[Update: To see a more up-to-date list of apps, or to get apps for the iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone 7, or BlackBerry devices, we've written a new post for 2012: Free Weight Watchers Apps: 2012 Edition]
Today I wanted to talk about three free apps that I use on my Android phone to help me out with my Weight Watchers journey. These three apps are by no means the only apps out there, they just happen to be the three that I personally use most often, and they cover all of my basic needs.
There are likely iPhone equivalents to each of these programs, but I’m not an Apple fan and know nothing about finding them so you’ll have to use the iStore or whatever it is to get yours.
Each of the three links below should take you to their respective app’s download page on the Android Market, so you can click those links from your phone to download them.
PointsPlus Calculator: The official app from Weight Watchers, used to calculate the PointsPlus values of any item you have the nutritional information for. Also used to calculate Activity Points.
This app is great for calculating your PointsPlus values. A version or two ago the values were listed in an odd order so you had to kind of jump around product labels to get the information in the right order on the calculator, but they fixed that so now you’ll enter the values in the order they appear on most nutrition labels.
It does a fair job of calculating Activity Points as well, though sometimes it’s hard to judge honestly what kind of intensity a workout might have been for you, especially if it was an activity where the intensity level changed throughout the activity. If you’re good at judging that then you can use this pretty easily, but if not then you might want to use another tool for your activity (I use my e-Tools for activity, personally).
Weight Watchers Mobile
Weight Watchers Mobile (Beta): The official mobile app version of the Weight Watchers e-Tools.
The first thing I want to say about this app is that it is still in Beta testing. What that means is that the program is mostly finished but you will occasionally have problems with it because the programmers aren’t 100% finished with it yet. Any time you use a product that is in the Beta stage of development, expect there to be problems from time to time. Sometimes it will run slow, or maybe it will freeze or crash on you, but usually the problem goes away if you just close it down and reopen. I have a minor problem with it maybe once every…eight times I open it or so.
This app is basically the e-Tools in an app version rather than a webpage. The database that it’s connected to doesn’t seem to be nearly as large as the one the e-Tools are linked to, but otherwise just about anything you would need to use e-Tools for on-the-go, you can use this app for instead.
The app does require you to have access to e-Tools in order to use it and you will have to put in your account information (logon and password) when you open it, so if you don’t have e-Tools then you can’t use this one.
Here’s a quick (likely incomplete) list of features in this app:
- Track PointsPlus
- Track weight
- Built-in PointsPlus calculator
- Healthy check guidelines
- Meal cheat sheets
- Shopping list
- Meeting finder
- Recipe lists
- Success stories
- WeightWatchers.com articles
WW ScanCalc: A barcode scanning app that queries PointsPlus calculations from a database to give you the PointsPlus value without having to use a calculator.
This is probably my favorite of the three apps I’ve listed here just because it’s just a quick and easy tool to use. It’s the only app from my list that isn’t made officially by Weight Watchers, but I’ve used it and tested it pretty extensively and found it to be a great addition to my apps list.
When you open this program it turns your camera into a barcode scanner. When you scan food with it, it then checks the ScanCalc database to see if that item’s value has been stored, and if so it gives you the PointsPlus value and serving size for the item you scanned. If that’s a little confusing, don’t worry, just keep on reading.
I first found out about this app when I was out of town on business and at the store shopping for some snacks. My wife called and told me about it so I jumped over to the market to download it and tried it out in the cookie isle. I picked up a package and scanned it to get the PointsPlus value, then I used the calculator app to see if ScanCalc was right (it was). I did that same thing with about two dozen different types of cookies in that isle before I decided I shouldn’t be eating most of those cookies and moving to another isle instead…Alright, I confess, I did grab the box of devil’s food that were only 1 PP per cookie, but that was it.
The only drawback to this app is that the database it checks against isn’t very large, so sometimes you’ll scan an item and it will tell you that it doesn’t know the value so you’ll have to use your calculator anyway. For how many times it’s saved me the time of calculating it’s more than made up for those times that I had to use both.
One other thing that needs to be mentioned about this is that it is a barcode reader and it does have to be able to actually read the barcode that you’re trying to scan. So if you have shaky hands or you’re in the car on a bumpy road or something then it might be pretty hard for you to get a good enough read for it to actually tell you something, and of course if there’s not a barcode to read then it doesn’t do you any good.
Sharing Is Caring (or Something)
What are some of the free apps (or websites) that you find useful for your phones?
Have you purchased any apps that you found especially useful?
Let us know what your experiences have been with apps or websites for your weight loss journey.