbs from mid November to early January. Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan, or Thanksgiving, the last 2 months of the year pose unique challenges to our global waistline.
With the rise of digital health applications, quantified self, and mHealth, we now have powerfully liberating toolsets that are poised to help us collectively go against the grain of holiday weight-gain.
Increased mindfulness through digital health technology can enable us to move past traditions of social pressures that instill values in childhood towards “cleaning your plate” mixed with a side of varied ethnic normalcies toward overindulgence.
By understanding that excessive eating is a learned behavior, we now have the awareness and the digital platforms to drive a more sustainable eating practice, which places health for oneself as paramount over unconscious habits.
Here are the top 10 digital health applications to have in your pocket this Thanksgiving:
Meal Snap- Lets you take pictures of the meals you eat, and then magically tells you what food was in your meal.
My Fitness Pal- Free access to the world's largest nutrition and calorie database — over 4 million foods.
Lose It!- Seamlessly connect the people, devices, and food information you need to achieve your weight loss goals.
Dailyburn- Fitness plans, nutritional tracking, and social motivation to help you reach your health and fitness goals.
My Plate by Livestrong- One-Click Tracking, workout programs, daily motivations, and personalized meal plans.
Fitbit- Combines nutrient, exercise, steps, sleep, and activity tracking into a simple and easy UI dashboard.
My Net Diary – Food and exercise tracking, nutrition database 634,000 foods, and community supported by dietitian.
Foodzy- Personal food journal, find products, track fluid level & food halo, weight, and exercise.
Fitday- Track and analyze your nutrition, weight loss, diet, and fitness over the web.
Vessyl- Vessyl helps you understand how your “liquid calories” add up over the course of the day and week.
Next Steps: Combine your health application with these 3 quick tips on actionable strategies this holiday season and you're sure to be slim in the new year:
Plan for the worst, eat for the best
Try eating a small balanced meal 2 hours before you show up to the Thanksgiving dinner table. This will ensure that your eyes aren't hungrier than your stomach and will enable you to fully enjoy the company of friends and family without feeling the need to mindlessly graze.
Fill up on protein
The bio-available nutrients in high-quality protein like free-range dark meat turkey will increase satiety and help to accelerate leptin uptake by the brain.
Empower yourself with digital health applications
With the new era of digital health and quantified self, we now have a way to deviate from the hyper-palatability of modern processed foods that are a physiological driver to eat that extra helping of stuffing.
Whatever application or digital health application you choose, these ideas can be applied year round. Imagine how accomplished you'll feel taking these tools into birthdays, office parties, and social outings!
With digital health on our side, we don't have to fight the battle of the bulge anymore. Instead, I invite you to discover a new paradigm of mindfulness:
Technology enables systems that help us be the best version of ourselves.
As stated by IBM Quality expert, H. James Harrington:
“Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.”
Digital health isn't just for holidays; it is a personal activity mirror that we can use to shine light on our behavior and ourselves all year round.
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Josh Trent NASM CES, CHEK HLC 1
About the author: Josh Trent, NASM-CES, CPT, HLC, is a corrective exercise specialist and participatory sports technology expert with over 9 years in the fitness industry. His passion is to accelerate wellness evolution through the power of the Digital Health and Quantified Self movements. You can follow him on Twitter @wellnessforce, or through his website www.wellnessforce.com.