Best Pedometers to Help You Lose Weight

Activity Monitors With Apps to Track Your Calories Burned, Weight, and Diet

Weight loss depends on eating fewer calories than you burn off each day. Activity monitor pedometers can help you determine how much you are burning. But you will need to track what you eat to balance with what you burn so you can lose weight. Here is what to look for in a diet-supporting activity monitor:

  • Convenience: Does it have an app or mobile-friendly site for food logging throughout the day?
  • Tracking of calories burned, matched with calories eaten. How well does it display this information in the app?
  • Nutritional analysis, goals, and coaching. Are you getting the nutrition you need, not just reducing calories?
  • A way to log activities that the monitor doesn't record (such as swimming or stationary cycling) or that you did when you forgot to wear the monitor.

1

The Fitbit family of fitness trackers have always been integrated with a personal online dashboard and app that let you log the food you eat to balance against the calories you are burning. Fitbit models include the Fitbit One and Fitbit Zip worn on your waistband and the wristband or watch models that include the Fitbit Flex, Fitbit Alta, Fitbit Charge, Fitbit Blaze, and Fitbit Surge watch

  • Calories Burned: Fitbit displays a running total of all-day calorie burn, which includes your basal metabolic rate, so you can balance calories-in/calories-out. If you do exercise that isn't recorded by the Fitbit, you can log it manually online or on the app to add those calories to your total.
  • Food Logging: Log via the app or online dashboard. You can enter favorite foods and meals to re-use. See daily totals for nutrients such as fiber, protein, and fat. If you prefer other apps to track your diet, Fitbit will exchange its activity data with LoseIt, MyFitnessPal, SparkPeople, Walgreens Balance Rewards, digifit, and Microsoft Health Vault.
  • Weight Logging: Do this either with manual entry or with their Aria WiFi scale, which tracks weight, body fat percentage, and BMI.
  • Goals and Coaching: Set your weight goal and see your food plan for your calorie goal each day.
  • What Else Fitbit Tracks: Sleep quality, steps, distance, active minutes (most models).
  • Requirements: Fitbit has both iOS and Android apps, and/or wireless USB syncing with both PC and Mac.
  • Costs: No subscription charges, unless you choose the Premium service for personalized coaching.

2

The Jawbone UP is purely mobile, syncing with your mobile app. Models include the UP2, UP3, UP4 and UP MOVE versions.

  • Calories Burned: You see all-day calories, activity calories, and resting calories burned. You can log activities it missed or you did while not wearing the band, and time them with its timer function.
  • Food Logging: You can log your food online or with their app or compatible apps, including barcode scanning, selecting from their extensive food database, or taking a photo. As you log food items, your daily intake gets color coded from green to red for calories, fiber, unsaturated and unsaturated fat, carbs, sugar, protein, sodium, and cholesterol.
  • Goals and Coaching: The UP app is social and motivational, giving you prompts to improve all aspects of your life.
  • What Else UP Tracks: Steps, calories burned, active time with intensity-coded color graphs, longest time active, longest time idle. You can set Idle Alerts and the band will vibrate when you've been inactive. Their sleep tracking is highly detailed for deep and light sleep and interruptions and includes a smart alarm to wake you at the best time in your sleep cycle.
  • Requirements: iOS or Android app and phones or mobile devices that use Bluetooth.
  • Costs: No ongoing subscription cost.

3

The IFit Active can be worn as a fitness band or on a belt clip, the sensor is easily switched between the two. The iFit makes it easy to track the calories you eat as well as the calories you burn. You can use the buttons on the sensor to record the calories you eat in 50-calorie increments. The app allows more detailed food logging and nutrition tracking, and gives you a great display of how you are balancing calories eaten vs. calories burned.

  • Display: Press a button to see the time, steps, distance, calories in, and calories out.
  • What It Tracks: Steps, distance, all-day calories burned, calories eaten, workout time. It also tracks sleep.
  • Calories Eaten: You can add calories eaten to your daily total using the buttons on the sensor to add 50 calories at a time. This is great for on-the-go. In the app, you can add foods from a large database for further diet tracking and analysis.
  • Inactivity Alerts: You can receive vibration alerts after sitting for a chosen interval.
  • Workouts: You can start and stop a workout tracker from the sensor.
  • Sleep: You can set it to track sleep automatically in a time frame or start and stop sleep periods. It tracks deep sleep, light sleep, time awake, number of times awake. It will vibrate to wake you at a chosen time.
  • App: Syncs via Bluetooth to the iFit app, with data added to iFit account.
  • Power: It recharges with a custom USB cradle, a charge lasts several days.

4

The vivofit and the updated vivofit 2 are very good fitness bands that give Fitbits a run for their money. A huge advantage is that the battery lasts for a year and the display is always on to show your data. Like Fitbit, it syncs with either a wireless USB computer dongle or a Bluetooth app.

  • Calories Burned: The band displays the all-day calories you have burned so far. The app/dashboard shows how that compares to your daily calorie goal.
  • Food Logging: Garmin links to MyFitnessPal for food logging, and exchanges the calorie data with that app/program. This is what enables the display of calories consumed vs. burned.
  • Weight Logging: Manually enter your weight and it is tracked on a graph.
  • Goals and Coaching: You can set a weight goal in MyFitnessPal and receive a calorie level target.
  • What Else Garmin vivofit Tracks: Steps, distance, inactive time with move alerts, sleep quality, links to ANT chest strap heart rate monitors.
  • Requirements: Both iOS and Android apps, and/or wireless USB syncing with both PC and Mac.
  • Costs: No subscription charges.
  • Review: Garmin vivofit

5

Withings integrated its Pulse pedometers, Go wearable, and Steel smartwatches with their Health Mate app to track your diet and weight. Nokia bought the company and will be retiring the Pulse but rebranding the Go and Steel. There will also be modifications to the Health Mate app.The Nokia/Withings system integrates tracking your activity calories and allowing you to also link their Wifi scale for automatic weight and body composition tracking.

  • Food Logging: The app and website can be linked with a free MyFitnessPal account for food logging.
  • Weight Logging: You can link it with a Withings or Nokia WiFi Scale to integrate your weight or enter your weight manually. You can set and track a weight goal.
  • Goals and Coaching: You can set goals for weight, and it also coaches you to improve your activity, sleep, and heart rate. Further changes are coming and some features may be an in-app purchase.
  • What else it tracks: Steps, calories burned, activity graphs color-coded for easy, moderate and vigorous activity, automatic detection of running workouts and sleep.
  • Requirements: Bluetooth on your iOS or Android mobile device.

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