Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lose It!

I decided to try an iphone calorie counter application. Lose It! Is free and seems to be popular. My first impression is that it’s pretty good, but sometimes it seems like a lot of looking up and clicking through to the next page. I don’t like that it gives me a red mark if I go one calorie over my designated limit, but that might also prevent some from doing so. Here are the four main features:

My Day:
You can track Today or This Week, which gives bar graphs of your calorie intake with a line at your calorie budget. Go over budget and the bar turns red. It also tells you how many calories over or under budget you are for the week. The Today tab gives the same info for today plus exercise calories burned. From here, you can add food or exercise.

Log: This is where you list your food and exercise by clicking the + button. You can also edit and cycle through the days. Every time you want to add a food, you first have to choose which meal. Then you can search foods, in general, or by My Foods (those you’ve used before), Previous Meals, Recipes, Brand Name Foods, or Create New Food. So you (1) click +, then (2) which meal, then (3) where you want to search for the food, then (4) the specific food, then (5) the specific quantity, then (6) Add. 6 steps to add one food! And you have to do that for each food you eat for each meal! For instance, you can’t choose Lunch and add all your foods; you have to choose Lunch before each food.

What I’ve learned with Recipes is to make my own common combinations, such as oatmeal cooked with milk, with honey and dried cranberries on top. Lose It! will total the calories of each ingredient portion I enter; then I just add Fong Oatmeal to my Breakfast, instead of adding each ingredient every time I eat oatmeal. I did the same with my coffee with sugar and ½ & ½. At the same time, some foods have a different number of calories than the specific brand I eat, so I just adjust the quantity accordingly; I might eat 1 1/8 cups to total the number of calories on my food package.

Goals: You set them at the beginning, giving your current & goal weights, and the number of pounds you want to lose per week. Lose It! charts your daily weight, if you enter it. You can also modify your profile and goals.

More . . .: The topics are Custom Foods, Custom Exercises, Recipes, Nutrient Preferences, FAQs, and About Lose It! I used Custom Foods (same as Create New Food) for a recipe in which I knew the number of calories. Rather than inputting each ingredient as a Food or even as a Recipe, I just inputted the recipe name and calorie count. Much easier!

It’s only been 3 days, so we’ll see how it goes in the long run. It’s still a hassle to keep a food journal, but hopefully the results will be worth it.

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