There's no easy time to lose weight - whenever you start out, the going is likely to be tough. Thankfully, there are a plethora of apps out there now which can help dieters with weight loss by guiding and encouraging them toward healthier patterns of behaviour.
Whether you're looking to shed some winter weight, get ready for warmer weather, or you are just on a mission to eat better this year, then here are a few of the best dieting apps to help you.
MyFitnessPal is a free calorie counting app that features a food database of millions of foods. When you first set it up, you'll need to enter some information about yourself including your date of birth, weight and height, as well as your goal weight and how much you want to lose each week.
The app then creates a custom plan for you, providing you with a calorie goal to work towards, which appears on the top of the diary page where you add your food, exercise and water intake. As you add, you'll see the food calories being deducted and the exercise calories added so it's easy to keep track.
MyFitnessPal is great for those who don't want to pay the monthly fees that services like Weight Watchers and Slimming World charge, but it is also useful for those on diets such as the 5:2 where calorie counting is essential. One of the best things about MyFitnessPal is that it links to a variety of fitness platforms like Withings and Fitbit, allowing you to keep track of your exercise and food in one place and there is a Premium offering too for those that want to count macros.
The Complete 5:2 Diet
Download for iOS
The 5:2 diet suggests that you eat what you like for five days of the week, up to 2000 calories for women and 2500 for men, while for the other two days, women consume just 500 and men consume 600.
There are plenty of apps that relate to this particular diet but the Complete 5:2 Diet app brings you a four-week recipe and exercise plan that will track your calorie intake and work outs.
It features over 140 recipes to try, with a choice of six meal plans for the fasting days and the workout plans link to exercise videos to make sure you are doing things right. Complete 5:2 Diet also has calorie counter, BMI, BMR and target calorie calculators, but it won't allow you to add your own exercise routine in.
Weight Watchers has been around for a long time and rather than straight up calorie counting, it uses a point system called SmartPoints to help you lose weight. The app is free but it's worth knowing you'll need a subscription to use it which starts at around £3.50/week.
Once subscribed, you can track your food, activity and weight through the app or the website and there is a 24/7 chat function to get support from a Weight Watchers coach if you need it. We haven't tried that feature but we suspect they rarely tell you to eat a Mars bar.
If you're out for dinner and want to see what the best things to eat on the menu are, there are thousands of restaurants and meals in the database from Zizzis to Wagamama and you'll also get access to recipes if you're cooking at home. Weight Watchers will also sync with your Fitbit to deliver activity tracking too.
Diet Assistant - Weight Loss
Download for Android
Diet Assistant - Weight Loss is another free app that will deliver you a range of meal options to suit the diet you are on, whether it be vegetarian, pescatarian or high-protein, among others.
Like MyFitnessPal, you need to enter some information about yourself, including your target weight, and the Diet Assistant app will then assist you in achieving your goal.
There are dedicated shopping lists per diet plan, nutritional facts, meal and weight entry reminders and a built-in BMI calculator, as well as a weight graph so you can see your progress.
Diet Point - Weight Loss
Diet Point - Weight Loss has over 130 diet plans to take the guesswork out of losing weight. There are dedicated shopping lists for each plan like Diet Assistant, but this app also reminds you when it's time to eat your next meal.
The app sports more than 500 tips to improve your weight loss plan and it will also provide you with a weight loss estimate for each plan so you'll be able to pick one that suits your goal.
A BMI calculator is included so you can check how healthy your weight is in relation to your height and there is a weight tracker and monitor on board too.
My Diet Coach
My Diet Coach offers four main features in the free version comprising reminders, motivational photos, perseverance tips and a diet diary, along with three extra features in the pro version including a food craving panic button, a weight chart and a points system.
The diet diary, calorie counter and BMI calculator are more standard features but the My Diet Coach app stands out is for its motivational arguments and guidelines, along with the ability to customise the avatar to look similar to yourself.
You can set reminders so you remember to drink water and prepare vegetables for example, but you can also touch a button with the challenge you are facing and the app will greet you with relevant motivational tips and inspiring pictures.
FoodPrint for CGM by Nutrino
Download for iOS
The FoodPrint for CGM by Nutrino app claims to answer the ultimate question of what should you eat and rather than just tracking your food, it will answer it based on your medical profile, goals and culinary preferences.
You can get this app to plan your next meal or you can take something off the menu and Nutrino will log it and take it into consideration.
There is a health coach on board to keep you on track and you can also keep up to date with the latest nutritional research through this app. Nutrino will also add meal summaries to the Apple Health App, as well as sync your weight.
Download for iOS
For those in the US, HealthyOut allows you to find and order healthy meals from local restaurants in your area using filters such as low calorie, low carb, low fat and high protein to narrow search results.
Great for those with dietary restrictions like gluten or lactose sensitive, or those following specific diets like Paleo or Atkins, this app will help you find restaurants that cater for your needs.
You can filter by cuisine, ingredients and type of dish, plus it will also show you detailed nutrition information for dishes including calories and points.