My Fitness Pal is a calorie counter, basically. It allows you to put in your details: how much you weigh, how active your lifestyle is, how much you want to lose over what period of time, etc. It then tells you how many calories you can eat in order achieve that goal, and allows you to log everything you consume and burn through a large online database of foods and exercises.
The two features I love the most from this app are:
1. it can scan bar codes and then automatically adds all the data. Great if you end up eating a lot of Lean Cuisine frozen meals. (Okay, so I get lazy sometimes. It's better, I think, than eating take away. Well, cheaper at least.)
2. at the end of each day when you finish logging it gives you an estimate of how much you would weigh in 5 weeks if you ate like that everyday. Can be very motivating and exciting. (could also be a little sad, but I tend not to log on those days... bad Buffy, I know.)
As with all these things, they can be a bit fiddly if you cook a lot of your own food. You can save recipes, but if you tend to just throw things together for dinner, can be annoying to track.
Having said that, it is also quite useful to be forced to weigh your portions so you can see exactly how much you are eating and the difference having a slightly larger portion can make calories-wise.
I believe that everyone in the modern world that eats any premade food should at some stage count calories, just to make that connection between what you are putting in your mouth and exactly how many calories it is giving your body. If you are trying unsuccessfully to lose weight and aren't calorie counting, try it before giving up.
Of the calorie counting apps out there, I find this one comparatively easy to use. The bar code scanner helps a lot, even when putting together your own recipes. Also, it allows you to add in the exercise you have done and adjusts how many calories you can eat for the rest of the day accordingly, which is always quite motivating. The database has Australian brands and can differentiate between Coles tomatos and Wooworth's, which is nice.
There is also a little gadget you can get, the 'fit bit' I think it's call, which sits next to your chest and works out how many calories you are burning throughout the day. It automatically syncs with the program to adjust how many calories you can eat for the rest of the day.
I have heard of a few people online who have used it (Americans, not sure if it is available in Australia except through the internet) who seem to think it is great. It is around $100, so quite pricey, but if you were serious about tracking how much you are actually burning, it could be worth it.
If anyone has one, give us a shout about how you find it.