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Tag: lifestyle

How To Lose Weight

Posted by Andrew at 6:07 AM on October 23, 2013

You might be forgiven in thinking that we’ve moved from a tech blog into a lifestyle magazine but I wanted to share a little of my life from the past 18 months. In late spring last year, I visited my doctor and she pointed out that in the 20 years since I joined her practice, I’d put on over 20 kg in weight – about 44 lb – and that my blood pressure was up. All classic signs of a heart attack waiting to happen. I had to lose some weight, get the pounds off and lower that blood pressure or an early exit beckoned. Obviously I’m still here but did I shed the pounds and how did I do it.

First of all, let’s get over the fact that there’s no diet in existence that will make you magically lose weight; you have to work at it. However, the recipe for weight loss is very straightforward – there are only three ingredients really.

  • Eat less
  • Eat better
  • Exercise more

While the recipe for weight loss is easy, I’ll admit that following it isn’t. The good news is that you can have three square meals a day; the bad news is that it means no junk – no crisps (chips), sweets or late night peanut butter sandwiches. There’s no need to starve: just take smaller portions and if you are full, stop eating.

Wii Fit Balance BoardAs a geek, I also employed a bit of tech to help achieve my goal – a Nintendo Wii with Balance Board, a Fitbit Zip and food apps / web sites.

Most people will be familiar with the Nintendo Wii though sadly its discontinuation has been announced in the past few day. The Balance Board is bundled with WiiFit and WiiFit Plus, and while the associated programs are fun enough, I used the Balance Board as electronic scales to record my weight. Each morning, shortly after getting up, I’d weigh myself on the Balance Board. If my weight was down, I gave myself a mental high five. If my weight was up, it was a mental “you need to do better”. The Wii records your weight day by day and will show a graph of your progress.

Fitbit ZipThe second piece of gadgetry is the Fitbit Zip. It’s an advanced digital pedometer that will upload its data to your PC and onwards to Fitbit’s portal. I received this for Christmas and Fitbit tries to gamify the activity of walking further by competing against friends and awarding badges. While I don’t need any stinkin’ badges, I was quite chuffed to be awarded my 1000 mile badge last month. The Zip doesn’t make you fitter by itself, but it does make you aware of walking and now I often choose to walk where previously I might have taken the car. Every little bit helps.

Finally to help eat better, I used a range of foodie websites and apps to find new, interesting and low calorie recipes. I find the BBC’s offerings both on their main site and on the Good Food site are excellent. Many of the supermarkets, such as Tesco, have good recipes too. Look for sections on healthy eating. App-wise, there’s a Good Food app on Android too. It helps if the app and website cater to metric as well as imperial units and do the conversions properly as directly converting from oz to g doesn’t work terribly well.

A word of advice. When browsing the supermarket shelves, “low fat” is not a particular benefit when the product is laden with sugar to make up the taste so approach with caution any food which loudly makes those claims. Ultimately, I found that weight and calories were the best guides so read the nutritional information on the back of food.

Did I succeed in losing weight with help from this tech? Absolutely – I’ve managed to lose nearly 18 kg (40 lb) and 4″ in waistline. There’s still a few pounds to lose but I do feel tremendously better for it. It has been hard work even with the tech – it requires willpower to say “no” to food, and food is so very much part of Western culture. But you can do it as I did. Remember; eat less, eat better, exercise more. Take encouragement from your success and determination from your setbacks.

iHealth Blood Pressure Monitor at CES

Posted by Andrew at 6:15 PM on January 28, 2013

iHealth LogoJamie chats to Adam about the iHealth blood pressure monitor, an FDA-approved device that uses Bluetooth to transfer health data to a smartphone or tablet.

The new version  of the iHealth blood pressure monitor builds takes the original docking device and adds wireless data transfer using Bluetooth. The first version integrated with iOS devices such as iPhones and iPads but the Bluetooth feature expands the potential of the monitor to other smartphones and tablets. A cloud service complements the free app providing tracking and monitoring features and integration with other healthcare systems.

Aimed squarely at the home health market, there are two different models priced at $79 and $99, which is very affordable. Check out iHealth’s online store.

Interview by Jamie Davies of Health Tech Weekly.

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Omron Strapless Heart Rate Monitor

Posted by Andrew at 6:18 PM on January 26, 2013

Omron Healthcare LogoLifestyle health products are very popular and Jamie Davies looks at one of the amazing healthcare products on show at CES 2013, the new Omron Strapless Heart Rate Monitor.

The Strapless Heart Rate Monitor does away with more usual chest belt, replacing it with a device that’s more akin to a chunky wristwatch, which can be worn all day and not just at the gym or when working out. Optical sensors read the blood flow from capillaries in the wrist to calculate the heart rate, helping the wearer hit their fat burning zone and making their workouts more effectively. The monitor fully integrates with Omron’s lifestyle ecosystem, uploading heart rate data to their fitness portal.

The Strapless Heart Rate Monitor (HR-500U) will be available at the end of January for $149 and can be pre-ordered at Omron Fitness’ online store.

Interview by Jamie Davies of Health Tech Weekly.

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Fitbit Ultra Counts Those Steps at The Gadget Show

Posted by Andrew at 3:39 PM on April 12, 2012

Fitbit UltraMost of us could do with being a little bit fitter and shedding a few pounds. Fitbit wants to help us achieve that goal by combining technology with peer pressure and our natural competitiveness.

The Fitbit Ultra wireless tracker is the 21st century equivalent of a pedometer, recording the steps taken during the day for later upload to your home PC. It’s tiny and can easily be clipped to a waist band or left in a pocket. In addition to recording physical activity, it can also record your sleep – how long were you in bed, were you restless, did you have to get up?

The second gadget is the Fitbit Aria, smart scales that measure weight, BMI and % body, and wirelessly transmits the information on to your PC.

Fitbit Aria

The Fitbit combines all this information with smartphone apps (iOS & Android) and dietary information to create a personal portfolio of your lifestyle. Of course, you can also tweet your successes to friends and family, though you might want to keep it quiet when you pile on the pounds.

You can find out more from their website or you can listen to this interview with Peter Groom, Fitbit’s UK Country Manager.

Careverge Takes A Social Approach To Health

Posted by Andrew at 11:04 PM on January 25, 2012

Careverge logoThe fast pace of modern Western life doesn’t lend itself to a healthy lifestyle and many of us struggle to keep on top of the weight and exercise regularly, including myself. Careverge can help as a one-stop health and well-being site that brings together fitness, health and support in one place. Careverge’s Henry de Phillips talks to Jamie Davies of the MedicCast and the Nursing Show about what the site can offer.

Careverge’s approach is to create a social networking environment to encourage good health behaviours rather than to simply sell a product or a plan. The site brings networking, gaming and recommendations together so that within only a few moments of starting to use the site, the individual is given personalised suggestions on reading and possible activities. The focus of Careverge is to encourage people to health through fun while providing quality health information and support to reach their goals.

Careverge is free to use for consumers.

Interview by Jamie Davies of the MedicCast and the Nursing Show.

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