“There’s an app for that…” Yes, even the best weight-loss apps can be yours at the touch of a button. Since you most likely have your phone with you at virtually all times, what could possibly be easier than having a weight-loss app right on your phone?
Here’s why you should be using an app and which one is the best fit for you.
What Is a Weight-Loss App?
A weight-loss app will help you monitor and track calories and macronutrients. Think of it as an electronic version of a food and exercise journal or a food log. Apps will usually take into account your age, height, weight, weight-loss goals, and even exercise habits to help you decide how many calories you need to consume and/or burn to lose weight. They are a convenient and easy way to monitor your food intake and your caloric expenditure through exercise.
What Are the Benefits of Weight-Loss Apps?
Research shows that weight-loss apps can be helpful if you are ready to do what it takes to lose weight. 1 For people who are willing to put in the work to monitor calories and macronutrients, as well as performing suggested exercises, fitness apps can be very helpful. Monitoring what you eat, and seeing it listed in front of you, can help create awareness and help you cut back on certain foods (or amounts) when needed to lose weight. 2
At your fingertips— it really doesn’t get much easier than this. Since our smartphones have become an extension of our arms, having a weight-loss app right at your fingertips can save you tons of time and help simplify your life.
Barcode reading— many apps have the ability to scan the barcode on your food item and automatically pull up the nutritional information. This means that at the touch of a button, you can have all the info you need about what you’re eating without having to leaf through calorie-counter books or scroll through endless food suggestions on an app. And, if you think you don’t eat any foods with barcodes on them, you’d be surprised. Even apples and bottled water have barcodes.
Social Support— studies show that using the buddy system when it comes to weight loss and weight maintenance can be crucial to your success. 3 Two-thirds of those who partnered up with friends not only successfully lost weight, but they kept it off for six months or more. Further research shows that the encouragement, camaraderie, and ideas for healthy foods and snacks are invaluable as part of a successful weight-loss program. 4
Accountability— being part of a collective group means you also don’t want to let the group down, and you’re much more likely to stick to the plan, especially if you have to check in with the group on a regular basis.
Strength in numbers— everyone knows things are easier (and more fun) when you do them with a buddy. And, according to scientists, partnering up with friends to lose weight can help you achieve almost 20% more weight loss than going it alone. 4
Free or low cost— many weight-loss apps are free to use, and those which do charge don’t charge much, usually a nominal monthly fee. And, the return on investment is huge in terms of the utility, convenience, support, coaching, accountability, success rate, and more.
The Top Weight-Loss Apps to Try
My Fitness Pal—this fitness and weight-loss app has been around for ages. With over six million foods to choose from in their database, this app is one of the most comprehensive when it comes to tracking the nutritional value of the foods you eat. And the easy barcode scanner makes tracking a cinch.
FatSecret—a free, easy-to-use calorie counter and weight-loss app, FatSecret allows you to easily keep track of your food, exercise, water, and weight. It also has a global community of folks to connect with to provide support and offers numerous recipes and meal ideas.
Noom—relatively new on the scene, Noom offers a free trial of the app to get you started. You fill out a quick questionnaire and get access to a fully customized plan. You also have 24/7 access to health coaches and group support. Noom also offers motivational and psychological support to help you conquer emotional triggers and harmful eating patterns for long-term weight-loss success.
Weight Watchers—another oldie but goodie, weight watchers’ claim to fame is the fact that any and all foods are “allowed” on the plan. They have simplified the calorie- and macro-counting process by assigning foods points. As long as you stay within your point goals, you are good to go and should be on the road to weigh less.
Lose It—this app can help you achieve weight-loss success by helping you set weight-loss goals, track foods and exercise, and participate in support and accountability groups.
SparkPeople—this app also offers healthy recipes as well as over three million food items in their list of foods. The scanner allows for quick and easy logging of your foods. Additionally, SparkPeople has an extensive exercise demo section where you can learn various exercises and put together workouts. They also employ a point system, but not one for foods; the points are used as motivational “rewards” for achieving your goals.
Take some time to research each app you’re interested in and see if it’s a good fit for you and your lifestyle. Do you need one to track your progress, provide inspiration, or offer support and accountability? Once you choose the one for you, you can track your success with the touch of a finger.