Are weight loss apps a waste of time?
It seems like pretty simple, straightforward math. To gain one pound, eat 3,500 more calories than your body needs. To lose one pound, do the opposite. How to put this strategy into practice can be anything but simple and straightforward, though.
The tactics and execution become a little more complicated when you have to factor in an individual’s BMR (how many calories it takes just for their basic body functions), lifestyle and activity level, gender, age and muscularity. All are factors that play a part in determining how many calories a person has to consume to lose that pound. Depleting calories for a 150 pound woman looking to lose weight are a whole different set of numbers than say for a 250 pound man, trying to do the same.
If you’re not a walking, talking human calorie counter like I am, then your next best option is an app!
Apps for weight loss go so much further that just daily tallies of what’s been consumed. Apps help to determine a person’s BMR, and with that knowledge they can control the pace at which to lose weight.
Say for example a person has a BMR of 1400 calories per day. (This means if they were to lie in bed all day and consumed 1400 calories, they will not have gained weight because that is the amount of food energy their body needs to function). If this person chose to consume 1200 calories per day, seven days a week, they will have depleted their body of 1400 calories in one week. But they are not lying in bed all day. They work; depleting themselves of an additional 500 calories per day. They also go to the gym three times a week, depleting themselves of 500 calories per workout, a total of 1500 in a week. With these numbers, they have depleted/expended 6400 calories in one week: almost 2 pounds!
And if the goal is to lose 1 pound a week, the numbers change. If the goal is to lose 2.5 pounds a week, the numbers get tweaked. Weight loss apps do that. Controlling the pace of weight loss makes it a different kind of challenge; less daunting. With control comes confidence and power and ultimately success.
Weight loss apps also empower their user in a different way: through knowledge
Does a skinless chicken breast have 200 or 400 calories? Can they have red meat instead and, if so, how much? The answers to the questions may not stick the first time around, but eventually some of that information is retained and absorbed and one day making knowledgeable choices without an app becomes the norm.
Life is busy and to throw a tedious and difficult task like weight loss into the mix can manifest itself in a bad idea that gets shelved. Apart from empowering their users through knowledge and providing control, apps also assist. They count, remind, provide recipes, suggest restaurants, provide inspiration and cheerlead. Like all good assistants, they have best interests at heart, and provide support. And by the way, so does the latest Watchfit app! On top of providing you with the exact meals plans, recipes, and a daily workout, it helps you stay on track by reminding you about meal times, tracking your progress with snapshots of your food, and making it all so much fun with the integrated social game (also letting you earn badges and beat your friends’ results).
The adage “make a man and arm, change a life; teach him to make arms, change the world” comes to mind when using weight loss apps. Hopefully, eventually, the user becomes their own app. If not, they are not such a terrible thing to be attached to.
Also check out 10 Ways your smartphone could improve your health