Ever since my surgery I’ve been trying to be healthier with my food and general life choices. I’ve also been trying to lose weight. So, in that effort I downloaded a weight loss app called, Lose It! My mom downloaded it first actually and kept encouraging me to try it. I downloaded it about a week ago and I’m sharing all my thoughts about the experience so far with all of you!
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post or an ad for Lose It! All thoughts and opinions are my own and I am not receiving compensation for this review.
A little information about the app: Lose It! is a weight loss app that allows you log your meals and track your daily calorie intake. Lose it! is available in the Apple App Store for free–I have an iPhone. If you have a droid, I’m sure it’s in the Google Play Store as well. You can either go with the free version, or pay $3.33/mo for the premium version. I’ve been using the free one, which basically only allows for basic tracking options (i.e., calorie and exercise tracking). For more information, check out the Lose It! website.
After about a week of logging my meals and tracking my progress, I’ve come up with a list of pros and cons with regards to the app. So, here we go:
1. Track your calories
Tracking your calories is a huge part of dieting and losing weight. The recommended amount of calories ranges between 2,000 and 2,500 calories. Of course, that number changes depending on your gender, age, height, weight, physical activity, and metabolism. With that in mind, Lose It! asks you to enter a bunch of information, including the ones I just mentioned, to create a personalized calorie count.
They call this your budget. You have two budgets: one for daily calories and one for weekly. Every time you eat, you enter it in ‘My Log’ under breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack. The app then totals up your total calorie count under each category. You can also log your exercise calorie loss. At the top of the screen you can see several options: your budget, the food you ate, the calories deducted from your exercise, the net amount, and how much you are either over or under budget. At the end of the day, you press a button that says I’ve logged everything and it tells you whether you’re on track for your goal weight timeline. Lose It! also shows you your weekly log and how much you are under or over for your weekly budget.
This is Lose It’s basic feature–tracking–and the only one available if you don’t pay for premium. The best thing about it is it’s efficient way of tracking. I like that it works like a budget; you’re given a beginning number per day and you have to ration your meals to fit within that number. You can see the information really clearly stated. It gives you days and then weeks and then overall progress for each. It can’t get easier than that.
2. See what you’re eating
There’s no point to logging your meals and tracking your calorie intake if it doesn’t help you with reaching your goals. In my experience so far, logging your meals helps you by making you feel guilty about what you eat. Because you track your calories, you actually see how many calories are in everything that you eat. The first day that I used the app I was way over my budget. In all fairness, I knew that would happen–the snacking was out of control that day. But still, the reality of seeing your food intake in numbers can be daunting.
It works the other way too. Now, before I eat anything I think about how it will affect my log. When I feel tempted to snack uncontrollably, I remember my budget and that makes me think twice. So, in that way it really is helpful. Sometimes all we need to put the chocolate bar down is a set calorie budget, a bunch of numbers, and a really harsh red background with the words ‘OVER’ written on top of them.
3. Tracks progress and goals
I mentioned that after you mark that you’re done logging your meals for the day, you get a notification that tells you whether you’re on track to meet your goals. It’s a very specific notification. It tells you two things. The first is your streak–how many days you’ve kept up with your log in a row. The second is your goal date; it says, “If you keep this up you’ll be done by [insert date here]!”
On my first day of using the app, Lose It! said that if I lost a pound a week (my personalized plan) then I would reach my goal weight by November 2017. After logging my ridiculous food intake for that day, my notification said that should I continue this way, I would reach my goal weight by February 2020! For the record, I’ve been doing much better about not only staying within budget but at least 80-100 calories below, which has set my goal date back a few days each day.
You can also track your actual weight loss under ‘Goals’. If you log your weight every day, or every week like me, then Lose It! will tell you how much you’ve gained or lost, and a graph of your progress. So, you can directly see how your sticking to your budget is affecting your weight loss.
This goes back to what I was saying earlier in #2. This app only works if you are completely honest with your log, which means you have to be completely honest with yourself. It is so easy to cheat with what you log; it’s just a small motion between 1 cup and 5 cups. You could also convince yourself pretty easily that that huge chunk of rice on your plate is 1/4 of cup instead of actually being 1 cup. It’s all the more tempting once you see how many calories are actually in 1 cup of rice.
But if you remain vigilant, then you can let the app keep you honest. Now that I know that 1 cup of cooked white rice is 243 calories, I’ll think again about having a whole serving, or maybe even skipping the rice altogether. Before I order something at a restaurant, I check to see how many calories it’s going to be on my Lose It! app so that I know if it’s within budget. As my father always says, you have many choices in life. Just remember that each choice comes with a consequence–sometimes that means 243 calories of consequences.
5. Easy to Use
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Some other apps I’ve used are either too limited in its features or too difficult to use. Lose It! is not one of those apps. It’s very user-friendly. Every feature is pretty self-explanatory. It doesn’t take a user guide or a thousand google searches to figure out how to do one thing. You can figure it out all on your own, even if you’re not the most tech savvy. It’s also a social app so you can share recipes with your friends and keep others updated on your progress!
1. One side of weight loss
Now here’s where we get to some downsides. Now I don’t actually think that downloading Lose It! is the answer to all of my weight loss woes. I realize that it’s going to take more than just a calorie budget to lose weight. Just like with anything, there’s more than one thing that you need to to lose weight. Lose It! is no different.
Lose It! is great for tracking your food intake, exercise, and weight loss. It still takes my will and motivation to actually do those things. If I’m not exercising then there’s nothing to track there. If I’m not tracking what I’m eating then maybe I don’t know whether I’m eating more than I should each day. It’s just an app–not a solution to weight loss. I know that I still need to be responsible for watching what I eat and getting my bum to the gym. But once I do, then I can add those things to my log for the day!
2. Still need to track food
I think it’s pretty clear that I love the tracking system in Lose It! Here’s the thing: it’s not tracking what I eat. It’s just tracking how much I eat. Technically, I could still have McDonald’s and a soda for lunch and remain within budget, especially if I didn’t eat a real breakfast that day–that’s a whole set of calories I just rationed for a bigger lunch. My point is that you can get pretty creative with your calorie count and still remain within budget. This goes back to what I said above: Lose It! is just a tracking app–you still have to be responsible for eating well.
3. Only tracks calories
This point is very similar to the first two. Because Lose It! only tracks calories, it’s easy to still eat poorly. If at the end of the night I’m under 250 calories for my budget, I could get ice cream and still be under. BUT adding those calories doesn’t count the sugar I’m taking in for eating that ice cream. Lose It! does not track the other parts that are important to keeping a healthy diet, like sugar, sodium, fiber, and carbohydrates. At least not in the free version. The premium version does have more options for tracking including some of the ones I mentioned. It also has meal planning and a more comprehensive overview of your food quality. So, for $3 a month you can make this con a moot point.
4. Calorie guessing game
Probably one of the most annoying things about this app is getting exactly the right calorie count. It’s pretty easy if you can read it off of the label. Lose It! is also great in that it already has set calorie counts for a lot of items from chain restaurants, so if you eat out then you can still log that meal. The problem comes when you don’t eat somewhere that’s a chain or when you eat at home.
I obviously eat a home a lot–I have a blog of recipes after all. I also eat a lot of Filipino food, which isn’t the most common cuisine out there. So whenever I’m at a loss for how to log I have to play the calorie guessing game. I could either look for a similar option or input the recipe myself. Lose It! has an option where you can add the ingredients of a recipe to one file and it counts the calories for you.
Maybe it’s just me being incredibly neurotic–it probably is. I try to be as honest as possible, so if all else fails then I just make my own recipe and input the calories that way. But another really annoying thing about the set options is that sometimes there’s too many. I tried putting in my one over easy egg and I got confused. Do I put in over easy egg or fried egg or fried egg in olive oil? They all have different calorie counts! And the guessing game strikes again. This bothers me because, as I said, I’m pretty neurotic, but it brings me to my final point…
5. It’s tedious
Sometimes it can be pretty tedious. In the morning I add one serving of tea and then 1/2 tablespoon of almond milk just when I want a cup of tea. When I have something like puchero, I’ll have to add all of those vegetables and ingredients to a recipe before even adding it to my log. Again, it’s not hard to do, it can just get tedious pretty quickly. If you’re not the kind of person that likes to focus on every little detail and remain strictly within a set of rules, then you’ll get tired of this app.
I still think that Lose It! has more pros than cons. If I upgrade to the premium, then it’ll have even less cons than before! I think that you need to find what works best for you. I’m the kind of person who works well under structure, something with a set of rules and guidelines. This app gives me a set amount of calories per day, which gives me structure. I can see what I eat so it’s keeping me accountable for making better choices. It works for me, but it may not for you. If you’re anything like me, then I’d recommend downloading Lose It!.