J. R. Swab

Apps To Conquer Healthy Living

Categories: [Technology]
Tags: [health], [apps]

Many of us want to live a healthy lifestyle but trip over the details on making progress. The best way I found to make lasting life changes is by taking them one percent at a time. Don't try to work out every day of the week when starting. Just get one day a week in and kill that goal. Then move to two days and three and so on.

The object is to make small changes stick as habits that shape our everyday. As these small habits build up, we are able to look back over the years and see the massive progress made.

This is what happened me on my weight loss journey. I wanted to lose weight fast but being addicted to sugar and refined carbohydrates made getting to my ideal weight hard. It was only after making small changes, like not eating a cookie after lunch every day, that I was able to get to where I am today.

3 Apps For Better Health

Sleep As Android by Urbandroid

"Sleep As Android" has been my go-to alarm clock for years and the dev behind it keeps making significant improvements. The feature that got me using the app at first was its ability to wake up the user at the optimal time in the sleep cycle.

This optimal waking is possible due to the sleep tracking the app has built-in via the motion sensors. There is also a sonar mode that uses, and you can leave the device on your bedside table.

It's pretty sweet.

Another feature I really love is "Stop Oversleeping" option within each alarm. This feature gives the user the ability to set a small task in the morning to make sure they are awake. I use the NFC option and place the NFC tag in my office, so I have to get out of bet to turn off the alarm.

The app also has options to scan a QR code, do a math problem, take a selfie, and a few more. You can push it one step further and set the alarm to not allow for snoozing. That way you have to get out of bed or do the math problem to turn off the annoying alarm. By the time you do that you are awake and can start your day.

No more snoozing the alarm in your sleep!

This has worked incredibly well for forming the habit of waking up by 5am.

Twilight by Urbandroid

This app was created to limit the blue light you are exposed to after the sun sets. As with the app above, I have used this for years and bought the paid version because of how useful it's become. The most noticeable difference is how the change in light from blue to red effects the strain on my eyes. If I am on my computer without a blue light filter (check out Redshift) and then turn it on my eyes instantly relax and feel better.

But the big deal with blue light is on quality of sleep and falling asleep. [One study][] found "there were significant reductions in total sleep time [and] sleep efficiency." This is a big deal! That same study shows blue light to affect us twice as much as other colors of light such as red and green.

The reason for cutting out the blue light in favor of more red-based light is (in my mind) due to our history. For most of our existence the only light we had at night came from fire and fire burns of reds, oranges, and yellow (white if it gets scorching). For ages, there was no source of blue light without the sun peaking over the horizon.

This is how we were made to function.

Even if using these apps only account for a one percent improvement in our life it's still worth the small effort. Remember these percents build up over time.

Carb Manager by Wombat Apps

Carb Manager is my favorite calorie and macro counting app available for Android. I have used the ever popular, My Fitness Pal (MFP) but when I need to adjust my macros and not just my calories, MFP did not make that simple without paying for the app.

Carb Manager does let their free users adjust and customize their macros, track fasting time, and basically everything MFP does for free. On top of that, the food database is pervasive and over the time that I used the app heavily only had to create custom food entries about once a month.

This app helped me learn how to live a low card lifestyle by focusing on the net carbs and allowing me to see how each meal effected me. I began to realize that the more carbs I ate the worse I felt, such as bloating and loopy (for real, some nights my wife thought I was drunk). After using Carb Manager every day for three months, my default is low carb. Just the other day I logged back in to track my lunch to see if I was eating more carbs now that I hit my goal body fat percentage and put tracking to the side.

Everything was spot on!

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