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Diane Randall
Certified Wellness Coach & Self Care Expert, Speaker and Author

She speaks and writes on a variety of wellness and self care topics related to women.

"Whether it is about work life balance, health or lifestyle changes, my favorite wellness coaching conversations have to do with transition. It's exciting to see what happens when we take calculated risks in order to realize our true goals.”


How I Lost 10 Pounds Using My iPhone

A series of small events took place in my life recently that led me to a discovery I felt I had to share with other people – and their cell phones.

We all want to empower ourselves in every aspect of our lives, improving our health and well-being, and ultimately, our overall quality of life. But sometimes, it's difficult to see a starting point, once we've determined to make a new beginning.

For me, a starting point was partially defined when a routine visit to my primary physician revealed a cholesterol count of 219. My physician recommended a statin medication that would be taken for the rest of my life, to bring my cholesterol within a healthy range. I didn't feel a statin medication was the only, and best, resolution and decided to seek a second opinion with a doctor whose approach to health care was more holistic – finding health solutions that brought balance to one's health.

The integrative-internal medicine doctor I visited believed in establishing a baseline for a patient through a thorough physical exam and blood work, and then developing treatments that encompassed nutrition and exercise first and prescription drug therapies last.

This baseline became the foundation for my empowerment and improvement starting point. Being given the knowledge that I had a potential health problem and a target number – 219 – that identified the health threat, I had a well-defined goal to target from my starting point.

Without this information, and a doctor who was willing to work with me to bring balance back to my physical health through holistic measures, my idea of health improvements would have been simply to try to lose the extra 10 pounds that had eased onto my body.

Losing weight is the top health issue in this country right now. With over 60% of Americans (including kids) struggling with poor nutrition, poor eating habits, and nearly non-existent exercise regimens, obesity has become a national health concern that is starting to skew forecasts for life expectancy and life-threatening diseases. As a nation with too many persons living out of balance lives, we need to make changes – and right away.

Like many of us, my busy life seemed organized, balanced, and for the most part I felt I used my time, energy, and technologies to good advantage. Yet, I still couldn't find a focused approach to shed those 10 pounds. And now, one doctor visit had revealed that my lack of focus was allowing my health to be threatened.

My integrative medicine doctor assigned me to a health coach, who worked with me to develop a low glycemic food list and meal plan, along with a structured physical fitness plan. The treatment plan's emphasis was on improving my whole health, and not about losing weight.

My health coach also suggested that I track my food intake and exercise daily to identify exactly what I was eating and how I was exercising each day. At this point, she matter-of-factly handed me several tracking sheets for logging this daily information – and I knew I'd encountered my first hurdle.

I have had excellent success integrating technologies into my lifestyle, which allow me more flexibility in my daily planning and even in my long-term goals. To incorporate pencil and paper daily logs into my active life just wasn't a good fit. That was when my new iphone came to my rescue.

Checking out health tracker applications available for my iphone, I found an inexpensive food and exercise tracker – Tap & Track by nanobitsoftware. This simple, but comprehensive, application easily allowed me to log my daily food and exercise. Within the first week, I became conscious of the fact that what I ate wasn't as much of a problem as how much of it I was eating! Portion control was definitely a controllable issue – and it had only taken me a few days to discover it.

As I entered each log entry, I gained a new awareness of behaviors that had simply been slipping past me for years. Now that I was making a conscious effort to acknowledge what I was eating, when and how much I was eating, it helped me understand why I was eating and how I had developed some unhealthy habits. Once my habits had been exposed, I began to make conscious eating choices – not just eating, but also deciding what I was going to put into my body and why.

Recording my calorie intake and the calories burned through exercise each day was simple to do on my iphone and I found that since my focus was on tracking, monitoring, and developing conscious eating habits, I didn't experience the stress and anxiety that sometimes comes with a new “dieting to lose weight” plan. I tracked my actions, adjusted my portions, introduced exercise options to boost energy levels so lower nutrition foods weren't a temptation (the infamous “sugar” boost) – and I lost my 10 pounds.

I mean, I really lost it. I don't know where it went, but it took a lot of body fat with it.

For me, tracking my food and exercise on my iphone was my starting point. I had the mindset and desire to make a health change in my life and achieve a greater balance in my body's overall health, but I still needed a starting point and a way to implement my move forward from that point.

Many people face a general malaise in their physical health, an imbalance that may not be obvious, but finally exposes its potential for life-altering disease in a simple confrontation of facts. This exposure could be handed to you as unexpected news of your health by your doctor, or by realizing that your physical capabilities are changing and are beginning to impose some limits on your lifestyle.

We all tuck little changes in our health into the back of our mind and then move on, busying ourselves with pressing life tasks. These little changes are signals…signals that can be identified through tracking what you eat and how you exercise. Your caloric intake, the types of foods you are consuming and the amount of exercise you give your body can all tell you why you have a few extra pounds or are feeling tired or don't have the stamina you once had.

Using the Tap & Track on my iphone, I discovered that the foundation of my success was in gaining awareness and becoming very conscious of what I ate and how much physical activity I got in an average day. Once I knew exactly what I was doing, I was able to change what I was doing.

I feel that, through this process of tracking my foods and exercise, I have become more self-reflective and more conscious of what I put into my body. I have become more empowered with a new level of clarity and personal understanding that has made it possible to see my goals successfully through to completion.

Today, I have reached a point where my tracking is a natural process and I no longer need to input data into my iphone. I firmly believe that with targeted self-awareness, you can train your mind and create healthy habits for a lifetime.

Here's hoping that my experience will help you track, identify, and move into a lifestyle that helps you become happier, healthier, and balanced in body, mind and spirit.

 

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