At this writing, there are close to 270,000 iPhone applications on the market. Of these, 500 are weight loss apps, most of which cost little or nothing to download. The various apps will provide you with almost all the ingredients necessary to lose weight successfully, with “will power” being a notable exception. They will show you what is a healthy weight range to target, determine the daily caloric intake that will help you achieve this target, create healthy meal plans and exercise programs, and track your progress. Choosing the ones that will best fit your needs is largely a matter of personal preference, but who has the time to study 500 apps? To help you in your quest is the following list of some that are worthy of your consideration.
It’s always good to “know your numbers” before starting a weight loss program. The Advanced BMR Calculator, which costs $0.99 to download, will help you in this effort. It provides you with your “ideal weight,” based on its determination of your Body Mass Index (BMI), which it calculates using the numbers you input for your height and weight. Additionally, it calculates your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), which is the number of calories that your body requires if you do nothing more than breathe each day. Consume fewer calories than this, and the pounds should begin to melt away.
Alternatively, you can download 12 Fitness Calculators for $4.99. As the name suggests, the 12 Fitness Calculators app provides you with 12 different fitness measures. Like the Advanced BMR Calculator, it calculates your BMI and your BMR. It also factors in your level of physical activity to determine the number of calories you require daily if you do more than simply breathe each day. Additionally, it estimates your body fat percentage and calculates the number of calories burned for hundreds of activities, based on your weight and the duration of the exercise. It provides time, pace, speed, and distance information after cardio activity and has a metric to English conversion feature. Other functions help you calculate your resting heart rate, determine your target heart rate, and maintain a steady pace during exercise.
FoodScanner focuses on the “intake” side of the weight loss equation. Users can either scan the UPC barcodes on a food item with their iPhone camera or type in a food name in order to access all the nutritional information about that food. There are currently 200,000 foods in the database. You can store your favorite ones so that you don’t have to re-enter them. This app also has a feature that allows you to keep track of the calories you consume each day. You can download FoodScanner for $0.99, and no signup is necessary to use the application itself. However, to derive maximum benefit from the FoodScanner app, it is recommended that users sign up for a free DailyBurn account.
The Fast Food Calorie Counter application is another tool that helps with the intake side of the equation. For a download fee of $0.99, this app provides nutritional information, including calories, fat grams, fiber, protein, and carbs, on fast food menu selections. It also allows users to specify daily targets for their intake of each of these elements, displays the number of calories that have already been consumed on a given day, and maintains a database of the food eaten each day for as long as a year (which may not be something all dieters care to know, but then you don’t have to access this information, either.) At this writing, the database includes over 70 fast food restaurants and over 9,100 menu items, with free updates provided.
The GoodFoodNearYou application may make it easier for you to make healthier eating choices on the road, but you can use it when you’re at home or at work, too. This free download allows you to access menus and nutritional information for food items at nearby fast food and casual dining restaurants, and even at nearby grocery stores and convenience stores. You just type in your present location and the GPS takes over. It displays not only restaurants in your vicinity, but also the lowest fat menu option at each of the restaurants if you select the “lowest fat” sort feature. Users report that this application does depend on your locale. If you are in an area in which restaurants are few and far between, it may not be as helpful.
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Guest author Matthew writes for a number of health and tech sites and offers coupons for Weight Watchers weight loss program here.