Tuesday, August 13, 2013
My Fitness Pal ... A Good Friend to Have!
I'm not new to this whole "trying to lose weight" thing. I've been working on it for years now. I've got the exercise part down, but I have not mastered the eating yet. I had tried a couple different calorie counters before, but I just didn't stick to them. There was always something that wasn't that user friendly and I'd use it as an excuse. It was just too hard.
In May, I found MyFitnessPal (MFP) and it something clicked for me. The site was so easy! There were SO many foods in the database. There is a barcode scanner for UPCs. There is an app for my iPhone. It syncs with my Fitbit. There is an active community and supportive people. Most importantly ... it's working for me! Apparently, it's working for a lot of people, as it is currently being featured by Life Hacker as the Best Food and Nutrition Tracking Tool (see the article HERE).
Just sign up ... give them your stats (height, weight, age) and how much you want to lose (1 pound a week is recommended) and it comes up with a daily calorie goal. If you stick to that goal, you should lose weight. The food diary is so straight-forward and easy and just waiting for your entries ...
Chances are, most foods you are eating will already be in the database. The majority of of foods are added by other users, so it is good to double check the data. If what you need isn't there, you can add it yourself . It's quick and easy. You can save meals when you eat the same things often, or even create recipes. A recipe can help with homecooked items, or even just a simple combo (like my French Toast ... 2 slices of bread, 1 egg, butter and powdered sugar to top it ... not really a recipe per say, but then it is all there at the press of one button). If you want to personalize the categories you can ... the "Completely Empty Calories" category was my creation. Unfortunately I add way too much stuff there. I'm working on that. You can make you food diary public, or keep it confidential. Someday I hope to feel good enough about my food diary to open it up. That day is not today.
MFP does ask about your activity and will take this in account when giving you your daily calorie goal. I personally set my account to "sedentary" even though I'm not. My Fitbit is going to credit me for ALL my movement (exercise and daily activity). MFP then adds calorie credit based on my actual activity ala Fitbit. When I exercise and am active, I am allowed to eat a little more (which is good, because I can't stay at a mere 1350 per day!). I also love that MFP sends my food data to Fitbit - so I can benefit from the "Intake vs Burn" graph there. The two sites work together so well for me.
I like Facebook, and when I first joined Walker Tracker, I was fairly involved there. But I never got into the community action on Fitbit or my other calorie tracking sites. I have have enjoyed the message boards, groups and newsfeed options that MFP offers. I was pretty proactive in making some new "friends" and I do probably spend more time there then I should. It is nice for motivation and support. I'm "scrapjen" there if you wanted to be "pals" on MyFitnessPal *Ü* All my current weight-loss, my current success, happened the moment I joined MFP.
Have you heard of MFP? Have you tried it?
What calorie tracking site do you use?