Losing weight is easily one the biggest struggles anyone can undertake, no matter what weight they started at. A lot of the time, you don’t have any direction as to what you should and shouldn’t avoid, unless you see a registered dietician. Most people don’t, however — and it’s likely because their health insurance doesn’t cover visits to a dietician in the first place. They’re seen as less important than, say, an oncologist or a cardiologist.
While I’m certainly not suggesting that these two apps could replace a medical professional in any capacity, they can give you a nudge in the right direction. Lose It! and MyFitnessPal are two of the biggest weight loss apps in the business, and for many good reasons. Both apps are also quite distinct from one another, however.
What Makes Lose It! Unique
I had Lose It! the longest, so I’ll start with what I think about it. If you are visually-oriented, Lose It! may be the app for you. Whenever you lose a certain amount of weight, for example, the app will pop up with a message like “Good job! You’ve lost as much weight as an emperor penguin!” They also track three nutrients (unless you get Premium): carbs, fat and protein. They then show you on a very colorful wheel how much of each you got.
They take a similar approach to your weekly calorie count, except the wheel is green as long as you stay under your calorie goal. If you go over in calories, the section of the wheel where you went over turns red, reminding you that you done messed up. There’s also a bar graph for each day of that week so you can see how many calories you’ve consumed that week.
As time goes on and you lose more weight, you’ll earn “achievements” for losing differing amounts of weight or exercising for certain periods of time. There’s even one for logging what you eat for a certain amount of time. When I stopped using Lose It!, I had about 220 days logged, if memory serves. It can be a great little motivator if you fall off the wagon often.
What I don’t like about Lose It! is that you have to pay extra for seemingly basic features, like water tracking and meal planning. I feel like these should be basic functions. Their barcode scanner never seemed to work for me either, and their suggestions when you took a picture of your food was sometimes wildly wrong. Don’t use that feature on something complex, like a sandwich.
Lose It! also has a weird system where it deducts calories from how much you need in a day as you lose weight, but gives you more if your weight goes up. I feel that this is a critical oversight, as it can essentially tell less committed people that they get to eat more if they gain weight, completely defeating the purpose of the app. I wish the calories were a fixed number and I didn’t have to keep readjusting it all the time.
What Makes MyFitnessPal Unique
But why did I stop using Lose It! and switch to MyFitnessPal? Because once the app has your information, MyFitnessPal not only sets a calorie goal for you, it also sets nutrient goals for you as well. Depending on your height, current weight and desired weight, MyFitnessPal will set goals for you as far as sodium, sugar, fat, carbs, and other nutrients. It will also alert you if a food would make you go over any of these goals.
MyFitnessPal has the added benefit of tracking your water, though it doesn’t tell you how much you need in a day. (*sigh*) Still, that’s a premium feature on Lose It!, and one well worth having whether you’re active or not. Another premium feature on Lose It! that MyFitnessPal has for free is the ability to plan meals a few days ahead, invaluable for people who like making plans and
failing to trying to stick to them, like me.
Lose It! is much more user-friendly in terms of its design, but MyFitnessPal may be a bit more accurate due to its seemingly larger database. That said, I rarely ran into missing foods on Lose It!, but I did have to enter an exotic drink or two over the course of 200+ days, which isn’t bad. Speaking of food databases, however, MyFitnessPal cannot function without the internet, but Lose It! can, to a degree. If you’re out and about, this can be a lifesaver.
What I don’t like about MyFitnessPal, however, is how complicated it can be at first. I think part of what makes MyFitnessPal so complex is a lack of organization. Its main menu has 19 items, but you’ll likely only use a handful of them on a daily basis (Diary, Progress, and Nutrition in particular.) Thankfully, MyFitnessPal has a helpful quickmenu that has the most common things you’ll be entering. I haven’t yet tried their barcode scanner feature, however.
Both Lose It! and MyFitnessPal have many useful features in common, like calorie tracking, the ability to scan a food’s barcode to enter it, the ability to enter any foods that aren’t in their database for yourself, and custom calorie goals to help you lose weight at the pace you want. If you have a step tracker, both apps can interact with it as well, though I’m not familiar with which brands each app supports.
Truth be told, I would be perfectly fine using either app. Neither app’s shortcomings are deal-breakers for me, and both mostly do what they promise. If you like ease of navigation and little motivators to keep you going, then I recommend Lose It!. If you like control, information and absolutely must have water tracking, MyFitnessPal is likely what you want.