The Best Apps for Health

How and why to use technology to lose weight and stick to you plan.

Apps for Health

In our technological age, no matter what our goals are, we don’t have to do it alone. Historical and recent studies show that support from technology can help you stick to your resolutions.

In this blog I will discuss my  top picks. I will describe 4 apps that you could use to help you stick to your resolutions and stay on track and why you should use them.

Why use technology as a tool for weight loss?

Changing our habits, any habit requires alterations in our behaviors, which is what makes it so difficult. Our behaviors are learned. They are learned from our culture, our family interactions and from our own experiences. Although we may feel that changing is difficult there are many high quality and easy to use smart phone apps that can encourage us, keep us on track and reward us for a job well done!

Self-monitoring for food intake and physical activity are not new. Tthese behavioral modification techniques have been around since the 1960’s. What is new are the plethora of applications that are available. Research has shown immediate reductions in weight when food logs are used. The reduction in weight was attributed to more awareness as well as concern of what the nutritionist or dietitian would think of them. The smart phone applications eliminate the concern about what another person thinks, but often just realizing you have to log it and look at the resulting number is deterrent enough.

What Are My Top 4 Apps for Self-monitoring?

My top picks for self-monitoring applications are (and these are in no particular order). I have never had a paid subscription to any of these applications as I was always able to meet my needs with the free subscription and did not mind the advertisements.

All of these applications allow for personalization of goals, food and exercise tracking and food analysis with other variables. I cannot recommend one or the other, however, My Diet Coach is pretty fun to use and it offers tips and other specific helps.

1. MyFitnessPal
2. Carb Manager
3. Lose It!
4. My Diet Coach

Here is a brief description of each one:

1. MyFitnessPal-

This is a highly rated application that has a free and a paid subscription. This application in the free modality allows for documentation of foods, hydration and activity via free entry, bar code scanning and has a robust search and find option for both. MyFitnessPal is easy to use and is customizable to your macros, nutrition and weight loss goals. It offers a recipe importer, restaurant logging capabilities, food insights, and nutrient calculator. In addition this application also has connectivity to over 50 other apps and devices so that you can log your exercise and movement with ease.

This application also allows for community building so you can ensure that your support stays right by your side, or you can join their community for tips, advice and motivation. Charting your progress is easy and it is so nice to see progress in an easy to read graph. Macros and nutrition data are visible on easy to view charts. Your success is also sharable if you want to do that! There is a paid subscription which offers more features, but like I said, I never needed more than what the free one offered.

2. Carb Manager-

This highly used application (they state that over 3 million users strong) is perfect for those on low carb, ketogenic, Paleo, Adkins, and macro diets. This application provides the nutrient information for NET carbs, which automatically calculates by subtracting sugar alcohols and fiber as well and total carbohydrates easily. You can track your exercise and activity as well, and it also interfaces with other applications. This application has an extensive food and exercise data base which makes it very likely that your selections are available. Carb Manager also offers bar or product code scanning.

Visual charts are available to track your BMI and weight. Macros and nutrition data such as total carbs, net carbs, fat, calories, protein and more are viewable on charts or lists. This application also offers a neat feature that allows you to log your food with a picture or you can choose to voice log your food and exercise! Additionally there are recipes for users as well. I only used the free subscription, but the paid subscription offers many perks that are not available for free such as, exclusive recipes, advances reports of streaks, meal and macro analysis and more.

3. Lose It!-

This popular application (they boast over 35 million users), utilizes proven principles of calorie and movement tracking. This application will calculate daily calorie budget based on your personal data entered. This application can customize your macronutrients, water, health and body measurements goals. Lose It! Utilizes a status bar making it easy to monitor your progress at a glance. This app allows you to connect to other devices and friends. You can create private or public challenges with other Lose it! users. The application will offer insight into your habits as your log your foods and activity and will offer advice on how to address them.

This is a small team of fewer than 30 people that offers a big payoff for those wanting to right size their weight through healthy eating and exercise. Additionally, this application supports a newer niche in the health market that uses personalized DNA evaluation to recommend foods, drinks and activities personalized to you through embodyDNA.

4. My Diet Coach-

This was my first diet application that I used. It is fun, motivating and easy. This one helps you “find your inner motivation, stay on track, make lifestyle changes, resist cravings and avoid exercise laziness.” You customize your reminders to attend a scheduled class, to exercise, or take motivational photos. It offers inspiring quotes and tips that will motivate you to stay on track. You design your own avatar and earn fashion items to “dress” yourself.

The app has a slim-down animation that is so fun to use that helps you visualize your success, because your avatar slims with you. Like the other apps there is easy food logging, bar code scanning, exercise and calorie counter, and water consumption monitoring. It remembers your meals and commonly eaten foods, and even has a recipe calorie calculator. This application also integrates with Apple Health and others. It offers daily food challenges and even a food craving panic button.

I hope that you found these descriptions helpful. Using apps is a fun and effective way to support your goals. If you are still uncertain of which one to try, just start with one and try it for a few weeks. and you don’t like it you can try the others.

If you need assistance in determining the best exercise plan and best diet plan for you, my ebook Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating can be that guide. It is an easy to read book that outlines the importance of making the decision for health. I have included decision trees for you to follow that can be used repeatedly as your needs change.
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Weight Management: State of Science and Opportunities for the Military. (2004) Weight Loss and Maintenance Strategies Chapter 4. Retrieved from

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