August 21, 2013
In all of 2013, it is expected that Americans will spend approximately $2.4 billion on weight loss services. Although not as expensive as Alex Wildenstein’s $2.5 billion divorce settlement, it’s certainly nothing to scoff at. According to the Boston Medical Center, it’s estimated that 45 million Americans diet each year; yet, more than one-third of US adults and nearly one-fifth of adolescents are obese (with these percentages continually rising or remaining steady). So, are we all just wasting our money on things that aren’t even helping us accomplish our weight loss goals? Instead of forking over that $200 a month on a personal trainer and restricting your diet to lentil crackers and celery, why not give these eight uniquely different health apps a try?
Simple and easy user experience – this is what makes the Temple app so unique from the rest of the dietary and fitness tracking apps currently available on the market. When it comes to losing weight, consistency and staying on track are of utmost importance – whether that involves your diet or your fitness activity. Whereas other apps require users to add inconsequential details (ate eight slices of raccoon, 480 calories each), Temple is aimed at keeping the user engaged in the app and their weight loss goals in the long-run by providing simple check-ins. The app recently made Top 10 status for free Health and Fitness apps after a limited free offering. You can learn more about Temple from our recent coverage here.
Download it for iOS.
I feel like I’ve met someone named “Charity Miles” – how very West Coast boarding school. Available on iOS and Android, this app tracks the miles you’ve accumulated on your run, walk, or bike ride, while also raising money for a charitable organization of your choosing. It’s a great, additional motivator for those who love to support social causes. With Charity Miles, bikers earn $0.10 for every mile biked and $0.25 for every walking or running mile. Of the several charities currently available, users can choose from the likes of Habitat for Humanity, ASPCA, Autism Speaks, and DoSomething.org.
DietBet is a social dieting platform that challenges the user to bet real money on their ability to lose 4 percent of their initial weight within a period of four weeks. Whoever reaches this goal gets to split the winnings. Users can join the through its web or iOS app, and they can join a current game or start their own and invite their friends. Obviously, the more people there are in a game, the larger the pot. Right now, there’s a game with a $17,000 pot; so, yeah, there are definitely some great incentives.
Although not strictly designed for the purpose of weight loss or health, Beeminder motivates you to stay on track to reach your goal (mine is to lose 1,000 lbs) by charging you real money each time you fall off track. Starting at $5, the value increases per every time you fail at life. No one likes to LOSE money, especially if we can do something to prevent that, like getting off the couch and running outside. What’s great about Beeminder is that it can automatically track data from other services like Fitbit, Withings, and RunKeeper.
Log yourself some gym time or lose money. Similar to DietBet, GymPact is an app available for Android and iOS that allows users to wage between $5 and $20 per goal. Goals are determined by the number of times you want to make it to the gym in the following week. In order to ensure that you actually go to the gym, users must check in to their gym via the app and your phone’s GPS. If you meet your goal, you earn a cash reward; otherwise, you lose your wager and it goes into a community pot that doles it out to all of the cool people who actually reached their goals.
Fooducate is an app that aims to help educate shoppers on the items that you find at grocery stores. Users scan barcodes to get highlights of each product’s attributes (good and bad) with a letter grade from A to D. Highlights also compare that specific product to similar products and offer the user healthier alternatives. The info is super helpful, and will tell you things like sugar content or whether nutrients were added in processing rather than naturally. For those trying to lose weight, cutting back calories without compromising on food preferences is the ideal – Fooducate helps you accomplish that.
I’m a huge fan of gamification, and Zombies, Run! is an app that immerses you in a zombie-filled adventure (not literally, obviously) during your running or jogging session. While you’re on your run, you essentially become the main protagonist in this game, where your goal is to keep away from the zombies that are on your tail. Users go on missions of varying difficulty (from intense sprints to long-distance jogs), and players are offered the capability to actually engage in this post-apocalyptic world (collect supplies on your run to help other survivors and to restock/build your base). Seriously, try it out.
Another app to help you shop for products at the grocery store, Shopwell lets users build healthier grocery lists by ranking every food between 1 and 100. What’s great about Shopwell is that it offers users a truly personalized experience. Before you use Shopwell, you’re asked to create a user profile. Aside from the typical age and gender inputs, the app allows you to list: 1) your goals (“weight management”), 2) current health conditions, such as lactose intolerance or anemia, 3) what you want in your diet, from calcium and fiber to low sodium and low cholesterol, and 4) what you don’t want, such as high fructose corn syrup or trans fats. Similar to Fooducate, the app allows you to scan products and compare with healthier options.
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