When it comes to losing weight, two methods are better than
one. According to a recent Northwestern University study, you'll be more
successful at losing weight if you pair weight-loss apps with regular monthly
attendance at diet and exercise meetings, rather than just taking the classes
The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, tracked 69 overweight adults who
attended diet and exercise meetings on a monthly basis. Each participant
received weekly calorie goals based on their current weight, and weekly
activity goals based on their current activity level. The group was then spilt
up: One group recorded their eating and activity on paper, and the other used a
weight-loss app. Those who used the app and attended 80 percent of the meetings
lost 15 pounds. Overall, the average weight loss for the app users, including
those who did not attend the meetings, was 8.6 pounds. Significantly, those who
attended the meetings but didn't use the app lost little to no weight.
"Weight-loss apps provide real-time feedback, which not only
helps you track what you're eating, but helps you make smarter decisions in the
first place" says study researcher Bonnie Spring, Ph.D., a professor of
preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in
Chicago. It gives a stronger sense of accountability than tracking your diet
and exercise on paper, she adds. A super-effective way
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But if you're substantially overweight—like the study
participants—the app alone is not always enough. "The combination of the app
and meetings creates a sense of accountability and establishes your peer
group," Spring says. "You're interacting with folks who are walking the same
trail as you," Spring adds, which gives you a sense of camaraderie. Losing weight means overhauling your lifestyle, including
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Whether you're looking to lose a handful or a hundred
pounds, weight-loss apps are an excellent place to start. If you really want to
give yourself a greater chance at weight-loss success, pair your app with a
supportive community with similar goals. Here are the three top-rated
weight-loss apps that include community support, recommended by Chad Catacchio,
a tech expert for thenextweb.com.
MyFitnessPal (free on iOS and Android)
"One of the best reviewed weight-loss apps on Google Play,
and an editor's pick from both PC Mag and Wired, MyFitnessPal has a pretty
impressive food database of over 2 million foods that it can count calories
for," Catacchio notes. Does your grocery list need a
makeover? Here, 15 Superfoods You Need
The app syncs with the service's website, which has a large
community where users can exchange weight-loss triumphs and difficulties.
Noom (free and paid on Android)
If you like to be told what to do, this is the app for you.
Noom tells you exactly what to do every day with daily weight-loss tasks, which
it tracks in real-time. Your progress is then graded, which allows the app to
continually adjust itself to help you lose weight. Think of it like a game!
"The nice-looking app uses gamification tactics to get you motivated,"
Catacchio mentions. It's also integrated with Facebook and Twitter so you can
get your friends in on the pound-dropping action. Need
more motivation? Here, 13 Ways to Keep
Your Weight-Loss Goals on Track.
Diet Point (free and paid on iOS and Android)
If you're looking for the basics, Diet Point is the way to
go. It claims to have the largest list of diet plans (55 for free, more than
150 for paid users) as well as the largest mobile weight-loss forum. The app
comes with BMI and BMR calculators along with real-time meal reminders. "The
app is relatively basic looking, but the reference and community seem to be its
strengths," Catacchio reports.