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No matter the weight loss journey you are on—whether you are post-weight loss surgery (like many of my patients), or you are beginning a News Year’s resolution—I always suggest two things. The first is to have a strong support network around you. Ask your friends and family to back you up in your commitment and have them push you to be better. The second is to be organized and set up a routine with your goals. This is why I believe smartphone apps are key! A goal on a sticky note is just that, something that easily loses its stickiness and falls to the floor to be trampled. Rather, I suggest using an app to help keep you focused. Apps allow you to be organized, network with your team, and attain your goals day by day and in slow, visible steps.

Check out my five suggested apps below, they are all free and will help you achieve your weight loss goals in one way or another.

Habitica
Platforms: Android + iPhone
Price: Free
How it will help you attain your goal: Sometimes apps come off as boring and quite drab, who would use an app like that? Well, Habitica fights that by bringing your life to the gaming world. While not for everyone, Habitica allows you to “gamify” your weight loss goals. Compete against others and win in this awesome app. It will drive you to compete and by competing you will be working towards completing your goal while having fun doing it!

My Fitness Pal
Platforms: Android + iPhone
Price: Free
How it will help you attain your goal: MyFitnessPal is one of the more powerful diet and exercise tracking apps out there. It has gained notoriety over the years and really helps you track your goal by showing you progress via graphs and reports. Though not quite as game centric, the app does allow you to compare progress with friends, and by doing that, you are providing the needed accountability for others to commit as well. One of the biggest bonuses of this system is because it has been around for a long time, it has developed well. It has almost every type of food you can think to log and barcode scans as well!

Runkeeper
Platforms: Android + iPhone
Price: Free
How it will help you attain your goal: If running is your thing, or even if it isn’t, this app is for you. It is a comprehensive run tracker that doesn’t quit. It tracks every metric you would want to for a run. From audio notifications to how far you’ve gone to in app coaching—you won’t want to stop running. It is quite the full service running app. Once again, as is common in many of these apps, you can encourage friends and track their progress as well. A great app to help you maintain and consistently grow your goals.

Lose It!
Platforms: Android + iPhone
Price: Free
How it will help you attain your goal: Lose It! Is a great option for adding to your app repertoire. While it is similar to MyFitnessPal, it has a few differences in how it tracks and supports you. With this app the goal is weight lost and peer support. They do a great job at making both of these things easy, and they have great integrations such as a Bluetooth scale and other apps as well. This app is a full service and easy to use diet, fitness and weight tracking app!

HabitBull
Platforms: Android + iPhone
Price: Free
How it will help you attain your goal: This app is a little less fitness directed, but nonetheless offers a great goal keeping methodology. The concept of this app is reminders, encouragements and the thought that it takes 66 days to make a habit. Their whole goal is to work in any way possible to get you through that 66 day period and out to the other side where you have built a habit. So go ahead, use it for your fitness goals! It will help shed the pounds and will also give you confidence that you can make new habits and break old ones.

If you have a smart device of any kind, the power to achieving your goals is resting in your hand. There are many more apps other than these that can be tailored to your weight loss success. So why not go for your goal in 2016? You can reach them if you approach them with a solid plan, good organization, and an encouraging support network, whether it is in person or on an app. Go achieve your goals today!

Steven M. Fass M.D., FACS

Dr. Steven Fass is a board-certified general surgeon based in Austin, Texas. Dr. Fass specializes in minimally invasive surgery techniques and is a pioneer in the gastric Lap Band® banding surgery. When not working, Dr. Fass enjoys spending time with his family, cycling and travel.

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