Monday, 31 December 2012

Apps to track weight loss (or gain!)

I do love a good app, especially if it's free. To help me get on track for my healthy (well healthier) January as part of Operation Mojo I thought I would check out some of the free apps for iPhone that help monitor weight loss.

My Criteria

  • It must be free (currently)
  • It must be an iPhone app as I have an iPhone 5 and I want to quickly record info on the go
  • It must allow me to enter my weight each day
  • It must plot the information on a graph- because I like a visual of how I'm doing
  • I don't want to record calorie intake or what exercise I am doing so I haven't looked at apps where you can enter that additional information

(In the order I downloaded them)

BMI Buddy by 1/5

  • You can record lots of measurements, but not measurements I am interested in (not sure where I would measure my abdomen for instance and I don't know what my subscapular is)
  • Graphs plot BMI and caliper measurements against time
  • Male friendly
  • Designed for personal trainers to keep track of their clients, so less suited to individuals (unless you happen to have a pair of calipers).
  • You can only enter whole kg (or lbs)
Monitor Your Weight by Husain Al-Bustan 4/5

  • Allows you to enter a Start Date and Start weight so you can start using the app after to you have already started to change shape and still show total loss (or gain)
  • Suggests ideal weight and a target date, but you can overwrite these (which is handy because I know I can't eat and maintain the weight it suggested for me).
  • It suggests the amount of calories you use per day based on your life style and weight/ height
  • It has a good summary page including how close you are to your goal weight and time as well as average daily and weekly loss
  • It doesn't have adverts (currently)
  • The graph shows baseline and actual weight
  • It has a handy in app help section
  • You can track multiple people
  • You can export your entries via email, good for back up
  • You can't record measurements

Weight Recorder by Travis Luke My Rating 3/5

  • You can import and export data
  • It will automatically calculate your percentage body fat from your bmi or from key measurements
  • You choose for the graph to show Weight, BMI, Body fat or waist measurements
  • No Adverts
  • You can't enter targets

BMI Tracker by Mindlowned My Rating 2.5/ 5

  • Very Simple: you enter your weight and it shows it in a list and on a graph as your BMI
  • The graph is coloured to show you if you Obese, Over Weight, Normal or Under Weight

  • You can't record any measurements
  • You can't set targets (it's based on reaching/maintaining a normal BMI)
  • Adverts are next to where you need to press to view the graph which gets in the way

NHS BMI healthy weight calculator and tracker by NHS Choices My Rating 3/5

  • You can set reminders as either a one off, weekly or monthly
  • Nice simple summary page showing you your BMI is in the range and your last weight entered
  • You can easily switch between a graph showing weight or BMI against time
  • You can add multiple users
  • It provides some (basic) advice about what you can do to change your BMI
  • No Adverts
  • You can easily change your height, this shouldn't be required once set up
  • You can't record any measurements
  • You can't set targets (it's based on reaching/maintaining a normal BMI)

Fitter Fitness Calculator & Weight Tracker by MigoApps LLC My Rating 3/5

  • When you enter a new weight you can share it via facebook and twitter
  • You can set a goal of either maintaining current weight or losing a specified amount a week.  If you enter your target weight it also tells you when you can expect to reach it
  • The graph shows your actual and target weight
  • You can enter and calculate your BMI, BMR, body fat and waist to hip ratio.
  • It has a good summary page of where you are now which links to a number of graphs
  • The adverts make the information on screen a bit squashed, this feels worse on my iPhone 5 as it's not optimised for the longer screen and I generally don't like the look and feel, although the functionality is ok
  • Back up, password etc require an upgrade (£1.49)

Tap Weight Free by Olexandr Luchlovsky My Rating 2/5

  • If you want a very simple app to just record weight this is it.
  • You can enter historical weights
  • No adverts
  • If you turn your phone sideways you get a larger graph which allows you to look at more historic data and change the scale
  • You can't enter anything other than weight
  • Too basic for me
  • You can't set a target

Weight Diary Free by My Rating 3/5

  • You can protect your information with a Passcode
  • Good summary screen shows current weight, goal  weight, BMI and a graph or log of previous data or a summary of progress to date
  • You can export data to dropbox
  • Additional features require an Upgrade (69p)

I'm going to continue using a few of them for a couple of weeks to decide which one works best for me

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Operation Mojo

It's that time when people reflect on the year that is past and what the year ahead holds. Many will make a resolution to change or improve themselves, and I am no different.  My New Years resolution is shaped by the problem that I no longer fit into my work trousers (again). So it is time to lose weight (again).

It's well known that you are more likely to lose weight if you have support. It's the reason WeightWatchers and Slimming World are so successful. For some time Twitter has been my source of support so it made sense that I used the medium of a tweet to ask for help and companionship. And my call was answered.

Among the people who replied was Heidi @anewmother who suggested the hashtag "#OperationMojo".  I love it.  The idea comes from an article by Claire of @MinistryOfMum which you can read here, but in essence it talks about finding you again: the you that was lost when you got caught up in being a parent or otherwise being an adult.

Operation Mojo isn't about losing weight, getting fit or anything else so boring. Being a size zero doesn't make people happy.  To rediscover a lust for life requires more.  For me I need to lose a bit of weight because a muffin top gets in the way of my confidence. I can't walk with a swing in my step if I am focusing on sucking my tummy in.  For you the key to finding your Mojo maybe something else.

Choose your key and join in.  #OperationMojo starts the 1st January

Happy New Year

Silent Sunday

Big gloves, little lady

Silent Sunday

Monday, 24 December 2012

12 days of Christmas: an ode to parents

My alternative lyrics to the 12 days of Christmas for all the tired parents with beautiful, amazing children:

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me:

12 minutes sit down
11 loads of washing
10 hours cleaning for
9 seconds tidy
8's past your bedtime
7 times awaking
6am's a lie in
"No, not the tree!"
For heaven's sake
Three minutes more
To give me a break
So I can have a cold cup of tea

Merry Christmas everyone

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Material Girl

I was watching the news recently and there was a story that really got to me. I'm still upset by it a week later. The story was about a landslide which had resulted in a number of houses being condemned. They had an interview with a lady who lived in one of the houses and she said she was given half an hour to collect her belongings before the property was closed off ready to be destroyed. Imagine: just half an hour to pack up all the items that mean the most to you.

I'm not really sure why it bothers me so much.  If there was a fire in your house you would probably lose everything and what should really matter is your family is ok. Possessions are just things. I like my possessions though. The idea of starting again really scares me.


If you had half an hour to pack up your house what would you take?

Anything in my loft would be ruled out as it would take up too much time to get to so that's goodbye to all M's newborn clothes, as well as various memory boxes and photographs from my childhood through to University (before the days of digital photo sharing). While all these things mean a lot to me the reason they are in the loft is I don't look at them often.

All our books, DVDs and CDs would be left as they would be too hard to pack.

I love a lot of the items in our kitchen, but I could just about accept that my beautiful sparkly midnight blue Le Creuset casserole dishes could be replaced.

I would also have to say goodbye to all our furniture.


The Keepers

My priorities would be to fill bin bags up with our clothes, my shoes, bags and make up. And I hope I would remember to grab my useful documents (passport, driving license, insurance documents etc). Mustn't forget my daughter's toys either.

I suspect there would be a lot of things I would forget, then I'd keep kicking myself as I remembered the things I had lost like the canvases on the walls (largely of my daughter).

On a practical note one of the things this reinforces is just how critical contents insurance is. Although we have no individual high value items our level of cover is high because we have hundreds of DVDs and CDs which would cost a fortune to replace. Some of my clothes I have owned for 10 plus years and to replace my wardrobe would cost tens of thousands of pounds. I suspect our level of cover wouldn't be enough and the total value of our items probably comes to more than the house.

Clearly the news story bothers me because of the value I place on material goods. I have always been a bit of a nester and I don't do travelling light. My husband despairs of my desire to keep things 'just in case', but you never know when you might need something.

My Inheritance

My hoarding tendencies are inherited from my grandmother who was a crafty lady. All the family knew that she would store items in the attic that she might be able to make costumes or stage props out of. I don't think any of us realised just how ridiculous this had got until we were clearing everything out before the house was sold. On the plus side I inherited (stole) several thousand buttons, millions of beads, about a hundred cotton reels as well as beautiful 1940s Singer sewing machine that I can't work. She had about 40 years of stashing things in the same attic over me, but I can see things heading the same way.

Part of my Grandmothers crowded attic
A box of vintage buttons
Liberated buttons

I find a good clear out therapeutic, but I only throw away rubbish and broken items. It's really a good opportunity to go through my treasures and store them neatly so I have space for more.

Fingers crossed I will never have to start over. One day my daughter might be going through my possessions with her children wondering why her crazy old mum had a box of 20cm long ribbons (they are those ribbons that keep clothes on hangers in the shops). I'm comfortable with that though. I hope she might even want to nab a few things for herself.