5 amazing (free) health apps that rock

Part of healing (eating, food addiction, or anything else) for many people is getting out in nature or living a more natural-based life. I’m all for this – the more time we can spend in natural environments doing natural activities, the better!

But, that’s not always realistic.

Jobs, horrible weather, or personal safety might mean you’ve got to deal with things like:

  • A ridiculous abundance of food and food products 
  • Not much need to move our bodies 
  • Exposure to backlit screens for most of our day and night 
  • Constant stress 
  • Feelings of aloneness and isolation from ‘the tribe’ 

Without being able to spend time in the park or backyard.

Well, I’m here to tell you… ‘there’s an app for that!’. 5 apps, in fact. Here is my list of the 5 health apps I use the most, and totally recommend to you (and they’re free!).

Using technology to fight back might seem counterintuitive, but it can work.

There's an app for that. Get the top 5 free health apps that will help you stop overeating and live a healthier, more fulfilled life.

1) MealLogger

MealLogger is a food diary app with a difference. It’s not about counting calories or hitting macronutrient goals, but instead, focuses on letting you see patterns and make conscious choices about what you eat.

How does it do that?

Through images.

It’s kind of like the Instagram of food.

What you do is take a photo of everything you eat (I find this an excellent reminder to slow down and be more mindful before a meal) and post it in the app. You follow people with similar health or weight goals to you and can see what they eat as well. I’ve found the community to be fun, supportive, and inspiring!

I use this app with some of my clients. They can easily share their food with me and we can talk about it in sessions, confident that we’re both on the same page. It’s great – and they don’t have to try and remember what went on during the week.

This aspect of helping to remember what you ate is really important. Have you ever tried to remember what you ate by the end of a day?

What about yesterday? With this app, you can quickly look at an overview of what you’ve eaten, all in photos, and quickly see patterns you might otherwise miss.

Like that ice cream you thought you were only having a couple of times a week?

Turns out, it’s 5 days out of 7.

2) Fitocracy

Fitocracy is both an app and a website designed to help motivate and educate about physical activity. It’s jam packed with knowledge about whatever sport or movement style you’re into, let’s you connect with groups of people who enjoy the same stuff, and turns it all into a fun ‘level-up’ kind of game.

The community aspect is awesome. You can ask for, or give, help and advice, find new routines, or just explore the world of exercise. When you log an activity or workout you’ve done, other people can see it and congratulate you. It’s like having a cheerleader in your pocket! What’s more, as you log activities you get points –the more intense the movement, the higher the points value – and as you gain points, you level up! They even have a variety of exercise ‘quests’ for bonus points.

As a solo-exerciser (who doesn’t even speak the same language as the gym I go to) I like the social support I can get from this app. I’m not sure it makes me work out more, but it adds some extra enjoyment, so I’m all for it.

3) F.lux 

Since starting Live the Whole, I’ve been using my computer and phone much later into the evening that I used to, and my ability to fall asleep seemed to be suffering.

Here comes F.lux to the rescue!

F.Lux is a simple program or app you can install on most back-lit computer-y devices and it reduces the amount of blue light the screen emits, especially at night time when that type of light can interfere with the natural signals our body should be getting about tiredness and bedtime.

You set the app up for your time zone and the kind of artificial lighting you have, and then it’ll automatically adjust your screen to the time of day – brighter at mid-day and dimming down to a soothing reddish tint at night. At first, I thought I’d be really irritated by the tinting and that having a pinkish screen would annoy me, but I didn’t even notice it. I feel like this app has helped me a lot.

What does the science say? Well, the F.lux website has a whole section of its own on this, so I won’t bother repeating it here. They have a heap of linked journal articles here about blue light, sleep quality, and that lower temperature lights (like the reddish-amber of the app) are better for sleep than high.

4) Stop, Breathe & Think

I’ll be honest here: I love this app. I’ve recommended it multiple times on the blog already, and I’m here to do it again. This sweet little app not only teaches you simple meditation but offers a range of different options for you to take breaks throughout your day.

I love the fact that I can tell the app how I’m feeling and it suggests some meditations for me based off that.

There’s a range of guided meditations for everything from forgiveness, to falling asleep, to gratitude. Or, you can go it alone and pop on the timer and just be alone with your chosen background sound.

I love the guided ones and find the voice-over extra calming and such professional quality.

As for the research supporting relaxation, mental breaks throughout the day, and meditation? I don’t think I even need to find it for you. It’s a huge body of work, and it’s overwhelmingly positive.

5) Meetup

As a woman living in a foreign country, I use this website and app a LOT and have been using it for years. It’s not active in all areas, but for me, this thing is simply amazing.

It basically lets people start clubs or groups for any interest imaginable, other people join, and then they get together and make new friends. I regularly meet a lot of local and foreign people in hiking groups, dining out, book clubs, and local tour type trips. I’ve made a ton of friends through meetups. In fact, I’m going hiking with a group this weekend.

I even run my own meetup group here in Stockholm for women who want support with their eating, wellness, or weight loss.

If you’re looking to try something new, or meet someone new, I can’t recommend it enough.

There are my 5 favorite health apps! I personally use many of them every day.

What do you think? Do you like any of the same apps? Are you going to try any of them? Or what apps do you use that you would recommend to others?

If you’d like more freebies (recipes, meal plans, and a guided meditation), grab them here:

About Samantha

Hello! I'm Sam and I'm an Eating Psychology Coach. I work with women who struggle with emotional eating and weight loss to develop new strategies and lifestyles so they can stop using food to cope, lose weight, and eat happy.

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13 thoughts on “5 amazing (free) health apps that rock

  • Kate Shrew

    These are great suggestions! I will have to F.lux! I definitely need that… I love the amount of research that you put into your posts! It shows true dedication! Keep writing!

    • Samantha Post author

      Thank you so much, Kate! That is a wonderful thing to hear. I love the research side of things 🙂

      And yes, f.lux is awesome – I have found it so helpful since I increased my night time computer use.

  • karabayleaves

    Wow – I wasn’t familiar with any of these (except I guess I had heard of Fitocracy), and they all sound great. Another free app I really like (this one is for Android – not sure if there is an iOS version) is Simple Workout Log. I looked at a bunch of different apps for keeping track of reps at the gym and they were all way too complicated. This one does exactly what I need it to and there was almost no learning curve.

    • Samantha Post author

      Thank you for the suggestion, Kara! That app looks like it would be really helpful for tracking. I’ve just had a look and they don’t do an iPhone version, so I can’t use it, but from the website, it looks great! In the spirit of your lovely blog (http://lavidafrugal.com/ for anyone who wants to visit) – I’m all for free, quality apps for everyone 🙂

  • Karen

    I’ve never heard of any of these, but am intrigued by Two Grand and Calm, especially. I mostly use RunKeeper.
    Thank you for sharing – I’m eager to check them out.

    • Samantha Post author

      Thank you for reading, Karen 🙂 Yes, I think TwoGrand and Calm are maybe my favourite-favourites. That’s awesome that you’re a runner! I’m super slow and just can’t stick with it, but RunKeeper looks like it would be perfect for tracking – thank you for sharing 🙂

    • Samantha Post author

      I am so with you on the counting calories! It’s no fun at all. TwoGrand definitely offers a fun alternative that is working super well for some people. If you do give it a try, I’d love to hear how you find it!