Spark People App Review

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The other day, I downloaded this app as a means of tracking my food. Since getting my iPhone 4 last year, I had been using the Weight Watchers app, and quite liked it. However, you can only use the WW app if you’re paying a monthly membership, which I’m no longer doing. I wanted to find something easy and convenient to help me keep track of what I’ve eaten and how much I’ve exercised, and this one was free. Plus, I’d used the SparkPeople website before, so I wasn’t entirely unfamiliar with it.

It took me a bit of time to get used to it. I really liked the WW app, and had become quite familiar with it. What is it with us humans and change? Oh well. I quickly got the hang of this new app. I like that it was a lot of different foods in its database, including restaurant food. I did notice that most of the commercially prepared food (including restaurants) was American brands we can’t get here in Canada. The format for adding foods is very similar to the WW app, and it allows you to add your own foods if you cannot find them in the database. You can also save foods to your favourites list.

One thing that I really like with the SparkPeople app are the graphs. I’m a visual learner, and seeing things represented pictorially really helps. The home screen looks like this:

I love the bar graph! It’s a great way to see how you’re doing and keep you on track. I found it very helpful today. I also could see that I hadn’t burned enough calories. The amount of calories you are “allowed” to consume and the calories you’re “supposed” to burn can be set up in the settings. You can input how much weight you’d like to lose, and how soon you’d like to lose it (at a healthy pace), and the app calculates your calorie intake and output.

There is also a calorie differential graph which shows how much you’ve eaten and how much you’ve burned including your Base Metabolic Rate. Other graphs include a breakdown of all the calories you’ve eaten for the day, and a monthly chart of calories burned. You can also track how much water you’ve consumed.

I guess the only thing about the WW app I prefer over this one is the way fruits and vegetables are zero points. I’m not sure which I prefer: counting calories or WW points. I’m leaning towards the WW points, because not all calories are created equal.

But, the price of the SparkPeople app is right: it’s free, and I can afford that.

As I reflect on my journey to be Fit by Forty, I realize that I’m trying to do it as inexpensively as possible. A few weeks back, I posted about all of the diet companies plying on our desire to lose weight quickly, and making big money off of our desperation. I am thinking about adding a new goal to my journey: trying to lose weight as cheaply as possible!

So far, all I’ve bought in the name of weight loss, since starting this blog, are some multivitamins. In recent months, I invested in a fitness game for the Wii, some yoga DVDs and a really good pair of running shoes. I think, in total, I’ve spent less than $200 in the last three months on weight loss paraphernalia. And, most of the money I’ve spent has been on reusable, non-consumable things.

I truly believe that you can lose weight for next-to-nothing. You do not need to spend hundreds of dollars to be healthy. And dang it, I’m gonna prove it!

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