3 Min Read

Top Weight-Loss Apps for Your Patients

Dr. Steven M. Fass, M.D., FACS

Written by Dr. Steven M. Fass, M.D., FACS

Weight loss journeys are different for every patient. Those who struggle with one thing may not face the same struggles as others. As physicians, how do we best guide patients through this process?

As a weight-loss surgeon in Austin, Texas, I always push for two things with my patients. First, patients need to set-up a strong support network for before and after surgery. I play a large part in that, as I am at every follow-up appointment with my patients. But patients also need to ask friends and family to back them – to keep pushing them to lose weight after surgery.

The second thing I recommend is that patients get organized and set up a routine with attainable goals in place. I tell my patients to commit to and monitor their diet, make a promise to themselves to sweat when they work out, and always keep moving forward.

This is exactly where weight-loss apps fit in.

Smartphone apps can be a hugely effective tool to help patients stay on track with their weight loss goals. A goal on a sticky note is just that: something that easily gets lost in the shuffle and thrown away. Mobile health apps, on the other hand, can send out notifications that force patients to remember their goals and be organized, consistent, and committed in a dynamic way.

Here are five great mobile health apps that will help your patients with their weight loss goals. They’re all free, easy-to-use, and can even inject some fun into the process.

Lose It!

Platforms: Android + iPhone

Price: Free

Lose It! Is a great option to add to your suggested app list. Patients need a lot of social support when trying to stick to weight loss goals, and this app approaches weight loss and weight management with specialized group support through an online community forum format. The developers do a great job at making the app easy to use, and the app has simple and intuitive integrations such as a Bluetooth scale. The Lose It! app is a full service and easy to use diet, fitness and weight tracking app.

My Fitness Pal

Platforms: Android + iPhone

Price: Free

MyFitnessPal is one of the most powerful diet and exercise tracking apps out there. The full-featured app has gained status over time, and offers a simple way for patients to track everything they’re eating. Individuals can go into the app and pick what they had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner by snapping a picture of the barcode on their food or simply typing it in. Though maybe not quite as “fun” as other apps, MyFitnessPal does allow individuals to compare progress with friends, which helps your patients get the necessary accountability to achieve success.


Platforms: Android + iPhone

Price: Free

Some of your more “anti-tracking” patients will like this habit creating app. HabitBull uses subtle reminders and encouragements through the phone’s notification system to help patients build habits over time. It will share with you when you are on a streak of habit building and when you need to get back into tracking. The app’s entire goal is to get your patients through a 66-day period to build healthy habits. This app is unique, and can be a great tool for helping patients establish healthy routines and increase confidence. It trains them to better themselves as well as commit to their health.


Platforms: Android + iPhone

Price: Free

Running is hard work! One of the key ways to keep patients motivated is to provide a feedback tool and let them see how they did. Runkeeper does just that. The app tracks many running metrics such as distance, calories burned and where you ran. It also provides built-in encouragements during runs, with in-ear audio notifications and in-app coaching. This app isn’t a fit for someone who isn’t interested in trying running, but it can be a great way to support a patient who’s just starting a running routine.


Platforms: Android + iPhone

Price: Free

Some patients need a creative and entertaining push to reach their goals. Habitica does that by “gamifying” patients’ weight loss goals. It pushes users to compete against others in order to gain points and find victory. This app will drive your patients to compete, working towards completing their goals and having fun at the same time!

While these apps are no miracle pills, I’ve found that they can offer added stability in the roller coaster of post-surgery recovery. Keep in mind there are thousands of apps out there. If these apps aren’t the right fit for your patients, do a little research and I guarantee you’ll find a fit. These days, apps are like donuts (don’t go suggesting those to patients!)--no matter what, you’ll be able to find one you like!


How have your patients used mHealth to lose weight?

Let us know in the comments!




Published: March 10, 2016