Me lazy. Me hungry. Me bad at math.
March 2, 2011 2:43 PM   Subscribe

I'm considering joining Weight Watchers, but I don't want to shell out the cash unless the WW iPhone app's database is truly vast and comprehensive (since I hate tallying points/cals myself for meals with multiple ingredients.)

I have about 20 pounds to lose, and I've been doing low carb on and off again for years. Lately I've realized the reason I haven't been losing weight is that every few weeks something throws me off the routine: house guests, frequent traveling, birthday parties, being sick, etc-- where it's just too difficult to cut out certain foods all together, and BAM I'm off the wagon and feel demoralized about it.

I've never tried Weight Watchers but it might allow me to be less strict about what kinds of food I eat during these breaks in routine, as long as I eat them in moderation. However I learned (from trying to keep track of calories all the time and failing miserably) that I hate calculating things myself, especially if I'm eating at a dinner party or restaurant and really have no clue how many cals are in something.

However, if WW had a really great iPhone app that has a lot of brand name food products (i.e. not just "pork" but also "trader joe's pork florentine") I would be much more open to joining. Since I can't play with the iPhone app unless I've already signed up and forked over the cash for the whole program, I'm wondering if the WW/ community could give me their opinions on the (Points Plus) Weight Watchers iPhone app, and how good their database is.

posted by egeanin to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The iphone app is pretty good - there are a lot of brand-name foods in the app. I don't know if Trader Joe's is featured prominently, but if there is nutritional information on the package, you can enter that and move on with your life really easily.
posted by Medieval Maven at 2:57 PM on March 2, 2011

MyNetDiary (for iphone) has tons and tons of brand-specific foods (including many trader joe's items). It's also free.
posted by shownomercy at 3:07 PM on March 2, 2011

If you're interested in having a huge database, I might suggest giving sparkpeople's iphone app a try first. It's free, and what makes it pretty awesome is that it lets you choose foods that other users have taken the time to input so it's more up to date, and has way more items. The only things I found I had to add myself were some pretty obscure Canadian healthfood brands, almost everything else was in there already. Instead of points it uses calories, fat, carbs and protiens as daily goals, and gives you a range you should stay within for each category. I successfully lost about 30 pounds with it.
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 3:12 PM on March 2, 2011

Seconding SparkPeople, it's awesome.
posted by annaramma at 3:13 PM on March 2, 2011

I typed pork into the WW iphone app and there were 427 results, ranging from dishes (pork chop suey, pork fajitas) to processed foods (luncheon meat - bologna, beef or pork), to cuts of meat (pork backribs, pork brain, ground pork, etc.).

There are brand name foods (both supermarket and restaurant), but it isn't as comprehensive as you'd like. I do see Baken-ets, bd Mongolian grill, Boar's Head, Bob Evans, Boston Market, Campbell's, Crakcer Barrel, Culver's, Famous Dave's, Farmland, Golden Corral, Heinz, Hormel, Houlihan's, Market Day Meats, Oscar Mayer, Piccadilley Cafeteria Entres, Pollo Tropical, Qdoba, Roly Poly Sandwiches, Rudolph Foods, Shake N Bake, Stove Top, Tyson, and Utz among others.

The iPhone app does have a PointsPlus calculator, and Trader Joe's food items are labeled with the info.
posted by mcgsa at 3:14 PM on March 2, 2011

I was doing WW online -- not the iPhone version -- about six months ago and I was pissed off, over and over again, that many of the Trader Joe's foods I wanted to log were not in there. (But that was six months ago.)
posted by BlahLaLa at 3:36 PM on March 2, 2011

Yeah, Trader Joe's stuff isn't in there. I've recently rejoined after a couple years away and I think they've made it easier to add custom foods, though. I much prefer their interface for entering recipes to SparkPeople's.
posted by something something at 3:41 PM on March 2, 2011

Another option is My Fitness Pal, which is a website and app. I saw lots of Trader Joes in the search, and you can add things as well. It gives you a calorie goal based on your current weight, exercise level and desired rate of weight loss. It was the tool I needed to get started on weight loss and making better food choices. Eight pounds in the first month.
posted by saffry at 4:20 PM on March 2, 2011 [3 favorites]

I use "Lose It!" and while I hate the use of an exclamation point, they have 175 Trader Joes items listed. And it's free.
posted by wraplan at 6:03 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Spark people has practically everything and it's free. Almost too much. Tons of trader joes stuff. Definitely give it a try before paying for something.
posted by whoaali at 11:21 PM on March 2, 2011

Seconding MyFitnessPal... it's got a really comprehensive foodbank, and was either really cheap or free (can't remember which, sorry!).
posted by indienial at 1:42 AM on March 3, 2011

I believe that WW only includes points for companies that pay to be listed. I've started just building my own database (including many Trader Joe's items!). All you need is the fat, fiber, carbs, and protein...the calculator is built into the app. Once you enter it once, give it a name, and it's yours. (And will even come up at the top of any searches.)

If I'm at a restaurant, I find something comparable. It's a guideline, not an exact science.
posted by JoanArkham at 6:24 AM on March 3, 2011

Seconding "LoseIt!" - comprehensive list of both supermarket and restaurant foods in the database. I've lost 16lb so far just counting calories with this tool. And it's free. Also, as an option, it will do things like tracking fat and cholesterol, provided you put a bit of work into reading your nutrition labels and adding it into the database.

As a sidebar, what you do get to understand with counting very quickly is the relationship between brand-name processed foods and calories. I find that I can usually "come in under" the day's target quite a bit if I'm *not* eating the processed foods in the database. So it's become kind of a game to avoid brand names, secondary to counting calories.
posted by media_itoku at 8:52 AM on March 8, 2011

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