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.

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  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    The way I count calories is by noticing the hunger in my stomach. And often times, when I am doing things that require concentration like reading, I can ignore hunger until it goes away.
    So biological mechanisms, I like.

    • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

      My biological mechanisms broke when I had children.

      • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

        That’s why internal martial arts focuses on developing closeness and harmony of mind and body. Fat isn’t bad, merely a resource like any other. Like yin and yang, breath control can have two different faces. When it comes to health and life, it can be seen in breathing classes for pregnant women. When it comes to death and yang, it helps a sniper control the trigger finger, relaxing all unnecessary muscles, and keeping the breath and sight on target.
        The Ancients didn’t have access to labor saving mechanical tools like firearms. Thus to them, their lifetime of martial arts training seemed a great waste when any new youth could challenge them and beat them. That’s what they went so far as to develop things that persisted in one’s old age, allowing martial applications to endure. But in order to do that, they had to fix certain health issues without a modern pharmacology system in place.

  • MorowbieJukes

    Read Gary Taubes’ “Why We Get Fat:And What to Do About It”.  If that’s not sufficiently convincing read his more scientifically detailed prequel “Good Calories, Bad Calories”.

  • Charles Martel

    What MorowbieJukes said. Taubes has been a persuasive one-man wrecking crew when it comes the myths that have grown up around fat—namely that it’s bad for us and is what causes cardiovascular disease. The real culprit is carbohydrates, which we are drowning in. 

    • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

      There is no real culprit. When humanity was hunting and gathering, carbohydrates were necessary for instant usage of energy, as most of it wasn’t stored and if it was, stored energy was of little use to the guy in the sabretooth lion’s stomach. In modern life, sitting at a desk job doesn’t really use up the type of energy carbohydrate ATP conversion was designed for.
      There are no bad tools or sources of energy. There’s just bad users of it. Unfortunately, when fat and carbs are left unused by the body, deterioration occurs and degeneration happens over a prolonged period of time, such that people can’t often tell what the problem is. 
      Humans, being at the top of the food pyramid, have a duty to use their brains to figure stuff out and make compensations, just as winter taught us to make compensations for a lack of food. Western civilization has listened too many times to scientific authorities. The problem isn’t whether the science is right or not, the problem is with the people who don’t want to think and figure stuff out on their own.