How a free iPhone app helped me lose 20 pounds – and made what SAS does real


Update: While the SAS analogy still works, my calories-in/calories-out strategy didn't! But today I'm in the best health of my life by using food as medicine, a journey that began by working with a SAS registered dietitian nutritionist. Read this post for a window into my experience.

I’m a data-entry freak. This was not always true. I have balked at the simplest online form, passing up great free stuff because it required entering data.

But that all changed because of a free app for the iPhone. I wanted to drop a few pounds and decided to give a try based on a blog recommendation. You set up a free account, set a goal, and start recording all the food you eat and exercise you do.

Before and after using data to lose weight

The app gives you a daily calorie budget. Every time you add food you’ve eaten, it subtracts from your budget. When you exercise, it credits your budget with calories that you can either consume -- or not, if you want to lose weight faster.

I was amazed at how motivating it was to know where I stood at any point during the day. Results were fast! I entered data dutifully, enjoying the extra exercise calories and smaller numbers on the scale. Friends and family members ribbed me about being obsessed. (At this point, I should apologize to any Facebook friends I annoyed after linking the app to my wall and unleashing a torrent of LoseIt updates. Sorry, folks! It’s safe to unhide me now.)

I kept at it. Inches melted away. After two years and a loss of 20 pounds (more than half of it after using LoseIt for five months), I reached my ideal weight and shut the app down.

Congratulations, you say, but what does this have to do with SAS?

It dawned on me as I went through this process that it really is all about the data. When I saw immediate, tangible benefits for entering all that food and exercise info into LoseIt, SAS’ business became clear to me in a new, personal way.

We do analytics, which relies on steady streams of data.

Day in and day out, in organizations everywhere, data piles up exponentially. Data knows things: what sells and what doesn’t, which transactions are legal and which aren’t, what techniques work and which waste time, money spent wisely versus wastefully. There’s no limit to what it can tell you.

SAS analytics gives data a voice. When it speaks, you know what your options are.

And who wouldn’t want to know?

Tags data LoseIt

About Author

Beverly Brown

Principal Social Media Specialist

Beverly helps SAS users help themselves and one another through SAS Support Communities. In 1994, she started out in public relations roles that include managing corporate PR and assisting SAS executives with media interviews and speaking engagements. Before that, she was a reporter at North Carolina’s largest daily newspapers, The News & Observer and The Charlotte Observer. She has a husband and son and loves to run, which enables her chocolate habit.


  1. Alex Krawchick on

    Great post, Beverly. And I particularly love these two sentences:

    "SAS analytics gives data a voice. When it speaks, you know what your options are."

    Wow. This sentence is so simple, yet so profound. I continue reading it back to myself. I love it. If pithy and valuable is your mission in describing SAS Analytics, this is a perfect way of communicating it.

    And congrats on achieving a healthier you!

  2. Pingback: Visualization and Mobile: Empowering Today's Agile Enterprises - SAS Voices

  3. Beverly Brown on

    Thank you for that feedback, Alex! Part of my role here is to describe what SAS does to people who may not be familiar with us. It's the world's best public relations job. A key lesson from using LoseIt: you gotta tell the app the truth. Counting a heaping tablespoon of peanut butter as a level tablespoon works against you. Another blog post for another day 🙂

  4. Amy Chesebrough on

    Great post, Bev. I knew you were looking better and better every time I saw you! Congrats on the 20 lbs. of weight loss. And what a great tie back to SAS analytics. I agree with Alex's sentiments -- you communicated the benefit of analytics in a personal way that all of us can relate to! Good story telling....

  5. This is great Bev - LOVE your statement of "SAS giving data a voice." This is so true as we are all empowered by knowledge and the more data you have know where I'm going! Congrats to you...and, for what it is worth, I thought your FB posts were great!

  6. Beverly Brown on

    So you didn't hide me, Bess? I think you might be in the minority. Thanks for commenting. You too, Amy!

  7. Anyone can "download the app" or get analytics technology in house. Success comes in the individual or corporate mindset about committing to it for long-term advantage (despite the short-term annoyance of having to key in small things like a teaspoon of peanut butter or a slight product variance). You stuck with it, fed it real data in consistent fashion, reported to the masses (I enjoyed the FB posts, too), and let it guide you to an amazing new place. Good for you! And good for the organizations doing the same with data to help them get fit, trim and speedy.

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