The platform combines physical workouts, mental health resources, and more.
I think we can all agree: Maintaining healthy habits is hard work. Between social calendars, stressful jobs, and not getting enough sleep, it can be daunting to add new practices to your daily routine.
Add in the fact that
nearly 10 million Americans (including myself) suffer from a form of winter depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and that makes it incredibly difficult to commit to healthy habits, let alone start new ones. Energy — and the will to choose my treadmill or a veggie instead of a carb-laden snack — has always been hard to come by this time of year.
That is, until I discovered BetterMe.
Available for free from the App Store or Google Play (with premium features available for purchase), this app encourages healthy mental and physical lifestyle changes in accessible ways. Instead of intense programs or easy-to-fail workouts, this approach focuses on personalized solutions to mastering healthy habits. There’s a glossary of nutritional values for common foods, plus a water tracker and sleep tracker. There’s even one-on-ones with a coach who has your best interests in mind.
I’ve used a lot of health apps over the years for workouts and nutrition tracking, but BetterMe is a one-stop shop. Read on to discover what I’ve learned since downloading the app.
If calorie tracking is a top priority for you, BetterMe does it particularly well. The app sets a realistic number of daily calories based on your personal goal and provides a space to enter your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
It also includes practical advice on nutrition — something that’s often lacking from calorie-tracking apps — in the form of daily “chapters.” In the “Calories Are Weird: There’s A Way To Feel Fuller On Less,” chapter, it emphasizes that “Fewer calories don’t equal less food." For me, that translated into swapping meat for plant-based proteins and trading plain yogurt for Greek yogurt — both choices leaving me completely satisfied.
The app does a great job tying together healthy eating strategies with mental health mantras. In the chapter, “Your Core Beliefs Inside And Out,” one line really stuck with me:
The idea that it is possible to rewire my brain and rid myself of negative habits has given me a lot of encouragement, especially during a time when I need to challenge my thinking and take my mind in a better direction. No matter what you’re struggling with — be it winter depression like I do or feeling good in your body — this app sticks with you from beginning to end.
I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that I’m not drinking enough water, and BetterMe confirmed it. And though water tracking is one of the more traditional features of a health app, it’s an important one. According to the CDC, water helps regulate our temperature, lubricate our joints and muscles, protect the spinal cord, and balance your mood (among a bazillion other things).
I often forget to drink water throughout the day and I appreciate that BetterMe makes it easy to track your intake. Every time I open the app — which determines your water needs based on your weight and level of activity — I see my plan for the day: "Start With Your Mind," "Add Food," "Do Your Workout," "Weigh In," "Water Tracker," and "Track Your Steps." Getting to check off my daily wellness to-do list is so satisfying. And because I’m determined to complete the entire thing, hydration has become an attainable goal.
As I began perusing the workout options available on the app, I was floored to discover just how many options are available. I discovered facial yoga, which piqued my interested as a self-proclaimed devotee of gua sha (a form of face massage that uses a tool instead of your hands).
The app also features body-positive workouts, family workouts, and back-protecting workouts. There are wheelchair workouts as well. I like that this app is so inclusive with its programming. It removes the intimidation of going to the gym and gives you options like walking instead of running, skipping the equipment instead of grabbing weights, and doing facial yoga at the office if you so please.
I honestly don’t remember the last time I opened a physical cookbook, yet I struggle to come up with exciting dishes practically every day. When you sign up for BetterMe, it asks what your diet is like (vegetarian, pescatarian, lactose-free, for example), and it creates a daily meal plan based on your preferences.
After I told BetterMe I don’t eat red meat, I was presented with endless options to entice my palate. Even better yet, your complete daily meal plan includes a well-rounded selection of proteins, greens, fiber, and everything else your body needs to stay full and energized.
I really enjoyed one recipe in particular — the "Red Bean, Quinoa, Herb and Avocado Salad" — so I added it to my favorites tab for easy access in the future.
Counting calories alone doesn’t make something healthy — though you’d be hard-pressed to convince my former self of that. In truth, it takes a well-rounded mind, body, spirit approach to achieve your goals, and BetterMe covers all the bases.
I love the “Tips & Articles” section, filled with advice written by BetterMe’s personal trainers and mindfulness experts. Topics range from meditation and sleep to better morning habits. It’s been a great place for me to read up on healthy living (a good alternative to my usual doom scrolling). I’ve gained confidence from simply drinking more water, swapping out negative thoughts for positive ones, and participating in workout programs conducive to my current lifestyle and body.
The bottom line is this: You don’t have to feel bad about yourself to start making healthy changes. You’re great as you are, today — and this app will tell you so. But if being more aware of your nutrition and picking up some mental health tips is part of your larger goal, BetterMe can help you achieve it.
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