Tag Archives: technology and obesity

Woman looking at fitness app

Fitness Apps: Your Virtual Accountability Partner

A roundup of our favorite fitness apps to help you achieve your goals

Did you know that people who keep a regular food journal are more successful at meeting their weight loss goals than people who don’t? One study published by Kaiser reported that those who wrote down what they ate six days a week lost twice as much weight in six months as those who only kept a food record for one day or less. That is remarkable evidence that shows the advice, “Write down what you eat,” is indeed valuable.

Why does food journaling work?

One word: Accountability. By keeping track of every piece of food and drop of liquid that goes into your mouth, you can detect patterns and notice where any unnecessary or excessive calories come from. You’re less likely to make poor food choices when asked to write them down. Sneaking a bite or two of cake? Not a problem in itself. But writing down just how big those bites were and what that translates to within your nutritional intake for the day will probably help keep you on a better track.

Don’t have time to keep a pen and paper journal with you?

Of course not. And after all, it’s 2022. Odds are there is something you do carry with you at all times: your phone.

Today’s technology makes food journaling a cinch. You can download several fitness apps that help you keep track of your calorie and nutrient intake easily. Some of these apps even allow you to scan a barcode and will give you information on whether the item in your hand is the best choice for you… or not. It doesn’t get much easier than that!

We’ve researched dozens of fitness apps currently available. Some apps are free, while others have paid options or features. Take a look at what each app offers and decide which appeals to you the most. Need advice? Reach out to your trusted physician or weight loss practitioner.

Hint: It can be tough to find accountability on fitness apps, so look for one that features a community, offers daily reminders that pop up on your phone (make sure to adjust the settings accordingly), or has personalized professional support.

Let’s count down our TOP 5 fitness apps.

5. My Plate

This app has all the requisites: food tracking (including two million items, a bar code scanner, and recipe ideas), along with workout logging and follow-along workouts if you need guidance. It makes tracking your macros very easy — grams and percentages are front and center, so you know where you stand at all times. Plus, if you’re someone who thrives on community support, you can access this feature when you’ve had a tough day.

My Plate is all about simplicity. You pick your goals, see real-time progress, and earn badges that celebrate your success. You can even participate in challenges to stay motivated.

4. Fooducate

Crunching the info on the nutrition label to determine if a food is healthy can be tough, and Fooducate does the work for you. The app has a database of 250,000 foods — all you have to do is scan the barcode and you’ll see what grade the food gets (A, being the highest, to D, being the lowest), plus an explanation of the grade and suggested alternatives.

Browse through a comprehensive food list, track exercise and movement, and join a community for even more accountability. Fooducate also offers diet tips and recipe suggestions to keep you on track.

3. My Fitness Pal

If you’re trying to cut back on carbs, MyFitnessPal makes it easy. With its barcode scanner, you don’t have to search for the specific food you’re eating, which speeds the food tracking process. You’ll also like how at the top, all your nutrition stats are congregated in a clean way, displaying your goal calories, how much you’ve eaten, how much you’ve burned through exercise, and how many you have left.

A word of caution: A study published in January 2019 in Nutrition on MyFitnessPal found that while 80 percent of participants surveyed praised the ease of use within the app, the authors found discrepancies in nutrient measurements as much of the data is user-generated. This means some of that data may be inaccurate. To get around this issue, they suggest connecting with a registered dietitian for guidance on how best to use this (and any other nutrition app) to meet your goals.

2. Lose It!

Lose It! works similarly to My Fitness Pal by providing a database of commonly eaten foods and allowing you to scan barcodes to keep track of intake. The app has the benefit of tracking sleep patterns and larger wellness goals – like macronutrient intake (for those following specific diet plans like keto) and body measurements. You can also connect the app to fitness trackers to log all of your progress in one place.

Lose It utilizes a holistic approach to health and fitness, combining personalized weight loss programs, over 40 tracking tools, and a user-friendly interface to make for an effective health and fitness application. Lose It Calorie Tracker is a great option for anyone who needs a little bit of help losing weight, tracking their progress, and staying accountable.

1. Valley Medical Weight Loss

That’s right! The experts at Valley Medical have put together an application to help you achieve all of your goals. This fitness app connects you with your individualized wellness plan from Valley Medical Weight Loss in real-time. Receive daily meal planning, exercise guidance, lifestyle modification support, and motivation. You can download HERE.

What you get:

  • Customized wellness plan delivered daily from your provider
  • Meal plans, grocery lists, and recipes
  • Calorie counter with barcode food scanner, ability to track food by photo, and an “add your own food” option and shortcuts
  • Meal by meal and daily nutritional summary with calories and macronutrients
  • A detailed exercise program including video and photo examples/descriptions
  • Daily affirmations, uplifting support, and motivation
  • Activity tracker
  • Private journal to keep track of your progress and notes
  • Real-time sharing of your food, exercise, body, and personal journals with your provider
  • Direct private messaging with your provider
  • Track steps, water, sleep, and custom activities

If you are interested in learning more about our application, or any of our weight loss treatments, we are happy to offer a consultation. Booking an appointment is unnecessary as we are a walk-in-only clinic. Simply come in at your convenience, Mon, Tue, Thu, or Fri between 9 am-4:30 pm, or Saturdays from 8 am to 1:30 pm, or you can contact us HERE with any questions.

childhood obesity

Childhood Obesity: Is Technology to Blame?

Our last post during National Childhood Obesity Month is all about technology and how that contributes to a more sedentary lifestyle than children in the past were used to.

If you read our earlier posts, you know that the World Health Organization has declared childhood obesity as one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century. Since the 1970s, childhood obesity rates have tripled in the US. Now, 1 in every 6 American children is obese. But in addition to the estimated 12.5 million children that are obese, there are also about 11 million more who are overweight and on their way to obesity if something doesn’t change.

Childhood obesity is not just a physical health concern, it can negatively affect a child’s emotional and social development too. And the record shows that obese children are more likely to become obese adults. This sets them up for the development of chronic health problems like heart disease and diabetes at a much younger age.

Cause of Childhood Obesity

So what’s to blame? There isn’t a simple answer to that; but experts agree that it’s a combination of a diet filled with processed and fast foods and lack of physical exercise due to an increase in “screen time” — or the amount of time spent with technology.

Because increasing technology use is such a big thing right now, we’re going to focus on that. That’s not to say that it’s the only culprit. But we want to give you a little perspective on why technology may not be as harmless as you think.

Technology Usage Soars

The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that the average child spends around seven hours each day using technology. This includes watching TV, browsing the internet, and playing video games.

An obvious issue with this is that as the amount of screen time increases, the amount of time spent outside running around and burning off calories — and energy — decreases; however, there are other not-so-obvious issues too.

Food Marketing and Childhood Obesity

In a 2008 study, the Journal of the American Dietetic Association reported that nine out of 10 food advertisements shown during Saturday morning children’s cartoons are foods. But it’s not just that it’s food that’s the problem. The foods shown are low in nutrients, yet high in fat, sodium, and sugar.

Even though you may not realize it, this food marketing has a major impact on the foods your child wants to eat. Children are said to be extremely susceptible to this food marketing. Unlike adults, they have a hard time telling the difference between the TV show they’re watching and the advertisements.

Technology Increases Snacking

Screen time is also associated with an increase in snacking or mindless eating. According to research from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, kids who spent more time in front of a screen — regardless of whether it was a computer, TV, or video game — not only snacked more than children who spent less time using technology, but they also ate fewer healthy snacks.

Other research shows that the more stimulating programs, like action games or high-paced cartoons, can also lead to an increase in snacking during the day.

Technology Interferes With Sleep

Technology can also disrupt sleep, which can translate to weight gain. On one hand, focusing on a screen right before bed can disrupt circadian rhythms and melatonin. This can lead to difficulty falling asleep and cause restless sleep. On the other hand, if a child has a television in his or her bedroom and you’re not monitoring usage, it can lead to later bedtimes. This translates to a decreased amount of the restorative sleep needed for the body to function properly.

A lack of adequate sleep can cause an increase in ghrelin, the hormone that tells you you’re hungry, and a decrease in leptin, the hormone that tells you you’re full. On average, a person who doesn’t get enough sleep eats an extra 300 calories per day. He or she also snacks more often than someone who is well-rested.

Technology Recommendations

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children and adolescents spend only one to two hours per day in front of a screen, at most. This means time spent watching TV and playing on the computer or a tablet combined.

You can help limit screen time by involving yourself in playtime with your kids. Pick an activity that you both enjoy and get outside and work up a sweat together. Encourage your kids to get off the couch by playing with them. Model good behavior by putting away your cell phone or tablet and fully engaging in the moment.

Our Youth Weight Loss Program

If you have a child who is overweight or obese, we can help. Valley Medical Weight Control’s youth program for adolescents includes a month supply of:

  • FDA-approved Appetite Suppressant for 12 years or older*
  • Professional strength liquid multivitamin, mineral and antioxidant vitamins
  • Daily Probiotic
  • Meal Plan
  • Weekly Weigh-ins
  • Physician Consultation

all for just $120!

To learn more, stop by or call us at any of our locations:

North Phoenix: 602-374-3374
Phoenix: 602-441-3305
Tempe: 480-968-5673

*Please be advised that patients do need to qualify for all appetite medications and water pill based on medical history and BMI