Battle of the Fitness Apps!

Posted December 1, 2011 by Maire in Whimsy / 0 Comments

I’ve been meaning to blog about this one for awhile, but I have this tendency to get sidetracked easily. A little while ago, my brother recommended I check out a diet app that he was using to track his food and exercise. I can’t fault him for this, as I think that’s a great idea. The App he uses has a social networking component, but as we both came to realize, it has some severe limitations. It’s great for showing off badges, but not so great for being able to spy on your buddy’s actual meal plans (which can be helpful if you’re trying to find out what your brother is eating that are giving him such great results, as you happen to share a fairly large percentage of a genetic code and it just might work for you too).

Unbeknownst to him, I was using another App for the same purposes. Thing is, it’s not quite as pretty, and it doesn’t have the social aspect built into the app.  The social aspect is built into the website that the App links to.  In comparison, the App I’m using isn’t as flashy, and it doesn’t let me check out the diets of my friends from my Android phone, but it does let me weigh in, look up foods, track my meals and exercise on the go. For the social stuff that will keep me entertained, or for looking over the menus of a successful person on the same fooding plan as myself, it has great information on the website.

As more and more studies are being done about food and its effects on the body, other common-sense discoveries are being made. Primarily that having moral support and maintaining a food diary will assist in not only losing the weight, but also keeping it off. Obviously, if you’re recording your intake honestly, you can always refer back to what worked and return to it if you’ve been letting the diet slide. You can also see whether or not a food you’ve been eating has caused any kinds of trends in your progress.

Moral support, as well, is very important. Years ago, when I was trying a bodybuilding-style fitness plan, I was a lurker on a web forum called “Lean and Strong”. It since has disappeared to goodness knows where.  Thing is, reading about the progress of others kept me motivated to do better. At the height of my bodybuilding experience, I had kept my weight steady and was able to bench about 100 lbs. This wasn’t a bad thing, but definitely not the progress I was looking for.  I was working very hard, but still maintaining an obese weight.

When I discovered that cutting out most sugary and starchy carbohydrates really helped, I found a couple of low carb forums. There are three big ones, and while I generally restrict my lurking to only one on a regular basis, I often will check out the other two when I feel the need for something a little different. Though there’s not much different about them – the main movers and shakers are generally many of the same folks. The topics of conversation are the main change.

I usually lurk (because I’m a shy wallflower, obviously) on, as it not only has a great “Century Club” group *, but it also has a lot of links to studies and current news. There are just as many skeptics as there are low carb devotees, and it’s good to see the fairly well-ordered debate without a lot of mud-slinging. Also, it’s a general low-carb board, not just Atkins, or South Beach, or Dukan or Paleo. There are folks who are rocking an established plan as well as folks who are doing their own thing with great success. I like that in a community.

The other two communities are Low Carb Friends and the Atkins Diet Bulletin Board.  I found the ADBB first out of the three communities, but gravitated to for the reasons mentioned above. There are times when I get the feeling that LCF is “The Big” community, as I hear it referenced more, but on the whole…all three could be seen as just one big community. I think it’s only a matter of time before some Highlander wannabe dashes into the Low Carb world and screams “There can be only one!!” while brandishing some kind of glowing sword of unification.  Or maybe not. The decentralization possibly works better as there’s less chance of the one main board losing hosting, or being targeted for some kind of cyber attack, and being lost to the general public.

What it comes down to, for me at least, is that while there are a bunch of different diet resources out there, I stick mainly to and for what they offer me personally. gives me motivation, success stories, progress pictures, and some mental stimulation with my personal feelings of lifestyle validation (because I’m stubborn like that). Fatsecret is, comparatively speaking, more open-ended. If, for instance, you’re doing Weight Watchers, you can customize the social aspect for that particular program. You get a lifestream of folks who weighed in, can choose buddies and watch them progress…there are challenges and forums…just a whole lot of goodness.  The App that synchs in with the site is very handy, and it helps keep me a little more honest with myself.

I don’t recommend my methods for everyone, but I definitely believe that whatever you do – tracking and support are very important. Even if you’re not the most diligent at it. Find what works for you and stick with it.

If you’re interested in trying out Fat Secret, come on by and feel free to be my buddy. You can find me under the screen name Yzorah. You can never have too many buddies 🙂

* yes, I have about a hundred pounds to lose, maybe more. And here you wondered why I never mention solid numbers for my weight. Now you know. I still have *some* sense of privacy and personal vanity
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