By Amber Mills.
I don’t know about you, but my cell phone plays a big role in my life.
It sounds crazy but my phone is like my own personal assistant. I use it to communicate, bank, read books, find recipes, check the weather and find out what’s happening in the world. Does this sound like you? If it does, why not let your phone help you lose weight and get fit?
Recently, I have heard friends talking about using apps to track calories. They say for them it is more convenient and more cost effective than going to weight loss meetings. So, I decided to try some out for myself to see what they have to offer. I also had my friends and family try them out for a week to get their input. Below are the 3 apps I tried along with my family and friends and some of our likes/dislikes about each one:
1. Lose It! - According to the app: Lose It! helps you set a daily calorie budget, track your food and exercise, and stay motivated to make smarter choices and achieve your goal. (Free for Android and iPhone users) My friends and family said: The barcode scanner eliminates any “guessing” on food and portion content. It is a little difficult to get exact calories when consuming homemade foods but it can be done. It allows you to easily add your exercise throughout the day and reinforces the positive impact of exercise. The restaurant section for checking food calories when eating out was very helpful. Being able to see the calories you burn from exercising was a great motivator to keep you going!
2. My Fitness Pal Calorie Counter and Fitness Tracker - According to the app: MyFitnessPal is the fastest and easiest-to-use calorie counter for Android/iPhone. With the largest food database of any Android/iPhone calorie counter, and amazingly fast food and exercise entry, we’ll help you take those extra pounds off! There is no better diet app- period. (Free for Android, BlackBerry, iPhone and Windows Phone users) My friends and family said: When you first download the app, it asks for your height, weight and ideal body weight. Then it calculates how many calories and how much exercise you should do in a day. After you done putting in a meal or snack, it tracks how many more calories you should intake for the rest of your day. It tracks your progress and tells you when you are going to reach your goal. It allows you connect with your friends so that you can support each other while losing weight. The barcode scanner is great so that you can calculate exactly how many calories you are eating. This is a very fast way to keep track of calories and exercise.
3. Fooducate - According to the app: Fooducate helps you lose weight eat REAL food, and track your progress. It grades your food, explains what’s really inside each product, and offers healthier alternatives. We’ve got the largest database of UPC-based nutrition information- over 200,000 unique products and growing. (Free for Android and iPhone users) My friends and family said: It grades the food you are about to consume so that you can pick a healthier food alternative with a better grade. It allows you to really know the ingredients in your food and is helpful when buying groceries because it tells you similar products to the one you are going to buy that will be healthier for your body. Calorie and exercise tracking is available but it wasn’t always easy to find your foods in the database, so calorie tracking may have not been 100% accurate.
Overall, all three apps are great in making you more aware of what you are putting into your body on a daily basis and how much your physical activity is burning off the food you consume.
I think most people (those who have never tracked calories before) would be shocked at how fast calories add up over the course of a day. Exercise plays a key part in weight loss. If we get in the habit of consuming more calories than we are able to burn off in a day, then weight gain will occur.
Like any weight loss or exercise program, the apps above require motivation by the user. It’s easy to download the app but if you don’t consistently use them, they aren’t going to work. Try them out and see which one you like best and start using it. Instead of updating your Facebook status or sending a tweet the next time you get on your phone, track your calories and fitness for the day. It just might help you get the weight loss results you are looking for!