Losing weight doesn't have to feel like a chore. It's totally possible to make working toward a goal fun and rewarding, and apps that keep you motivated definitely help. From keeping track of what you're eating to providing encouraging reminders, these downloads are a must-try for anyone on a mission to better themselves.
$3.84/week and up
When it comes to teaching healthy eating habits, Weight Watchers excels, as the program (and app) helps dieters identify and choose foods that encourage weight loss and maintaining a healthy number on the scale. After evaluating your goals, the app provides a personalized target "point range," and you can determine your daily meals by calculating the point values associated with each ingredient. Example: a Big Mac has a high score of 18 points, while an apple doesn't put a dent in your daily point allotment. If you want to make it even easier, choose one of the brand's 4,000+ recipes, which have the total points for the entire meal already logged.
Free ($50/year for premium)
If calorie counting is the best way for you to stay on track, then MyFitnessPal is the weight loss app for you. Users register their starting and goal weights, and are given a calorie limit for the day. (For a 5'5" tall, 146-pound woman looking to lose five pounds: 1,320 calories.) You'll then log every morsel that hits your mouth (drinks too!), which helps ensure you stay in that target calorie range. Bonus: Foods are often identified by value — eggs, for example, are noted as a high-protein option, so you can better dial in to your specific nutrient requirements (which a nutritionist can help you determine).
Free ($3.33/month for premium)
Another fave among calorie counters, Lose It! establishes a budget based on your weight loss goals and lets you track against it. Within the app, you can search for foods to track your intake, log exercise, and connect to wearables so you're not entering data into a billion apps. Upgrade to the premium version and you can track more than calories in versus calories out — there's additional accounting for carbs, fat, and body measurements — not to mention get help with exercise and meal planning.
If "lose weight" is one of your new year's resolutions, it's time to put your money where your mouth is — and maybe even earn some cash while you're at it. All you have to do is join a game, some of which are hosted by celebrity fitness trainers (like Erin Oprea, who trains country singers Carrie Underwood and Kelsea Ballerini). From there, you place a bet on how likely you are to hit your weekly step goal, and your money is pooled with others who have joined the game. The app tracks your progress through Fitbit, Garmin, Apple Watch, or Apple Health on your iPhone, and whoever completes their challenge gets a cut of the cash.
Free ($59/month for premium)
When researchers analyzed the use of phone apps for weight loss and maintenance in 2016, they based their research on Noom (then known as Noom Coach). Of the 35,921 participants, roughly 76% of women and 84% of men lost weight while using the app, and nearly 23% experienced more than 10% of their body weight.
The free version works like most others: Enter your goals and weight and the app sets you up with a plan based around caloric intake. To stay on track, you'll record your intake and exercise manually, though an activity monitor tracks steps and you can link up to apps like Google Fit and wearables like Fitbit. Opt for the premium version and you'll get a health coach who checks in on you, a support group (think: the dieter's version of social media), and a course in healthy weight loss, diabetes prevention, and avoiding hypertension.
Studio Tone It Up
While eating healthy is one of the most important elements of a weight loss journey, physical activity factors into your success too. Studio Tone It Up makes exercising fun with high-energy, metabolism-boosting workouts from trainers Karena and Katrina. The powerful duo also helps keep you motivated along the way with inspiring messages, a built-in community of users you gain access to through the app,and healthy recipes and tips that ensure you have a well-rounded plan to fuel you from the inside-out.
Wearing an activity tracker is one of the best ways to stay on top of your goals, as you'll literally have a ton of health information right on your wrist. The latest trackers from Fitbit provide tons of data right on your wearable — like hourly and daily step count, resting heart rate, and total calorie burn — but using the app provides even more in-depth info. The company recently launched period tracking for their female users; there's a spot to log workouts and food and water intake; and you can challenge friends to daily or weekly competitions to keep you motivated.
Losing weight isn't about not eating certain foods, it's about eating better-for-you foods. Fooducate makes deciphering confusing nutrition labels easy — simply scan the bar code on the packaging and the app spits out a grade for the product, and tells you if there are not-so-nice ingredients like added sugars, MSG, additives and preservatives that you'll want to skip. After all, the more high-quality food you put into your body, the better you'll feel overall.
Nike Training Club
This weight loss app knows the importance of a supportive community, which is why they encourage users to join social Clubs to link up with others for advice, support, and inspiration. The app can also connect you with a personal coach if you need more one-on-one interaction, instruction, and motivation.
Rise is one of those weight loss apps that makes dieting so easy that it'd be really difficult to mess it up. Why? You're paired with a certified nutrition coach, and your job is to literally send them photos all day of everything you eat. Each time, your nutritionist analyzes the meal, tells you how you can improve, and provides tiny tweaks that make adjusting your eating habits super simple. And while the $48 monthly fee may seem steep, think about it this way: it breaks down to just $2 a day for some seriously valuable, not to mention totally personalized, insight.
Kayla Itsines' workouts have been taking over the world, and for good reason: users have been seeing seriously impressive results. This app sends a wide variety of routines directly to your phone; you can choose from high-intensity workouts, yoga, and even a post-pregnancy program. But that's not even the best part: Her workouts average about 28 minutes a day, meaning you don't even need that much time to get moving.
Samantha Lefave is an experienced writer and editor covering fitness, health, and travel. She regularly interviews pro athletes, elite trainers, and nutrition experts at the top of their field; her work has appeared in Runner's World, Bicycling, Outside, Men's Health and Women's Health, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and more.
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