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Weight Loss: Which Tools are Best?

Last night, I was out with my friend Lindsay for drinks, and she was beaming.  She recently lost 7 pounds and she is convinced that those pounds are gone for good.  I could tell that her arms were a little leaner and her shirt was fitting a little better.  All in all…good stuff.

I asked her what she had been doing to lose the weight.  She enthusiastically whipped out her iPhone and proceeded to demonstrate her new found heartthrob – ‘Lose It!’ – a full weight management App.  She started to walk me through all of its features and how she can add in recipes and ‘budget’ her calories, etc.  As a Business School Grad, this was the most perfect, Type-A tool one could get.  Moreover, it was mobile…meaning no need to be glued to your desktop computer or worrying about forgetting the intimate details of every morsel you ingested five hours previously.  I have to admit, I was impressed.

We went onto discuss all of the different tools that we have both come across and what we liked and what we didn’t like.  And although I am not the hugest advocate of calorie counting (I’m much more quality versus quantity focused), this system works great for Lindsay, and that was what was important.

If you are trying to lose weight and you are struggling to do it on your own, there is a lot to be said for using tools to help.  How do you know what tool is going to work best?  Here are four important factors to consider when choosing a virtual weight loss buddy:

  1. Does it Match Your Personality?: If you are a list maker, chances are, you probably would appreciate a tool that lets you keep track of what you eat throughout the day.  However, if you don’t like counting calories or grams of food, you might be better off with general guidelines of foods you can eat and what you should avoid.  If the tool you are using doesn’t match your personality, you will most likely give up on your goals and get frustrated.
  2. Does it Match Your Lifestyle?: If you are always on the go, you will probably benefit from a tool that is mobile.  However, if you are often planted in front of a computer or don’t move all that often, you might be fine with something that isn’t as mobile.  Make sure the tool adapts to your lifestyle instead of adapting your lifestyle to the tool.
  3. Does it Match Your Goals?: If you are specifically trying to lose a certain amount of weight or a certain number of inches, you should opt for a tool that is going to help you track that.  On the other hand, if you care about the breakdown of fats, carbohydrates and proteins, make sure your tool gives you that information.  Whatever tool you choose should directly support you in achieving your goals.
  4. Does it Match Your Technological Comfort: If you are ultra savvy technologically, then an iPhone App might be great for you.  However, if you are a bit of a dinosaur in the technology department, look for a tool that is going to be easy for you to use without a lot of frustration.

Some tools you can look into include: Fitday, NutriDiary, SparkPeople, Weight Watchers, iPhone Apps and of course, the good ol’ fashion Hand Written Food Diary.  What tools have you tried?  What do you like about the tools you have used?

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Posted in Brett's Blog, Nutrition Tagged with: , , , , , ,