May 31, 2016
Technology has gotten its hands on everything, and health and fitness is no different. Whether it’s your phone, tablet, or even your watch, something to aid you in your health is a push or a click away. To make sure we are taking advantage of our devices’ (and our app stores) fullest capabilities, we took a look at seven of the top Android and Apple health and fitness apps on the market. Even though some of them have in app-purchases (meaning you can buy a feature or package that may enhance your experience using the app), all the apps on this list are free to download to your device. Let’s get started! (Note: This list is in no particular order of preference. Choose the app that works best for you!)
1. Tabata Timer
Tabata is a form of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) — simply put, it requires doing a lot of exercise in a short amount of time. A Tabata workout will consist of a certain amount of seconds a user will work out and a certain amount of seconds they rest; For example, while doing four minutes of pushups, a user is challenged to perform 20 seconds of pushups and then rest for 10 for the complete four minutes. This app is ideal for that. Users simply set how many seconds they are going to work out, then how many seconds they rest, and how many rounds they do it for. You can even add a song to play during the workout to keep you pushing through it. Get it now: iTunes -- Google Play.
2. BodySpace (Developer: Bodybuilding.com)
This is the mobile hub of one of the biggest health websites on the internet, Bodybuilding.com. With this app, users can follow a workout routine, create one of their own, and find different exercises and the body parts they wish to focus on. They even enter competitions for cash prizes! But maybe its coolest feature is its online community, where users can find friends and challenge each other to take their workouts to the next level. Get it now: iTunes -- Google Play.
3. MapMyRun (Developer: MapMyFitness, Inc.)
For the runners out there, this app lets you track your journey step-by-step. This app measures the distance a user runs, the route their journey took them through, the pace they ran at, and logs all of their runs. Hit a personal best? This app will let users share the run on social media for ultimate bragging rights. Get it now: iTunes -- Google Play. For the more outdoorsy type, there is also a MapMyHike app. Get it now: iTunes -- Google Play.
4. MyFitnessPal (Developer: MyFitnessPal, Inc.)
MyFitnessPal is one of the most popular calorie counting apps on Android and Apple devices. It has a huge database consisting of over 6,000,000 foods. This app can connect to pretty much any fitness device (e.g. Fitbit, Garmin, Jawbone, etc.). And, if you don’t have a device, it can still track a user’s exercise. Get it now: iTunes -- Google Play.
5. FitStar Personal Trainer (Developer: FitStar, Inc.)
The common excuse, “I don’t have time to work out,” is a thing of the past with FitStar, the app that gives users a workout that they can perform anywhere. What makes this app interesting is its dynamic adjustment of user goals, capabilities, and feedback — just like a personal trainer. FitStar Personal Trainer has an accompanying yoga app, called FitStar Yoga. Just like its personal trainer cohort, FitStar Yoga is ideal for people that are trying to get a session in no matter the time or place. Get it: now: iTunes -- Google Play.
6. HealthyOut Healthy Meal Finder (Developer: Rise Labs, Inc.)
Want to go out to eat but don’t want your diet to crash and burn because of the meal? HealthyOut will helps users find healthy dining out selections in their area. Users can search for meals by type of dish, specific ingredients they would like to have, or the type of cuisine. Want a Mediterranean high protein meal? This app will find a place in your area if there is one. Get it now: iTunes -- Google Play.
7. Applicable App for Your Fitness Device
Whether you have a Fitbit, Nike Fuelband, Jawbone or a Garmin, make sure you get the accompanying mobile app for the device. You will be able to do some neat things like mark down your personal records, change your device settings, and even make your device an alarm clock. It’s all about personalization, so make it yours and own it!
Blog written by Marcus Miller/Robard Corporation
May 26, 2016
Exercise: Are you exhausted and intimidated by just looking at that word? Especially for those unaccustomed to getting regular exercise, the thought if it conjures up images of sweat, discomfort, pain, boredom, embarrassment, and many other unpleasant thoughts. Experts constantly point to the importance of diet coupled with exercise to achieve weight loss goals. However, something that often gets left out of the equation that many are saying is just as important, as well as more enjoyable, than exercise is physical activity. But isn’t physical activity and exercise the same thing? The answer is kind of, but not really.
Physical activity is movement that is carried out by the skeletal muscles that requires energy. In other words, any movement one does is actually physical activity.
Exercise, however, is planned, structured, repetitive and intentional movement intended to improve or maintain physical fitness. Exercise is a subcategory of physical activity.
So while going to the gym and lifting weights might be an exercise that can help improve your physical fitness, it is not the only form of physical activity that can provide important health benefits, and help you avoid a number of different chronic health conditions.
Luckily, physical activity is a very broad idea and can incorporate many different kinds of activities, some that we really enjoy. And so the idea of getting more physical activity doesn’t need to be accompanied with the same kind of dread that going to the gym might. Maybe you really love salsa dancing at family parties, or taking walks helps you to clear your mind. Think about all the things you love to do that require you to move your body and figure out how you can incorporate those movements into your daily routine. As you add more physical activity to your life, you’ll start to see the difference in your energy levels, body composition, and mental outlook… and then maybe exercising at the gym won’t seem that bad anymore!
For more inspiration on different kinds of physical activities that will get you off the couch and moving, check out our list of 10 Fun Physical Activities for Weight Loss!Sources: Ace Fitness, World Health Organization
Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation
May 24, 2016
For Melanie Cain, being overweight kept her from living the active life she wanted to live. She couldn’t get down on the floor to play with her grandchildren. And the thought of putting on a bathing suit deterred her from boating with her husband. But the last straw was her mom’s final wish. She wanted Melanie to get her weight under control so she could live a healthy and fulfilling life.
“I was determined,” says Cain, who joined the medical weight loss program at the Center for Weight Management at Gwinnett Medical Center in August 2015, “and I was going to take all the advice I could get from the experts.”
One “aha” moment was in a group discussion, facilitated by Rebecca Gomez, Psy.D., clinical psychologist and behavioral health coordinator for the program, when Cain learned about journaling. Now, she journals about what she eats, food labels, trips to the grocery store and even writes words of encouragement to herself.
“My motto is this: the food I’m putting in my mouth — is it fuel for my body or not?” asks Cain. “Journaling definitely holds me accountable for what goes in my mouth and the amount of food consumed.”
Now approaching the summer of 2016, Cain achieved her goal, losing more than 70 pounds. With newfound energy, she can play on the floor with her grandchildren. Plus, she’s overcome her dread of wearing a bathing suit, and is taking her whole family on their first beach vacation in twelve years.
“I had struggled with weight my whole life and tried multiple programs” says Cain. “No program has ever given me the tools to be successful before. I have learned so much about nutrition, the emotional aspect of eating and the importance of exercise. Intellectually I knew what I was supposed to do, but never knew the reasons behind it.”
Cain also says she learned how important protein is in your diet.” It’s not just about counting calories. And I learned my body really does need eight hours of sleep at night. Plus, to count as exercise it doesn’t have to be a big deal—any movement is better than none.”
About the Center for Weight Management
The Center for Weight Management at Gwinnett Medical Center is a leader in both medical weight management and bariatric surgery. They offer a multidisciplinary team to work with patients throughout their journey to better health, providing medical, dietary, exercise, behavioral and peer support designed to meet their individual needs.
Robard Customers: Do you have a Weight Loss Success Story you’d like to Share?
Do you have a success story from working with a dieter in your center, or perhaps a success story about how you launched a new program or service in your center that you would like to possibly have featured in an upcoming Robard Blog? If so, send us your story in 400 words or less — and any pictures showcasing the story — to SuccessStories@Robard.com. If your story is selected, it will be featured in an upcoming Robard Blog — plus you’ll receive a free ad for your center for a two-week period on the Robard Blog!
Dieters: Ready to Start your Own Journey?
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May 19, 2016
There’s no denying that food makes us feel good. There’s something about that tub of Häagen-Dazs after your first major breakup or devouring that entire bag of chips while you’re up late cramming for an exam that is immensely satisfying. When we eat large amounts of food — especially “comfort” or junk foods — in response to feelings as opposed to hunger, it’s called emotional eating. And while it may seem harmless, emotional eating is actually a form of disordered eating that can send your weight spiraling out of control before you know it.
The link between food and emotions has been well documented. Carbs can cause actual changes in your brain chemistry, boosting a chemical in the brain called serotonin. The higher the levels of serotonin, the more content you feel (at least temporarily). Overeating can also be related to chronic stress, which creates elevated levels of the hormone cortisol, tricking your body into thinking you’re going through a famine and increasing food cravings. And according to a recent study from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, consumption of foods high in sugar and fat releases dopamine, the chemical that stimulates the brain’s pleasure center and makes us feel euphoric. That chocolate is actually working like a drug in your body, numbing feelings of stress or sadness, and giving you a temporary high… with a much less temporary muffin top!
If you are unsure about whether or not you are emotionally eating, look to these four tell-tale signs:
• You eat when you are not physically hungry.
• It is hard to find food that satisfies you.
• Cravings are triggered by an emotion such as anger, anxiety, or boredom, etc.
• Comfort eating has a mindless component to it. You may not enjoy or taste the food because you are eating it mechanically, as if in a trance.
While emotional eating can feel great at the height of a stressful situation, making it a habit can have a negative impact on your life, as well as sabotaging your weight loss goals. But like any other lifestyle change, emotional eating can be controlled through awareness and the consistent practice of new behaviors, with some helpful tips like these:
1. To deal with food cravings that result from negative emotions, check out our 5 Tips to Control Your Worst Food Cravings.
2. Use your non-dominant hand to eat. A 2011 study by researchers from the University of Southern California found that this practical strategy can reduce the amount that you eat. This action breaks up the automatic hand-to-mouth flow and encourages you to think about each bite.
3. Develop an awareness of your emotions and what feelings give you the urge to eat. Start a journal and write it down so you can start to figure out what your triggers are.
4. Replace food with a more positive coping mechanism. Once you’ve identified what feelings make you want to eat, replace the urge to eat with a different activity — it can be something fun, physical, or even creative. Make it something you enjoy doing that can serve as a pick-me-up on a tough day that doesn’t add calories.
Take control of your weight by taking control of your emotions. With a little bit of practice, you can put a stop to emotional eating… and you’ll be happy you did!
Sources: Dr. Oz, Shape, Everyday Health, CNN
Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation
May 13, 2016
As the old saying goes, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Oh, but if only healthy eating could be as simple as that! According to the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation’s 2012 Food & Health Survey, most Americans (52 percent) have concluded that figuring out their income taxes is easier than knowing what they should and shouldn’t eat to be healthier. However, despite how confusing healthy eating can seem, one thing is for sure: if you don’t have healthy options available in your kitchen, you’re not likely to eat healthy. So a good place to start if you are looking to eat healthier is… your grocery list.
With the grab and go lifestyle of convenience that many of us are used to living, it often feels so much easier on the brain and on the budget to load up on unhealthy pre-packaged or ready-made foods. (Pop-Tarts are kind of like fruit, right?) But also consider that while unhealthy packaged goods may be easy and cost less in the short term, being overweight or obese can cost you much more in the long-term, with obese individuals having medical costs that are on average $1,429 more than those of normal weight (roughly 42 percent higher).
However, getting on a path to a healthier diet doesn’t always have to be as complicated as it seems, and adding just a few healthier items to your grocery list can create opportunities to drastically change up your diet for the better. Plus, sometimes our convenience-oriented society can work to our advantage. One you have some healthier items stocked up in your kitchen, check out websites like Supercook, which will generate wholesome recipes for any meal based on what you currently have in your kitchen. Pretty easy, right?
To begin getting your healthy shopping list on track, check out our list below of 10 healthy and versatile foods you should add to your grocery list this week that will allow you to put together a number of healthy and satisfying meals, but won’t add too much stress, time, or inconvenience. What other healthy foods are must-haves for your list? Share with us on Facebook!
Sources: Healthy Eating Guide, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, Institute of Food Technologists
Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation
May 4, 2016
As the old saying goes: “You are what you eat.” And realistically, most people would rather be chocolate than broccoli. A common misconception about dieting is that it takes the joy out of food and eating. Although the weight loss results we hope for when we commit to a diet feel pretty exciting, the actual work of swearing off the junky foods we love in favor of healthier ones can leave us feeling down in the dumps.
But dieters don’t have to expect that a healthy diet will be depressing. In fact, there are a number of healthy foods out there that not only taste great, but they have been scientifically shown to actually boost your mood. That’s right… eating healthy is not only good for your body; it’s also good for your state of mind.
And the clincher? Mood has a reciprocal effect on healthy eating. So the more positive your mood, chances are the likelier you will be to make healthy eating choices. Researchers found that individuals select healthy or "indulgent" foods depending on whether they're in a good or a bad mood, respectively. They discovered that if you think about what you're grateful for, you'll eat up to 77 percent healthier. This is because individuals in positive moods who make healthier food choices are often thinking more about future health benefits than those in negative moods, who focus more on immediate taste and sensory experiences.
Science can have a great way of reminding us how interconnected our minds, bodies, and hearts truly are. If you want to explore how foods can have a positive impact on your mood, click through the slideshow below for five examples of foods with naturally mood-boosting properties. Next time you’re feeling low, give one of them a try. Now that’s food for thought!
Sources: Live Science
, Eating Well
, Real Natural
, Cornell UniversityBlog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation