AWT Health Club: Counting Calories

By Lppa (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Lppa (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Breeze has stopped

Sad news. Remember my constant love for RunKeeper’s Breeze step-tracking app? Well, apparently they decided that there are enough step trackers out there, so they’ve discontinued the app. The full story is on the RunKeeper blog. I’m going to use the Apple Watch and the Withings app to keep an eye on my walking.

This week’s topic: Calorie Tracking

I was pretty bad this last week, both in not exercising much at all and in eating out a lot. Guess what? I gained a pound. The personal issues that are keeping me from exercising much are continuing, although I expect them to hopefully subside a bit this week.

But the big point for most of us is that we take in too many calories and don’t expend as many calories as we need to. The result is that we gain weight or can’t lose it. I had a lot of success years ago on the Weight Watchers program, but hated having to calculate “points” and paying a monthly fee for the program. Every time you put something into your mouth, you had to figure out how many points were going in from a vast database of items.

Unfortunately, most of those point or calorie databases vary widely in terms of the range that they provide for many foods. For example, selecting “Pizza - slice” usually shows hundreds of entries, everything from a thin slice of some dietetic pizza-like material to a slice of a deep-dish Chicago pie. It’s difficult to figure out exactly how many points or calories you’re ingesting.

That being said, there are a number of calorie counting apps for iPhone and iPad — today we’ll look at four of them for the iPhone.

Calorie Counter PRO (with Food Diary for Diet and Weight Loss): this $3.99 app seems to be one of the most popular apps, with a 4-1/2 star rating on the App Store. The app offers an Apple Watch companion for quick glances at how you’re achieving or blowing your goal for the day, and uses a huge database of foods and a barcode reader to help make calorie counting easy. The app also provides a way for you to get help and motivation from friends and a built-in community.

Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal: Free with in-app purchases. First off, let’s just say that you’re going to spend some money if you want to get the best use out of this app. It has about the highest number of positive reviews of any calorie counting app (4-1/2 stars with almost 2,000 reviews). However, to get rid of ads in the app and get hints and tips, you’ll spend $9.99 a month or $49.99 per year. As with Calorie Counter Pro, the Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker has a way to make friends and use challenges to help you get motivated.

Lose It! - Weight Loss Program and Calorie Counter: As with the previous app, Lose It is a free app with in-app purchases that range anywhere from $19.99 to $39.99. It has an Apple Watch companion app, a community for motivation and help, and it is integrated tightly with Apple’s Health app. I'm trying this one out on a free basis; I like the fact that it seems to have some foods in its database that other trackers have not been able to pick up.

MyPlate Calorie Tracker by Livestrong: Free with in-app purchases such as banner ad removal ($0.99), the “clean eating guide” ($14.99), and a Gold Membership ($44.99 for 1 year). It’s a colorful app with an Apple Watch companion, complete with a huge food database, notifications and reminders, and a very active online community. As with Lose It!, MyPlate syncs with Apple’s Health app to bring in step and exercise data.

If you have a favorite way of tracking your calories, let us know in the comments!

Health Club Members!

Rather than having to post your progress (or in my case, the lack thereof) on the Apple World Today Facebook page, I’ve created a group that’s strictly set up for us. You’ll need to be invited to the group; please use the email button on the right sidebar to send me the email address you use for Facebook so I can invite you.

My weekly stats:

  • Weight: 194.1 lbs
  • Change from last week: +1.0 lbs
  • Steps taken each day: M-7845,T-1278, W-2269, TH-2152, F-4187, SA-1186, SU-4128
  • Average steps per day last week: 3292 (+529 from previous week)
  • Move (Active Calorie Goal: 550) - 4/7
  • Exercise - 1/7
  • Stand - 4/7

Let’s hear how you did! Let’s get moving!