Once upon a time I did Insanity to get in shape for a bridesmaid dress.
I've got to say it did give insane results, they weren't kidding! But I was hungry ALL THE TIME and was counting calories with My Fitness Pal to make sure that I ate enough. I think it's a really good app, but the thing is that it takes a lot of work to log everything.
Especially since I favored stir-fries, so every meal I had to log up to five different vegetables plus protein and it got overwhelming. For someone who likes easy solutions to things and habits that are easy to keep, it's not something I can keep up for long.
But I've discovered a much better solution for times I want to keep my track my eating habits -- the free app YouAte!
Instead of counting calories, you simply take a picture of what you're about to eat and click "on path" or "off path." Simple as that!
If you want an easy, straight-forward, and mindful way to track your food and eating habits, YouAte is definitely the way to go. Keep reading for the 7 reasons I love and recommend this app! :)
(I'm in no way trashing calorie counting! I think it's a really awesome way to get healthy, and I applaud your diligence! This is for the people who already have a lot on their plate (ha!) living with anxiety or depression and get easily overwhelmed by life as it is, or just have busy lives and limited time.)
1. It's a simple yes or no
Instead of having to think about fat content or calories you simply ask yourself; is this on the path I'm trying to be or not? Having it be a simple yes or no can help enormously in staying on path.
When I was 100% Paleo, my life was so easy (and I've never been in better shape!). Instead of going back and forth between "Ugh, I really shouldn't have that cookie..." and "But it's only one cookie, maybe I will have one? It looks so good!" it was a simple "No, I don't eat that." It was really freeing, actually. We have a limited amount of willpower, so let's cut down on the things we have to use it on!
2. Instead of logging calories, you just take a picture
If you don't thrive on meal prepping and eating the same thing day after day, it gets really tedious having to find the specific food every meal on My Fitness Pal. Not to mention eye-balling how many cups/grams it is of each, if you don't have a food scale!
I really love that all you have to do is snap a quick picture for your timeline and you're good to go. (If you forget before devouring your meal, like I often do, you can also write what you ate. But I love the visual aspect of it!)
Photo by Carissa Gan
3. It teaches you to be mindful of your eating
This step is optional, but I recommend doing it for a week or so because it is such a brilliant tool to find out why and where you eat! You answer things like:
4. It tells you your progress and stats
After every meal you log, it says how you are doing with your goal, for example, "82% Today." This is great if you like to compete a bit with yourself, because do you really want to break your 100% streak? It also shows how long it has been since you last ate. This can help you cut down on mindless snacking!
You can also see daily and weekly averages and different pie charts, like how often you ate because you were bored. It can be helpful to see that you for example tend to eat candy in your car when you're stressed. Can you eliminate these stressors? Can you keep healthy snacks in the car?
I submit a lot to emotional eating, so it will be really good for me to see just how often I do that and if there's a specific time of day I tend to do this.
5. You can pick your own goal and guidelines
We're all on different paths, and we need different things at different times of our lives. For me my goal is to simply "eat healthier." Which is a pretty loose guideline, I know. But then you add Steps I will take, like:
6. You can set meal reminders
If you forget to eat meals or need more structure, you can enable meal notifications to ensure you stick to your goals! I use alarms a lot for appointments and such, so this can be really useful.
7. You can add liquid intake and activity
This is only available on the paid plan, but it is an option if you want to keep all your tracking in one place. A yearly plan is around $35. (I only use it every now and then, so the free plan is perfectly adequate for me.)
So there you have it! I think it's such an effective tool without being overbearing. I mean, a lot of people take photos of their food for Instagram anyway! And since it's a free resource, there's no harm in checking it out and see how it works for you and your life. Go to YouAte!
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Hi, I'm Erika!
I know what it's like living with anxiety and depression, but living and living are very different things. I believe in practical tips and methods, and I will use them to help you be the brave, daring, darling individual you are.
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