Using Your Smartphone to Help You Lose Weight
Increasing number of apps seeks to track and encourage a healthy lifestyle
Saturday, September 1, 2012
It can be expensive to lose weight. There are diets, special food and personal trainers. On the other hand, there are smartphone apps that can help for free, or almost free.
80Bites is an app based on the belief that taking fewer bites causes the stomach container to shrink and return to normal size. Consequently, the theory goes, the body craves less food, eats less, and absorbs fewer calories. According to the developers, 80 bites is the target number for 99 percent of the population.
The concept takes a different approach than traditional dieting, which encourages consumption of large amounts of water and health foods like fruit and vegetables. Even these foods, the developers say, will stretch the stomach. Large stomachs, they say, lead to over-consumption and obesity.
The 80Bites smart phone app is a handheld pedometer for your mouth that helps you track how much and how often you eat. The 80Bites Plan, offers four eating approaches over 12 weeks; quantity, frequency, quality and balance are introduced in three weeks segments, providing users the 21 days it takes to build new habits.
The download is 99 cents but the 12-week plan costs $49.95.
There are plenty of other weight-loss apps too, and many of them are free. Noom, for Android phones, is a toolkit that allows you to set goals and track your progress. It operates much like a food journal, helping you track what you eat. It also logs your daily exercise.
If you're into vigorous exercise, like running or biking, the Endomondo Sports Tracker App may be of interest. It uses GPS to track your routes and remove some of the monotony from your exercise routine. The app makes a record of your run, including times, routes plotted on a map, and a workout history so you can track your progress.
For those who want a simple electronic calorie tracker, My Net Dairy might be worth a look. Losing weight is a combination of food intake and exercise -- the burning of calories. My Net Dairy helps you calculate how the two are working together. It tracks your caloric intake and exercise on a daily basis so you always know how you're doing. It's available for both the iPhone and Android.
The Nike Training Club app takes the place of a personal trainer, letting you pocket the savings. It provides a wide selection of workouts that have been designed by personal trainers who work for Nike. Most are designed for women and match workouts with users based on a profile. Currently it's only available as an iPhone app.
Technology is often blamed for contributing to the obesity epidemic. Diet and exercise apps are one area where technology might actually help you lose a few pounds.