When she was hospitalized last year, Surat resident Chaitali Patel was shocked to discover that she was diabetic. Weighing 87 kilos due to a hormonal imbalance, her doctor explained that it was essential she start a weight loss program.
Living in a joint family, it was tough for Chaitali to find time to go to the gym or make changes to the food cooked at home, which was oily and spicy. Travelling frequently on work, it wasn’t easy for her to maintain a regular schedule.
Chaitali was in a bind. She wanted to get healthy, but all these constraints made it seem impossible for her to make it happen. And that’s when she came across HealthifyMe. The mobile app was a great solution for Chaitali, as it didn’t involve any visits to the gym or dietician’s office – experts are consulted over the phone and she is guided on how to work out at home, according to her convenience. She dropped 22 kg in 10 months using a programme that she calls “weight loss by correspondence”.
Chaitali is among a growing number of health-conscious citizens globally who are turning to their smartphones for solutions. According to a Pew Internet & American Life Project, 31% of cellphone users in the US have used their phones to look for health information; 19% have at least one health app on their phone.
It’s clear that technology has found a way to empower those who are serious about getting fit, but haven’t been able to do so owing to their individual needs and demanding schedules.
Take a calorie counter, for instance. There’s a fine line between eating too many calories, eating too few and eating just enough. But if you use an app to monitor your intake, it does the math to ensure you aren’t eating more than you need to or what you can burn. From there, if you want to know how many calories you are burning, you can use an activity monitoring bracelet system that also monitors how many steps you’ve taken and what percentage of your goal weight you have accomplished. Which means even if there are days you don’t have time to work out, but remain active, you can actually gauge how that has contributed to your weight-loss regimen. Also on days you eat more, you know just how much more you need to exercise to work it off since the two readings are synced on your smartphone. Chaitali, who walks for an hour-and-a-half daily, now swears by her wearable called RIST. “If I don’t wear it, I don’t feel like walking. It motivates me,” she says.
From pedometers and nutrition guides to the more elaborate GPS watch, there’s a vast amount of technology available on smartphones today to cater to fitness enthusiasts. And there’s also social media that can provide positive reinforcement and motivate those attempting to lose weight. For instance, fitness and nutritional experts at HealthifyMe have built WhatsApp groups with their clients, who look for advice, tips and share their successes with others who are also on a weight-loss journey. Experts often weigh in, using this medium to share pointers or a quick consult – for instance, if you’re out at dinner, and want advice on what to order, you can quickly check in. As one user put it, “Technology has helped me achieve what could be a difficult journey in a fun way.”
Want to know more about how technology can transform your weight-loss journey? Visit HealthifyMe.com
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