Like just about anyone who sits around for most of their day and also happens to enjoy food, I could use to lose a few pounds. About a month or so back, my wife found a pretty handy little app to help with just that called Lose It! After downloading the app from the iTunes store (it’s free), you do some basic input like what you currently weight, what your weight loss goals are (how many pounds you want to lose a week) and then it gives you a calorie allotment for the day. Every time you eat something, you input the food into the app and it tallies up how many calories you’ve put in your face throughout the day.
There’s a few handy aspects of this app that I really like. For one thing, you can scan a food’s barcode instead of having to look everything up in the search engine. I’ve only found a few items not in the database. You can also add recipes to your personal settings by inputting all the ingredients and figuring out how many servings it makes. After inputting everything, I then share the information with my wife who’s also using the app. If you’re the exercise type (I’m not), you can also input that information which gives you more calories to play with that day.
This isn’t my first experience with this kind of thing, though. In college I started using the Weight Watchers program which worked out really well. It’s basically the same principal of figuring out where you want to be at and then adjusting your caloric intake so that that can happen. Both programs involve you sticking to the program, though, which can be the fatale flaw in the design for some.
I’m lucky in that, if I can stay focused and cook most of my own meals, I can stick to something like this pretty well. After having a really good first week and a half using the app and losing a good amount of weight, though, we went to visit my wife’s parents, ate out several times and since I didn’t choose the healthiest options, I put some of the weight back on which was a bummer. But instead of getting too discouraged, I’m refocused and figuring out menus with an eye towards healthier choices.
For the most part, I’m a big fan of the Lost It! app, though I do think some of the menu stuff could be improved. I’m not a fan of having to remember a four tap sequence to add a recipe or the fact that I have to hit about four buttons to get back to the main menu, but it’s definitely the kind of thing you eventually get used to, even if its a little inefficient. Plus, there’s definitely something psychologically pleasing about looking at a piece of technology on your phone or online and seeing the progress you’ve made. It almost seems better or more official when a graph shows you you’ve been losing weight. You want to keep seeing those weight inputs on the graph slope down instead of up, so it becomes a little easier to maybe skip a beer or frozen treat in favor.
One thing I will add about this program is that, like any weight loss method that focuses only on calories, it’s not necessarily the best way to go. Just because a food has fewer calories doesn’t mean it’s better for you in the long run because of the crazy chemicals you’re ingesting in the process. It’s also important to remember to get a good mix of fruits and vegetables, carbs and protein in. Technically, I could eat nothing and just drink beer all day and still be within my caloric limit, but that’s not a healthy way to go.
So, while Lose It! is definitely a good tool to have in your weight loss utility belt, it’s also important to have a good sense of what you’re eating, where it came from, what’s in it and how healthy it really is.