This 7-Day Challenge Will Forever Change The Way You Eat

Do this one thing for 7 days, and eat better for life.


There’s one simple reason why almost every method of eating better fails.

That’s not an exaggeration. It really comes down to one thing.

We don’t enjoy it.

There’s this myth that achieving health goals requires suffering. That if you want to eat better or lose weight, suffering is part of the deal.

That’s ridiculous. After all, the main problem isn’t making progress – it’s maintaining that progress. And who wants to maintain something they don’t like doing? For life?

Seriously. Think about that. “Hey, you probably won’t like doing this, but you need to… oh, and you have to continue doing it for the rest of your life.”

Lol.


YouFood’s 7-Day Photo Challenge works exactly because it’s everything traditional methods are not.

It’s fun. It’s free. It’s short.

And it’s amazingly simple: Take photos of what you eat and drink for 7 days, and you’ll eat better, for life.

If you’re saying, “Girl, get me in on this!” then get the app and start today. If you’re saying, “C’mon, how can it be that simple?” then read these five reasons why the 7-Day Photo Challenge can transform your life:


1. You think you know your eating habits… until you see your day in photos

We’re visual learners. Seeing photos of your day’s intake brings habits to life in a way nothing else can.

Your “oh, I eat vegetables” belief changes a bit when you see a quarter plate of green space in just one of your six photos for the day.

Your idea of “enough water” changes upon seeing more Diet Coke cans than water glasses.

Just how many “small handfuls” of M&Ms do you really have in one day?

The good stuff also shines through. You look at your dinner and immediately say “Boom! That was a great meal.”


2. Photos are fast and fun… calorie counting is laborious, stressful, and psychologically destructive

Countless medical studies have concluded that logging what you eat – no matter how you do it – is one of the only proven ways to eat better.

What’s the fastest way to do this? Take a photo!

Aside from the ease, it’s fun to photograph our food. It’s also been proven that taking a few extra seconds to make your meal look good actually improves our brain’s perception of how that meal tastes.

Given this, why on Earth do we count calories?

Reducing your meal to a number takes the joy out of food, puts the focus on your daily calorie limit rather than the actual decisions you’re making, and most damaging, takes a huge toll on us in the form of stress, and worse, obsessive and/or restrictive behavior.

Back to our central theme: We don’t stick with things we don’t enjoy.


3. Photos amplify social accountability, which is THE #1 determinant of success

“It’s hard to go it alone” is a statement we can all agree with.

But medical journals take it one step further. Going it alone is the single worst thing you can do when trying to lose weight. A Northwestern University study published in 2015 showed that “number of supportive connections” was the biggest weight loss factor, by far.

Women who had two or more people following their food tracking lost an average of 8.3 percent body weight during the study – more than double the average.

The main reason for this? Social accountability. If you know friends are watching – real-life or digital connections – you think twice about your choices. You’d rather post an apple than a handful of M&Ms.

YouFood makes social accountability safe and fun. No one judges, there’s no shame, and you’re encouraged to “be real.” If you really don’t want to share something, you can make it private. Done.

As we like to say, “YouFood isn’t Facebook, and it won’t feel that way.” It’s a positive, supportive community helping each other eat better.

And it’s way easier to congratulate someone on an awesome meal if you can actually see the meal. Social accountability doesn’t work so well with calorie ledgers…


4. Photos allow you to end your day with a highly impactful question: What can I do better tomorrow?

A key part of the 7-Day Challenge is looking at your day and reflecting on your choices.

You can see your entire day of photos in one screen, and because you’re looking at foods you’re familiar with – you aren’t trudging through some complicated diet – you can reflect in a matter of seconds.

“I see what I did well and where I can improve. What can I do better tomorrow?”

That’s it. You don’t analyze numbers. You don’t ask your doctor if it’s working because you have no idea. You look at what you ate and drank and say, “Cool, I know I can improve this one thing, so I’m gonna do that tomorrow.”

To amplify this benefit, YouFood has a “daily journal” feature that allows you to rate your day and make any notes you’d like to remember.


5. Every good day becomes a template for future success that you can look back on for the rest of your life

If you’re ever in a rut, you can just look back at your YouFood profile and say, “What did I eat when I was having success, when I was feeling good?”

You can see everything you ate (and drank), and literally copy it. Boom. Back on track.

No other form of logging allows you to do this.


Start your challenge today. It takes just 7 days. What do you have to lose?

After 7 days, you’ll feel more in control of your eating choices, more in touch with your habits, and more confident than ever in your ability to eat better for life.

We can’t wait to welcome you to the community. Download YouFood for free.

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Posted in Food photos, Health and weight loss, Meal journaling, Nutrition science | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

If You Post Food Photos On Instagram, You Need To Read This

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Food blogger Rhian Williams is guest posting today! She’s @rhiansrecipes on YouFood and blogs at http://rhiansrecipes.com.

Instagram poses me, and most likely you, a big problem.

How big? Instagram will see 2 billion food photos in 2016. How on Earth can mine get noticed?

If you love sharing photos of your food – and especially if you’re a blogger like me – you look to social networks to grow your following. Instagram is the default choice, but should it be?

I joined Instagram last September and have 268 followers. I started posting on YouFood only a month ago, and I now have over 1,200 YouFood followers. The attention I’ve gotten is rewarding, motivating and fun.

I’ve figured out four reasons why it’s so much easier to build a following on YouFood. Here they are:


First, YouFood is entirely about food.

This is a big difference. When people open the app, they’re immediately in the right frame of mind to discover, share and enjoy food; whilst on Instagram or Pinterest, there is so much other content competing for everyone’s attention.

Furthermore, your experience is deeply personalised to your food tastes and health goals. If you’re paleo or vegan or want to lose weight, for example, the app immediately shows you only photos and recipes that match your preferences. Everyone is seeing what they want to see.

 

It’s still new and growing, so the best time to join is now.

YouFood isn’t overcrowded with big companies promoting their products or famous food bloggers posting perfect professional photos. Refreshingly, it’s full of normal, everyday people who are dedicated to eating well and sharing their wonderful recipes with each other.

Furthermore, the established networks don’t offer any natural spotlighting opportunities. Starting a new account on Instagram can feel quite alienating as you immediately feel entirely lost amongst masses of better, more established people who post perfect photos that you don’t feel like you could ever compete with.

YouFood offers a level playing field for everybody, no matter what your experience. The Home tab features a “Daily Awesomeness” that surfaces the best posts from the previous day. I was spotlighted on my second day when I had just a few followers.

I was thrilled to get so much interaction so quickly. It was surprisingly easy. There’s no need to worry about your photo not being perfect and you don’t have to post millions of hashtags for people to be able to find you. Several fellow YouFooders have even made my recipes too, which has been very rewarding.


The people on YouFood are incredibly supportive; it’s a real food-loving community.

For this reason, YouFood is much less intimidating than other social networks. There is much more real human engagement with photos, and I also haven’t experienced any spam-like comments that always pop up on other platforms.

Many people have a negative view of social media because it gives an overly optimistic impression of people’s lives and makes everybody feel the need to compare themselves to each other. YouFood is refreshingly different in this respect.

The YouFood community is full of genuine people posting genuine photos of genuine food and engaging with one another in a wonderfully human way. You don’t need to be perfect and neither do the photos you share – it is about as close to the real world as a virtual network can get.


And, finally, YouFood lets you link freely to your blog!

What I have personally benefited from most is that YouFood allows you to directly link your posts to your blog. After I started posting on the app, I immediately noticed the difference in the number of views I was getting on my blog.

For all these reasons, YouFood is the ideal platform for starting and growing an audience. The earliest people to build followings on a certain network usually get outsized gains as that network grows, so now is the time to start posting on YouFood.

As YouFood continues to grow, I very much hope that its compassionate and supportive spirit won’t change. The best way we can make this happen is by encouraging more passionate and inspiring people to join our wonderful community!

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Rhian’s blog and recipes have been featured in several national UK publications. Follow her on YouFood @rhiansrecipes for new recipes every week, and check out her blog at http://rhiansrecipes.com. Thanks for sharing your story, Rhian!

Posted in Food photos, Meal journaling | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

The Rise of Health Porn, and Why Not All Inspiration is Created Equal

The progress photo has likely existed since the dawn of camera technology, but for all intents and purposes, it started with Jared.

Old Jared wore size 62 pants. New Jared looked great, smiled wide, and sold a ton of Subway sandwiches.

His story resonated because it was extreme (size 62?!), it was simple (low-fat, 6-inch sandwiches), and it was visually shocking.

Jared's progress photo

In reality, Jared wasn’t selling sandwiches. He was selling hope. Hope that we could be like him, lose weight, and eventually have our own before-and-after photo to wow friends and family.

There was no actual roadmap or diet plan. There was no coaching or support group. No details. There was only the image of Jared and his pants.

It was health porn.

And if his 10-year run as a Subway spokesperson is any indication, that was all we needed to go buy a sandwich.

***

Fast forward 15 years, and health porn is an industry in and of itself.

We don’t call it health porn, of course. We call it fitspo (fitness inspiration), progress pics, and beautiful açaí/granola bowls. And we’re bombarded with it daily.

Millions of glossy Instagram photos. Enough Facebook posts to clog your Newsfeed for months. Apps built entirely around the idea of crowd-sourced fitness inspiration.

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Rather than spending an hour at the gym, we end up spending an hour looking at what we want to look like. It’s easy to get lost. Beautiful images and beautiful people draw you in.

If it sounds like we’re talking about tabloid magazines, perhaps the next step is to ask whether they’re all that different.

You can lose weight like this. You can eat this healthy. You can get abs like this. You can make this your new philosophy. You can do this. YOU. Can do this.

“I’m in!” you say. “How do I do it?”

… and that’s where the health porn story falls apart.

***

The “How” is what matters in healthy eating and weight loss – far more than the “What.”

Good health isn’t glamorous, because good health is all in the day-to-day details – the How. It’s low on sugar, it’s sweaty, and it smells.

The What, however, is much easier to sell. What is the right side of a progress photo. What is that toned stomach, or a series of beautiful vegetable photos.

Health porn gives you a gratuitous amount of What and none of the How, that is unless the owner of those six-pack abs wants to reveal everything that went into getting them (she doesn’t… but might if you pay $200).

It’s empty inspiration. A destination without a roadmap.

And the last thing we need is more reason to fawn over what we aren’t rather than focusing on what we are and how we can improve.

***

The solution to empty inspiration? Add a healthy dose of realness. Show the boring meals, the ice cream snacks, the unglamorous workouts, and more of the thought process.

All of a sudden, it ceases to be porn.

What starts as health porn…

Gorgeous sweet potato+avocado+veggies meal

Becomes a complete window into how a 5’3″ vegetarian woman in her 20s makes progress toward her goals:

Day in the life of YouFood user @sim

What starts as health porn (serious arm transformation!)…

50-year-old woman progress photo

Becomes fantastic insight into how a 5’6″ woman in her 50s can reach a “healthy/normal” BMI for the first time in 20 years, while building awesome arm muscle in the process:

Healthy day, in photos

A not-so-healthy day, in photos

Her bio and goals

We’d never say inspiration is a bad thing. But the difference between mindless and magical is in the details.

***

In the end, it’s about what game we’re playing. Pretty photos, or real progress? The What, or the How?

Health porn, or health?

We choose the latter. But we won’t skimp on the good-looking photos, either. Join us on YouFood (iPhone, Android).

YouFood photo collage

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Whole 30 + YouFood: The Perfect Match

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As YouFood grows, we learn more and more about what works and how we can help our users. Beyond eating healthy and making good food choices, we learn just how effective YouFood is at connecting communities.

At its core, YouFood was built for people to learn from each other’s success. Perhaps the most powerful example of this is the health communities that have popped up all over YouFood.

It started with the Eat The Food (ETF) tribe and spread to the passionate community of Trim Healthy Mama. YouFood became the home base for both of these groups to connect, share recipes, and get support.

And it’s working. You get the personal support you need in a positive and welcoming environment. You have a way to stay on track and help others in your group stay on track.

Naturally, we asked ourselves, are there other groups that would benefit from joining YouFood? Before we could answer, a new community began to find us.

Whole30 – thirty days of very strict Paleo eating with powerful results. It’s a restart to your body, grounded in making good food choices – the kind of healthy choices YouFood is all about. Hundreds of Whole30 users are already on the app.

YouFood can be the place for the Whole30.profile

Looking for a place to hold yourself accountable for your challenge? YouFood.

Need meal ideas and recipes from other Whole30ers? YouFood.

Searching for real life support from current challengers and others who have completed the challenge? YouFood.

Whole30’s presence on YouFood made me curious about what this 30 day challenge was all about.  And after reading It Starts with Food, I am Whole30’s number one fan.

(You can follow me on YouFood – @Stephanie!)

So, I began prepping for a Whole30 through the app. I engaged with Whole30 users, received powerful and motivating advice, and saw what 30 days of real Whole30 meals looked like.

Once in flight, each meal I shared on YouFood held me accountable and allowed me to reflect on any changes I needed to make.

Sure, I work for YouFood, but I believe in the Whole30. I want YouFood to be a community for you to get support from and give it back to other Whole30 users.

So if you are interested in taking your Whole30 to a growing, vibrant community of supporters, download YouFood.

If you want to see more about the Whole30 on YouFood check us out.

We hope your love for YouFood extends longer than the 30 day challenge. But for now, hop on board and start connecting with other challengers. Here are some rockstar Whole30ers on YouFood:

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Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

A Tale of Two Smoothies: Jamba Juice Healthy vs. Homemade Healthy

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We begin this tale by applauding you for your interest in a kale smoothie. Yes, kale. A leafy green you can drink.

Kale is the newest hero to hit the weight loss scene. Food establishments – including Jamba Juice – are adding kale into any recipe they can. But does kale alone make for a healthy creation? Our comparison of a common TwoGrand kale smoothie to Jamba Juice’s latest kale creation shines some light on the matter.

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The first contender is the 410 Calorie Kale-Ribbean Breeze. It’s homemade opponent was posted to TwoGrand by user @Peter, and comes in at 383 Calories.

On the surface? Very similar. Breaking down the ingredients begins to tell the full story.

Jamba Juice ingredients: Passionfruit Mango Mixed Blend, Kale, Mangoes, Non-Fat Greek Yogurt, and Chia Seeds.

Homemade ingredients: Kale (2 cups), peas (1/2 cup), one banana, blueberries (3/4 cup), 1/4 of a cucumber, chia seeds (4 tsp), and water.

The smoothies share kale and chia seeds. Beyond that, the health quality diverges. And the full nutritional stats makes you think twice about what Jamba Juice touts as its greenest smoothie yet.

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There is only one ingredient that can counter the veggie taste of kale – sugar. And the amount of sugar in each of these drinks is eye-opening.

The Jamba Juice smoothie has 2 times the amount of sugar (and sodium) than our homemade smoothie. Not to mention half the fiber. (All for $5.69!)

Add in the 100% natural and fresh nature of the homemade smoothie, and we have a clear winner.

Does Jamba’s smoothie contain good stuff for our bodies? Of course, and it’s likely healthier than other Jamba options. But do we need all that sugar? Definitely not.

Smoothies in particular can vary wildly in their nutritional content. Like kale, smoothies are popping up on an increasing number of menus. Choose the ones you drink wisely, and whenever possible, make them yourself!

More than 10,000 smoothies have been posted to TwoGrand, and our awesome community logs new and healthy smoothies every day. Come join us, and see creations like this in your feed every day:

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Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Full Story of the 100-Calorie Pack, and Why it Makes a 300 Calorie Snack Look Better.

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100-calorie snacks are everywhere – a full-on food marketing phenomenon. Clearly, they sell well (we’ve eaten them; you probably have, too), but should we be eating them?

We eat them because “100 calories” is a very attractive idea. But what if that’s the problem? Is there another reason other than “it’s just 100 calories” that we choose these?

After all, if there was value beyond the calorie count, a giant font “100 calories” taking up half the packaging would probably be unnecessary.

We decided to dig a little further, comparing a 100-calorie Oreo pack to one of TwoGrand’s most popular snacks – an apple with all-natural peanut butter.

The result? There’s a clear winner. But only if the right kind of “label” is applied…

Comparison #1: The Standard Nutrition Label Treatment

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When viewed through the lens of traditional nutrition labels, it’s easy to see how 100-calorie packs win our hearts (and trick our minds).

The apple/PB gives you more of everything, including almost three times the calories and eight times the fat. More fiber and protein, too, but did anyone get past the calories and fat?

We’ve been trained to fixate on calories and fat, and this is what 100-calorie packs capitalize on.

The numbers breakdown above still doesn’t tell us anything about the value of these foods. Numbers without proper context rarely tell the right story.

Comparison # 2: The Ingredients

Add ingredients to the discussion, and the story changes rapidly. You know the sugary salt sprinkled on the cookies to simulate the creme filling? Makes you wonder what’s in it, doesn’t it…

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Sure, The 100 Calorie Pack has 100 calories, but these 100 calories are made of 13 different ingredients. Not to mention additional sub-ingredients and the gamble of getting Baking Soda and/or Calcium Phosphate. (Seriously? And/or?)

Comparison # 3: The Real Carbs Story

We instinctually run away from carbs at nearly the same rate we run away from calories. But just like fats, not all carbs are created equal, and our apple/PB vs. 100-calorie oreos once again illuminates why.

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Natural Sugars found in apples and peanut butter get absorbed into the bloodstream over time, allowing the body to properly digest the nutrients and vitamins. You’re left with natural energy and you stay full longer.

In comparison, added sugars processed into 100-calorie packs are digested as empty carbs. You sometimes feel hungrier, and after a sugar spike is often an energy crash.

So what’s in a 100-calorie pack? Well, there’s 100 calories. The rest is hard to pronounce and harder to digest.

Unfortunately, our nutrition labels, and the marketers who deeply understand what causes us to buy 100-calorie packs, obscure the real value in foods. Or in this case, the lack thereof.

Yes, an apple with natural peanut butter has nearly 300 calories. But you can count the number of ingredients on two fingers, and eat the apple with the other three.

And if the 16g fat and 300 calories is really too much for you, split the snack in half and save the rest for later.

Now that’s real value.

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Avoided Avocados Because of Fat or Calories? This Will Make You Think Twice About Doing it Again.

avocadosundayGive the standard nutrition label treatment to an avocado, and you’ll likely run for the hills. Half an avocado has 14g fat? 145 calories? Yikes.

But if we go sans avocado in our salads because it puts us over our calorie target for the day, we’re doing this power food a serious nutrition injustice.

Total fat content and calories tell only a fraction of the avocado story. The fruit is packed with vitamins, minerals, and fats essential to maintaining a balanced diet.

And yes, avocados, with their 14g fat per half, can aid in weight loss.

Here’s the “label” we should be reading:

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About those fats. Avocados contain mainly unsaturated fats. The good fats.

The unsaturated fats in avocados raise good cholesterol levels. They also take longer to digest, leaving you full for much longer.

Our bodies need fat. The good kind. This just isn’t communicated very well, especially on nutrition labels.

Avocados can enliven a wide range of meals. They give smoothies a creamy consistency, play well on morning toast, and provide a healthy alternative to butter.

There’s real value in avocados. If you still aren’t convinced, look at what a quick search for “avocado” yields on TwoGrand. It doesn’t hurt to be a beautiful food, either…

Avocado photos on TwoGrand

Posted in Nutrition labels, Nutrition science | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments