Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I'm addicted to Apps!

Okay, I admit it, I love finding new apps that provide even more reason for me to be addicted to my phone. A couple of years ago, I received an iPhone for my birthday and from that point on, I was hooked. Like so many people, my phone has become another appendage that is more or less attached to my body full time… Check out this picture… even during a family vacation to Puerto Vallarta this fall, I was hooked… fortunately, as you can see, I wasn’t the only one with a similar addiction problem!

Well, a couple of weeks ago I switched operating platforms… I am now an Android user and my intent for this post isn’t to tout one platform over the other (Apple vs. Android) because they both have some pros and cons, but more to the point, I want to look at a couple of the Calorie Tracking apps that I have personally used with each phone. I love having the convenience of my food journal in the same place that I keep everything else. I'm rarely ever without my phone (I feel naked without it), so I'm rarely ever without my food journal!

For the iPhone:
I was using an app called “Tap and Track.” It is offered for $3.99 and is created by Nanobit Software and like most apps of this sort, it tracks your daily intake of calories as well as your expenditure during exercise or activity. It has a feature that allows you to adjust how much weight you’d like to lose (or gain… as if!) each week up to two pounds and then it gives you the recommended calories for the day based on your gender and your weight and the amount of exercise you are doing. It graphically shows you where your RDA breakouts are falling for proteins, carbs & fats. It also can generate reports to show you your caloric intake vs. output over time. 

For entering food into your daily journal, it has a fairly comprehensive list including most major restaurant chains. You can enter serving amounts as well as partial serving amounts down to 1/8 of a serving. It also allows you to put in your own recipes for anything that isn’t already listed in their huge foods list. You also have the convenient option of pulling up recently eaten foods if you tend to eat similarly from day to day. There is also a quick entry feature if you don’t want to enter anything but the calories for an item and don’t want to look it up. With this feature, you need to know the calories and it’s just a quick add without any of the additional details. The other little bonus feature here is that for each day’s foods the app also assigns a “food value” which is basically the WW points for each food. The last time I used this app, the food value was still based on the old POINTS system, and I’m not sure if they have switched over to the new values or not.

For entering your exercise, the list of available exercises and activities is again pretty long. Most of the exercises are included and if you know your calories burned without having to look it up, there is a quick entry feature. 

Tap & Track has an online presence and they also have a feature where you can sync your phone app to your web-based account. On their website, they claim you can use this app with most of the diet programs out there, including Atkins, South Beach, and Protein Power. I cannot confirm this as the only thing I did was track straight caloric intake. They also have a Facebook page for those of you wanting to join their social network. Overall I found this to be a good app and would recommend it if you are on the iPhone OS and don’t mind the outlay of a little bit of money.

Pros:
  • Like most things for the iPhone, it is very easy to use and has a quick learning curve
  • You pick the amount of weight you’re aiming to lose per week, based on age, gender and current weight
  • BMI calculation is one more measurement this offers
Cons:
  • Partial serving sizes only break down as far as 1/8 serving, as long as it’s less than ½, it will break it down into small portion sizes, however above ½ serving, it only offers ¾ as the only other option available
  • Calories expended during exercise don’t have enough offerings… if you run slower than the pace they have as “running” or walk faster than the pace they have as “Walking” your calories burned will be off. I often had to compensate by putting in 30 minutes of running and 15 minutes of walking for a 45 minute jog pace.
  • The app costs $3.99 – not a huge expense, granted, but in the world of 1000’s of free apps, it is a consideration.
For tomorrow: Calorie Calculator – the Android App I’m currently using - stay tuned!

Today's Run
Miles: 6.17
Time: 1:15
Pace: 4.9 mph
Treadmill  Run

1 comment:

Jen said...

I have heard great things about the LoseIt App, not sure if they have it for the Android. I use thee Bodybugg software and I am bummed then only make it for the iPhone and Android as I am a Blackberry junkie.