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2.09.2013

Weight Loss App Reviews: My Fitness Pal and Lose It!

Sorry about the quiet week from Diet Drama. The whole house is sick, and Baby Drama was patient zero. So our priorities have not been able to be fighting off what we've had, but worrying about the Little Miss, taking her to repeated doctor's appointments, and doling out medicine and extra snuggles as needed. This particular illness settled into her little lungs almost immediately, which is always a little scary. She had some pulmonary hypertension issues in her early months, so me and her doctors don't mess around when it comes to the slightest wheeze. Luckily, we found a combination of meds that works, and she's no longer panting like she ran a mile when snuggling. Hooray!

When your baby girl likes to cough into your mouth, you're bound to get sick.  Every second she lays down, I lay down. Needless to say, working out has been off the menu in favor of rest and every-other-day trips to the pediatrician's office. By the time Mr. Drama gets home, I'm ready to collapse. 
However, I'm still losing! I'm down another 2 lbs overall (that 6 on the year...slow, but I'll take it!). Not being able to taste my food helps. The other thing that's helping? Tracking my food.

Every bite.

I've done it before. I mean, who hasn't counted points? Weight Watchers is like jury duty. Everyone has to do it at least once. But I would always shy away from being accountable. I'd sneakily leave off little additions like a sprinkle of cheese or the butter in the pan or the creamer in my coffee. Those are the things that make the difference in your progress. They can make or break you.

Since I haven't been working out for 2 weeks, I felt like I wouldn't move forward. I didn't want to stop my personal renovation just because we all got sick. So I had to do something. I've seen lots of praise for some tracking apps, so I decided to try some out. I started with My Fitness Pal, an app I've seen referenced in many of my favorites bloggers' posts (like No Thanks to Cake and Coffee Cake and Cardio). So I decided to try that one first. It didn't totally do everything I wanted it to do, so I moved on to Lose It! and that had a little more of what I needed (plus some awesome extra features).

Here’s a quickie review of each:

My Fitness Pal Mini Review: 6 out of 10
 
I forgot how handy it can be to track food on your phone. I have mine on me at all times, so there's no excuse for not tracking. Everytime I ate something or prepared to eat something, I'd just reach into my pocket and grab my iPhone.



Set up is easy. You plug in your height, weight, activity level, age - all the usual stuff. It gives you an option on how fast you want to lose weight per week - from 1/2 pound to 2 pounds. I picked 1 1/2 pounds per week (aggressive, but not starving). It gave me a nice calorie goal for the day, and away we go!

The home screen has a nice recap where is shows you how many calories you've eaten and how many you've worked off. It also has a newsfeed where you can connect to your fitness pals and get a mini-Facebook experience going on.




 
 



Adding food is also easy. It has a nice interface where you have quick access to your most recent foods for that meal period, and an easy entry to adding new foods or searching for others. You can quickly add calories only (if that's all you're watching) or add a new one to the database.



 
 
 
 
My favorite part was the "Done for the day" screen. Once you enter all your food, you get a screen that tells you if you were above or below calories, and how it will help you progress - in real terms. It gives a beautiful view into short term goals. Sooo motivating!



My Fitness Pal also connects to other fitness apps like Runtastic and Fitbit for easy trackability. It’s cool that you can connect your smart products like pedometers and smart scales to this program!
Alas, for all it’s perks, I wasn’t getting the love I needed from My Fitness Pal. The big thing I wanted and needed was a breakdown of the macros: Protein, Carbs, Fat, etc. I’ve been trying to watch my sugar intake, and I wasn’t getting a picture of my day from that perspective. Calories only. So I went in search of another app.


Lose It! App Mini Review 8/10 (so far)
 
IMG_3842Lose It! had what I wanted right on the home screen: A handy dandy little pie chart with my breakdown for the day so I can check it as I go! Woo!
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Also, you can tap that section and get an average for the week to get a good idea of how well you’re keeping on track (so you can see how little/how much that one bad meal weighs in).



You can also tap on the calories for a little weekly snapshot of how that adds up. You can start to spot patterns this way. I found one that is freaking me out. More on that here.
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My favorite favorite favorite part of this app is the Scan barcode feature. It does what it says – scans the barcode of your packaged foods and POOF! that info is in your journal. I haven’t found one yet with zero info. I’ve had a few instances of nutrition info missing, but for the most part, the calories are there. If you know how to add to the public database, tell me in the comments.

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Of course you can also add exercise! It gives you those calories burned back on to your day. Yesterday I earned a glass of wine thanks to some snow shoveling. I don’t think I’ll always use those earned calories though.

Plus, it seems like you can connect it with more apps and devices than My Fitness Pal. Well, more mainstream stuff, like Nike+ and the new Nike+ Fuelband (which I am super intrigued by, but it’s pricey).  
There’s also a social function so you can connect with folks you know. If you’re using this app, connect with me (email is diet.dramatics @ gmail.com)! There’s a lot of info and community type functions on the Lose It! website, but I haven’t fully explored there yet.

Recap

My winner is the Lose It! app. The barcode scanner is the clincher for me. It makes adding those little things like a splash of milk or a dollop of sour cream do-able. It’s helping me to eat smarter. Now I’m not just watching carbs, but watching the big picture. And THAT is important. That’s what keeps you not only losing weight, but gaining health. I’m at an age where I can’t just do this to look good. Being “skinny fat” isn’t what I’m looking for at this stage. This app is actually helping me see the light and make the changes in my habits. Things are finally starting to really really click.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

My fitness pal has a scanner as well! :)

Anonymous said...

It also breaks it down under home/daily

Diet Dramatic said...

Thanks for the info. I COMPLETELY missed that scanner feature. I'll play with it a little more and maybe update the review. THANKS!!

Alex Bandit said...

Fantastic information it is.Your information is so nice and interesting.This article has many valuable side.Thanks you very much for shearing this information. home exercise equipment

Anonymous said...

my fitness pal breaks down everything. You just have to set it up properly under settings. Very simple.

fitinthemiddle said...

Wow, this is a cool phone application! I actually had no idea that there's an application for diet. It can actually count calories intake per meal, this is so cool. And for me the done for the day screen is really a booster. Nice nice, thanks for this review, I better have this app!

mehblog said...

Thanks for the reviews! But I wonder why you mentioned the scanner and 'earning calories by exercising' for Lose It! and not for MyFitnessPal. The latter has these functions as well, so I can't see them as a 'plus' for Lose It!...?

fitinthemiddle said...

Wow, this is a cool phone application! I actually had no idea that there's an application for diet. It can actually count calories intake per meal, this is so cool. And for me the done for the day screen is really a booster. Nice nice, thanks for this review, I better have this app!

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love my fitness pal. I was shocked at some of the numbers in foods I thought were 'good'. You'd think it would be common sense, but I really have learned a lot. I input several of my own recipes that I make regularly and, after the initial work involved with inputting every ingredient, now those recipes are there and all I do is add a serving. I finally feel like I have the tools I need to succeed. I've lost and gained the same weight over and over again. I truly believe that is over now that I have this assistance.

Anonymous said...

I used SparkPeople for about a year, then switched to myfitnesspal when I purchased a Jawbone UP. I used myfitness for about a week and did not care for all of the pop-up ads on the mobile app. I am now using Lose It! and am really lovving it!!

Anonymous said...

You have to pay for the premium service to sync a fitbit to lose it, whereas MFP is free and the API's are growing. I have my fitbit and runtastic connected to MFP and they all play nice. :)

John Vidulich said...

Which is your winner?

Dianne said...

Loved your blog! Just started using Lose It! Added you as a friend! Thanks for pointing out the barcode feature, already used it a few times.

roxanne webster said...

I agree with you I have been using lose it and I love the simplicity and easy of it. I have lost 4 pounds in just five days of use the app it is great