Friday, December 26, 2014

Why Do You Want to Lose Weight with Low Carb?

With Christmas and the holidays behind us, a lot of people have now turned their focus toward the new year and what they want to accomplish. For a lot of folks, that means getting into shape. Making better food choices, losing a few pounds, and kicking up your activity level tends to become a priority when January rolls around. Does that sound like you?

Huge Lettuce Salad with Tuna, Eggs, Tomatoes, Olives, and Peppers
Why Do You Want to Lose Weight With Low Carb?
  • Are you dissatisfied with the way you are?
  • Are you thinking about going on a low-carb diet?
  • Do you feel that weight loss will improve your life?
  • Do you believe weight loss will help you fit into some ideal?
  • Why do you really want to lose weight?

The answers to all of those questions, and more, will determine your ability to succeed on a low-carb diet. Or any diet at all.

Most New Year's Resolutions Fail


Have you ever noticed that very few people are able to stick with their New Year's resolutions for more than a few weeks? It's true. Almost 90-percent of all those who set one or more New Year's resolutions in December or January go on to fail to meet their goals. Lots of people have theories about why that is, but most of those theories encourage us to blame ourselves.
  • We don't have enough willpower.
  • We didn't make the right goals.
  • We aren't being specific enough.
  • We are creatures of habit.
  • We're taking too large of a first step.

And on and on it goes. We are always to blame for our failures. So what's the answer? If we listen to the experts, then we didn't do it correctly. If we just did it right, if we just did it "their" way, we'd be successful.

But just how true is that?

People have been writing "how to succeed at making New Year's resolutions" articles for decades. They have been offering us all kinds of advice and encouraging their readers to do it in a certain way, and yet, we still fail to reach the ideal of what we believe we should be. If all of those methods really worked, we wouldn't need any more New Year's resolutions articles.

The Nitty-Gritty Truth Behind Our Motivations


It's easy to tell someone that all they need is more willpower, that strength of will is the answer to all of their problems, and that they can trick the brain or reprogram it by taking little tiny baby steps, so the brain won't figure out what they're doing. That may or may not be true, I don't know. I've never tried to do it that way because the nitty-gritty down-and-dirty truth that sits at the heart of our motivations is that most of us just don't have the ability to make up our minds to the point where we can actually accomplish something major.

We have strength when it comes to the little things in life, but making major changes to our bodies and lifestyle is often beyond our reach. We can see that each and every time life interferes with our dietary goals and we cave into old habits and ways of being. If we really believed that a standard American diet was destructive, we wouldn't do it. And that's part of the reason why so many of us fail to make permanent changes.

I understand that now.

We are doing what we think we ought to be doing, what we feel we should be doing, what other people have told us we must do if we want to be healthy -- instead of doing what we want to do.

Low-Carb Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, bacon, cheddar cheese
We Have to WANT To Live a Low-Carb Lifestyle

If we really wanted to lose weight the low-carb way, if we really wanted to live a low-carb lifestyle for the rest of our lives, we would do so. The fact that most of us find low-carb unsustainable or difficult to stick with, difficult to maintain, and find excuses for not doing it, is because we aren't doing what we WANT to do. We're chasing after someone else's desires, dreams, and goals. Not our own.

But that's the same for everything we do. It's not peculiar to a low-carb diet. Or any diet for that matter. Success in anything we do depends on our ability to clearly see what we want to do and whether we have the ability to act on what we see.

Examine Your Motivations for Wanting to Lose Weight


Before you start your low-carb diet, get a sheet of paper and write down the reasons why you want to lose weight.
  • What do you expect a low-carb diet to do for you?
  • Do you think it will solve all of your current health problems?
  • Will it will make you happy to drop those excess pounds?
  • Will life be more comfortable and pleasant if you're thin?
  • Are you looking for acceptance or a feeling of importance?
  • Do you think losing weight will get rid of your feelings of inferiority?

Whatever it is you think that losing weight is going to do for you write it down. Writing it down makes it easier to re-evaluate those reasons by enabling you to take a serious look at your word choices. The words you use will reveal some of your hidden motivations. Look for words, such as "should," "ought," "must," "victim," or "need." Those are signals that you are not doing this for yourself.

If you're expecting a low-carb diet to bring future happiness, pleasure, attention, a sense of importance, approval, or some other ideal, your motivation might not be strong enough to pull it off. For example, if you do manage to lose the weight and you don't receive the attention, pleasure, and happiness you're seeking after -- then what? Are you just going to chuck it all and go back to eating carbohydrates?

A low-carb diet isn't magic. It's designed to correct metabolic imbalances. It isn't designed to solve the issues you have with your self.

What is the True Power Behind Motivation?


Willpower isn't enough. That's the cold, hard truth. While it can ignite your interest and spark a little initial enthusiasm, that interest and excitement will fizzle the first time the number gets stuck on the scale or when things don't move as quickly as you expect them to. You'll feel like throwing in the towel because you aren't getting your way. Willpower is based on ideals. It's expecting a certain outcome from putting out a certain amount of effort. The problem with that is that being responsible for our food choices and attempting to create new patterns of behavior doesn't come by way of willpower. Why?

Because willpower is trying to do something you don't want to do.

That rarely works. In fact, willpower is the number one reason for our New Year's resolutions not working out. It's not that you don't have any willpower. The truth is that you have too much!

So dump the willpower and take a closer look at what you're interested in. Interest is what really motivates us to make up our mind about what we want to do. Interest is the driving force that gets the job done. Doing what we have to do or what we think we ought to do doesn't motivate us. Think about that for just a minute. If you're really interested in something, vitally interested, you can hardly wait to get up in the morning and get to work on what you want to do. Right?

Dieting is no different.

Platter of Kebobs: chicken, sausage, zucchini, onions, peppers
Low-Carb Diets Work Best When You Can't See Yourself Eating Any Other Way

If you're truly interested in moving to a low-carb lifestyle, a little thing like only losing a couple of pounds the first week, running into your first real stall, or beginning to miss some of your favorite foods you used to eat won't stop you from continuing to restrict your carb intake. Why? Because you cannot not do low carb. You are so interested in living that lifestyle, so satisfied with what you can eat, so convinced it is the healthiest way to go, that giving up and moving on to something else isn't an option. You can't see yourself eating or living any other way.

The power of motivation comes from doing things we are interested in doing. There is no real power in willpower. Willpower is an illusion. It's a fantasy. It's falling back on our desire to please other people.

A Low-Carb Diet is for Life


When we try to use willpower to lose weight, it will always fail us because a strong desire to do something is essential for success. That strong desire is a by-product of being vitally interested in what you're doing. If there's no interest, your desire to do low carb is going to fade within a few short weeks. Once desire fades, you'll start to crave carbohydrates or begin to make excuses to cheat on your diet. From there, it's just a slippery slope down the hill to where you were before you started.


So if you're interested in trying a low-carb diet -- really interested -- and not just doing it because you think you should lose a few pounds, or because you think that a low-carb diet is going to magically solve some of your inner conflicts or emotional issues, then it can be a very rewarding, pleasant experience. Just make sure that you take the time to search your heart to make sure this is what you really want to do because a low-carb diet isn't a bandaid. A low-carb diet is for life.

Friday, December 19, 2014

How to Plan a Great Low-Carb Christmas Dinner

Table Setting with Christmas Decorations
How to Plan a Stress-Free Low-Carb Christmas Dinner

A typical menu is all about carbs. Potatoes, rice, bread, pasta, whole grains, cereals, and sweet desserts find their way onto the menu at almost every single meal. Loading up on carbohydrates isn't a holiday tradition. For most people, it's an every day affair. So if you're trying to plan a great low-carb Christmas dinner, your old holiday habits might have you feeling a little lost and overwhelmed right about now.

The spiral-cut ham or prime roast beef you're used to making for Christmas can be easily adapted to be carb free. Some of the appetizers, side dishes, and luscious desserts you used to whip up to impress your family and friends might not be. If that's the problem you're having, don't despair. All it takes to put together a great low-carb Christmas dinner is a little know-how. Whether you're new to low carb this year or have been around the block a few times, if you follow the 10 simple principles outlined below, your family and friends won't even miss the carbs.

1. Decide on How Many Carbs You Can Afford to Spend on Christmas Dinner


Christmas Dinner with all the trimmings
How Many Carbs Can You Afford to Spend on Christmas Dinner?
Photo Credit: David Pursehouse, flickr.com, license CC BY 2.0 Generic

Obviously, you want to stay in ketosis, so the best approach is to use yourself as the center of the meal plan, and then spread outward from there. While typical counsel for following a traditional low-carb diet is to spread your carbohydrates out throughout the day, a lot of dieters choose to spend them all at one time. That may or may not work for you, so it's best to know what you're going to do ahead of time.

One way to solve the problem is to go with all low-carb foods and aim for not gaining weight over the holidays. Another way is to stick closely to a particular carbohydrate content for the meal. Either way, you need to know what you're doing at the planning stage. When you're staring at a beautiful table decked with tons of low-carb goodies, that isn't the time to discover you've created a meal with too many carbs.

Unfortunately, eating too many vegetables or other low-carb good-stuff will throw you out of ketosis as easily as eating too many starchy carbs. I learned that the hard way when I ate a large plate filled with fried zucchini one summer. So remember, it's best to stay within your critical carbohydrate level for losing or maintaining for the day. How you do that is up to you.

2. Who is Going to Be There?


Family sitting down to Christmas Dinner
Who is Coming to Your Low-Carb Christmas Dinner?
Photo Credit: Paul Hamilton, flickr.com, license CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic

Once you know how many carbs you can afford to spend on your Christmas dinner plate, it's also a good idea to think about who is going to be coming for dinner. Is it just going to be you and hubby? You, hubby, and the kids? You and kids? Extended family? Other relatives? Friends and neighbors?

Knowing who is coming to Christmas dinner and what their particular food sensitivities and preferences are is essential. For example, hubby and I are gluten free. Since I'm super sensitive to gluten, can't even be around other people eating it, the menu has to be 100-percent gluten free. In addition to that, I have a sister that is vegan. One of her sons is on a strict diet for a damaged kidney. My mom has problems with whole grains and cheeses. I have a friend who is on a relaxed low-carb diet, and her husband has recently been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.

If all those people were to show up on Christmas, that's a lot to juggle, so it's a good idea to know up-front who is coming for dinner and what additional limitations and adjustments (if any) you'll have to make to the menu besides just serving foods low in carbs.

3. Look Over What You Used to Make for Christmas


A platter filled with thick slices of rare prime rib roast beef
We Used to Make Prime Rib Roast Beef For Christmas Before Going Low CarbPhoto Credit: Candy Schwartz, flickr.com, license CC BY 2.0 Generic

I'll be honest. Switching to a low-carb lifestyle does require you to leave behind some of your favorite holiday foods. I'm certainly not going to tell you it doesn't. While some dishes can be adapted to be lower in carbs and therefore legal, not everything can be.

If you're still in the weight-loss phase of your low-carb diet, potatoes and wheat-flour breads and cakes are definitely off limits. So you'll probably have to readjust your usual menu quite a bit. Even for maintenance. However, the amount of adjusting you have to do depends on what you're used to eating at Christmas, how many carbs you can afford to spend, and which stage of the diet you're in. At maintenance, for example, you'll have a lot more flexibility than you will if you're on Induction or in the Ongoing-Weight Loss phase.

But don't automatically chuck out all of your holiday traditions. Take a minute to look them over first. Pull out your holiday recipes, and then decide what's doable and what is not.

4. Take Advantage of the Senses


Christmas Dinner plate - low carb Christmas Dinner
Low-Carb Food Needs to be Colorful and Smell Like Christmas
Photo Credit: Marcle Casas, flickr.com, license CC BY 2.0 Generic

You want your holiday meal to be special. That's a given. So it needs to be colorful and smell like Christmas. In fact, the very first response to what you serve (way before anyone sticks anything in their mouth) will start with sight, smell, hearing, and touch. That means, how your table is laid out -- the centerpiece, the place-cards if using them, placement of the dishes and trays on the table, the shapes and colors of the food, food textures, and what the food smells like -- contributes to the total experience. And so does any music you might have playing.

Most people are addicted to carby foods only because serving them has become a habit. Food manufacturers and advertisers have convinced us that the holidays won't be special and memorable without certain foods on the table. That's not true. What makes the holidays special and memorable is the sensory experience that we offer our family and guests. So don't ignore the senses when you're planning your Christmas dinner or party. Touch the sense of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch as much as possible, and your family and guests will never miss the carbs.

5. Keep Things Simple


Deviled Eggs that Look Like Chicks
Keep Low-Carb Appetizers Simple for Christmas
Photo Credit: Anne Swoboda, flickr.com, license CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic

The older I get, the less of a Christmas banquet I feel inclined to plan. I'm perfectly happy with an out-of-the-ordinary main dish and a couple of sides. For us, that probably means a sweet potato dish and a vegetable. If I make an appetizer, it's likely to be deviled eggs with bacon or jalapeno, mushrooms stuffed with sausage, a cheese ball or homemade onion-pepper dip to serve with cheese chips. (For dip and cheese ball recipes, check out my blog post on Superbowl Goodies.)

Since we snack on nuts a lot, they won't show up on a Christmas spread, but olives and pickles might. A nice raw vegetable tray with Ranch dip or blue cheese dressing, and some homemade salsa for low-carb chips would also make a nice colorful presentation. And so would some meatballs or hot wings.

I have always made my cheese chips out of real American cheese in the microwave, but I ran into a blogger the other day that uses aged cheddar and bakes them in the oven. They come out lacy and delicate looking, rather than cheesy pillows. Comments said you can use grated Parmesan to do the same thing or even do this in a skillet over the stove. Although low-fat cheeses are typically frowned on when it comes to low-carb diets, using a low-fat hard cheese will make these cheese chips less greasy.

One of hubby's favorite appetizers is guacamole, but smashing up the avocado isn't the only way to serve it. While avocado can be added to your deviled-egg filling, cracker dip, egg salad, or fresh salsa concoctions for an added twist, it also makes a nice appetizer by itself. Simply wrap slices of avocado in bacon and broil it until the bacon is crispy. You can also dip avocado slices in beaten egg or Ranch dressing, bread with crushed pork rinds, and then bake in the oven until crisp.

If you can handle low-carb tortillas, try making up a few avocado quesadilla appetizers. Just sprinkle your tortillas with grated cheese and add avocado chunks or guacamole, fold in half, and fry in a little bit of butter until well browned. Cut the tortillas into triangles to serve. Some chopped tomatoes, minced jalapeno, baby shrimp, or bacon bits would also be good in the filling. The idea is to keep things simple, but take them to the next level by adding more specialized ingredients, rather than making extra work for yourself.

6. The Nitty-Gritty of Planning the Main Dish - Your Budget


Nice Layout of 4 Cornish Game Hens
This Year, We are Having Cornish Game Hens for Christmas Dinner
Photo Credit: Thomas Kriese, flickr.com, license CC BY 2.0 Generic

One of my favorite techniques when planning a special meal is to use recipes and dishes that we can't ordinarily afford to use throughout the year. That helps to make the holidays special, as well as gives us something to look forward to. But you also have to be realistic. For example, funds are quite tight for us this holiday season, so a rib roast at $7.99 a pound isn't practical.

This morning, hubby and I talked over the possibilities for the main dish and decided that a couple of game hens would be extremely nice to have this year. I haven't baked a game hen for months, as I normally try to keep the protein portion of our meals to about $2 or less for the two of us, and game hens will set us back about $3.50 each. But a couple of hens would make the perfect Christmas dinner and even give us some leftovers.

If you're on a budget, shopping the specials is a wise idea. Spiral hams are a good price in our area right now, but hubby isn't fond of them. They would make an excellent low-carb choice though, because leftovers could be used to make ham-and-cheese roll ups, lettuce wraps, ham slices stuffed with a dill pickle or cream cheese for lunches after the holiday. Ham slices could also be tossed into a yummy chef salad that you could take to work with you. The same goes for a turkey breast. In our area, they are going for $1.69 a pound this year, which is easier to do than a whole turkey would be.

But hey, the truth is, you don't HAVE to be traditional. There's nothing wrong with serving low-carb pizza, spinach meatballs in a rich Alfredo sauce, curried chicken wings, or a hot-and-spicy chicken stir fry for Christmas dinner. As long as your main dish is colorful, smells delicious, and you love it, that's all that matters.

7. Look for Low-Carb Substitutes


Pumpkin Casserole with Topping
Sweet Potato Casserole Can be Made with Pumpkin for Fewer Carbs

If you're still in the weight-loss phase of your low-carb diet, you'll need to look for low-carb substitutes for some of your old favorites. For example, you can make a really good fake sweet potato casserole by using pumpkin to replace the sweet potatoes. If the casserole is big enough, you can even add a small sweet potato to the pumpkin to help with the disguise. For the topping, I used to use soy flour, along with the butter, coconut, and pecans, but today, I use almond flour or crushed pork rinds. I can't recommend using wheat protein flour in your low-carb recipes, since it can easily trigger celiac disease if you're susceptible to that.

8. Use Your Family's Favorite Vegetables


Fresh Asparagus Spears
Use Your Family's Favorite Low-Carb Vegetables in your Christmas Dinner Plan

Two veggies that have been on my mind today are brussels sprouts and spinach. Hubby loves both of those, so if you zero in on veggies your family loves, eating low carb for Christmas will be more acceptable to them. Their minds will be focused on enjoying their favorite foods, rather than on the missing carbs.

We eat a lot of broccoli and cauliflower at our house, so you're not likely to find either at our Christmas dinner, but if you love broccoli and can't make it through the holiday without it, you can take it up a notch by making a broccoli salad rather than adding cooked broccoli to your holiday meal plans. Hubby can't eat raw vegetables, as he doesn't have any bottom teeth, so I've never made a raw broccoli salad before, but I have made one using cold cooked broccoli and it was very good. For mine, I also added some cheese chunks and pecans.

Asparagus is actually hubby's favorite vegetable, especially with a rich cheese sauce, but we just had that last week for his birthday. That's why I've been thinking about doing something else.

But if I were doing asparagus for Christmas, I'd cut the asparagus into 3 pieces, place it in a microwave-safe casserole dish, add a tiny bit of water, cover it tightly, and nuke it for about 5 minutes. At that point, I would stir it a little bit and then return it to the microwave for another 5 minutes. Cheese sauce is super easy. I just melt 1/4 cup of butter, add 4-ounces of cream cheese and a cup of heavy cream. Stir that all up and heat until it's nice and smooth. Then I fold in some real American cheese and let it melt. Bacon bits, mushrooms, and a few green onion slices will make the sauce extra special.

9. Take Advantage of Pinterest for Low-Carb Recipes


Photo of Sugar Cookies Shaped Like Stars and Hearts
Keep Your Eye on Pinterest for Great Low-Carb Recipes

This year's Christmas meal planning hasn't gotten past the main dish yet, but I've been spending a little bit of time over at Pinterest this past week looking at what the low-carb folks and people who eat gluten free have been pinning lately.

I'm not thrilled with all of the changes Google has been making to their search engine over the past few years. It's getting more and more difficult to find exactly what I need. While there's nothing wrong with bloggers trying to out-do other bloggers with unique, creative, specialty foods and recipes, a lot of what Google sends me to now days isn't practical. While the dishes might be fun to look at, they are recipes I would NEVER consider making myself.

Searching Pinterest is different. At Pinterest, fellow low-carbers have pinned low carb and gluten-free recipes they would like to try, recipes they have tried and loved, and pictures that easily spark the imagination with additional ideas and suggestions for tweaking dishes to be lower in carbs. When it comes to low-carb desserts, however, I'm utterly clueless these days. I react severely to all sugar substitutes, but I was able to find a ton of Christmas cookies that sound like they would be a great low-carb substitute. Here are two:

Low Carb Snowballs: When growing up, my mom always made snowballs for Christmas. I can't remember what she called them, but they were cookies shaped into balls and rolled in powdered sugar. They were a shortbread type of cookie that had a lot of butter in them and a lot of pecans. So I got a bit nostalgic when I ran into these Walnut Cardamom Snowballs that someone had made using almond flour and a little coconut flour. A lot of the recipes I ran into yesterday used low-glycemic sweeteners, but you could easily substitute your sugar substitute of choice. In this case, powdered erythritol makes an excellent substitute for powdered sugar.

Low Carb Christmas Sugar Cookies: I also ran into several different recipes for traditional Christmas cookies that you cut out with cookie cutters and then frost. This particular recipe is made with almond flour and little coconut flour. They are the thin and crispy type. If you'd prefer something softer, I'd roll the dough out thicker, probably 1/4-inch thick or more, and make sure that you don't over bake them. Low-carb frosting is easy to make. It's just an 8-ounce brick of cream cheese, a 1/2 cup of soft butter, a teaspoon of vanilla or other flavoring, and sweetener to taste.

10. Presentation Matters


Platter of Roast Beef Arranged in a Pinwheel Shape
Presentation of your Low-Carb Foods Matters
Photo credit: Arnold Gatilao, flickr.com, license CC BY 2.0 Generic

If you want your low-carb Christmas efforts to be memorable as well as enjoyable, the way you present your low-carb food and drinks really matters. Add a few mint leaves to your drinks. Place cookie cutters in a non-stick skillet and pipe your low-carb pancake batter into them to shape your kids' pancakes for breakfast. Use the traditional Christmas colors of red and green when making your favorite layered jello and cream cheese salad the family has come to expect each year. Or arrange your raw vegetable, cheese, and salami platter into the shape of a a Christmas tree.

Coming up with creative ideas isn't difficult. Just make good use of Pinterest, pixabay images, or flicker images for ideas. Heck, you can even use Google images for photos that will spark your creativity and imagination. The idea is to carry the Christmas theme into the way you present your low-carb dishes. Think Christmas colors and shapes. Edible Christmas trees or arranging the food into the shape of a wreath, star, or snowman can turn even the simplest food ideas into something special.

For example, instead of rolling your cheese balls in crushed pecans, you could dredge them in unsweetened coconut and stack two balls on top of each other to make a snowman. Use raisins for the eyes and buttons, and a small piece of carrot for the nose. Surround the snowman with homemade low-carb cheese crackers and pepperoni chips. Peeled hard-boiled eggs would also make cute miniature snowmen. Simply use sturdy toothpicks to hold on egg on top of the other.

Or how about freezing Christmas trinkets or dark green mint leaves in your ice cubes? You could even write a Christmas greeting across the top of your low-carb cheesecake, and arrange some berries and kiwi slices around the saying.

Show Off Low Carb at its Very Best



A low-carb diet doesn't have to be boring -- ever. And that includes the holidays. So take a little initiative and go the extra mile to make your Christmas dinner menu creative as well as appetizing. If you are mindful of your guests, use your family's favorite foods, include the kids in the festivities, and carry the Christmas theme throughout the entire meal, you'll end up with a celebration that you'll remember for years to come.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Kicking Carbs with the Help of Your Smartphone

Are you having trouble keeping track of your carbs throughout the day? 

It's really easy to forget something you've eaten if you don't write it down. Keeping a running tally of just how many carbs you've eaten is the only way to stay on top of your Critical Carbohydrate Level for Losing (CCLL) and make sure that you don't go over your individual number. That does take time to implement, knowledge of how to read labels properly, and a small amount of math skills to add it all up, but today's phone apps can make that chore easier.

I don't have a smart phone or other mobile device. I have an old flip phone from Straight Talk, so I'm not very knowledgeable when it comes to recommending the newest and latest phone apps that can make keeping track of your carbs easier. For that reason, Beth Kelly has agreed to provide a Guest Post for us on some of the latest and best apps that can help you achieve your weight-loss goals.

Beth recently graduated from DePaul University. She lives in the Chicago area and loves to spend time at the planatarium or volunteering at her local rabbit rescue shelter. Like me, she follows a gluten-free diet, so keeping on top of what she eats is essential to her well-being. If you like her post, you might want to consider following her on Twitter: @bkelly_88


Photo of an Android Smart Phone
Stay on Top of Your Carb Count with the Help of Your Smartphone
Photo by Johan Larsson, in care of Flickr.com, licensed under CC Attribution 2.0 Generic


Kicking Carbs with the Help of Your Smartphone

By Beth Kelly

People who are trying to lose weight often opt for a low-carbohydrate diet. Some studies suggest that when it comes to going low-carb versus low-fat, cutting your carbs is a much more efficient way to lose weight. The reduction in consumption of carbs has certain effects on the biochemistry of the body, which could lead to less fat being stored in adipose tissues.

It can be difficult to keep track of how many carbohydrates you eat while dieting. Additionally, there's always the temptation to cheat by consuming foods that “don't count” for one reason or another. But by using a dieting app on your phone or other mobile device, you can keep yourself honest and accountable while making it easy to track your carb consumption. The use of mobile technology to better our health is one of the most rapidly growing fields in both medicine and technology, so take advantage of the tools you have available right at your fingertips! As a representative from HealthITJobs.com explains, “these apps have created a whole new way for users as well as their doctors to monitor and change their lifestyles without much effort on the consumers part. For this reason mobile healthcare technology is seeing a flood of investments.”

Low Carb Diet Assistant by Nanobit Software is available at $2.99 for devices using iOS 3.0 or later. It comes preprogrammed with the caloric value, carbohydrate content, and other information for common meal choices. You can thus easily enter everything you eat and let the app calculate your carb intake. Once downloaded, this app can work completely offline – it contains all the information it needs right on your mobile device. You'll be able to view graphs and charts detailing your dietary metrics over time, so you can easily see if you're doing well or need to step up your efforts. In addition to keeping track of carbs, you can monitor your weight, BMI, water consumption and more.

Those who are put off by the price of Low Carb Diet Assistant may wish to consider GoMeals, which is absolutely free and is compatible with both iOS 6.1+ and Android 2.3 or later. This diet tracker was developed by Sanofi US. Much like the preceding app, GoMeals contains a database of foods, allowing you to enter what you eat without calculating the carb totals yourself although some users report having issues with the limited selection of items contained within the database. By setting up a free GoMeals account, you'll be able to access your information in the cloud, meaning that it will be backed up and accessible from any compatible device or your web browser.

Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal HD is a free app for Android and iOS 6.0 or later devices. It contains a large database of food nutritional information, with details on millions of different products. It even allows you to scan the barcodes on food packages to bring up the relevant information. Exercise is an important part of weight-loss, and Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker will enable you to track all the exercise you perform. You can break it down by type of exercise and the number of sets of each exercise that you do. By using the social features integrated within the app, you'll be able to compare notes with your friends who are also on a diet and motivate each other to accomplish your goals.

It's sometimes tough to prepare meals that are tasty without exceeding your calorie or carb guidelines. With the 700 Low-Carb Diet Recipes app for Android devices, you'll be able to get suggestions for easily prepared foods that fit within the framework of a low-carb diet. QuillApps has compiled this assortment of snacks, meals, soups, breads, and many other kinds of foods that you can make at home in your own kitchen. The handy search function allows you to winnow down the recipes to those that contain ingredients that you already have. Use the catalog and bookmark capabilities to save your favorite recipes for quick retrieval in future.