Weight Loss: There’s an App for That…

September Health & Life Column
by Sarah Turner

Call me old fashioned, but I’m a firm believer that weight loss, wait maintenance, and weight gain all depend on calories in vs. calories out. Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the amount of energy expended while at rest in a neutrally temperate environment. So eat that number of calories in a day, and if you’re a successful couch potato, you will maintain weight. However, most of us have a bit more activity in our day-to-day lives that factors into the number of calories we should consume.

Unless you love equations, there’s an application, well several, that can do all the counting and math for you. One in particular I’d like to introduce to you is by far my personal favorite nutrition application: Lose It!

Upon signing up for Lose It!, you’ll be prompted to tell a little more about yourself — height, weight, activity level, and goals. Then there’s nothing to it but to begin logging. You’ll be able to track your calories, macronutrients, and exercise. As simple as it sounds, I am still often asked questions about tracking calories through an application from individuals who are hesitant to make logging what they eat a habit. Hopefully, these will answer your questions too.

How do you find time and remember to log your meals? It is really a quick process. I log meals in 10-30 seconds prior to eating. I eat the same foods often, so Lose It! already has my foods stored. However, the barcode scanner makes for an easy new addition to your food log when necessary. After using Lose It! for the past three years, it has become habit to me. Almost like washing my hands before I eat. It’s no hindrance, and I know at the end of the day, this simple extra step allows me to better target my nutrition goals.

How will I log meals when I eat out? Lose It! has most restaurants included in its database. I have rarely not been able to find my meal on Lose It! when dining out. If you’re at a local restaurant that is not included in the Lose It! database, simply do your best to build your meal using the regular foods list.

Why do you monitor calories? You got me… I’m at a healthy weight. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have nutritional targets. Lose It! allows me to monitor my macronutrient ratios. I love carbohydrates, and sometimes that leaves me lacking in the protein and fat department. Lose It! helps me to keep those percentages where I want them. I simply choose the maintain weight option. However, if I need to drop a few pounds after over indulging during the holidays, I can knock the dust off my Lose It! application, target to lose one pound per week, and the pounds almost come off like clockwork.

If you are serious about monitoring your nutrition through an application, my best advice to you is don’t cheat yourself. Log everything! Leaving out things like your coffee creamer, drinks, and the little snacks you grab here and there can really add up and hinder your goals, especially if you are looking to lose weight.

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