May 6, 2010

losing it

In addition to Couch to 5K and trying to eat better lately, I've also been tracking my calories with the (free) Lose It! app for iPhone. My friend Emily told me about this app months ago, and I tried it once (and then forgot about it... such is sadly the result of most of my "get healthy" attempts), but recently felt inspired to get back into it. I'm almost two weeks in and I am finding that it really is a great way to keep track of and stay accountable for what I'm putting in my body.

I say that Lose It! tracks calories, but really it does much more than that. Basically, you set goals for yourself (to lose, gain, or maintain your weight), and based on your age, gender, and height, Lose It! tells you how many calories you should consume each day to reach your goal.

Based on my stats and the fact that I want to lose 1 pound a week, I am allowed 1,325 calories per day, assuming I don't exercise at all.

Every time I eat something, I log it into the app; there are many common foods stored in the database, or you can add your own food and nutritional information if there is something you can't find. I eat a lot of the same things (because I'm picky and a creature of habit), so over the first few days, if there was something I couldn't find in the database, I took a minute to add it myself. I added the food, the calories, the nutritional value, the serving size, etc., and that information is now stored in the app for me.

images via Lose It!

I also log all of my exercise into the app. There are many different forms of exercise in the database that you can choose from, and you can choose how long you did an activity and at what difficulty level to determine how many calories you burned. The more calories you burn, the more your daily calorie budget is. (So if I burn 300 calories one day, I now get to eat 1625 calories on that day and still keep up with my goal of losing 1 pound per week.) It's nice to see my net calories decrease after I've worked out, so I can eat a bit more that day :)

image via Lose It! — clearly you know that it was not I who ran for an hour. Ha!

If you create a Lose It! account, you can also view all of your data online, in addition to viewing everything on your phone; the online information seems to be even more extensive. Call me crazy, but there is nothing like a good chart to get me excited about making progress with my weight loss goals. Logging on to the website to see a nice little pie chart of my meal calories for each day makes me just a tad less upset about not allowing myself that giant bagel loaded with delightful cream cheese. (Sorry... ignore my drool. Oh, bagels. Cream cheese. Yummm.)

images above from my personal Lose It! account

As you can see, I've become quite a big fan of this app. I definitely pigged out a lot less last weekend knowing that I had to log everything into Lose It! when I was done. So far, I have lost two pounds, and I'm not gonna lie — I get a ridiculous sense of satisfaction when updating my weight in the app. Ahh, it's the little things in life that keep me happy...

Has anyone else tried the Lose It! app? What are your thoughts?


  1. I used the same app a few months ago and I agree it was really helpful. I'm going to have to start using it again. Thanks for the heads up on the online portion, I'll have to check it out.

  2. I used Daily Burn - they also have an app where you can scan barcodes and it auto enters it into your app. I like this one that you're trying as well, though. Might have to check it out!

  3. Hi Brooke! 1350 seems a bit low on the calorie end - I've heard 1500 as a minimum when no activity and slighly more (1700ish) if you are also exercising. When you log your exercise does it count those calories burned and up your alloted calories for the day? I just want to be sure you are healthy and any weight loss is done in a slow and sustainable way!

  4. @Krista - thanks for looking out for me! :) I just updated my post to be a little bit more clear regarding exercise -- I was a little vague before so I see why you are concerned. When I exercise and burn calories, my allotted calories for the day increases accordingly. I looked at a few different resources that say with no exercise, someone at my age/height needs about 1500 calories to maintain their weight, and less to lose. I'm definitely not a genius regarding this stuff, though, so if you have any resources you wouldn't mind passing along that suggest otherwise, I would definitely appreciate it! I do want to do this in a safe/healthy way, but since I'm a shorty (5'3" on a good day) and I don't work out super hard, I feel a little bit more restricted.

  5. I finally found the motivation (after a year of whining) to start losing my newlywed weight. Making myself think about how many calories I'm consuming really does make me think twice about indulging in treats, forces me to eat better, and motivates me to go work out. Like you, I'm a shorty (5'0") and have a desk job so my daily caloric intake is pretty low (about 1300).

    I need this app, but first, I need an iPhone (I know I'm the last person on earth without one, but I'm trying to be good and wait until I can get my full upgrade amount).

    I'm excited to read more about your commitment to getting fit. I just started working out again in mid-April and am happy that I've been able to go to the gym at least 3 times a week (hoping to eventually get this up to every day) and I'm eating much better. My motivation is to wear a bikini this summer (crossing my fingers!)

  6. I've used Lose It in the past just to track my eating habits and make sure I'm consuming enough during the day. It's been nice now to use it to enter in my workouts as well, since I'm trying to get rid of my extra weight now.

  7. Hey Brooke. I'm a big Weight Watchers fan, which keeps me accountable. I have a BBerry though and their app is abysmal. But anywho I was more writing to let you know how you can still have your bagels and cream cheese... Thomas makes these AWESOME whole wheat mini-bagels with 8 grams of fiber and like 100 or 110 calories. With some fat free cream cheese they are 2 points (I think you did WW so you know what I'm talking about). Also, they have these awesome bagel thins that are 110 calories and 5 grams of fat. I always feel like I'm getting a treat. Good luck. And some words of encouragement regarding the running, I started out two years ago and I couldn't run six block. I just finished my second half marathon two weeks ago.

  8. Hey Brooke! I'm so glad you posted this. Andy and I were all set to start back with Weight Watchers again this weekend, but I've had this nagging feeling that it's not quite right for me (I've had success w/ it in the past but I have some issues w/ the program). I've been thinking about alternative ways to still have a really structured program without paying for a diet kind of thing, and this looks great. I'm happy that it's been working well for you, and I can't wait to try it out myself. Keep us posted on your progress!

  9. I use Spark People, but I'm definitely going to check this app, and that Daily Burn app for bar code scanning. Trying to find the things I eat and logging it can be difficult, but it does keep you accountable. I lose about 1 lb a week, and I try to keep it under 1500 cal a day regardless of whether or not I exercise. Weekends are kinda a free for all, but I think I still burn calories from longer walks with the dog or going to concerts and dancing, etc.


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