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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Apps For Weight Loss or Fitness



Last week we talked about how a mobile app can help with weight loss goals.  But Apps can not only help one track what they eat, they can help one achieve fitness goals as well as weight goals.  Not everyone wants to lose weight, so one can use an App to put on pounds and “bulk up” as well as lose unwanted pounds.  So what Apps are out there?  The NYDailyNews recently reviewed the top 6 smartphone apps for losing weight. 

MyFitness Pal - Calorie Counter and Diet  Tracker - one of the more popular Apps.  Both PC Mag and Wired’s editors have chosen this app.  This App counts calories with a database of over 2million foods, and users can share their triumphs and frustrations.  It tells you if you get too many calories or not enough for the day.  This app not only tracks food intake but also your exercise.  This app comes with a bar code scanner so you can easily record packaged food items.  Downside, it doesn’t tell you what you are lacking, like eat more grains, more fruit.  A modification they could add to this App would be some kind of timer to remind you to enter a meal or snack.  Downside – reviewers did not like having to log in and share their diet intake with MyFitnesspal.  Others didn’t like the database focus on processed foods and few unprocessed foods. 

Lose It!  - I like this App as it is easy to use and if you exercise, you get “more calories” to eat during the day.  So say your calorie target to lose weight is 2000 calories and as you enter the food you eat you have 1000 calories left.  Then you walk, bicycle or engage in some exercise that burns up 200 calories and now you have 1200 calories left to eat.  Many restaurants are in the database making it easy to record your food intake when dining out.  A very popular feature of this app is the bar code scanner.  One just holds the App up to the bar code on a food item and the calories and nutrient information is automatically recorded into the program. 

Fooducate – This is different than most weight loss apps as it gives the food a grade.  You scan in the bar code and it gives the food a health grade from A to F.  Thus, it tracks your weight and food and gives you some measure of the nutritional quality of the food you eat.  It even has a feature to create healthy grocery lists.

iTrack Bites – Like Weight Watchers, this app assigns points to each food.  You keep a food diary and chose foods with a point value from the app’s food database.  If a food isn’t in the database, you can enter it.  Downside – reviewers were frustrated that one couldn’t change the portion size and there was no scanner feature.  . 

Endomondo – free and a Pro version is available.  This has a GPS tracking feature to track your running, bicycling and walking routines.   It will give you distance, duration and calories burned for each activity. 

Fitocracy – the developers of this app were former video game addicts who were out of shape.  They created a game atmosphere in which “Fitocrats” play against one another in order to enhance their fitness and exchange workout routines and give advice and encouragement.  One works their way up to different levels just as they would in a video game.  A reviewer who is a personal trainer uses this app to challenge his clients to compete against each other and get the most points. 

Other Apps to try include:

Diet Point – Weight Loss Meal Planner - This is a basic App.  Has a large list of diet plans and a weight-loss forum for you to participate in.  It has BMI calculators to make it easy to calculate your BMI at the start of your program and during your weight loss regimen.  One reviewer noted they loved the meal reminders and the supportive community. 

Noom – For those who want instructions as to what to do, this app is for you.  It tells you what to do daily for your weight loss tasks.  It also grades your weight- loss progress.  Reviewers note that this is easy to use as one reviewer noted, “Makes calorie counting easy”.  Another user noted, “simple, fast and convenient”.  

What diet or fitness apps have you tried and which do you prefer?

Sources:
Top 6 smartphone apps for losing weight
Reviews from iTunes Store

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