Health on the Net

Ah New Years. There are few days as laden with the burden and hope as the first day of a new year. The hope of course is the promise that this, this new year, this year could be better than last year. And thus is the burden created. The responsibility of carrying the promise of an entire better year. Well, let me tell you, it's more than most days could bear. And if you're the kind of person that puts stock in the idea of making a commitment, a promise, a resolution on this day, well that's where a little technology just might come in handy.

Let's look at some geek stuff that might make keeping those resolutions a little easier, or maybe just a little more fun.

Want to lose weight?

Try out SparkPeople if you think you'd like a free web based application that will help you track nutrition, count calories and would appreciate a large group of similarly minded people encouraging you in your progress. There's fitness stuff in there too.
http://www.sparkpeople.com/

Try out Lose it! if you have an iPhone. Lose It is based on the very simple premise that if you eat 500 calories less a day than you expend through either exercise or just being alive, then you will lose weight. If you're kinda a numbers person and want to skip the hype, this app is great and free! Go to http://itunes.apple.com/ and search for “Lose It”.

I haven't tried it, but an awful lot of people swear by the Lance Armstrong health site LiveStrong.com. This is not the non-profit group, that's LiveStrong.[ORG]. It's free, but does require registration.
http://www.livestrong.com/

Want to eat healthier?

You won't find a more comprehensive site on the net than the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's nutrient database – or a worse URL. But it will tell you everything about anything you eat.
http://199.133.10.140/codesearchwebapp/%28z1omooyd4izupuuxjq4qx155%29/co...

Want a no nonsense, down to earth, guide to good diet? You could do worse than the Canada Food Guide. If you haven't looked at this since high school you should look again.
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/index-eng.php

Looking to get fit?

My favourite iPhone app these days is iFitness; well, next to Google Fast Flip. But this app lets you build and track workouts. It has a large library of exercise, pre-built routines and good logging. Easy to use even in the gym.

Workout sites on the net are a dime a dozen, but here are a couple that I think are better than average: exrx.net, crossfit.com, simplefit.org (one of my favs) and webmd.com/fitness-exercise/. I'm sure you've come across many of these. The trick is to find one that either gives you the info that you want in the way you want it, or let's you track what you want to track in the way you want, or … well you get the idea, pick something that works for you.

Need to break a bad habit or form a new one?

Try http://www.joesgoals.com/. It's a dead simple daily tracker that let's you pick what you want to track. Use it to try the Jerry Seinfeld method of success. Seinfeld has a big calendar. As a writer he uses the calendar by putting an X on each day that he writes. After a few days there're a chain of X's. And he makes it a challenge to not break the chain, letting the consistency of daily progressive make him successful.

Want to get organized?

A good solid todo list is the cornerstone of getting organized. http://www.toodledo.com/ is a free site that will help you create and manage your to do list. It can be as simple or complicated as you like. It will email or send you text message reminders. And of course it comes as an iPhone app too.

Of course no technology will make you thin, keep you fit or make you happy, they are just tools to help you work towards those things. Also keep in mind that this is a technology column and you should always look to actual health professionals that went to good schools and have real degrees for health advice.

Happy New Year & Happy Computing