Lose It! App Review: 20+ Must Know Secrets to Success

June 16, 2013

loseitFor the last 15 months, I’ve used Lose It! to help me lose weight. During this time, I’ve lost 25 lbs and kept it off*. Here are my secrets to success. Check them out and you’ll have a good idea of what it takes to lose weight with Lose It!

Start Strong with These Lose It! Setup Tips

Important Disclaimer

This article is simply a blog post that describes the author’s personal experience. Statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Your results may vary. The information presented is for educational purposes only. This site and its information are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Before changing your diet or beginning an exercise program, consult your physician.

Know this before you begin: Lost It! works and it is easy.

The equation for weight loss is very simple. If you eat fewer calories than you burn, you will absolutely, positively lose weight. This fact is dictated by the laws of thermodynamics and applies to everyone equally. Lose It! is simply a tool to help you run a calorie deficit. It works, for it is mathematically impossible for it not to work. All that is required is that you spend 2-3 minutes per day entering data into the system. More importantly, there is no need for suffering. I always thought that weight loss would require months of agonizing hunger and misery. Not so. I lost 25 pounds without feeling overly hungry, and I still ate plenty of my favorite foods such as pizza, ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, BBQ, Mexican food and pancakes*. Of course, I had to have the discipline to not go crazy and eat too much, but that’s what Lose It! is really good at – instilling discipline.

Use your smartphone.

Years ago, I bought a calorie tracking program for my PC, but never stuck with it because data entry was too cumbersome, for I could only enter data on my one PC at home. With Lose It!, compliance is much easier, as data can be entered on any Internet connected computer, so I am able to enter my lunch at work. However, the best method of data entry is to use the Lose It! Android or iPhone app, as it is available anywhere, which is especially important to me since I eat out a lot.

Aim to lose 1 to 1.5 lb per week.*

Dieting requires balance. Try to lose weight too fast and the calorie restriction will cause so much hunger and misery that you will quit. But, try to lose weight too slow and the lack of progress may also prove demoralizing. As such, I found success with 1.5 lb per week as my weight loss goal, as I steadily lost weight but the calorie restriction was so mild that I never felt hungry*.

Day to Day Dos and Don’ts

Every day your goal is simple.

Every day, your goal is to run out the clock while keeping your calories from exceeding your daily target. To accomplish this mission, you must learn to pace each day in a manner that suits you best. I often find that I can wait an hour or so before breakfast, just to let the clock run awhile before any calories go in, and thereby shorten the day. Since my daily intake is 1900 calories, I eat a bowl of Cheerios or oats for breakfast (250-350 cal) and a light lunch (250-500 cal), so in the evening I have plenty of calories saved up for a nice dinner and a snack or two before bed. You don’t need to eat the same way. Just develop a routine that works and stick with it.

Try to eat about the same thing every day.

A key part of developing your routine is to narrow down your daily diet to a small group of foods of known calorie value. This makes data entry much faster and reduces the chance of calorie counting errors.

Eat foods that make you feel full.

This is the #1 secret to success. If you eat 200 calories worth of cookies, you will likely be hungry again in a few minutes. But, if you eat 200 calories of a food that makes you feel full, say a chicken breast or a bowl of Cheerios, then you likely won’t be hungry again for a long time*. Remember your goal. You want the day to end before you go over your calorie limit. Eating foods that make you feel full will buy time and allow you to stay under your calorie limit without experiencing hunger.

Here are some of my favorite feel full foods:

  • Whole grain cereals with high fiber and low sugar such as Cheerios, raw oats and bran flakes. Don’t be afraid to sprinkle sugar on top. It adds negligible calories but lots of taste.
  • Salads – Many fast food restaurants now offer great low-calorie salads. Just be sure to minimize calories from dressing and toppings.
  • Fruit including bananas, watermelon, strawberries, papayas, oranges, apples and cantaloupe.
  • Veggie burgers – Morningstar chipotle black bean burgers are incredibly filling and only contain 210 calories.
  • Birdseye Steamfresh veggies – their green bean, pea, carrot and corn combo tastes good, is inexpensive and super easy – just put the bag in the microwave for 5 minutes. One cup with your evening meal will help control cravings for the rest of the night.
  • Healthy Choice Modern Classics microwaveable meals.
  • Frozen, pre-cooked, grilled chicken breasts – Costco offers a big bag by Tyson. Each piece only contains 60 calories and microwaves to perfection in just 2 minutes.

Don’t drink calories.

As important as it is to eat filling foods, it is equally important to avoid drinking calories. Sodas, juice, creamy coffee, sports, energy and other calorie containing drinks do absolutely nothing to make you feel full. Even milk isn’t that great. Ice water or carbonated water with a splash of lemon or lime are better choices.

Feel free to eat dessert and any other food you like.

Obviously, it is not healthy to eat chocolate chip cookies for all of your calories. But, it is possible to lose weight and eat a lot of goodies, as long as you eat fewer calories than you burn, so don’t be afraid to build some treats into your day, as long as you stay under your calorie limit. My sweet tooth is strong and I actually went one whole month in which my leading source of calories was chocolate chip cookies and ice cream, but I still lost weight because I skimped on calories earlier in the day and I knew exactly how many calories I was eating*: Each square of cookie dough was 90 calories and each cup of ice cream was 100 calories. I ate 450 calories worth of cookies and 200 calories of ice cream and still lost weight by not going over my daily calorie limit. You can do the same with your favorite foods, too, though it is no doubt healthier to limit the junk food.

Don’t let yourself get overly hungry.

When hunger reaches a certain level, the little devil on your shoulder will quickly convince you to forget all about your diet and just eat as much as you can as fast as you can. The loss of control is so powerful, it’s almost involuntary. Therefore, you must avoid excessive hunger at all costs. With adequate intake of the right foods, spaced evenly throughout the day, you should never become hungry beyond a tolerable twinge. And, if you do, by all means, have a small snack to tide you over and avoid losing control altogether. A banana works great for this purpose.

Exercise before big meals to create a deficit.

There are occasions when one simply must eat big. Thanksgiving. Christmas. Those days marked by uncontrollable urges for Famous Dave’s brisket, ribs and pecan pie. Such days require extra planning and preemptive exercise. For example, I may begin with a small breakfast late in the morning at 200 calories. Then, while I’m still feeling some energy from breakfast, I take a trip to the gym and burn 500 calories doing cardio. Since exercise temporarily masks hunger, I am able to make it to early afternoon for a Morningstar black bean burger and banana for lunch (300 calories). This sets me up nicely at zero net calories for the day heading into the big meal.

Defend against These Diet Destroyers

Enter your entire intake every single day with no exceptions. Period.

To succeed, you must make one firm commitment. You must promise yourself that you will never miss a day of entering your intake into Lose It! Given that entry only takes 2-3 minutes, this promise is not hard to keep, but you must still make it. Lose It! simply doesn’t work if you don’t have the discipline to enter every meal every day.

Expect the first 2 weeks to be more challenging.

If your Lose It! mandated calorie intake is significantly less than what you are accustomed, then you will likely notice some cravings early on. Once in awhile, you might have to just stand in front of the mirror, shake your fist, pump yourself up and say, “I’m fat and I’m not gonna take it anymore!” However, most of the time you’ll feel just fine if you eat the right foods steadily throughout the day – the ones that make you feel full. And, don’t worry. After week or two, your body will adapt to your new diet and you will feel much better*, so hang in there!.

Expect plateaus.

At some point, your weight loss will likely pause for a few weeks, even if you are following the diet exactly. It happened to me. It happened to my friend. Neither one of us could identify an obvious cause, though we postulated that our metabolism may have slowed because we were eating too little. Nonetheless, we stuck with the program and after about four weeks our weight loss resumed.

Understand the ins and outs of daily weight fluctuations.

When you are losing weight, it is fun to jump on the scale, as lost pounds are the currency that measures the return on your dietary investment. However, sometimes your weight can suddenly jump, even though you are still following the plan exactly. The reason almost always boils down to salt or carbohydrate intake. Salt holds water in your body. So even though your Thai soup may have been low calorie, its high salt level will cause you to gain a pound or two in water weight. Ditto for carbs. Excess carbs are turned into glycogen that is stored in your muscles and glycogen, too, holds in water. So if you suddenly eat a lot of carbs, you’ll also gain a pound or two in water weight. On the other side of the coin, do you know why it is common to lose a lot of weight in the first week of a diet? It’s simple. The glycogen in your muscles is burned for energy and so all of the water it is holding is released.

It’s OK to live a little.

Don’t be afraid if you go over your calorie limit occasionally. I went over mine many times and still lost weight. But when you do, try to keep it reasonable and as always, make sure to enter everything you eat accurately. Of course, you won’t succeed if you make a habit of going over, and you have to make sure that the little voice in your head keeps telling you to watch what you eat, but if you end up with a bad spell, don’t let it expand into a reason to quit. Give yourself a few more days to eat poorly, then get back on track on the next Monday morning.

Use extreme caution at restaurants.

No doubt, you already know that restaurants often serve unhealthy foods full of sugar, salt and fat. However, with Lose It! the main challenge is not the unhealthiness of it all, rather the difficulty certain dishes pose in calorie counting. As such, the secret to success is to eat simple dishes that allow for easy calorie counting. Bare meats such as steak, roasted chicken and seafood are great, but fried foods, breads and dishes with creamy sauces, crusts or lots of cheese pose too much of a calorie counting problem. Here are a few examples of what to eat and not eat: For your appetizer, order the shrimp cocktail and not the fried crab cake. For your main course, go with a filet or grilled swordfish instead of the creamy pasta dish. For Mexican, think fajitas instead of enchiladas. For Italian, a grilled chicken breast with red sauce instead of lasagna. You’ll still enjoy a very tasty meal, and you’ll avoid a calorie counting quandary.

When in doubt, overestimate.

After using Lose It! for a while, you’ll develop an uncanny knack for estimating the number of calories in the foods you eat. Nonetheless, occasionally you may still run across an unusual dish that’s difficult to predict. In such situations, it’s always best to err on the high side.

Don’t routinely undereat.

It’s OK to stay under your calorie target for a day or two, especially if you want to save up for a big meal down the road. But, in general, it’s best to eat right at your targeted number of calories . If not, a few bad things can happen. Your metabolism could slow and make weight loss more difficult. You might get so hungry that you lose control and go on an eating binge or you could just end up feeling so miserable that you quit the program altogether! So, if you notice that a long-term deficit is developing, have some fun and eat your way back up to your calorie target.

Maintain Motivation by Making Lose It! Fun

Convince a friend to join you.

If eating the right foods is the #1 secret to success, then convincing a friend to join you is a close second. Let’s face it. Dieting is one of the most boring pursuits known to mankind. But, it doesn’t have to be. Not if you can find a friend to join you. Then it becomes a project that the two of you are working on together or perhaps even a friendly contest. Dare I say it can even be fun? Yes! But, only when you are sharing camaraderie with someone else.

Throughout my 15 months on Lose It!, my best friend has been right there with me. We’ve both lost 25 pounds with 5 more to go*. We text each other our scale readings when the numbers are going down and cameraphone food photos with mock cries for help when confronted with a diet busting meal. We endlessly taunt my wife and his fiance with good-natured boasts of our newfound fitness, while calling each other fat, even though neither one of us is fat at all anymore. And, one morning a week, we work out together and then reward ourselves with a big plate of pancakes. Yes, it’s all a tad obnoxious, but we are having a great time and there is no way we are quitting until we reach our goal.

Don’t let jealous friends and family derail you.

I like to joke that the definition of a diet fanatic is anyone who eats just a little better than I do, and since you’ll now be eating better than a lot of your friends and family, one of them is no doubt going to claim you are going overboard with a snarky comment like, “You are taking this diet too far.” or “You are getting too skinny.” Nonsense. Unless your BMI falls below the normal range or a doctor calls you out, you are simply making a great improvement in your own personal health, so don’t let these comments hold you back from reaching your goal*.

Donate your old clothes.

As you lose weight, your waist size will go down, and pretty soon you’ll be swimming in your old clothes. My advice? Get rid of them right away. Not only will this help someone less fortunate, you will really enjoy symbolically shedding the old, fat you and starting anew with a slimmer, trimmer version. And, I haven’t even mentioned the fun you will have sporting your new clothes!

Spread the gospel.

My buddy and I have already converted many friends, family members and coworkers into Lose It! users. All of them have lost weight, many of them life-changing amounts, and we’ve found enjoyment in their success. It is my hope that after reading this article, you can visualize your own personal success and perhaps someday pay it forward yourself.

*Important Disclaimer

This article is simply a blog post that describes the author’s personal experience. Statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Your results may vary. The information presented is for educational purposes only. This site and its information are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Before changing your diet or beginning an exercise program, consult your physician.

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