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How Apple Watch and the iPhone Can Help You Achieve Your Diet Goals

Jason R. Rich takes a look at some of the stand-alone diet, nutrition, and cooking/recipe apps, as well as apps designed to be used in conjunction with well-known diet plans, like: Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Atkins, Nutrisystem, or South Beach Diet. Some of these apps make it much easier to monitor your nutrition, caloric intake, and weight, and allow you to compare this information against your daily activity to get a broader and more accurate virtual picture of your situation and progress.
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Americans spend between $20 and $30 billion dollars per year to participate in weight loss programs and buy diet-related products. Yet, many other people are able to maintain a healthy weight simply by sticking to a well-rounded diet, avoiding junk food and excessive eating, drinking plenty of water, and exercising on a regular basis.

There are a growing number of iPhone and Apple Watch apps that can help you plan healthy meals, motivate you to be active, or guide you through workout plans that can be done from virtually anywhere with a minimal time commitment (and no gym membership required). The free Johnson & Johnson Official 7-Minute Workout app for iPhone and Apple Watch is a perfect example of this.

For those who opt to pursue a diet plan, there are also plenty of apps for logging food and caloric intake, and that are designed to be used in conjunction with traditional diet plans, as well as stand-alone apps which offer comprehensive and personalized dieting solutions.

Healthy Eating is a Must

Whether you opt to embark on a traditional diet, or simply lead a healthy lifestyle, one of the key components to success is maintaining a healthy, well-rounded diet over the long term. The Yummly app allows you to create a detailed profile for yourself and the members of your family, and then seek out recipes that fit your dietary needs and personal taste.

Once you inform the app of your overall food allergies and dietary restrictions, as well as your skill level in the kitchen (beginner, intermediate, or advanced), the app automatically searches the Internet to acquire a collection of recipes that meet your criteria. You can also perform searches based on food or meal types, preparation time, or variety of other criteria, or use any keyword or search phrase. This can be done from the iPhone or Apple Watch, and the search results will always take into account your dietary restrictions, personal taste, and food allergies.

After selecting the recipe(s) you want to prepare, simply enter the number of people you’re preparing each meal for, and the recipe automatically adjusts, plus prepares a detailed shopping list that arranges the required ingredients based on where they’re found in the supermarket, and how much of each ingredient you need to purchase.

The Yummly app has also teamed up with a service called Instacart, and if you live within one of 15 U.S. cities where the service currently operates, you can have the items within the app’s shopping list delivered right to your door.

Because the recipes are gathered from many sources on the Internet, how they’re presented within the app when it comes time for food preparation varies. All offer step-by-step directions with accompanying photos. Some include instructional videos as well. If you wind up enjoying a recipe, you can save it to your personal recipe collection within the app, plus share it with others.

What’s great about the Yummly app is that it gets to know your likes and dislikes, plus uses the entire Internet as its source for recipes, so there are always new and healthy options to try. Based on its ease-of-use, flexibility, customizability, and vast selection of recipes, Yummly is one of the very best cookbook and recipe apps available for the iPhone and Apple Watch. An iPad version is also available.

Calorie Counter Apps Can Help with Any Diet

One of the keys to succeeding with any diet is managing caloric intake. There are a variety of apps available for the iPhone (and Apple Watch) that make it easy to select foods and beverages, determine their calorie and nutritional content prior to consumption (to help you make better choices), and that also track what you actually consume.

Many of these apps take the mathematical calculations out of calorie counting. Most have a built-in database with millions of food listings (including pre-packaged foods), as well as the up-to-date menu offerings from well-known chain restaurants.

Thus, all you need to do is select the meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack), and then tap on the foods you’re about to consume. In some cases, if you’re about to consume a pre-packaged food or beverage, it’s possible to use the camera that’s built into the iPhone as a scanner in order to scan the product’s barcode, and instantly import that product’s nutrition and calorie information into the app.

Based on your age, weight, height, activity level, and other criteria, many of these apps will help you calculate an ideal number of calories to consume daily, and help you manage and track the calories you consumer throughout the day in order to keep you working toward your weight goal.

To find stand-alone calorie counter apps, within the search field of the App Store, enter the search phrase, “calorie counter” or “calorie tracker.” What you’ll discover is that some apps, such as The Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal, automatically track your daily activity level and have a built-in step tracker. They also work with fitness/activity trackers (including Apple Watch, and products available from Jawbone and Fitbit, for example), and they share collected data with the iPhone’s Health and other fitness-oriented apps.

By combining the calorie counter functionality with the activity monitor, the app keeps track of the calories you consume and burn off throughout each day. At the same time, the app automatically tracks important nutrient-related data (including fat, protein, carbs, sugar, fiber, and cholesterol) based on what you consume as you enter foods (and drinks) into the app.

Another nice feature of this app, is that after a short time using it, The Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal will learn enough about your activity and eating habits to help you set and achieve realistic diet goals, and it’ll provide information and notifications throughout each day to help you stick to those goals.

As a result, using an app like The Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal for less than five minutes per day, will help you better understand and analyze your eating habits, and more easily attain your fitness and weight-related goals.

The LoseIt! App Offers a Comprehensive Diet Plan on the iPhone

Many of the diet-related apps offered by well-known diet plans, like Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Atkins, Nutrisystem, or South Beach Diet, require you to be a paid member or subscriber of the plan in order to fully utilize their proprietary app.

What you’ll discover is that if you’re already following one of these diet plans, using the iPhone app helps you track and monitor your diet and activity-related information, have instant access to information, and in some cases, allows you to get in contact with a diet coach via text message, anytime, day or night, if you need guidance or motivation.

The LoseIt! app for iPhone and Apple Watch (www.loseit.com) is designed to be a stand-alone diet program that virtually anyone can take advantage of in order to lose weight safely and efficiently. As you work with the LoseIt! app, it tracks information like your weight, body fat, body hydration level, sleep pattern, and BMI, as well as your food, nutrition, caloric intake, and the calories you burn through your daily activity.

In addition to utilizing the tools offered by the iPhone and Apple Watch to gather data, an optional LoseIt! Health-o-Meter Bluetooth weight scale ($69.99, http://www.loseit.com/scale) is available. Plus, the app works seamlessly with most of the fitness/activity trackers on the market (from companies like Jawbone and Fitbit, for example), and it can acquire information from other optional equipment that wirelessly links to your iPhone, such as a blood pressure tracker.

The core LoseIt! app is free. However, to unlock all of the app’s features, you’ll want to upgrade to the Premium edition of the app for $39.99 per year. When you begin using the LoseIt! app, you’re guided through a questionnaire, which ultimately helps you to set realistic weight loss goals. In addition, based on your responses, LoseIt! will create a comprehensive plan to help you lose weight, exercise, maintain a healthy and well-rounded diet, manage your blood pressure, and potentially help you sleep better.

All of the tools and features within LoseIt! are presented through a colorful, easy-to-navigate user interface, that automates much of the required data collection, plus presents information in a straight-forward and understandable way. It’s important to understand, however, that LoseIt! does not take a quick-fix approach to dieting.

The app’s goal is to help you develop a sustainable weight loss plan that will guide you toward losing the desired weight, and then keep it off over time. This is done, in part, by helping users set realistic goals, and then teaching them to make intelligent decisions about the foods they eat and the activities they participate in, while making a vast amount of data available to them in an easy-to-understand way. Also built into the app are tools to help keep users motivated and engaged over the long-term.

Final Thoughts…

Just like any of the workout or fitness apps available for the iPhone and Apple Watch, the diet and nutrition-related apps are designed to be tools to help users achieve their goals. In other words, these apps only work if you follow their advice, utilize the information provided, and stick to the recommended diet plan over an extended period. This will require work, motivation and dedication on your part, which the apps don’t provide.

By providing you with more accurate and timely information than that’s ever before been possible (using technologies built into the iPhone, Apple Watch and/or a fitness/activity tracker), and taking the busy work out of calorie counting, tracking the foods and drinks you consume, monitoring your weight, and tracking your activity level throughout the day, for example, apps like LoseIt! can teach you to make intelligent choices and develop a better understanding of how your actions, habits, and the decisions you make throughout the day impact your weight positively and negatively.

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