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Is the app the answer to a better you?

Apps for your smart phone or computer are designed to help you meet your 2011 resolutions to get fit and lose weight. But an app can only do so much, Oklahoma experts say.
BY SONYA COLBERG Published: December 29, 2010

Apps like Lose It, Calorie Counter and Nutrition Genius allow you to log what you eat, set calorie goals and track how many calories and fats you consume. Weight Watchers works similarly and offers recipes and health news.

Oklahoma City nutritionist Karen Funderburg likes the idea of apps or simply keeping track of information on a paper calendar.

“Whatever works. Whatever motivates people,” she said.

She said it can be tedious and counterproductive to track everything you eat, as some apps allow. She recommends avoiding concentrating on calories burned in favor of tracking how many fruits and vegetables eaten and physical activity undertaken each day.

Funderburg said clients often make a New Year's resolution to lose 20 or 30 pounds. Making the promise makes people feel better instantly, but the tendency to think they've got all year to lose that weight typically dooms them. Instead, she recommends more concrete, visual resolutions such as promising yourself to be active 100 minutes per week.

Resolve to stick with realistic fitness promises to yourself, said Dr. Stephen Prescott, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation president.

“Most people don't, which is why the lion's share of resolutions are no more by February. So don't pledge to work out for an hour a day every day — that's unrealistic. Instead, try to take small steps forward.”

And whether your resolutions revolve around quitting smoking, losing weight or getting fit, there's an app for that, too.

The New Year's Buzzer allows app users to place and track their 2011 New Year's resolutions.