It’s incredible how quickly smartphones took over our world—and how much time we’re spending on them. Recent statistics, published by Pew Research Center, indicate that 77 percent of Americans own a smartphone, an increase from 64 percent in 2015. And we don’t just have them in our pockets and purses—we’re using them for an average of five hours per day, according to Tech Crunch.
But our smartphones are good for more than scrolling through friends’ baby pictures and crushing candies—they can be a secret weapon to speed toward your weight loss goals.
Here are 10 easy ways smartphones can help you drop pounds:
1. Download NuMi, Nutrisystem’s tracking app.
Tracking what you eat with a food diary (which can be done easily on smartphones!) can help you lose twice as much weight as dieting without keeping a record of your eating, according to a 2008 study. If you’re using Nutrisystem as part of your weight loss plan, the NuMi app makes it even easier to track: It’s got Nutrisystem’s food database pre-loaded in the app, so all possible foods are already there. It can be matched with your program so all you have to do is open the app and check off what you’ve eaten.
The app is free on smartphones, and that’s not even the best part: It can also save you money. NuMi users get exclusive access to money-saving offers on Nutrisystem products and free shipping.
2. Access recipes, diet tips and the Grocery Guide any time on The Leaf.
The Leaf, Nutrisystem’s weight loss blog, is updated daily with recipes, motivational success stories, weight loss strategies, news on the latest diet science and even fitness videos to help keep you motivated and on track toward your weight loss goals. And it’s easy to access from smartphones. So if you’re waiting for your kids’ soccer practice to end, stop scroll-scroll-scrolling through your social media feed to find a simple, delicious vegetable side dish the whole family will love. Killing time until a delayed train arrives? Check out the dining out recommendations on your smartphone to decide what you’ll order for lunch. And when you’re waiting for your coffee to finish brewing, get inspired by the amazing success of other Nutrisystem members.
3. You can take—and save!—progress pictures to stay motivated.
Sometimes when you’re on a weight loss program, it can be easy to forget how far you’ve come. Progress can be fast and furious at first, but once you’re in the groove, you may not notice that things are tightening up, or you might not realize how much your skin has brightened.
Smartphones have cameras. And cameras can be used to capture just how much you’ve accomplished. Don’t just use it to take progress pictures at the beginning of your journey—use that picture to remind yourself how far you’ve come. Check it out and remember how you felt that day. Compare it to how you feel and look today.
You can also use the camera as a reminder of your best days: When you’re fitting into a piece of clothing that you haven’t worn in a while, snap a picture. When you make a great food decision that you’re proud of, take a selfie. On days when you don’t feel motivated to continue on your plan, pull these pictures up as a reminder of how good it feels when you’re on plan. Use those warm and fuzzies to motivate yourself to keep going!
4. Set calendar reminders and alarms for workouts, water breaks and snack times.
On Nutrisystem, you’ll eat six times per day, noshing on filling nutrients like fiber and protein so you’re less likely to feel famished and binge. Eating on a regular or set schedule, can also keep your blood sugar and cholesterol in check, according to a study from England.
To make sure you stay on track, set some alarms: Have your phone buzz you when it’s time for that mid-morning FreshStart Shake or your afternoon snack. While you’re at it, consider setting alarms to drink some water and get out of your chair, too: When you sit too much, you not only increase your risk of early death by as much as 37 percent, according to CNN, but your body’s natural fat burning enzymes shut off. By walking around for a few minutes, you re-engage those enzymes so your body gets back to burning blubber. Try setting an alarm for a short walk every hour.
5. Start a text support group with friends for weight loss accountability.
One of the best ways to stay on track is to team up. Multiple studies have found that people are more likely to stick to a healthy lifestyle change if they don’t go it alone. In one study of couples, 43 percent of those who worked out separately dropped out of their health club memberships in a year. Only 6.3 percent of those who worked out together quit.
You don’t even have to be in the same place: Another study found that a simple phone call every two weeks to check in on exercise progress helped increase the amount of exercise study participants did by 78 percent compared to those who weren’t held accountable.
Create your own support system: Start a group text or Whatsapp with other friends who are on a weight loss program. Use the text to check in, celebrate victories, share tips and support each other when you struggle.
6. Access Nutrisystem’s social media channels to stay connected with other members.
Another way to grow your support system: Log on to Nutrisystem’s Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter pages, which are all easily accessible on your smartphone. You’ll get weight loss tips, exclusive offers and recipes from Nutrisystem’s experts. Plus, you can interact with other members. They’ll inspire you with their successes, offer tips that have helped them spice up Nutrisystem snack and entrees, and even answer questions you might have about how to quell a craving, prepare a certain food, or get more activity into your day. You may even find that your experiences help someone else!
7. Make your grocery list digital.
How many times have you gone to the grocery store and left your paper list at home or in the car? You probably never leave your phone behind—so put the list there! The “Notes” feature on your phone can let you keep a grocery list running as you use up healthy ingredients like olive oil, no-salt seasoning or your favorite fruits and vegetables, and it can also keep you from winging it once you hit the aisles. You’ll be less likely to forget a key ingredient for a favorite healthy recipe, so you can stay on track and not need to resort to take-out.
8. Find healthy, motivational pictures to remind you of your goals.
“Fitspo” pictures are everywhere on your social media feed, featuring glistening models with rippling abs above quotes that implore you to “go hard” in your workouts.
These pictures aren’t healthy: One study found that 18 percent of the subjects of these pictures are at risk for an eating disorder. And they aren’t helping you lose: A Dutch study found that dieters who look at pictures of models who were too thin engaged in more “goal-inconsistent” behaviors than those who looked at normal-sized models.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use pictures to help keep you motivated—they just need to be healthy. Find photos of people with healthy body types or progress that matches what you’d like to see—you can even find some success stories like this on The Leaf. Pick up your smartphone and review these when you need a spark of motivation to keep your eye on the prize—and keep your goals realistic and healthy.
9. Pump up your workouts with up-tempo playlists.
Music doesn’t just make your workout less boring. It can also make it feel easier: In one study published by Ace Fitness, exercisers on stationary bicycles who listened to up-tempo music pedaled at the same speed as others who were listening to “soothing” music. But the “soothing” group felt like they were working harder. So the up-tempo group was getting the same workout, but it felt easier!
If you don’t feel like handpicking your own speedy tunes, look for “cardio” or “workout” playlists or channels in your favorite music apps on your smartphone—they’re already pre-loaded with heart-pumping tunes that can make your exercise session seem easier!
10. You can keep Nutrisystem’s counselors on speed dial.
Nutrisystem’s plans are clear, simple and effective. But once in a while, everyone has a question or struggle. So add this number to your contacts now: 1-800-585-5483. Dialing that between 7 a.m. and midnight will put you in touch with one Nutrisystem’s well-trained, friendly and professional weight loss counselors—and it’s absolutely free for members.
Support is a huge part of weight loss success: One study found that only 25 percent of people who started a weight loss program alone lost weight and kept it off for six months, while two-thirds of those with a support system were able to keep weight off.
Nutrisystem’s counselors are that support: If you have a question about your next shipment or how to prepare a Nutrisystem food, or even just need someone to talk to about a weight loss struggle, the counselors are an incredible resource. They talk to countless members every single day, so they’ve probably chatted with another member who has had your exact question—meaning they’re ready with the guidance and encouragement you need to continue on your weight loss journey. And they’re just a quick phone call away.
Smartphones, which we all keep on hand no matter where we are, make it possible to make a quick call to a counselor while you’re out to dinner, on vacation or in the car. So take advantage and reach out… whenever and wherever you need it.