Every year many of us resolve to get our weight down and our fitness level up. To help with those goals we join gyms, subscribe to food services, and purchase equipment. One piece of gear I find indispensable is the phone app LoseIt. I find using this phone app makes it easier to achieve my fitness goals.
LoseIt — My Fitness Story
I write this as a user of Loseit as well as having tried many other similar applications. Years ago I used the app Diet and Exercise Assistant with good results, but since that app is not ported to the Android system (PalmPilot and IPhones only) I had to leave it behind. When I used Diet and Exercise Assistant I lost about 15 pounds solely on watching my diet. If you have to choose between diet and exercise to lose weight, choose diet first.
When I was young weight loss was not a problem but gaining weight was. I could eat twice as much as my friends and not gain an ounce. While that is good when it lasts eventually that phase of one’s life ends and can lead to weight gain when your metabolism slows down. In the years my weight crept to above normal to entry-level obese. I reversed the trend once or twice but weight gain reasserted itself.
I am now about 35 pounds off of my top weight of 250 pounds last spring and would like to lose about 25 more pounds.
LoseIt — A Summary
LoseIt is a standard diet and exercise tracker. You can obtain it for free and then you input your basic information (birth date, sex, height, etc) and your goals (what weight you want to attain and when) and LoseIt computes your daily calorie budget. You can also specify extra calories to remove from the budget, which I suggest doing.
Then whenever you eat you input the food and the amount you eat. Whenever you exercise you also input the type of exercise and the time and effort level. LoseIt then tracks the calories in and out and provides simple clear reporting on your caloric intake. You can easily view this data day by day and the app also provides simple reporting over a week. So if you break your budget one day it is easy to tell where you are over the week, think of your overage as caloric loan you have to pay back.
Loseit — Calories In
Loseit has a big database of food items to choose from. Including brand name grocery store and restaurant foods. In addition, most raw foods we eat are also present in the food database. LoseIt includes a barcode scanner so if you eat a food you purchased and you have access to the barcode, simply scan the barcode and enter the amount eaten. The barcode scanner is reliable but not 100% foolproof, I have seen incorrect items retrieved and now and then the lookup fails. Plus, some of the foods you may scan are not present in the LoseIt database.
Any such application is going to struggle when you eat foods you cook on your own, eat at local restaurants or smaller restaurant chains. So, I search around for similar brand names in the database and use those entries. Sometimes the entry is close and sometimes it is definitely not. Often times I have a small dish and the entry I find has a huge calorie number attached to it, I then scale back the serving to a value I think is close. I do not consider this cheating as I am not trying to make the number low I am trying to make it right and there are times when I believe the calorie value entered is on the high side and if one is honest then the high and low misses should balance each other out.
Recipe entry is best accomplished from the LoseIt website and I now only go through this for recipes I prepare regularly. Again, the serving count is subject to error and you can tweak this so it seems right.
Realize this, you are not going to get the numbers right down to the last kilocalorie let alone calorie. However, if you are honestly trying to get things right your errors should all balance out so overall you are meeting your goals. Also, after time you will start to learn and get a feel for calorie content of food.
LoseIt also has a nutrition report. This report will give a breakdown of your macronutrient intake: sodium, cholesterol, fiber, and sugar intake. Fat intake is further broken down into saturated and unsaturated fat intake. This allows you to control your diet at a fine level.
LoseIt — Calories Out
LoseIt also tracks your calorie output. LoseIt does not limit exercise to “exercise” but any type of physical activity contributes to the calorie burn. For example LoseIt accepts activities such as snow shoveling, fishing, making love, yardwork, taking walks, etc as exercise.
The database is exhaustive and LoseIt allows you to custom define exercises not present in its database. Again, you have to exercise judgement as often times (especially for gym exercises) you will need to provide an effort level and that choice is often from moderate, vigorous, and very vigorous. When distinguishes one level from the other, I do not know.
However, there are a number of exercises and activities where you enter in objective information and LoseIt calculates the calorie burn. For example, when I complete a bike ride I enter in the time I rode and the overall MPH of the ride and it generates a calorie count. When I ride the stationary bike in the gym I have to enter in the time and choose between moderate, vigorous, and very vigorous and that leaves one open to cheating or inaccuracy.
I also notice a difference between the calorie burn between Endomodo and LoseIt, with Endomondo usually reporting a bigger burn, but that may be due to the fact LoseIt should have a current weight and Endomondo may not.
LoseIt — Weight Tracking
LoseIt also provides convenient weight tracking. Enter in your current weight and you will see a chart of your progress.
I suggest entering your weight in as often as you can, but realize your weight fluctuates and I am guessing your weight is not going to change as fast as you want it to. Also understand, weight loss is not a constant movement downward (unless you are burning tons of calories on a regular basis like I was bike-riding during the summer) but is usually a steady state punctuated by sudden and rapid drops. People refer to this as “plateaus” (the weight that seemingly refuses to go away) and whooshes (the sudden drop). Keep doing the right thing and have faith!
I have seen advice that states not to check your weight often as the plateau-whoosh cycle can lead to discouragement. However, checking your weight often teaches you about your body’s rhythms. I often weight myself multiple times per day (usually upon waking and after a workout) and this where I may cheat a bit, I take the lowest weight of the day.
LoseIt — The Bottom Line
In short, LoseIt the free version is a standard weight loss application where it shines in my opinion is in its execution of those standard functions. I strongly suggest LoseIt as a weight loss tool.