(App)ly Yourself: My Fitness Pal

When it comes to slendering down, your iPhone is your friend. I’ve already told y’all about the glorious Nike Training Club app, which is an awesome resource for at home workouts. But, as you’ve probably noticed, I’m more into the kind of health that’s made in the kitchen, not the gym (though I know they’re both important). Enter the My Fitness Pal app.

In my numerous weight loss stints, I’ve had the most success when I’ve incorporated the use of a food diary. Whether this comes in the form of scratchy recordings in a mini Moleskine journal, the almighty and official Weight Watchers, or my new friend My Fitness Pal, tracking what I eat always delivers results. Writing down what I put in my mouth really makes me think about what I’m eating. Do I really want that piece of chocolate when I know it’s going to be staring at me, written in blood (k, calm down, Claire), later? Nah.

So the way My Fitness Pal works is pretty easy. You download the app, input your personal information (weight, height, activity level, etc.) and it gives you a daily calorie limit based on your goals. The food you eat subtracts from this number, and working out adds to it. I know y’all will do anything for extra credit.

Let me compare this to the major food journal program, the aforementioned holy grail of diva-shrinking diets: Weight Watchers. The first reason MFP wins is glaringly obvious– it’s free. I’ve gotta be picky when it comes to financing my journey to slenderhood and, while I have had sustainable success with WW, right now I’m tightening my wallet on that front. WW also works differently from MFP in that it uses points, not calories, to monitor intake. The problem I have with that is that fruits and vegetables have zero points. So what did I do on WW when I was hungry? Had a huge apple or an endless amount of pineapple chunks. Zero points…and zero weight loss. What? I realized why this was the case once I put these fruit portions into MFP and saw I was consuming hundreds of calories in fruit. Now, no one ever got fat from fruit, but I certainly did not need to be shoveling in those extra calories above my nutritional needs. It was keeping me from dropping the pounds and, gurrrrl, you know I was not having that. I do think Weight Watchers is a little more user friendly and counting/recording calories can be tedious, but once you have a routine down, your eating habits fall into the pattern and it doesn’t require so much planning.

So, if you want to lose a few, don’t have the budget for an expensive weight loss plan, and can count calories without driving yourself up the wall, give My Fitness Pal a try.

Have any of you had good results using the app? Do any of you hate it?

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7 thoughts on “(App)ly Yourself: My Fitness Pal

  1. I love this app! I’ve lost 35 pounds while using it. Obviously, portion control and (semi) regular work outs helped but this really made me aware of what I was eating. It’s great and super easy!

  2. I love this app! I have been using it religiously for about the last week & love not having to count calories in my head (which is usually wrong!)

    • Amazing, Tiffany! That takes some serious dedication. Do you find that you usually short yourself calories if you’re doing your portioning/calorie control in your head? That’s usually what happens to me, so doing it with MFP is a welcomed surprise!

  3. I started using this app in July and for the two months that I was using it (until school took over my life again and I slipped a little), I had great results. I lost about 10 lbs using the app in those 2 months, and it was so nice to be able to easily track myself. I recommend this to anyone. I’m hoping to get back on the wagon and start using it every day again.

    • That’s amazing, Katherine! I’ve definitely found that recording my intake keeps me more accountable than any other “dieting rules.” Good luck!

  4. I love my fitness pal! It is the best calorie tracker out there. I think there is one flaw with it, though. The default 1200 calories per day is no bueno. I found a group in the my fitness pal community (if you log on using your laptop) and came across a group called eat more to weigh less. I read through all the stickies in that group and it makes sense, although maybe not at first:) Check it out if you get a chance.

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