While I am not a huge fan of counting calories, I think that it is very important to be mindful of what we put into our bodies. With this in mind, I downloaded My Fitness Pal for my iPhone as a way to see patterns in what I was eating, see what my weekly intake of vitamins was, and to be mindful of how much fat was in my diet. I have enjoyed using this app immensely because it is a visual way to see what I am putting in my body week-to-week. When I first started, I was quick notice I was eating way too much fat. Because I could see this and saw which foods I was eating that caused this, I was able to adjust my diet accordingly.
When you first sign up with My Fitness Pal, you are asked to input a series of things: age, weight, height, goal weight, and how much you would like to lose per week. I went for the half pound a week option. Once I reached my goal weight, though, I change to the option of “maintain weight.” It also asks if your job is physically demanding or if you are more stationary.
All these factors are put together, and the app tells you how many calories you should eat per day to achieve your goal weight. There are spaces for you to add breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Adding what you eat is as easy as searching for it. You can also add your own recipes into the app. There is also space to add exercises. Exercise deducts calories from those that you’ve already added. For example, if I’ve already eaten 1,200 calories, and my exercise burns 400, I’m left with 800 calories, leaving me with 650 calories out of my daily total of 1,450.
The best feature of My Fitness Pal, however, is the way it tracks how much fat you are eating and how many vitamins and nutrients you are consuming. There’s a way to look at your nutritional facts of your day and week; there are daily allowances and goals for both fat and nutrient intake. Also, there is a pie chart that you can look out to see what percentage of you daily and weekly diet was carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Again, they show you what percentage you should be at and what percentage you are at.
Like with any health product of course, use it with caution. In my opinion, calories are not the enemy. You can eat as much as you want as long as you exercise vigorously. Eating healthy is always a good idea, but counting calories is different because some healthy foods can pack in the calories. Also, don’t be afraid to splurge on something really tasty if you’ve put in the work for it. I allow myself one McDonald’s meal every couple of months as a reward for good workouts.
Nonetheless, food diaries are great things if you are dieting or are looking for a way to eat healthier. My Fitness Pal allows you to visualize what foods you are eating so that you can adjust and eat healthier. Having it on your phone makes it super easy to log in foods you eat when you aren’t home. You can also keep track through www.myfitnesspal.com.
I give this app 8 stars out of 10. Give it a try!