Be. Live. Stay. Well...

Balanced – Not Deprived – Living

Hello Be, Live, Stay Well friends! This post is special as it marks the first of many (I hope) guest blogger posts. This one is by my friend and former colleague, Keri Dedeo. Her bio and link to her personal site are included. Please enjoy this entry – it’s beautiful and honest, just like Keri! Thanks for contributing to BLSW.

Bio: Keri De Deo is a writer, editor, teacher, musician, and online educational designer in writing, grammar, and research. She loves technology and finding innovative tools for a happy, healthy life. Keri spends her free time with her husband kayaking, hiking, and walking her two beautiful dogs: Maiya and Lilla. To learn more about Keri, visit her website: http://keridedeo.com!

My Top 5 Fitness Apps

By Keri DeDeo

If you’ve been looking for the perfect fitness app, then you’ve noticed, no doubt, that there are thousands out there. So, how do you know which one works for you? Perhaps I can help. 

At one time, I weighed 315 pounds (at 5’7”). Today, I’m 125+/- pounds under that. It took time, determination, hard work, and flexibility to accomplish that. There are many ways to lose weight, and you have to find what works for you—even if you have to change it up from time-to-time. If you find one thing works for a while, but then you hit a stall, don’t be afraid to move on to something else. Consistency is great, and I have seen people lose weight from eating the same thing every day, but I crave variety, so that didn’t work for me. I moved from one app to another as my needs changed, and although that took countless hours perusing and sampling fitness apps, it helped keep me motivated. I hope my research can help you find the right app (or several) that will help you meet and maintain your fitness goals. To me, a perfect app has the following options:

  • Flexibility
  • Optional meal planner
  • Generated shopping list
  • Exercise tracker
  • Multiple nutrition tracker (carbs, protein, etc.)
  • Reminders & schedulers to keep me on track
  • Water intake

Not everyone wants the same thing from their tracker, so I attempt to provide a variety of pros & cons beyond my own criteria. Many of these apps have websites as well, so if you prefer to do your tracking online rather than through a mobile app, this option exists.

My Fitness Pal

I list this first because it is the most well-known, and I have used it, but I ultimately uninstalled it.

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Pros

  • 10 million downloads
  • Calorie-Tracker
  • Large database
  • Calculates calorie intake for
  • Connects with other apps like Fitbit, Misfit, and more
  • Keeps track of nutrition beyond calories, such as protein, carbs, fat, etc.
  • Reminder if you don’t log in regularly
  • Connect to other member

Cons

  • Can’t plan meals ahead
  • No provided meal plan
  • Relies on standard weight loss goals and not completely flexible (I do better by eating under 1200 cal.)
  • No shopping list

Overview
If you have a diet plan already and you enjoy numbers, statistics, and keeping track of everything you eat, then this is the app for you. I used it for a while, but I found it too tedious for me and not flexible enough. I want to plan ahead and simply check off what I eat rather than record things as I eat, and this app does not allow for it. I’m also not interested in having others watch my progress. I understand that helps some people, but it freaks me out a little. ☺

Lose It!
This is another popular app I ultimately uninstalled.

Pros

  • 5 million downloads
  • Similar to My Fitness Pal
  • Provides more images, charts, and visuals than MFP
  • Recipe builder
  • Links to Misft, Fitbit, and other apps
  • Analyzes eating and exercise patterns and provides feedback for improvement
  • Connects to friends
  • Provides challenges & competitions

Cons

  • Not as large a database as MFP
  • Free edition is limited. It’s only $3.00 per year, but I prefer FREE or at least a one-time charge rather than a subscription.
  • Can’t plan meals ahead
  • No provided meal plan
  • Relies on standard weight loss goals and not completely flexible
  • No shopping list
  • No reminders
  • Focused only on dietary goals

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Ultimately, the fee and inflexibility lead me to uninstall this app.

Spark People

Not many people have heard of Spark People, but it’s been out there for years—well before the fitness app craze. The best part is that it’s free, and although I don’t use it all the time, I have never uninstalled it. It’s like an old friend I keep visiting.

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Pros

  • 1 million downloads
  • Pre-planned meal plan
  • Flexibility
  • Shopping List
  • Calorie & carb counters
  • Barcode scanner
  • Articles for information, inspiration, and motivation
  • Links to Fitbit, Misfit & other apps
  • Recipes
  • Recipe builder
  • Food checklist
  • Visuals

Cons

  • No reminders
  • Only focused on dietary goals
  • Limited exercise tracking
  • Not always easy to use

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For the longest time, this was my favorite app. I still have it installed, even. I loved the pre-planned meals and the fact that I could change them to suit my own needs, but changing the meal plan is easiest on the website, and I wanted to do that in the app on my phone rather than going online. I also needed reminders. If I didn’t click on the app, I would forget about it. I also get bored, so I needed a change.

Diet Point

This app gives you a diet plan and reminders to help you follow it. It allows you to choose from several options. I paid for this app at 50% off, and I purchased Ulla, their water-drinking reminder device. It doesn’t quite have everything I want, but I’m using it.

Pros

  • 1 million downloads
  • Pre-planned meal plans
  • Shopping list
  • Motivational messages
  • Reminders
  • Great tips
  • Focuses on water intake, too

Cons

  • Shopping cart is for one person, and it lists amounts you never buy (for example, 2 oz of blueberries!). This changes for each diet.
  • Pro version has the most diet options
  • No checklist (you either eat what they tell you or not)
  • Doesn’t really count calories…you just eat what it says and when
  • No exercise tracking
  • Can’t customize diet plan

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If you just want a food plan to follow, then this is the app for you. If you can’t find the exact options you want in the free version, then expect to pay for the Pro version. Watch for ads to get it for 50% off, which I did—otherwise it’s a little expensive as far as apps go. I have been using this, but will more than likely will uninstall it.

My Diet Coach (PRO)

This app is just fun. You get an avatar that you can dress! I broke my own rule on this one and paid for it! That’s how much I love this app.

Pros

  • 10 million downloads
  • Fun with visuals
  • Has an avatar that you can dress and stylize
  • Earn new clothing & accessories as you use the app.
  • Customizable reminders
  • Food log
  • Can plan ahead and check off items as you go
  • Can add meals & quick foods as needed.
  • Can plan recurring meals (For example, if you have a protein shake every morning, then you can schedule that every morning.)
  • Challenges beyond dietary goals
  • Help with setting goals
  • Panic button! (I LOVE this!)

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer pre-planned menus, but does provide examples
  • Not a large database
  • Not all features are included in the free version
  • No shopping list

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The best feature is the Panic button. Clicking the “Panic” button gives you advice based on what challenge you’re facing. This is my favorite app so far, and I’m not planning on uninstalling it anytime soon. This app combined with the bonus app below truly help me be a better person.

Bonus App: Fabulous

This app goes beyond simply diet & exercise. It will help you discover your passion and help you follow it. It also provides newsletters and challenges designed to give you a happier life. It is filled with exercise videos, reminders, and timed challenges with motivating music.

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I recommend adding this app to any fitness app. You won’t regret it, and it’s FREE! ☺

Of course, this is not a complete list. There are too many out there to provide a complete evaluation; however, these are the ones I have used, so hopefully, this provides you with some help in finding the perfect app for you. Just remember that you don’t have to stick to just one app. If you don’t like one, move on. Just see how you use it before buying any extra features.

Here’s to a happy, healthy life!

Keri De Deo

 

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