CARROT Fit uses the stick to whip you into shape
I've long been a fan of CARROT To-Do for keeping me motivated with my daily list of "things I must do today." Our review of To-Do is here, but the basic idea is that the app's "AI construct" gets mad when you don't check in or accomplish tasks. While being berated, overall, isn't a good thing, sometimes you need a kick in the butt to stay on task. That same mentality was infused in CARROT Alarm, and you can read our review here. Now comes CARROT Fit (US$1.99) to help you lose weight by tracking the ups and downs, and reacting accordingly.
As someone who juggles a lot of responsibilities, the CARROT To-Do app been a lifesaver in keeping me focused by reminding me in humorous but angry ways that I still have tasks to complete. Fit is a weight loss app based on this same premise: that fun, funny, grumpy programs might motivate us to achieve our goals.
As Erica noted in our review of To-Do, these methodologies aren't for everyone. While I find them funny and motivating, some may find them off-putting. Also, while weight tracking is one way to track health, it is by no means the only way. This review won't go into all that, as I'll just focus on what Fit does.
Overall, CARROT Fit is clean and simple, offering only what you need when you need it. During setup you're treated to some cute animation and, frankly, somewhat teased a bit, not unlike the promo video below.
Carrot's distinctive blue color scheme and "ocular sensor" (the large circular eye over your avatar) continues in Fit. The simple "infographic" style illustrations and animations throughout are brilliant little touches that will amuse you. If you leave the app open for a bit, your little avatar will start doing pushups!
When you open the app you'll have three options: Record your weight, check your logs, or access a menu with settings. The basic design makes the utility easy to understand. Yet there are little surprises in the design, like the About CARROT section, which makes a joke with a winking robot. These give the app a true sense of character, which I think helps the psychological buy-in to using CARROT to keep you motivated.
Carrot's daily weigh in time can be set to your liking, and it will remind you. If you miss a day, Carrot will get mad at you, perhaps even turning red. But entering your weight is as simple as my former go-to weight tracking app, Weightbot. Unfortunately, Weightbot has no character. Carrot has kept me in check, however.
To record your weight you simply tap the large logo and type it in -- decimals included. You can, in settings, input your height and gender to get a BMI, and thus see how over/under you are.
Now here's where CARROT's personality comes into play. If you gain weight, it will get mad at you. It may blow steam, "shock" your avatar, but either way the displeasure is made known. The animations are funny, and sometimes make me want to gain a little just to see it get mad.
When you meet your goal, however, you are treated to a shower of confetti and a ribbon!
The Log of your weight is simple but useful. A chart up top tracks your progress, including weight goals. Below that you can see current weight, losses/gains, goals, BMI and how many days you've been tracking. You can also dive into the raw data for a day by day accounting. All of this looks great and is easy to understand. There's no tilting your device to see your data differently, it's just there.
Conclusion, and a note on fat-shaming
Unfortunately, in a Good Morning America appearance this week, the creator of CARROT, Brian Mueller (who I interviewed here), had to defend his clever drawings and animations, which some have called "fat shaming." The developer has created a fun, motivational app. It's not for everyone, but I think it hits on some of the motivators needed to keep you in shape. That said, if you have body issues or take offense easily, or if you have had an eating disorder it's likely best to try another tool that is more neutral and clinical.
If this offends you, CARROT Fit is not for you.
As for me, I'm overweight. For my height, my BMI is basically in the danger zone. If something "shames" me in the privacy of my own home to motivate me to get healthier, then guess what? I'm happy to use it. That means it is doing the job it was designed to do. But then, I haven't struggled with this my entire life. Again, if you think this could be problematic for you, Fit isn't the app for you.
Anyway, if you are just looking to track your weight and need a reminder and some motivation, CARROT Fit is a lot of fun. It's a lot more fun than pretty much every other weight tracker out there. It is much harder to level up than other CARROT apps, however, as at day 6 (since it launched), I'm still on level one. I'll report back in about a month to see if the longer I use it, the more I'm able to change my habits. Because that's what this is: A habit-changing app. And it's a great one. Buy it here and get healthy!
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