Pocket Motivation: The 5 Best Weight Loss Apps

girl - weight lossNow that you’re addicted, ahem, acclimated to your smartphone, you’ve undoubtedly started downloading a multitude of apps. Glorious, glorious apps! And studies have shown that keeping track of your food intake is one of the easiest ways to achieve your weight loss goals, and what’s easier than using a device you already keep on you 24/7? But, as you’ve undoubtedly also heard, it’s just an important to stay active. Staying healthy or losing weight is hard work, so here are five of the best apps for exercise, healthy eating and weight management.

1. Lose it!

By inputting both your current weight and goal weight, the app calculates an estimated number of calories to eat per day and helps you stay committed to small healthy habits that lead to big results. Finding and logging said foods is also as easy as scanning bar codes to pull nutritional information from a massive food database. This nifty feature helps you stay accurate when grabbing snacks on the go. [Read more...]

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Gift Ideas for the Sustainable Health Enthusiast

giftsThe healthiest people typically have three things in common: a devotion to fitness that anybody would envy, a knack for whipping up good-for-you & delicious foods, and looking fab in sustainable clothing that doesn’t smell like hemp. These gifts, hand-picked for the Macy’s Holiday Gift Guide, will help anyone live well, without that “what are you implying with this gift?” awkwardness. Shop away!

  1. Mat Carrier: Everything you need and nothing you don’t (however, the pockets even have pockets, so you’ll definitely be able to fit all the essentials!) It’s a great stocking stuffer for the fitness buff in your family!
  2. Soy-based, Essential Oil Candles: Soy candles burn cleaner without chemicals and create a bit of warmth for any room. You can even try making your own!
  3. Bike: Anytime you use a bike instead of a car, you’re saving the environment. But some bikes are “greener” than others. If the city-dweller you know has talked about how she’s determined to turn into a bike commuter, look for a light, but sturdy frame.
  4. Fitbit: It will count her steps, track calories, and decode her sleep. It might now walk the dog, but for a gal (or guy) who wants health to be their number-one priority, this activity device rules!
  5. Monogrammed yoga mat: For that yogi with the mostest, why not order a custom yoga mat? Monograms are embroidered, not printed, using rayon thread. The extra-thick mats are latex-free and free of heavy metals.
  6. Sony W Series Walkman, Meb Keflezighi: More than anyone else, a triathlete or marathon-winner-in-training needs workout headphones that don’t budge. Added bonus, these come pre-loaded with tips and techniques from Olympian Meb, himself!
  7. Gaiam videos: From the fitness newbie to the seasoned enthusiast, Gaiam yoga and Pilates DVDs are the best because they have a large variety of styles and instructors.
  8. Patterned Brita pitchers: Rehydrate in style! Featuring a bold geometric pattern in three color ways, you can give the gift of great-tasting, cleaner water, while simultaneously enhancing the decor.
  9. Xo(eco) by BlueAvocado Lunch Kit With Lunch Case: The unique XO(eco) lunch kit makes greening lunch a no brainer. Made from 50 percent post-consumer recycled bottle fabric, the girl looking for some pizzaz will be the envy of the lunch room.
  10. Key Ingredient Recipe Reader: Help that hard-core chef build a collection of her favorite recipes in one sleek, splash-proof device. It even converts measurements, suggests recipe substitutions and will help her time the next big dinner party perfectly.
  11. Sesame Oil or Coconut Oil: Although great for cooking, these also make a great gift for the body! Sesame oil has warming qualities and is great for dry, chapped skin. Coconut oil provides better relief for itchy, hot or rashy skin. You can find either at your local health food store.
  12. Homemade Organic Goodies: Just make your favorite treats, find a unique mason jar or glass to hold them in and, voila! Pinterest is always brimming with great ideas.

About the Author: Jonathan Needham is a fitness instructor and dedicated yogi from the Midwest.

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Time to Take a Stand for Good Health

I hope you’re sitting down when you read this; it’s quite alarming.

Hmmm, actually, I hope you’re not.

overweight man on couch with beer

Most of us have sedentary lifestyles.

In many cases, rocks move more than us. I say this neither to induce shame nor guilt, but because – well, that’s just the way it is. Unless you’re an athlete or you have a job that’s got you on your feet all day long, a 2008 report showed that the average American spends about 7.7 hours per day plopped on an ever-expanding tushie. An Australian study says, “The average adult spends 50 to 70 percent of their time sitting;” a majority of his or her life.

It’s not difficult to get there. Consider an office job, relaxing in front of the TV, sitting at the dinner table, reading a book, driving to work, watching DVDs, going to the movies, playing video games; the list goes on. I mean, if we used our feet half as much as we used our behinds, we’d have shapely legs and firm butts; which sure as heck wouldn’t be a bad thing.

With the exception of walking my dog, conducting meetings, or going to Zumba, I spend most of my day in front of a computer screen. For goodness sakes, I’m doing it right now writing this piece. You might not be a computer jockey like me but I bet your life is similar.

What’s alarming is that recent research is showing that type of lifestyle can be as unhealthy as smoking.

Want to know the details? (Actually, you don’t; but I’m going to tell you anyway.) [Read more...]

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