The Daily App: Lose It -- Slim Down the Right Way
"Lose weight" is one of the most common New Year's resolutions, but it's easier said than done. Despite the competition, "Lose It" has become one of the most popular apps and attracted significant media coverage from the likes of "The Today Show." But is it worth the hype?
What's the App?
With a lot of old-fashioned discipline, self-control and effort on your part, Lose It, free for iOS devices, works for one simple reason: it's a food and exercise tracker that keeps meticulous track of every bite you eat and every amount of exercise you exert, making it hard for users to delude themselves -- but also offering concrete proof of progress.
In an age where all kinds of fad diets come and go and come back again -- no carbs, no fat, no fruit, all fruit -- its philosophy seems quaint: it advocates calorie counting and peer support as the most effective weight reduction aids. In other words, to lose weight, you simply have to burn more calories than you consume.
Getting started is easy: you sign up for an account through the app for the Lose It community, enter in details of your height and current weight and then set your goal of how much weight to lose and by when. Then it calculates your needed daily caloric intake to meet it. To use the app, you enter in the foods you've consumed, and the app calculates your calorie count automatically -- no need to consult calorie charts on the Internet. You can also log your exercise, including what kind of activity, how long and how fast, and the app will break down how many calories you've burned.
The database covers a range of foods from a variety of sources, restaurants and vendors, and you can even scan in foods with a bar code -- a handy mobile feature for on-the-go eaters. It's easy to use, and the bright, cheerful interface is intuitive enough to navigate. The result is a precise log of what you've eaten and how many calories it converts to.
You'll Want It If...
Weight loss bedevils many official and self-styled experts, but tracking meals and logging exercise is one of the most universally agreed upon measures to help people in this often confounding goal. Using it creates awareness and helps users remain mindful of exactly what's going into their mouths.
Eating is often a psychologically loaded activity -- we often eat when we need comfort or crave some kind of stimulation, piling on calories that we're not even aware of. But logging our food and activity interrupts the auto-pilot we can find ourselves on, helping us to slow down enough to make helpful, healthier decisions. If you're looking for an all-in-one food and exercise tracker, Lose It is an excellent app.
It's Not My Thing -- What Else Ya Got?
Lose It deserves the positive coverage it's gleaned -- there's a lot that's worthy. User reviews have made it clear that it's been a powerful tool to help you in the journeys to better health and well-being. It also emphasizes the power of social support, and you can share your progress with friends on its Web-based social network. But the app can improve certain features.
Perhaps reflecting the U.S. diet's preponderance of pre-made, processed and fast food, it's easy to add foods from these sources. But foods that are homemade in origin are more difficult to add, and users often have to guess from equivalents, or research and add their own entries to the database. It's an ironic wrinkle, since making your own food and eschewing processed and fast foods is another powerful weight-loss strategy.
Beyond the features, privacy is a little difficult to manage. To use it, you have to start an account at LoseIt.com, creating a default profile within their community that can broadcast the food you eat, your weight loss goal and your progress towards it.
Weight is a sensitive issue, however, and while it doesn't offer up your current weight -- and indeed the default mode of profiles is private -- the app doesn't make it easy to easily find the Privacy settings, which will rankle many users. A perusal of the app's current FAQ revealed outdated instructions on how to do this. Going to the website is the easiest way to adjust and check on privacy settings, but the app really should make it easier to do this within the app itself.
Agree or disagree? We'd love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below! ♦
Categories: Healthcare & Fitness | The Daily App