Closeup of an iPhone's screen, showing a step counter.

The prospect of losing weight can seem daunting, but there are more tools to help you get into shape than ever before. Whether you’re going for a complete lifestyle change or just want to shed a few pounds, make good use of your iPhone to hit your goals.

Track Your Caloric Intake

If you burn more calories than you eat, your body should turn to stored fat for energy instead. One way of ensuring you stay below a certain caloric intake each day is to track what you’re eating using a calorie counter app.

Before you start losing weight, you’ll need to work out total daily energy expenditure or TDEE for short. This will differ from one person to another and depends on factors like your age, weight, height, and activity level. While many apps can help you work out your TDEE, you can also use a website like TDEE Calculator.

With this information on hand, you can use a calorie counting app to monitor what you are eating to ensure you don’t exceed your TDEE. Over time, this should result in weight loss. The core functionality provided by these apps is usually free, and most offer a premium subscription-based component that adds more features you may be interested in.

Two such apps are Lose It! and MyFitnessPal. Both allow you to track the food you consume either by logging meals or scanning barcodes on pre-packaged items. You can create custom recipes based on the foods you cook from scratch and log those too. Both services can interact with devices like activity trackers or an Apple Watch for even greater insights into your weight loss goals.

These are just two of the most well-known calorie counting services, Review Geek has a few more recommendations to check out.

Try Fasting With the Help of an App

Fasting is another approach to losing weight that can help limit your caloric intake by limiting when you eat. By abstaining from eating for a set period (usually at least 12 hours) your body will turn to stored fat for energy instead of the last thing you ate. It works best when you also track the food you eat, but it has other benefits like discouraging snacking at certain hours.

Like calorie counting, fasting isn’t for everyone, and you should be careful when approaching any kind of diet. If you’re interested in giving it a try, a fasting app can vastly simplify the process of tracking fasts and eating windows. Let an app do the hard work for you and get notifications of when it’s time to break your fast or eat your last meal of the day.

Like calorie counters, the core functionality of most fasting apps is free. Three of the best examples include Fastic, Fasta, and Zero. Not only do these apps allow you to set up fasting and eating windows and receive notifications, but they also let you know what stage your body is in during a fast.

Fastic app for iPhone
Fastic for iPhone

This means tracking your progress over time, to see when you’re entering a state of ketosis when your body is using fat for energy rather than your last meal. You can also visualize the stage of your fast, which can help provide you with the motivation to keep going.

Like calorie counters, most fasting counters also sell additional premium plans. These may include add-ons like recipe plans or workout regimens that are entirely optional. If you’re interested in one of these plans, use the app for a short while and you may receive a dramatic discount (often over 50%) compared to the price advertised in the App Store.

Hit Your Daily Step Count

Health experts often encourage a daily step count of 10,000 steps per day to improve overall health. It’s important to recognize that this number is a one-size-fits-all recommendation that doesn’t take into account any other exercise you may partake in (like cycling). That said, it’s a target that should be achievable for most able-bodied people.

Apple Health step counter

Moving more can help you burn more calories and may improve your overall health. Tracking steps can encourage you to make healthier decisions to hit your daily goal, like taking the stairs rather than the elevator. Having data available to you may help you identify days where you lead a more sedentary lifestyle, which can help you improve your exercise routine.

The accelerometer in your iPhone allows your device to function as a pedometer (or step-counter) while in your pocket. To be accurate, you should fill out the “Body Measurements” section of the Health app, particularly your height since this can help determine stride length. From here you can see your daily step count in the “Activity” section.

Take Workouts to the Next Level

If you want to go further than simply tracking steps, you can also use your iPhone to get workout plans. You can do a lot at home to get into shape without any special equipment beyond comfortable footwear and a bit of space. If you own a bike or live somewhere you can exercise safely outside, you can do even more.

Apple’s own Fitness+ service is a great starting place, but it requires an Apple Watch. At $9.99 per month with a free trial available you can get guided workouts to suit your activity level. This includes high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to improve cardio health, bodyweight exercises for building strength, dancing for working up a sweat while having fun, and dedicated core workouts for developing core strength.

To get access to everything including videos and audio accompaniment, launch the Fitness app on your iPhone and tap on the Fitness+ tab in the middle. There are workouts for all fitness levels, ages, and even specialized sessions for pregnancy or training to run your first 5K.

If you don’t have an Apple Watch, the closest thing to Fitness+ is probably Nike Training Club. It offers a plethora of workout types and all-around workouts, for all activity and ability levels. For runners, Nike Run Club offers guided runs and training plans, plus challenges to work towards to keep you motivated. Both Nike apps are free with no in-app purchases (at the time of writing).

Zwift is an app that pairs with a treadmill or bike trainer to effectively gamify your workouts and allow you to train with others in a virtual space. Strava is also perfect for cyclists and runners, tracking your real-world runs and rides with suggested routes and leaderboards to keep things fresh. Both are free to try, but you’ll need a subscription to get the most out of them.

These are just a few of the fitness apps available, check out Review Geek’s other recommendations for yoga, strength training, and more.

Track Your Weight Loss Journey With the Health App

While you may be motivated to lose weight at the beginning of your journey, maintaining that momentum can be difficult. One of the best ways to do this is to track your progress over time so that you can see how far you’ve come. Not only can you visualize your progress, but you can also ensure that what you are doing is working and make any changes if necessary.

You can do this by logging your body measurements like weight and waist circumference in the Health app. By doing this once per week or once per fortnight, you can see the trajectory of your health journey as a visual indicator of your progress. This is especially useful if you find it difficult to see your progress in the mirror, or if never took a good “before” picture at the start of your journey.

Withings Body+ Smart Scale

The best-selling Withings Body+ records your weight, provides body composition analysis and includes additional features like a pregnancy tracker.

You can take this a step further by buying a smart scale that logs your current weight for you. These start at the sub-$50 tier with scales like the eufy P1 or you can get more features at around the $100 mark in models like the Withings Body+. Some models like the Withings Cardio are closer to $150 and claim to offer deeper analysis into heart health, with recommendations on how to improve it.

RELATED: The 7 Best Smart Scales for Simple Weight Tracking (and More)

Apple’s Fitness+ program depends on an Apple Watch, but it’s far from the only reason to own one. Apple’s wearable can help you improve your fitness across the board by tracking activity levels, encouraging you to get up and move around during sedentary periods, and logging almost any type of workout you can think of.

Read our top tips for getting the most out of your Apple Watch if you’re thinking of buying one.

Profile Photo for Tim Brookes Tim Brookes
Tim Brookes is a technology writer with more than a decade of experience. He has covered a wide range of topics including Apple, security, productivity tips, gaming and more for publications like How-To Geek, Zapier, and MakeUseOf.
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