My Fitness Pal

A couple of weeks ago I joined the iPhone generation.  Or am I supposed to be generic and say smartphone generation?

Naturally, the immediate discovery I made was the wonder of apps.  There really is an app for everything.  Well, almost everything.  Of the ones I downloaded on that first day was My Fitness Pal.  (Yes, they have a website and no app is required to enjoy this product, it just makes it more convenient.)

My Fitness Pal is a fitness, food and goal tracker.  And I’m in love.  For the first time making a concerted effort to manage my food is easy.  About eight years ago I made a concerted effort to lose weight and I lose about 50 pounds.

I was not, however, at my ‘goal’ weight.  I’ve always wanted to lose more but could never seem to really move anywhere.  During my recent incarceration (stuck at home due to herniated disc), I lost several pounds since I ate very little for many weeks (making food was too difficult and I wasn’t hungry anyways, yay drugs?).  This inspired me to want to make another concerted effort to lose more weight.  (Sadly, the weight lost during my incarceration came right back when I was able to enjoy food again.  Ah, well.)

The effort wasn’t getting me very far.  And then came My Fitness Pal.

First, it has a huge database of foods, so when out for a bite to eat it’s easy to get at least an approximation of what I decide to eat.  I’ve done meals from Pho to sushi, fast food burgers to cafe sandwiches.  Just a few seconds typing the query into the phone and I’ve got a selection of meal options so I can decide on the best match to what I’m eating.

Second, I can type in my own recipes and it will calculate what that meal (or meals if I’m making a large batch of something) has in the way of calories, fats, proteins and carbs.

Third, well, for third there’s all the other great things.  I can put it exercise and it calculates calories used.  It bitches at me if I eat too little.  I can copy meals from one day to another.  It encourages me to pay attention to my water intake.

I think I finally have a method of managing food that I can actually work with.  I hate counting calories.  I hate anything that makes eating ‘work’.  And this app makes it easy.

Now this isn’t meant to be an ad for the program.  No, it’s a celebration of finding something that works for me.  A tool I enjoy using to take control of an aspect of my life that has always felt like it is just outside my reach.  So far I’ve lost 5 pounds.  Yeeha!

You may have noticed that I’ve not used the word ‘diet’.  This is deliberate.  I don’t believe in diets.  I believe in habits, healthy and otherwise.  I believe in life choices.  I believe that I want to eat in a way that is healthy for me and that is permanently sustainable.

In this case, I’m deliberately lowering my caloric intake to encourage weight loss.  But I’m still eating in a healthy manner that will continue after I’ve reached my goal weight (which is a whole other topic, because becoming fixated on a number can be very hazardous to your health, physical and mental).  Sure, this is probably dieting, but I hate the word and what it implies.

There’s no guarantee, of course, that this will all work to perfection, that I’ll never break this happy cycle I’ve got going on (daily tracking for 2.5 weeks now), that my body will slip down to my goal weight without argument.  But I doubt there will ever be an easier road to take towards this goal.

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2 responses to “My Fitness Pal

  1. I agree. Diets don’t work. I was on a caloric intake to encourage weight loss, but the program I was using to track it was difficult. Perhaps I’ll try this My Fitness Pal online and then if it works I’ll see if there’s an app for my Blackberry.

    • samantha herne

      I actually abhor the idea of diets. ‘Temporarily do this thing or series of things and lose weight!’ When it’s really about our life choices. Diet implies temporary when a true healthy diet (in the other sense of the word) is about making healthy choices on a daily basis. Lifelong changes.

      I consider MFP to be a way to shepherd my eating, within those healthy habits, in a way that will encourge to drop a few pounds. Sorry, apparently I was feeling soap boxy. 🙂

      I’ve found this app really useful because it’s so easy to use and has a lot of versatility. The nice part of having the app is that it’s then accessible wherever you are, rather than just at home. Happy Saturday!

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