Maple Alps

physical health

Five FREE Apps I Use to Track My Health

HealthAmanda Walter | Maple Alps16 Comments

Ever since I got my first smartphone, I have tried to use it for as many things as possible. There are a few things I tried and failed (like the calendars and such - I’m truly a paper girl!), but one thing that really helped me was health tracking apps. After coming back a good 20 pounds heavier from Europe, using my phone made it easy to keep track of my diet and exercise and keep myself accountable. It became almost a game to make sure I was logging in and tracking - and I tell you - the results came! Today I wanted to share with you some of the apps that I tried, those I loved, and those I didn’t love as much. And no, no one is paying me to say all these things. I just wanted to share some of the tools I use/have used to be intentional about my health.

Five FREE Apps to Track Health! Great! | www.maplealps.com

 

My Fitness Pal

My Fitness Pal was my best friend for a few years! By keeping track of what I ate, how much I exercised, and setting goals (and keeping them), I was able to lose 20 pounds easily. Now, I am able to maintain my weight. It’s not some magical tool that makes you do that - you do have to input everything you eat. It’s basically a food log, but instead of writing everything down in a notebook, you can carry it on your phone. If you eat something out of a package, it’s easy to scan it, and if you make a recipe, you can input that too! You can even copy and paste meals to make it simple. I have recently stopped using it as much, but I still recommend it to others (and I hear back from them with happy results).

Verdict: Great if you have the time to input your data every day, but I’ve moved on.

 

Runtastic

I have used Runtastic for a long time too! I love it for tracking all of my walks and runs and other exercises and keeps me motivated. It shows lifetime kilometers or miles every time you log in, which is fun, and connects to My Fitness Pal so you can seamlessly add your exercise. I now use Runtastic Pro (that I got for free during a promotion a few years back) and I love how it tells you every time you’ve hit a km. It keeps me on track when I’m doing long runs - and it helps me pace when I do races.

Verdict: I still love and use this app after years of use!

 

GLOW

I know there is a lot of controversy about cycle tracking apps and how they do not work. I switched to GLOW almost a year ago from another app that I had been using, and I am pretty impressed. You can track everything from your Basal Body Temperature (BBT) to your moods. Patterns are then created and you can look back and see when you’re more likely to have different symptoms. It also predicts (quite accurately!) your upcoming periods - which helps with planning certain things like trips and activities. It’s not as accurate as the tracker I used last, but I still like it more.

Verdict: Love how simple it is to log information and the accuracy of the predictions! I’ll keep using this.

 

Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen

This is a fun, streamlined, and creative way to keep track of your fruit, veggie, and legume intake. Each time you have a serving, you can easily add it to the app so you can see how you are doing on that given day. The only downside to this app is that you can’t keep your information from day-to-day to look back at your progress. Instead, it resets every day so you can add your new information. It’s still a cool way to see what you’ve eaten every day and gauge the areas you need to improve in.

Verdict: I love the concept and simplicity for logging necessary food groups as opposed to actual meals and calories (and prefer this actually). If they would change it so you can see how you did in the past, I would love it more.

 

Fitbit

Now that I have jumped on the Fitbit wagon (my husband got me one for my birthday!), I now use the Fitbit app. It’s fun to keep track of my steps and be reminded to move on days I have off. The Fitbit itself tracks your steps, distance and even sleep, to name a few features (depending on the model you get). But I’m talking about the app. You can add your water and food and create and achieve goals and set alarms and reminders to assist with that. It also links to My Fitness Pal, which is an added bonus (but I’ve since replaced My Fitness Pal with this app because it pretty much does the same thing, and I like to simplify my life as much as possible instead of using 500 apps when I could use 3). The best part is the community of other people with Fitbit devices. You can challenge and encourage each other, which is a lot of fun.

Verdict: I would say this app is a win. Easy and fun to use.

 


What apps do you use to track your health? Any of these?


 

Women of Intention Week Eleven: Mental Health

Women of IntentionAmanda Walter | Maple Alps3 Comments

Welcome to week eleven of the series, Women of Intention! We are now over halfway through and Maple Alps will continue to feature a woman every week who will talk about intentionality in specific areas in her life for the next 8 weeks. So glad you've decided to stop by! For more information, and a list of topics, visit our introduction post HERE

Intentionality in Mental Health #WomenOfIntention16 #MapleAlps Women of Intention.

THIS WEEK'S INTENTIONAL WOMAN:

Today, we are going to meet Melinda who blogs at Fruit of Brokenness, a very real, helpful and inspiring blog about mental health and faith.

Today she will be talking to us about intentionality when it comes to mental health. Her answers may surprise you and will inspire you, so be sure to stick around till the end!

After reading this post, be sure to check out Melinda's blog and share this post :)

Find Melinda on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.


Tell us a bit about yourself: What are your passions, work and interests?

I’m a homeschool mom, and freelance writer and editor, stepping back from freelance work to focus on building my blog. 

Sometimes I feel like major depressive disorder sucked all the passion out of me. There were times I didn’t have enough energy to do the most important jobs God gave me: wife to Jeff and mom to Jonathan, Joel, and Nora. There isn’t much energy for anything but the basics when your brain kicks you into survival mode.

But the darkest times don’t last. What I love to do now is use my struggle to help others find hope.

There are still many bumps in the road, but it’s good to once again be able to enjoy things more consistently. Like visiting Lake Ontario beaches and reading.

 

Often times, people say that Christians having mental illnesses is due to a lack of faith. What is your stance on this?

I wholeheartedly disagree, and it’s one of the foundations of my blog. If we consider the symptoms of depression when we read accounts of various people in the Bible, we see that some of God’s most faithful servants struggled with depression. In the Psalms in particular we also see what we should do with our overwhelming feelings: be honest with God about them and choose to trust Him in the midst of them.

In God’s example in Scripture, we don’t see the dismissal or harshness with which some in the church treat those who are depressed. For example, when Elijah felt that all he had done for the Lord was in vain, and that he was all alone in the world, all he wanted was to die, to be done with life. God didn’t just tell him to be stronger and snap out of it, and he didn’t send him off to consider what unconfessed sin he was harbouring.

Elijah had plenty of faith, but he was still overwhelmed by the storm in his mind. After he called down fire from heaven, prayed away a drought he prophesied several years before, and outran a chariot, all he wanted to do was die.

Before putting him back on the job, God ministered to Elijah by taking care of his basic needs and letting him rest. He built up his energy to travel to a place he could hear Him in a new way.

While we need to understand that faith does not ensure perfect mental health, we must not swing too far in the opposite direction. Refusal to take God at His Word and trust Him makes us more susceptible to the negative thought patterns that spin out of control in bouts of depression.

Made in God’s image, we’re not merely physical beings. In these bodies we have minds and emotions. If we are unhealthy in any of these areas, the others suffer. We can’t compartmentalize health. Mental and emotional health impact, and are impacted by, our physical and spiritual health. 

 

What does intentionality in mental health practically look like? Are there any other factors that play into it?

We’re not one-dimensional. Being intentional in mental health is being intentional in each dimension: physically, mentally and spiritually.

  • Eat right. Drink plenty of water. Take medication as prescribed if you need it. Exercise.
  • Be careful what you feed your mind. Think about what you’re thinking about. Don’t accept lies.
  • To recognize lies, you need to know Truth. Read, meditate on, and memorize God’s Word.

What practical advice would you give someone who is struggling in this area of their life?

Start with admitting you’re struggling. Let go of any shame you may feel that you’re not a “good” Christian if you struggle with depression or anxiety. Take responsibility for making healthy choices, and do not be ashamed to seek professional help.  


What about you? Were you inspired by this post? Are you intentional when it comes to your mental health? Why don't you tell us about it in the comments, and connect with us on social media?

(Don't forget to use the hashtag #WomenOfIntention16 so no one misses it!)