Losing weight is one of the most popular personal health goals. Help can be as close as your phone. Weight loss apps can track progress, connect with other users, and provide personalized recommendations for reaching weight loss goals.
Most weight loss apps start by asking you for some basic information. This involves entering your current weight, desired goal weight, and personal preferences. You may be asked about your age, whether you have children, health conditions, and much more. The app can then create a customized plan for you to follow, complete with calorie and nutrition goals. It can also track your progress over time, helping you stay on track, and adjust your plan if needed.
Some apps connect with your bathroom scale to collect data directly.
What you eat is an essential part of any weight loss program. Weight loss apps have lots of different ways to track and refine your diet. One handy option is to take photos of your meals and let the app identify the foods you eat. BiteSnap, the app shown below, tracks everything from phosphorous to fiber and shares highly visual charts showing your intake.
Other apps let you choose from a searchable list of foods. My Fitness Pal, a free app, takes this approach. It gives calories, carbs, fat, protein, and sugar for lots of foods in its database. You can also change the nutrients it tracks — if you want to check potassium, cholesterol, or vitamin C, you can.
Food tracking apps may also offer you meal plans and suggestions, encouragement, and food grades.
Some weight loss apps include both food and activity. Others focus on fitness alone. Apple Fitness+ tracks activity with the help of your phone or Apple Watch and includes workouts, rewards, and community connections.
Fitbit, which connects with your Fitbit device or Apple Watch, tracks activity as well as sleep, weight, and more. Noom can also sync with tracking devices, but you can also manually input steps. Noom provides nutrition education and helps you track healthy habits like steps, exercise, a daily food journal, and water intake. Strava tracks activity and uses maps as well. It has a strong community connection and focuses on running, cycling, and swimming. Most of these apps require a monthly membership fee, but there is often a free trial period.
Some weight loss apps have the extra feature of helping you to connect with other users or health coaches. This can help you stay motivated and accountable. Sharing your goals and progress with others can help you stay on track and receive tips and advice from other users. You can also join online forums and support groups that are specifically tailored to helping users reach their weight loss goals.
Not everyone finds weight loss apps helpful. They are worth trying out, though — research suggests that people who put more time and attention into the use of these apps can benefit more from them.