I’m in love with the MyFitnessPal app

Diet scaleEver since my first child was born, I’ve been heavier than I like. I’m still fairly trim, but I am no longer slim. Even four and half years of martial arts didn’t change that. I became well-muscled, but not slim. Since my knee problems started, I’ve stopped exercising, but I didn’t change my eating habits.

When I couldn’t lose weight, I told myself two lies. The first lie was that my metabolism had slowed significantly with age and pregnancies. The second (and this was a whopper) was that I didn’t eat much. I’m a nosher, and so I just grazed all day, constantly telling myself that I was having “just a little bit.”

A friend of mine bemoaned her weight as well, although she’d always been more honest with herself about her role in her weight. Last week, though, she told me, “I’m finally on a diet that’s going to work. I am going to lose weight.”

Naturally, I was intrigued, and asked her about her certainty. She told me that she’s got a new app, free, called “MyFitnessPal.” The beauty of this app is that it’s incredibly easy to calculate calories eaten and calories burned doing exercise. It begins by asking you to put in your current weight, your fitness regimen, and your weight goal. It then calculates how many calories you should be eating per day.

My friend is right. MyFitnessPal is easy, especially because I can use it on my phone, iPad, and desktop, meaning I’m always near something in which I can enter my data and track my progress. No matter what food I’ve eaten, MyFitnessPal has information about its calories and nutrition. It’s endlessly scalable so, if I eat a third of a slice of Cello Variety Pack cheese, I can enter precisely that amount and get calorie data.

MyFitnessPal allows me to enter my recipes, and it will calculate the recipe’s calorie and nutrition content, ingredient by ingredient. If I exercise, it allows me to calculate roughly how many calories I’ve burned, which it applies to the calories I’m supposed to eat for that day. At the end of the day, MyFitnessPal will tell me how much weight I would lose in 5 weeks if I kept to that given day’s regimen.

For me, seeing the data play out in real-time is astonishing. It turns out that it’s not that my metabolism has slowed that much. Instead, I’ve been eating roughly twice as many calories per day as I should. If it weren’t for my metabolism, I’d be a butterball, five feet wide by five feet tall.

I think that, for once and for real, I’ll be happy to find a weight that’s comfortable for me — more than I weighed before babies, but significantly less than I weigh now.

If you’re looking to lose weight, I highly recommend MyFitnessPal.