Anyone who has tried losing weight knows one simple thing: It isn’t easy.
Though in an age with apps for everything, developers have been attempting to simplify all the tracking — calories, activity, hydration, etc — that comes with the weight loss process.
To get you started, we rounded up the best free weight loss apps for your smartphone or tablet that can help you get closer to your goals.
There are many paid weight loss apps but the apps we spotlight all have free versions that allow you to drop pounds without dropping dollars.
You bring the will and determination. We’ll bring the best free apps you can download for your weight loss journey.
The Best Free Weight Loss Apps
Log calories with a huge food database
Track your workouts and fitness
Sync with fitness trackers and services
MyFitnessPal is an app so popular that it needs little introduction but we’ll give you a recap of the king topping our guide anyway.
Launched in 2005, MyFitnessPal offers an all-in-one tool to those looking to lose weight, get in shape or keep an eye on their calorie intake. The app combines a food diary with a database of 14 million foods and fitness plans to help you burn extra calories and reach your goals.
We love MyFitnessPal because it delivers a complete experience, has proven itself over the years and has an immense ecosystem of supported products.
You can connect over 50 different apps and devices so your entire fitness world stays together, including Gamin, Fitbit, Samsung Health, Apple Health and MapMyRun.
You can upgrade your MyFitnessPal membership ($80 a year or $20 a month) to premium for additional healthy habit guides and custom nutrition tracking.
Still, we believe most users will find plenty of value in the app’s free base tier. Your first month of premium is free if you want to give it a try though.
Gym fees can add up when you’re working on fitness and wellness goals. But you can set up a home gym for less than $100.
Log your daily calorie intake
Track your activity and workouts
Sync with select fitness trackers and services
Lose It! hasn’t yet received the full recognition it deserves but Lose It! is certainly one of the best weight loss apps.
A bright and straightforward interface makes tracking meals easy. Lose It! allows you to track what you eat via a food database just as well as any other app and breaks down the calories you log into easily digestible labels and graphs.
In addition to food, you can also log other pertinent information, such as your water intake and exercise.
Lose It! has fewer supported services than some weight loss apps, but you can still connect many of your favorite apps and devices, including Fitbit, Garmin, Strava and Apple Health.
You can also gain insights into your eating patterns and learn how some foods affect your daily progress.
Lose It! is a free app to use. If you wish to upgrade to the premium subscription for $40 a year or $190 for life, you will gain access to a personalized weight loss plan as well as exercise and meal planning.
Log your daily calorie intake
Track steps, workouts and calorie burn
Sync directly with a Fitbit tracker
Here’s a surprise! The Fitbit app isn’t just for people who own a Fitbit. Even without a dedicated Fitbit device, you can still use the Fitbit app to monitor your activity.
Using your smartphone’s sensors, Fitbit can track your daily steps, miles walked and calories burned — although a bit less accurate than a dedicated Fitbit.
If you purchase a Fitbit in the future, you can keep your existing data without starting over from scratch.
Like all good weight loss apps, Fitbit goes beyond fitness and into the world of nutrition. You can log your meals and snacks in Fitbit to keep track of the calories you’ve consumed. The food database isn’t as strong as other apps though.
Another bonus feature — if you decide to grab a Fitbit wearable device — is the ability to track your sleep. You may gain better insights into your routine and, ideally, achieve a more restful night of sleep, which may affect weight loss, according to researchers.
The cheapest Fitbit trackers cost $60 for the Fitbit Ace 3 for kids and $70 for the Fitbit Inspire 2 for adults.
Meal prep can help you save money and eat healthier by having good food ready for you to grab whenever it’s time for a meal or snack.
Walk to earn Sweatcoins
Spend coins on free gifts in the marketplace
Donate your earnings to select charities
Have you ever thought you’ll only start exercising once someone pays you?
We’ve got some excellent news for you, beginning with Sweatcoin.
A free app, Sweatcoin allows you to earn coins whenever you walk — talk about the best weight loss app! You can then use your tokens within the Sweatcoin marketplace for a new pair of shoes, free yoga classes or even an Apple Watch.
We love saving money and if you can get fit while doing so, it’s all the better.
If you’re competitive, you can also join Sweatcoin races and challenge other Sweatcoin members around the globe on the weight loss journey. Winners can earn gift cards and other prizes, like a $10 Starbucks gift card and PlayStation gaming accessories.
Similar to other weight loss apps, Sweatcoin is free to join and use. If you want to earn coins faster and access exclusive marketplace items, you can sign up for Sweatcoin Premium for only $25 a year.
Sweatcoin is just one way to get paid to exercise. There are lots of other options including active jobs and side hustles.
Access free fitness videos and more
Learn the basics of nutrition
Ad-free, offline viewing with premium
Here is an app you probably weren’t expecting to find on a list of the best weight loss apps. After all, won’t YouTube keep you sitting on the couch and not moving?
Not if you use YouTube to find exercise videos and support your weight loss goal. In our hunt for the best free weight loss apps, we found that the No. 1 free resource is the vast amount of free content on YouTube.
If you don’t believe us, fire up YouTube right now and search for an aerobic workout or yoga class. You’ll find quite a bit of content to get you started.
While some workouts will promote a paid video course off YouTube, you’ll find more free content than you could ever get through. Of course, buying a video series you’ll love and might be worth it.
Beyond workouts, YouTube offers a wealth of free videos from people who have lost weight and experts in nutrition, psychology, fitness and health care.
YouTube is 100% free and ad-supported. To skip ads and download videos for offline viewing, you can subscribe to YouTube Premium for $12 a month after a one-month free trial.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Not all weight loss apps share metrics and users’ goals vary, so it can be difficult to point one out as the most effective.
Our top pick for the best free weight loss app is MyFitnessPal, which allows you to log calories and exercise. MyFitnessPal also includes recipes and bits of motivation to help you obtain your health goals and lose weight.
Both MyFitnessPal and Lose It! are excellent weight loss apps. We believe that most readers will find success and joy in using either one. We did, however, award the top spot to MyFitnessPal as it supports a number of additional services and apps.
We recommend trying both — they are free after all — and then picking the one you like best.
Noom is a weight loss app that heavily focuses on the psychology of weight loss. While Noom is a good app, it is far from a free weight loss app.
MyFitnessPal, on the other hand, can be used for free and includes many of the same style food logging tools. If you are unsure, try a free trial of Noom to find out which one is best for you.
Michael Archambault is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder specializing in technology.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.