Calorie tracker apps, just keep track of what you eat and limit your calories and you'll lose weight. Seems simple right?

beer, pizza
Marisa Guido

Well, not so much. There are tons of these apps out there, some free and some membership required. Each tracks slightly different things. Some track steps and hydration, and some track micro-nutrients per meal.

These apps are designed to keep people accountable for their eating habits, which can be a big factor in weight loss. However, there are a couple big flaws in this app model. 

1. Accountability 

wine, tea, pizza, coffee, beer
Alaina Tepper

How accountable are these apps really holding their users though? While the MyFitnessPal app will give user a bright red negative number if they go over their calorie limit, there is nothing stopping users from going back and editing their meals to be less calories.

Why would you do this, you might be asking. If these apps are designed to keep you accountable in your eating, why would you do something contrary to that? The simple answer is shame.

Apps like MyFitnessPal, MyPlate, and Lose It! rely on a community aspect so you can share achievements and challenge others. However, this can lead to a feeling of shame if you go over your calories or miss a goal since it feels like everyone will know you failed. And obviously food and weight shaming isn't good for health in any way.

2. Accessibility

pizza, beer
Alaina Tepper

The other big problem with these apps is that they all feature "premium" options. This means that users can't get the full benefit from these apps without paying a fee, which many users (especially broke college kids like me) can't afford.

Monthly fees can be small but over time they definitely add up, and that money could be going towards healthier foods instead of cheap, unsustainable foods that go against your weight loss goals.

Now don't get me wrong...

I'm not saying that these apps are bad or unhelpful, just that they aren't the be all end all for modern weight loss. Many of people have had success with these apps, and they can be used as a very good starting point, but they're not for everyone.

If you've tried these apps and they haven't worked for you, know that it's not because you're broken or hopeless. There are plenty of great ways to get healthy or lose weight, so don't get down on yourself if these ones don't work for you. Most of all, remember that each person is different and that there's not one universal way to be healthy.