Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My Fitness Pal: A Review

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

A little over a month ago, a friend introduced me to "My Fitness Pal" a website and app for my phone (she introduced me to a LOT of apps that day, but that's another story).  MFP had become her best friend for weight loss: tracking calories and exercise, so she didn't have to.

Now. I'm not "dieting".
I don't believe in it.
I think diets are really terrible ways to make people feel like their doing something good for their bodies, when in many cases, people are starving themselves or going through some strange nutrient-deficient 10-day "cleanse" blah blah blah.
No.  I believe that in order to lose weight, your calories in must be less than your calories out.
Oh, and in order to not have our bodies go into starvation-mode, there cannot be too huge a deficit.

I also feel that I need to lose some weight.  Not much, but since the scale has been slightly on the rise these last few years, I thought having a tool that could help me figure out my calorie imbalance might be useful.

Useful?!  THIS APP ROCKS!  Everyone should use it.  I'm totally serious.
Why, you ask?
Here's what I love about this app...

It's SO easy.
To start, you input your height, weight, age, goal-weight, and activity level.  Then, it calculates what your average daily calorie consumption should be (with details on how many carbs, protein, and fats).
From there, you track your foods and exercises.
This is a little time consuming at first (for foods) because you really want to measure everything.  Is that a tablespoon of salsa or two tablespoons?  How much peanut butter are you REALLY putting on your sandwich?  Is that steak 6 oz or 8 or 12?  Those things are important to know.

But as I mentioned... this is EASY.
For example, once you know that you've eaten 4-Tbsp of Tostitos All Natural Chunky Salsa, you just do a search on My Fitness Pal and voila! you know how many calories (and other nutrients) you just consumed.
Click on the pix to see a large screen-shot
You do this throughout the day, and the tracker keeps you up-to-date on where you stand for calories (consumed & remaining).  You can plan the rest of your day accordingly.

Here's what my food intake looks like for today:
I haven't had dinner yet, but you can see that I've got 954 calories to "spend" for the rest of the day.  I'm excited... I might have ice cream later (and not feel guilty).

You'll see at the bottom of the Food Diary shot that there's a message to me (*You've earned 540 calories from exercise today.)

Yep!  I did!

I ran for 45 minutes this morning, then took the dog for an hour-long walk.
So, not only is this easy, but the program is SMART!
It can calculate (a rather good estimate, in my humble opinion) how many calories someone will burn for each minute of exercise.
You can see here, that my running at 5mph burned 397 calories. (YES!)
It then adds those calorie expenditures to your overall calorie goal.  (Yes, burning more calories means you can EAT MORE calories!)

Finally... probably the most important reason why I LOVE MyFitnessPal... is it works!
As I mentioned at the start of this post, I've been using the program for a little over a month.
And guess what!?!?
The scale has started to move in the OTHER direction.
It's not going up any more!
I've lost 5-pounds in just under 5-weeks.
I really do believe it's because I've paid attention to my calories in and calories out.
I think it's due to My Fitness Pal.

You can even have "friends" who you can share your weight-loss journey with and support each other.

I can't think of anything that I don't like about MFP.  I guess I would like to be able to see a full "calendar" of activity/food tracking along with weight... but that's nothing I can't live without.  It has other reports you can see that are okay - I'm sure others find them more useful that I do.  But hey, that's great!  The more tools, the better.

So, visit www.myfitnesspal.com today and sign yourself up.  It really is an amazing tool - if you dedicate yourself to it (like anything).

1 comment:

TICKLEBEAR said...

alright, so, i'm not sure I want to know... but if this rocks your world, i say : GO AHEAD!!!!
:)~
HUGZ