Smartphone Apps (iPhone® and Android®) are helping to shed calories and pounds according to digital research firms.
What does that mean of any of us looking find a healthier self? Consider apps as a gift giving idea for that special someone.
Lauren Harrison, RD, and Keith McEwen MD of Community Bariatric Services in Hamilton County recommend weight loss patients track their calories for an optimal weight loss journey.
“The app I recommend is the MyFitnessPal, but others exist, find one that you like. Whether it’s a food journal you write in or an app on your phone, being accountable for the food you eat daily is part of the total experience,” states Lauren. “There are going to be days when you want or need to treat yourself, be accountable and your food journal will help you make good choices.”
Food celebration holidays like our upcoming 4th of July includes food, alcohol, cook-outs and decadent desserts which nibble away at the progress – BUT food doesn’t have to be the focus. Focus on items that help you on your journey, walk around at big cook-outs, dance at Free Concerts series in your local area or experience entertaining events like an outdoor movie. “We all need support and using an app to food journal will help keep you moving in the right direction for your weight loss,” adds Dr. McEwen, medical director of Community Surgery Center Outpatient Bariatrics program.
Do apps really help shed the pounds? “Like the lap band system, Orbera Balloon System and Weight Watchers, an APP is a tool” says Dr. McEwen. “We are in a ‘now society’ where people want instant gratification so for some, mobile apps helps us to be accountable for the calories that we eat, but not for all. I have worked with nearly 1,500 patients now and each journey is individual but one thing is constant, there will be ups and downs. Just know that you can call our office and we are there to talk you through the down times and celebrate all the happy times too. Sometimes talking about how you feel is the adjustment you need, other times if you are a patient with the Lap Band- then it may need to be adjusted.
“For patients with significant weight loss (50, 100, 150 pounds to lose) bariatric surgery is the only consistent and proven long-term weight loss management technique,” says Dr. McEwen. “What we need to realize is that fad diets come and go and do not produce sustained weight loss unless food behavior changes and healthier food choices become part of our daily diet.” Dr. McEwen adds, “However, I believe that any person attempting to lose weight should keep a food journal for a minimum of 6 months then use it when they feel they are slipping back into old patterns.”
MyFitnessPal Calorie Counter and Fitness Tracker is a free app recommended by Lauren Harrison, RD for weight loss patients. At each log entry, Lauren can review and provide online support with patient permission. Overall, this app has hundreds of thousands of reviews by iPhone and Android users, “So look at the reviews before you download,” say Lauren. My Fitness Pal is an app works using a barcode scanner to detail what hidden fats and sugars are in your favorite packaged foods. It helps you add up the calories from your daily diet. The database includes more than 750,000 foods and is compatible for Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, and Windows Phone models.
Other app reviews:
Lose It! – A popular free app boosts it has 14 million downloads and helped shed 19 million pounds. Features include a free barcode scanner, a recipe builder, and a comprehensive database of food and activities. Users can add food to the database and track nutrients like protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
Fooducate –A free app that grades A-F the foods you choose based on scanning the barcode of the food products. This app tracks your weight and comments on the nutritional quality of the food you’re buying.
Fitocracy – The free iPhone app was developed by a couple of video game addicts and now has more than 1 million registered “Fitocrats” who play against each other in the fitness race. You start at level one and earn points.