It happens to us all: you pull up your favorite pair of jeans and they’re a bit tighter than they used to be. Walking to the stores takes a little longer. Your family has started to comment on how slim you were, long ago. In short, you’ve put on some weight.
Eating a balanced diet and staying fit isn’t always easy. With long working days, modern distractions such as the TV, and so many tempting (but fattening) foods on the supermarket shelves, it’s really an uphill race.
Many people try and fail to jump start their system, opting for short term diets which allow them to slim down, only to find the weight piled back on after a few months.
So, what’s the secret to staying fitter and healthier? Most experts will tell you that it is all about small, consistent changes in how we think about food and fitness.
It’s also a great idea to know more about what we eat, the nutrients we need and the things we should probably eat less of. Whether you want to shed a few pounds, get fitter or simply wish to eat more healthily, Diet and Fitness software can help you to look and feel better.
In a nutshell, it’s a computer program which helps you to control your diet and exercise. The majority of these software packages allow you to work out how many calories (and other nutrients) you should be eating, based on your lifestyle.
Sophisticated exercise and diet programs will calculate your nutritional intake using data which you provide. Each time you eat a meal or perform an exercise, whether it’s a quick walk or a full training session, you can make a quick note and the details will be stored in the system.
Afterwards, the software may recommend healthy foods (providing a range of recipes based on your favorite things to eat) and potential workouts you could perform to help you reach your health and fitness goals.
You might be asking yourself, “Isn’t this all a bit much just to lose weight?” Well, the fact is that people who use tracking systems to keep a note of what they’re eating and how they’re exercising, tend to lose more weight (and keep it off) than people who don’t.
Whether it’s because you stay motivated as you monitor your improvements, or simply because you pay more attention to what you’re eating and how much you’re moving, being more aware of your body and habits can only be beneficial.
These software packages aren’t just for losing weight. They’re for anyone who wishes to make sure they’re eating healthily and exercising regularly. Some of them can help you to build muscle, tone, gain weight or just improve your general health.
If this sounds like good news, keep reading. We’re about to give you a few hints and tips on what to look for in a healthy eating and exercise software program.
We’ve tried out the best and worst Diet and Fitness Software, compiling a detailed list of those which we felt offered the best systems at the best prices. There’s surprising variety from one software package to the next, so here are a few suggestions to help you through our reviews:
- Diet Features
Eating healthily is so important to controlling your weight and avoiding illness. As such, we consider the various tools each program provides to help you stick to a healthy diet. The most common features are calorie counters, which record the food you eat and then calculate the calorie content. If you eat more calories than you burn off, you’ll put on weight over time.
However, there are far more tools available than just calorie calculators. For example, some diet software allows you to track a great variety of nutrients to find out if you’re lacking in some area.
If you’re not getting enough iron, for example, you might feel lethargic. Subsequently, realising this and eating more iron-rich food (such as leafy greens) can help you to perk up and enjoy life.
Other diet features to look out for include recommended recipes (based on your favorite healthy foods), nutritional databases, graphs and other monitoring tools, plus articles on healthy eating.
- Fitness Features
As well as eating the right foods, exercise can be a vital tool for helping you to stay healthy. The best diet and fitness software will provide a wide range of exercises for you to try out, offering details on how to perform them and how they can help your body.
Aside from offering a database of exercises, some of the websites will also allow you to track which workouts you’ve been doing and how many calories they burned. You can then use this information to find out whether you’re exercising enough (or even too much!) to reach your goals.
Fitness features tend to be a secondary focus of these programs, but if you’re really keen on exercising and keeping motivated, then look out for software packages which score highly in this section. Also check out our list of features and read the Editor’s Verdict to find out the specifics of what’s on offer.
- User Friendliness
Some of the programs we’ve reviewed are designed for absolute beginners, whilst others are mainly for people who know how to analyze graphs and dietary information.
We tend to look for sites which offer easy-to-use software, which will be appropriate for everyone. However, if you’ve used such programs before or you happen to be a coach, you’ll find some more sophisticated tools which are suited towards a professional user.
We also think about how easy each program is to use in terms of tracking your exercise and food. After all, it’s unlikely you’d want to be spending a long time inputting data each day.
Look out for programs which allow you to easily find and log information on a range of devices. If apps are available, these can be really useful in helping you to keep notes whilst you’re on the move.
- Help files and technical support
If you’re new to healthy eating and fitness software, you may wish to look for a service which provides great customer support. Then, if you have a problem, you can seek help. Some of the better sites provide online information in an FAQ, with live help from an experienced professionaly.
You might also discover that some of the sites we’ve reviewed will offer coaches and dietitians to lead you through the process. These professionals can help to analyze data for you, making suggestions on your next steps towards a healthier lifestyle, as well as offering emotional and motivational support.
If you’d like some support but don’t really want a trainer, you can look for sites which offer online communities. These are made up of all sorts of people who are looking to eat healthily and exercise more often, and being part of a community can be a great spur in keeping yourself motivated.
- Value for money
Some of the diet and fitness programs we’ve found are free of charge, which is great if you’re on a really tight budget.
Others will charge for their products and services, and it’s a careful balance to understand which one will offer you the best value for money.
In short it comes down to two things:
(1) Do they offer the tools and support you want?
(2) Is it in your price range?
If the answer to both of these questions is “Yes” then you’ve probably found what you’re looking for.
Sometimes the more expensive options actually offer you better value, because you get a much more professional approach and better tools, improving your chances of reaching your health and fitness targets.
After all, that’s why you’re interested in them, right? It’s better to be successful and pay a little more than to scrimp and see no positive changes.
That’s all the advice we have for now, except to remind you that there are different tools available with each software package we’ve reviewed, so don’t just jump for the first one you like the look of. Check out a few of our reviews and find out which diet and fitness software package might be best for you! We look forward to seeing the results...