Diet of smartphones and smart apps

Dolly Matsubukanye Submitted by on the 16th of April 2012

I started the year with one mission; to lose weight. I’ve been putting off doing so for years. Finding the right lifestyle plan that suited me was difficult, but I was lucky in my investigations when I came across myfitnesspal.

A colleague of mine’s mother has lost 10kg in a month using this nifty app on her iPhone. I was skeptical at first, of course, because how much can an app really help you with losing weight? I read up on it, and I was quite astonished by what I discovered.

Myfitnesspal logs and tracks the food you eat, while calculating the number of calories it contains. Essentially, it’s a food diary that tracks what you consume on a daily basis. To start with, you have to log and calculate your body mass index, which determines your optimal body weight. By logging in your food intake, it sets your daily calorie goal; and with the added tracking of the amount of exercise you do, it ensures that you know how many calories you are burning on a daily basis. Like a diet drawn up by a dietician, it’s tailored to your unique weight-loss goals.

This app has an ever-increasing food database of over 1 585 000 items. What’s great about it for us South Africans is that food from Woolworths is included, which makes it easy and manageable for the working gal (or guy) who likes the convenience. Just scan the barcode with your smartphone and a calorie count is determined, thereby ensuring you don’t eat more calories than necessary. This means your smartphone is that trusty friend that supports your weight loss goals every day, and with every meal.

The progress graphs let you know if you are on the right track. The app also allows you to find and connect with friends also using the app, encouraging you to motivate and track each other’s progress. Logging your successes is a further motivator, which will boost your confidence to keep at it, and get rid of the excess weight.

Mrs Mohonathan, who, at last count had lost 10kg, swears by this app. She says, “it helped me make intelligent food choices”.

Many of us have become attached to our smartphones as a steady and reliable companion. We are constantly checking email, sending messages, chatting, updating statuses, searching the web and even playing games; and it’s all instantly accessible from your back pocket or purse. Not only are we able to keep abreast of the world’s events and opinions, but apps like myfitnesspal are enabling us to become attuned to our own bodies and mind as well. The smartphone is fast becoming the staple diet of our modern lifestyle and livelihood, with a myriad uses to ensure that we can have a balanced lifetyle.