Obviously, it’s hard to lose weight without tracking your calories. I’ve tried a few different types of calorie counting websites on and off over the years and I like My Fitness Pal the best. (And it’s free!)
It’s really easy to use, the website is simple and “uncluttered”… and I like having the app on my phone.
How I Use The App
Before I eat anything in the morning I go ahead and plan my meals for the day… entering them into the food diary. I start with breakfast, then lunch and then dinner and see how many calories I have left. Then I plan snacks accordingly.
I found that not only does planning out everything I will eat in a day help me stay responsible with my calories (not too much, not too few) but it also helps me not cheat. I don’t go to the fridge at lunch time and wonder what I will eat. I don’t get hungry and go to the pantry looking for a snack. And if I do end up cheating then I have to go through the trouble of adjusting my food diary. I’m lazy so I don’t like doing that!
At the end of the day I hit “complete food diary” and it tells me how much I might weigh in five weeks if everyday where like that day. It’s encouraging to see how many pounds I could lose if I stick to my plan!
I use the exercise tracker to see how many calories I burn. There are a ton of exercises in the database (including snorkeling which comes in handy on an island) so chances are, whatever exercise I am doing is already listed. Just as with the food, I go ahead and put my exercise in during the morning even if I don’t actually do it until later. I like having it planned out so I can adjust my day. If I don’t plan to exercise then it won’t happen.
One thing I have noticed… the exercises can be a little too generous with the amount of calories burned. My Fitness Pal is designed for you to “eat back the calories” you burned exercising. For instance, if I snorkel for 45 minutes then it says I burned 321 calories. That might be right… but I am a slow swimmer and I like to float a lot while I look at the fish… so I probably burned a little less. I’ll eat an extra snack but not 321 calories worth.
One of my favorite things about My Fitness Pal is the recipe builder. I love finding new recipes… especially from Pinterest… but sometimes they don’t come with any nutritional information. All I have to do is plug in the ingredients and the number of servings, and I get all of the information I need!
I don’t actually participate in the forums… I’m more of a forum stalker. My favorite topic is the Success Stories. Many of the people have lost over 100 pounds and they usually post pictures!
I weigh myself once a day (it keeps me accountable) but I only enter my weight once a week… Friday. They have reports and graphs to help you understand how far you’ve come. Some people on the forums I stalked said they would hit a plateau and lose just a couple of pounds a month but when they looked at their graph they could still see a significant “downward trend”.
I know I could not lose weight without tracking my food and exercises. I’m sure any calorie counting site would work… I’ve just found this one to be my favorite.
*By the way, this is absolutely NOT a sponsored post… I just really like My Fitness Pal!