(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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