Going scheduled always helps. You live a better life when you have a record of everything you have done, you’re doing and you’re going to do. When you have some goals and expectations and of course when you know your strengths and weaknesses. A handout or a smartphone app that keeps you updated is the most needed thing in the current age.

For fitness and weight loss, the moment you disturb your routine, you are 10 steps back in your journey. You need to keep everything on track. Hours you work out for and for food you take!

There are certain apps out there which can help you track different functions such as your diet, your work out hours and energy expenditure, your heart rate and stuff. Some of these apps are Lose It, MyFitnessPal, MyPlate etc which are specially designed to help people see how many calories their food contain. You no longer need to remember the calorie math for each food item you eat. Easy?

But the question is, do this app really motivate or help people lose weight? Or it’s just a timely trend. We have some research on it.

Dr Yoni Freedhoff, an assistant professor and an obesity medicine clinician at the University Of Ottawa, Canada says cataloguing what you eat is one of the useful strategies that can help you lose weight. He further says logging food in an app or in a manual diary is like creating a financial budget because it’s all about what food you’re investing at and what you’re going to stop eating. It’s more like a food budget.

“How many people out there have done this exercise from a money perspective and realized ‘HOLY CRAP! I’M SPENDING THAT MUCH AT STARBUCKS!’ I think that similarly, we might say about the calories that we’re spending at Starbucks,” he says.

Freedhoff believes that knowing how many calories you’re consuming per food and per day can help you make better decisions about your health and fitness. You can comprehend properly what you want, what you need and what you can actually afford. Not only this, keeping a food tracking app or even a diary reminds you of the behaviours you want to change and encourage you to take steps you have been procrastinating for so long in your weight loss journey.

Now, if we talk about smartphone app VS manual diary, Feedhoff says his patients who used an app were more encouraged to work for their weight loss and they lost much of it than those who relied upon pen and paper. However, the blind smartphone overconsumption in this era can be a reason behind this conclusion. All of us are the stick like glue to our phones all the time, anyway.

Things to Remember

If you use your app to track your weight and exercise during a half-an-hour workout session, it usually adds up some extra calories to your food allowance asking you to eat to compensate the energy expenditure. Theoretically, it can work but practically, we don’t spend as much energy during the workout or other physical activities as we eat. The human body can only spend up to 30% of the food he eats as energy (that too only when you are a competitive athlete or have some tough physical job. Usually, people burn around 10% or less of the fats they eat because that’s how our bodies work, commented Abby Langer.

“So people who think that they can spend all day in the gym and just sort of negate all the food that they’ve eaten in terms of calories, that’s just now how your body works. Keeping this in mind, I try not to eat most of the “bonus” calories my app gives me every time I work out,” says Abby.

For that, she says, people become dependent on the numbers they are told and they fix their routines on those calories that become extremely dangerous for them.

“There are some people who are predisposed to becoming obsessed with tracking the calories and just all the numbers and number crunching. If you have a predisposition or a history of an eating disorder, I would recommend staying very far away from these apps because it really can be triggering for people,” she says.

App or Journal?

If we talk about the effectivity of these two options, we don’t have a huge data to support either. For instance, a study shows that people of age 18 to 35 who used smartphone apps to track their weight showed no difference in weight loss that those who used their diaries or weight loss journals. Another study says the introduction of smartphone apps didn’t affect much the weight loss rate of the obese people. However, in this study, patients who used apps lost more weight- almost 29 pounds.

In conclusion, the researchers were bound to say that it is in the hands of the sufferer or patient who is truly ready to self-monitor the calories he takes. In this case, apps may be a useful tool for losing weight.

So the experience with weight losing apps varies from person to person. It works for those who are sensible enough to deal their bodies while it’s extremely dangerous for those who blindly follow it.

Have you ever used any tracking app? If yes, share a small review with us that might help our readers understand how these things work.

Stay healthy.

Happy New Year!