Welcome back to AppleToolBox! Today, we’re going to be talking about how you can use your Apple devices to start improving your health. Specifically, we’re going to be looking at the best weight loss apps on the iPhone.
If you’ve used as many dieting apps as I have, then you’ll know that most of them are super similar. It’s hard to tell the difference between a lot of them.
When picking apps for this article, I wanted to avoid that problem. That means you’ll probably find some options in this post that you’ve seen before. I hope, though, that you’ll find plenty of options that you haven’t considered before, too!
Additionally, I wanted to pick apps that have a positive vibe and dialogue going surrounding dieting. It’s a point of pain for a lot of people, and I’ve noticed that a lot of dieting apps prey on that fact. They advertise getting you the “perfect” body and toning up, etc.
So I’ve also made a point to avoid apps that use this sort of language. Some apps will be more gentle than others, but you shouldn’t come across any that exist to exploit insecurities. I’m going to dive into this a bit more in this first section, How to choose the best weight loss apps for you.
Let’s start there!
How to choose the best weight loss apps for you
As mentioned, part of what makes choosing between different health apps difficult is that most of them are incredibly similar. They offer some basic health and food tracking for free, then charge you for extra features like meal planning and device synchronization. And that’s about it.
Something that I think is overlooked in articles promoting dieting apps a lot of the time is that for a lot of people (including close friends and family of mine) dieting can be a very difficult subject to talk about. People have eating disorders, body dysmorphia, and general insecurities that can be exacerbated (rather than helped) by checking in with a dieting app multiple times a day.
So my first tip for choosing the best weight loss apps for you is to check in with your mental health first. If you are looking at dieting apps because of a negative self image, you should probably consult with a therapist before proceeding. I’ve also found that starting with yoga is good as well, as it’s a healthy habit that focuses on positivity, mindfulness, and practice as opposed to “building the perfect summer body”.
My second tip would be to consider what you want out of a dieting app long term. If you just want an app to track your calories, your weight, and to set goals, then nearly any app will have you covered. If meal prep is important to you, though, or if you want an app centered around women’s health, or maybe one focused on convenience and motivation, then look out for the subtle differences that make certain apps better for those purposes.
My third and final tip is to switch it up! If you find that an app isn’t really helping you, try a different one! And by “helping”, I don’t necessarily mean that you aren’t seeing the changes that you want to see. I’m more so saying that if you have a hard time remembering or wanting to use it, if you don’t find it motivating, or if it feels too difficult, then you should probably find an option that better suits you.
In short, make sure you’re in the right headspace before picking a dieting app, find a dieting app that won’t take a toll on your mental health, consider your long-term goals, and don’t be afraid to switch to a different app if you don’t click with the first one you pick.
The best weight loss apps for iPhone
Alright! By now, you should have a good idea of the kind of app you’re looking for and whether or not you’re even in the right headspace to be considering a dieting app at this moment.
Now, it’s time for what you’ve all been waiting for – the best weight loss apps for iPhone in 2021! I’ve included several options below that are all fairly distinct. So be sure to read through all of them before making your decision! And if you don’t end up liking the one you try, be sure to come back and look for a different option on this list.
Ok, let’s get into it!
First up, we have Lose it! For me, Lose it! is the perfect dieting app for most people. I’ve tried a lot of the basic options out there, and of these options, Lose it! is the one that I’ve stuck with for the longest. Here’s why.
Lose it! has a far more positive tone and feeling than many of its competitors. It doesn’t feel like the app is constantly trying to cram a subscription down your throat, nor do you constantly receive emails trying to push more content on you.
Instead, you start your experience with the app by talking about your relationship with dieting. You discuss your goals, where you’re at right now, and then go through some gentle dialogue about how to get there. There isn’t a lot of conversation about “grinding” or anything like that.
Like most basic dieting apps, it makes it easy to track your calories using barcodes and a search engine. You don’t see a lot of visual penalty when you cross over your calorie limit. The app reminds you to not be too harsh on yourself, especially in the beginning.
There are neat features included in the app, too. For instance, I’ve learned that whenever I eat French fries, I tend to actually eat fewer calories overall that day. That’s because Lose it! brings patterns like this to your attention.
Best of all, there’s a social media tab in the app where you can chat and post with other Lose it! users. People use this space to motivate, celebrate, and commiserate their experience. I’ve found that dieting can be a lonely and disheartening experience, and this section of the app really helps mitigate that.
There’s more to say on this app but I’ll leave it at that! Just a great all-around dieting app. If you have no idea what you want or just want something basic, Lose it! is one of the best weight loss apps for you to try.
Second on our list of the best weight loss apps for iPhone is Noom. Noom is very similar to Lose it! in that they both comfortably fall into the generic category of dieting apps.
What makes Noom unique is its focus on programs and routines. Lose it! is far more relaxed, and the paid option feels a mostly optional. Noom, on the other hand, is an app where you’ll really be missing out on its strengths without the paid option.
With a subscription, Noom will be bringing you tips, recipes, shopping lists, and personalized insights on a daily basis. And all of these things will be based in nutritional science and behavioral psychology.
Combined, these features make Noom a great app for someone who needs structure to succeed. If you find yourself slacking off, getting bored, or feeling like dieting apps tend to be lacking, then give Noom a shot. It wants your full attention, and it will reward you for it if you give in. Conversely, if you like a more laid back approach (like me) then you might find Noom to be nagging and overwhelming.
Last up on our trio of the best basic weight loss apps on iPhone is MyFitnessPal. Like Noom and Lose it!, MyFitnessPal centers around easy weight and calorie tracking on a meal-by-meal basis.
What sets it apart from these other two options is that MyFitnessPal is more comprehensive of your overall health, not just weight loss. It’ll promote exercise and building muscle in addition to losing weight, and you’ll see diet and meal tracking features that center around building muscle, too.
For that reason, I would say that MyFitnessPal is a weight tracking option for athletic individuals. If you like to workout or are trying to increase your activity level, then MyFitnessPal will help you balance that with healthy dieting.
On the other hand, if your focus is on weight loss rather than exercise, I would advise you to skip this option. Its focus on comprehensive health topics rather than specifically dieting can make it feel like you’re relegated to a very small portion of this app. Kind of like attending college just so you can hang out in the library. But if you want the full package, then MyFitnessPal is a great option.
Now that we’ve covered the basic dieting apps on iPhone, it’s time to get into the more niche items on this best weight loss apps list. Let’s start with FitCycle.
FitCycle does so many different things for you that it would be difficult to categorize it as a “dieting app”. That’s not to say that dieting isn’t a component of it, because it very much is. There are dieting plans on this app that include meal prep recipes and intermittent fasting schedules.
I would like to issue another warning that if you have mental health issues surrounding dieting, especially an eating disorder, to not participate in an intermittent fasting diet as it can be triggering.
If you don’t have any issues with eating, though, there is some preliminary evidence that intermittent fasting can help you lose weight. Notably, though, people who practice IF don’t necessarily lose more or less weight than traditional calorie counting. So only try it out if it sounds like a plan you can easily stick to. Here’s a Harvard study on IF where you can learn more about its pros, cons, and potential risks to your mental health.
Anyway! You don’t have to practice IF when using this app – it’s just one of the supported plans in FitCycle.
Additionally, FitCycle includes support for things like fitness, goal setting, and the gamification of your health. This can make it a fun and engaging alternative to more data-heavy options that want to enforce discipline. The exercise and diet plans are also more relaxed, so this isn’t for someone looking to get “ripped”.
If you’re someone who wants to gently incorporate a bit of exercise into your day, build mindfulness, and improve your sleep and diet, all while having fun, then FitCycle is for you. It’s like MyFitnessPal for non-athletic people!
DietBet is entirely unique among the best weight loss apps. It helps you lose weight by building good habits with a bad habit.
Like the name implies, DietBet is a dieting app that centers around betting. You make a bet for how much weight you plan on losing by a certain date. Other people in the app place their own bets, and all the winners (i.e., the people who lost the weight they planned to lose) split the pot.
And that’s the gist of it! Beyond that, this is a pretty straightforward weight and calorie tracking app. The design is modern and easy to use (it doesn’t look scammy or edgy like a lot of gambling apps do). And it has a strong community of competitors and supporters.
The one “catch” is that you’ll have to set reasonable goals. You can’t bet $1,000 to lose one pound over the next month. You have to choose goals that are attainable yet challenging.
Additionally, DietBet will take extra measures to verify your weight. You’ll have to include a photo of you on the scale in two different poses holding a randomly specified word. That way, people can’t fake the results.
If you’re someone who likes to compete, play games, or make bets, then you’ll probably get a kick out of using this app. And you’ll probably find it really motivating when there’s money on the line – to win or to lose.
On the other hand, I can’t see this app being all that beneficial to anyone else. So if you fall into the niche for this app, give it a shot!
My Diet Coach has one of the nicest user interfaces out of any other items on this list of the best weight loss apps for iPhone. If the thing keeping you away from dieting apps is that they look generic, complex, boring, or overwhelming, then My Diet Coach is a great option.
This app has two things going for it. The first is how personalized it is. It asks you a bunch of questions up front and lets you choose which weight loss/gain plan you want for yourself. Alongside each option you’ll see recommendations and data to help you understand which one is best for you.
The second thing My Diet Coach going for it is, as already mentioned, the design. It’s incredibly pleasant to look at and use. That can take the pressure and stress out of using a dieting app substantially.
There is a drawback of sorts to My Diet Coach, though I see it being a negative for the developer more so than the user.
The subscription is expensive and pointless. I’m not exaggerating. It’s about $150/year, which is three times as expensive as some of the other options on this list. And for that price, you get incredibly basic and non-compelling features like macro tracking and looking at your weight in the past. These are features that nearly every other dieting app includes for free.
Beyond those basic features are… well, nothing. There are no other “premium” features, and those that are there don’t feel premium. You can hardly even find the extra features in the app or on its App Store page. It’s like the developer wants you to pay for premium without knowing what you’re getting, because you aren’t getting anything at all.
Again, this isn’t a con if you’re a user! It just means that you shouldn’t bother spending money on this app because the free version is perfectly capable without the subscription.
Coming in the second half of our list of the best weight loss apps for iPhone is Happy Scale. Happy Scale occupies another interesting niche in that it doesn’t try to present your data to you in a digestible and simple format.
Rather, you’ll find your weight and diet tracking information presented to you in serious detail. There are several metrics all over the app filled with specifics, graphs, and trends.
This allows you to get a view of your health that’s so precise it borders on being nerdy.
If you’re someone who can better handle stress through rationalization, then you’ll probably find this app helpful. For those that don’t know, rationalization is when you manage stress through breaking things down and trying to understand them better rather than avoiding them. If that sounds like you, then this app might be a good fit for you.
Next on our list of the best weight loss apps is Diet & Meal Planner by Get Fit (or DMP). DMP is a helpful calorie tracker that is more focused on helping you eat healthier rather than losing weight.
That may sound counterintuitive at first to those looking to lose weight. What’s a weight loss that isn’t centered around your weight loss?
The idea behind this app is that if you start to eat smarter and pay more attention to the food that you’re eating, you’ll inevitably lose weight. It’s an approach that pushes you towards mindfulness and healthy habits rather than counting pounds and stressing over your body image.
DMP includes features that will help you understand the nutritional content of your diet. You’ll get alerts whenever you eat junk food, notifications that motivate you to stay healthy, and a membership “club” with others whose primary goal is nutrition.
You will need to pay for a subscription to unlock all of the features that this app comes with. It’s $9.99/month or $39.99/year. The annual price is a pretty good deal when compared to other apps on this list. If you don’t mind dropping a bit of cash on one of these apps, this one is pretty affordable.
For these reasons, I think this is a great app for those who maybe want to lose a little weight, but are mostly focused on improving their diet. If you’ve had a long-term habit of eating out, drinking sodas and juice, and have had a hard time breaking those habits, then I think you could really benefit from this app.
On the other hand, if you are at an unhealthy weight and need to get on a strict diet to start losing weight, then DMP might feel like a lightweight app.
As we near the end of this list of the best weight loss apps on iPhone, we hit one of the most unique options of all: Lark Health.
I had never heard of this app before writing this article, but it’s quickly become one of the most interesting to me.
Lark uses a unique approach in that the UI is basically a chatbot. You send messages back and forth with the app and it’ll automatically update your health, diet, and recommendations. It’ll also hold a conversation with you, answering questions, giving you insights, and helping you lead a healthy day every day.
To be clear, you are not talking to a Lark Health employee. It’s a bot with pre-programmed responses. That means it’s still a pretty private experience (as private as any of these other health apps, anyway). You will probably run into the odd issue, though, where the app doesn’t know how to respond to what you want.
For some of you, I’m sure a weight loss chatbot sounds more annoying than anything else. But I can see the appeal.
A few years ago, I was in need of some psychiatric help but didn’t have the money or insurance to see a mental health specialist. While researching the internet I came across this chatbot app that allowed you to check-in daily and discuss your mental health. It was free to use and worked pretty well.
I ended up using it for the next several months. It was at a time when I was feeling really vulnerable and alone, and though artificial, this little bot that could listen to my problems, help me understand what I was going through, and give advice on how to start having better days, really improved my life at that time.
I can easily see Lark Health filling a similar void for someone. If you’re feeling alone in your goal to eat healthier, a friendly voice can be a huge help, even if it’s technically artificial.
The best weight loss apps for getting in shape
And that’s it! Those are my recommendations for the best weight loss apps on iPhone.
Before finishing up this article, I did want to touch on another important component of losing weight, and that’s working out.
There are a few caveats to this! If you’re doing muscle-building workouts, for instance, you’ll find it harder to lose weight, though you’ll almost surely be losing fat.
Working out in addition to trying to eat healthy can also be problematic if you’re at a weight that affects your mobility. If you’re at that stage of your journey, then it’s best to focus on improving your diet and, if you really want, adding low-impact exercises into your daily routine.
Lastly, it’s important to recognize that you aren’t a machine. Everyone has a limit on how many things they can manage at once! Striving for a healthier diet and cutting down on your daily intake is already a difficult change to make. Don’t feel pressure to add fitness into your routine until you feel confident in your ability to maintain a healthy diet.
With that in mind, low-impact daily exercise is a great and essential part of maintaining your health – even if it’s usually not needed to lose weight. If you want to start incorporating fitness into a healthy lifestyle, here are a few apps that will make it easy to start building an exercise routine.
First up are two apps that I think, along with one of the best weight loss apps on iPhone, can completely alter the trajectory of your health. That’s Fitness+ and Workout.
If you have an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV, then you already have free access to the Fitness app. Check your device or the App Store to start using it.
Fitness+ is the streaming subscription service that Apple built into this app near the end of 2020. It’s $10/month and gives you access to a ton of workout videos that cover a variety of workouts. You can read my full review of this streaming service here, but in short, I think it’s great.
The Workout app is the built-in app on Apple Watch for tracking your workouts. Just open the app on Apple Watch while wearing it, scroll through the available workouts and choose the one that’s closest to the activity you’re doing.
Once you do that, it’ll start tracking your movement and heart rate. That’ll allow it to see how many calories you’re burning and ensure that these calories and minutes are factored into your Activity Rings for that day.
You can probably see why I think these two apps are the complete package. You get guided workouts that are easy to follow at home and require minimal or (more often) no equipment. All you need is an Apple Watch Series 3 or later, an iPhone/iPad/Apple TV, and a $10/month subscription.
Also, you don’t have to have Fitness+ and an Apple Watch. You can use the Workout app without Fitness+ or Fitness+ without an Apple Watch. So definitely make use of whichever you already have!
If you don’t want to pay for or can’t afford a Fitness+ subscription, a simple alternative is CARROT Fit. This goofy app will cost you a one-time fee of $4.99, so it’s not much at all.
I say that this app is “goofy” because it tries to be silly. It shows you simple workouts for you to complete in a short amount of time (generally seven minutes), and the whole time that you’re working on these exercises, a snark virtual assistant will be “motivating” you.
If you’ve never been able to build an exercise habit, the humor and motivation that this app offers might be enough to help you get started. It’s cheap, easy to start, and won’t take over your day at all.
Close behind Fitness+ and Workout for one of the best weight loss apps on iPhone is Nike Training Club. I would even go so far as to say this is one of the best free apps on iPhone, period.
In short, this app is a streaming service for at-home guided workouts. Just like Fitness+, you’ll find routines on here that you can follow with minimal or no equipment. There aren’t as many types of workouts with NTC as there are with Fitness+, but you do get HIIT, boxing, yoga, strength, endurance, and mobility workouts.
One of the unique features of Nike Training Club is that you can follow exercise programs. These are pre-set programs that last for up to eight weeks. During that time, you’ll be provided with guided workouts that build into each other, helping you exercise in a more targeted way.
The NTC app also includes features to help you improve your diet and nutrition, though it’s not the same as diet and weight tracking. Just some general tips.
Best of all, Nike Training Club is totally free! There are no purchases for anything. You can download the app and access everything right away.
The one thing to keep in mind is that Nike Training Club is definitely targeted towards more athletic people. You can definitely pick it up if you’re a beginner, but just know that it’s meant for training more intensely. You’ll be seriously challenged, which may or may not be what you’re looking for.
Next we have YouTube! YouTube is one of those apps that I try to recommend in all of my fitness posts because it’s so versatile and packed with useful content.
I was recommended to give yoga a shot after having a hard time sticking to other types of workouts. So I looked up some videos on YouTube and have been following guided yoga sessions on YouTube ever since. Without it, I think I might’ve given up on exercising for who knows how long.
YouTube is a valuable tool for working out due to how much content there is. Don’t like the trainers on Fitness+? Can’t find the type of workout you’re looking for on Nike Training Club? Want something beginner-friendly, or maybe super challenging?
YouTube has it all and more! And it’s all free, which is important for those on a budget.
Just remember that YouTube, like any social media platform, doesn’t have a lot of quality control. So there’s always the possibility that you could be getting ill-placed advice in a video. To avoid this, I recommend looking into the YouTuber’s credentials before following along with their workout.
For example, I stick to yoga sessions that are produced by trained and licensed yoga instructors. And when I’m looking for specific stretches, I seek out content from specialist personal trainers, I get dieting info from nutritionists, etc.
In other words, stick to content that is based in education and licensing, and never engage in an activity that causes you pain – exercise should be difficult, not painful!
That brings us to the last app on our list of the best weight loss apps for iPhone, which is Down Dog!
Down Dog is an app for watching guided yoga routines, similar to Nike Training Club and Fitness+, just limited to yoga.
There are other yoga apps out there, but none that are as popular or highly-reviewed as this one. This is the one to grab if you’re looking for a go-to yoga app.
Down Dog is great for beginners as well as experienced individuals, so everyone is welcome! You can create a customized regimen, mixing in the types of yoga and areas of your body that you want to target. It also comes with a calendar that you can use to track your progress.
I decided to recommend a yoga app over other kinds of workouts for a few reasons. For one thing, I actually practice yoga, so I know enough about it to make a trustworthy recommendation.
More importantly, though, I think yoga is the best kind of exercise for losing weight and getting back in shape – after walking, of course. But you don’t need a trainer for walking, so we’re talking about yoga!
Yoga can be super difficult or incredibly easy. It combines stretching with muscle building. There isn’t a lot of focus meeting a physical standard. Instead, it’s about self discovery, acceptance, and mindfulness, which will all help you stay physically and mentally healthy as you adjust your diet and lifestyle. And it’s incredibly relaxing. You can practice it at any age, which makes it a totally viable long-term practice.
Yoga routines can definitely get a little hippy-dippy at times, but once you get used to that you end up with a daily practice that combines exercise with self-care. Give it a shot if you want to start working out but feel like you don’t like exercise – it’ll change your mind!
Build a healthy lifestyle with the best weight loss apps for iPhone
And that’s it! Those are, in my opinion, the best weight loss apps for the iPhone. As mentioned at the start of the article, don’t hesitate to experiment! Try something out, and if you aren’t feeling it, come back to this post and pick another one. Don’t give up! You’re worth the effort.
And again, if you’ve stumbled across this article as a result of struggling with body dysphoria or an eating disorder, please speak with a health or psychiatric professional before starting a diet. Be responsible!
Taking steady steps to gradually increase your diet and incorporate walks and/or light exercise into your day can have a huge impact on your mental health and quality of life. I hope this article has been helpful to you as you start or continue your journey towards a healthy lifestyle.
For more guides, articles, and insights into all things Apple, check out the rest of the AppleToolBox blog.
See you next time!