Occasionally, you come across an app which does exactly what it promises, and does it so well you don’t feel like it should improve in pretty much any way. For me, right now, that app is Zero. It’s free, for iOS and Android. I am not affiliated in any way with the app or its makers.
Now, I won’t go into the merits of intermittent fasting, as that’s not really what this blog is about. However if you do subscribe to that practice, this is the app to have on your phone. The app itself is very simple, consisting of only four tabs.
First, you get to pick the type of fast you’d like to track. You can choose between a number of pre-made ones or make your own. Chances are what you’re looking for is already there.
Then, you have the quite self-explanatory timer itself. Start it and end it together with your fast. Given the type of fast you’ve chosen in the previous screen, you can choose to get a notification when your fast is done, so that you can start to eat again. You can also get one after each hour you fast beyond your initial goal.
I especially like the Apple Watch-inspired “circle” design: there’s just something about closing circles that clicks with me.
One handy functionality is the fact that you can change the starting time of your fast after the fact.1 This is useful, for instance, when you start your fast away from your phone. I’d just look at the clock and remember to edit it later on.
On the “History” tab you can see, well, your fasting history, but more interestingly also a bunch of statistics. You can also set it to read your weight from the Health app, if you wish to see it here too.
Almost all of the stats on this page are designed to nudge you to fast with more regularity. While the app does not “punish” you with aggressive design like red bars and Xs when your fast can’t successfully reach your goal, it does show it as gray on the graph, which is objectively a worse color than green. This, coupled with always seeing your longest fast and streak, makes you want to go faster, better, and stronger.
Lastly, the least-used tab (for me at least) is “Learn,” which contains a number of articles related to fasting and eating well in general. Now that I say it like that, I feel like I should probably start checking it out more often.
And that’s pretty much all there’s to it. That’s why I like it. The elephant in the room, for me at least, is how is this app financially viable? They don’t seem to really talk about it on their website, but one can assume the answer lies in the fact that users need to sign up for a (free) account in order to use the app. Would I rather pay a sum upfront for the ability to use it completely offline and without an account? Definitely. Overall though, the app itself feels smooth, it has an inviting and soft design and, most importantly, got me to fast with more regularity than ever before, which is why I recommend it.