Friday, February 18, 2011

Apps... Part 2

As I said, in Wednesday’s blog post, I have recently defected from the Apple iPhone platform to an Android phone… and while I’m not here to discuss the benefits of one or the other, I am enjoying my new phone quite a bit. But today more to the point, I wanted to discuss the Android calorie tracking app I’m using, which is aptly (if somewhat un-original) called “Calorie Counter.”

This app is currently offered (free of charge) and supported by a group on the web called This is an online weight loss support community that is completely free of charge… and I understand it is their intention to keep it that way. The app tracks your calorie intake as well as your exercise and activity expenditure. However, the big difference here is that it breaks down your entire day’s calories… for ALL activities - sleeping, resting (while awake), and then for any other activities you care to enter – all based on your current weight. The only thing I can liken this to would be a Body Bug or Fit Bit tracker. However, here you have to enter all the expenditures manually, instead of having a chip that does the calculations for you. This will require that you be absolutely honest in your data entry, or your calories won’t reflect correctly.

As you enter your foods for each meal, this app will graphically show you the % of RDA that you have achieved, based on a 2000 calorie (FDA guidelines) diet. It will also show you your input vs output of calories for the day and for each day in a chart-style daily calendar. This took a little bit of getting used to for me, because although the total number of consumed calories shows up on your food journal, it doesn’t show you there where you are vs. your overall output for the day. The food list is fairly exhaustive, including LOTS of restaurants as well as supermarket foods – including many of the supermarket brands, such as Western Family & Kroger. This could be a big help in these economic times when many of us are trying to cut back on our overall food bill in part by using the store brands. You can look items up based on whether is restaurant food, supermarket food or a popular brand of food and there is a decent search function as well.

The big difference in the food entry options is that you can enter any portion or part of a portion you want… broken down to the 0.1 part of a serving. If you want to enter a partial portion, you just tap on the area and the number pad pops up, including the decimal point. This app, like Tap & Track, has a recently eaten foods list. The one thing here that I find a bit frustrating is that if you’re entering your lunch, the options that pop up on the recently eaten list are only the recently eaten lunch items. But still, the food selection tool is very easy to use and is, like the Tap & Track, customizable, where you can add your own recipes to personalize your database of foods.

The exercise entry tool is nice too. It is easy to use and will let you enter your exercise based on hours and/or minutes. There seem to be many activities to choose from, the most useful for me being a bunch of options for running based on how fast you run… anywhere from 5 mph (me! J) all the way up to the super speedy 10 mph guys/gals (my guess here… if you’re running 10 mph, you’re probably not needing a Calorie Counter!). The overall list is maybe not quite as comprehensive as the T&T, but it still covers most of the activities, even including deskwork and shopping.

As I said above, Calorie Counter has an online presence at It also has the option to sync your phone to your online account similar to the T&T.  Fat Secret is a whole world unto itself, which I really haven’t taken the time to fully explore yet, although I fully intend to check it out soon. Their tagline is “All things food & diet,” and they offer an online community, including lots of fun challenges thrown out by members of the community. Although I really haven’t used this app very long, I am really liking what I’ve seen so far. It’s maybe not as “pretty” as the iPhone app, but what it lacks in visual appeal it definitely more than makes up for in the flexible functionality.

  • It’s FREE
  • The food log is much more flexible than Tap & Track
  • Shows ALL of your calories expended for any given day
  • Not as many exercises/activities to choose from
  • Does not take your gender or your age into account when calculating calories. I don’t know yet if this will make a big difference in the grand scheme of things. I’ll try to keep you apprised of this.
  • Does not offer BMI calculation… no biggie, but still if you want it, it’s not there

 Today's Run
Miles: 6.15
Time: 1:15
Pace: 4.9 mph
Part Street/Part Treadmill  Run


Run with Jess said...

I just got the iPhone. What app did you use on that platform? Thanks!

Jo said...

I used an App called "Tap & Track"... I posted my review for it on my 2/16 posting. It has some pluses and minuses... but then, don't they all? :o)