5 best weight loss apps to help make mindful food choices

Kelsey Chapman
Monday 02 November 2020 14:30
Sports & Fitness
(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

As a society, we're trying moving away from the toxic diet culture that demands you conform to a certain body type in order to fit dated beauty standards. It's okay to be any body shape, but sometimes you find the shape you want is more compact than whatever you're working with right now.

We talked to a few experts and researched several popular weight loss apps that can help with tracking food and making healthy, mindful choices, and discovered the key components of each that help them shine in a market still flooded with old-school techniques like body shaming or banning certain snacks.

If you're feeling extra motivated, combine one of the following apps with some new home workout equipment as recommended to us by personal trainers to really challenge yourself.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn a commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing, expert advice and our own research. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Weight Watchers

The classics never go out of style and since Weight Watchers have always shown a deep commitment to timely evolution, the ever-popular weight loss program was among the first to dive into the digital age with their very own app. Competition to the brand keeps the company keen on innovation, so users have three options from which to choose as they embark on their new regimens.

Their Digital tier, the cheapest of the plans, offers a low-pressure option that promises you can “Lose weight on your time” through tracking your foods and live coaching in combination with meditations and recipes designed to help you maximize results without the hunger pangs. Another fun part of WW comes with its “Wins” program which incentivizes reaching your goals by unlocking exclusive gifts through doing so.

Noom

One of Noom’s most attractive qualities comes from the use of psychology tips and tricks that will retrain your brain to improve your relationship with food overall rather than shaming users or creating even more stress around mealtimes, both fast-track ways to make sure newcomers fall off quickly.

Daily articles along with weigh-ins, quizzes, and an easy-to-use meal tracking system mean you’ll spend an average of around 10 minutes a day on the app managing and tracking your intake, and personal coaches are always there to listen to your issues around food and offer up suggestions on how better you can tackle your dietary demons. Another handy tool Noom offers is the color system that determines if a food is red, yellow, or green, which helps teach you about nutrient and calorie density, thus helping you divide your plate up in a filling, healthy way that prevents bingeing later on.

Pricing with Noom rewards a longer commitment but if you choose to sign up for monthly recurring payments, it’ll set you back $59 every thirty days. That may seem like a pretty hefty price tag compared to some of the other options listed here, but sometimes this type of financial investment is what you need to stick with it.

MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal is great on its own as a free meal tracker that tells you how many calories you need versus how many you’re actually taking in, but the premium option claims it can help you reach your goals even more quickly through a series of perks that appear once you commit to the $9.99 a month or $49 a year price. An ad-free experience with nutrient breakdowns, calorie goals set for you for each meal, and exclusive content that will help keep you motivated are just a few, and the price is very affordable for those not looking to make a huge financial commitment. MFP is great for folks who need encouragement, too, as the app will notify you throughout the day when it's time to log your meals and routinely check in if you miss a few days.

Hilton Head Health On Demand

Hilton Head Health has been a leading weight loss resort since 1976 where guests go for stays of varying length and are taught valuable lessons in eating and exercising, then given custom plans so their results don't stop coming once they've checked out. That intensive type of program isn't for everyone, so the folks behind the resort brought it to the masses with the HHH On Demand app, which they describe as "a video streaming service for real people who want to shift from dreaming into doing, eating into nourishing and living into thriving - at their pace, on their terms."

70 videos are sorted into EatWell, MoveWell and BeWell categories, each relaying information such as healthy recipes, tips for dining out, 30 to 45 minute workout streams, and videos on lifestyle topics like mindfulness and meditation for a holistic approach to healthy living inside and out. There's no need to worry about equipment either, as each workout uses only your body to burn calories. If this sounds in line with your needs, give it a shot for one week free and pay $14.99 a month or $159.99 a year after that.

FitBit Premium

FitBit is a renowned and longstanding tool that works best when used in conjunction with a FitBit brand tracker or Smartwatch that follows your movements to tally up everything from how much you're moving and eating to how much quality sleep you're getting. Once you've picked up one of these wrist monitors (available in many stylish options in case you're worried about a clunky timepiece), FitBit's Premium app will enhance the program by utilizing those tracked numbers and using them to create a "purpose for every part of your day," though it can also function (less accurately) using only a mobile tracker should you prefer that route.

Some perks of the premium program include monitoring your progress concerning daily step goals, distance covered, calories burned, active minutes, through which you can watch your trends over time to figure out key patterns that will help determine which behaviors could use some tuning up. The sleep goals built into the system will nudge you when it's bedtime and review your sleep cycles to show you how you can get better rest and thus more successfully take on the day. When it comes to your food and water intake, FitBit has you covered there as well by letting you easily log your food and water, as well as giving you pre-set numbers to hit when you determine if your goal is to maintain, lose, or gain weight. Also beneficial is the social aspect of the whole program, as you'll be able to share your progress with a like-minded community of users who can challenge you, interact with you, and see you earn "badges" along the way.

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