I have another great fitness tip to share with my wonderful readers, and I’ve made reference to it in past posts. However, I think it’s important enough to my fitness success to deserve its own post. I’m talking about My Fitness Pal which is a free app you can get for your iPhone, iPad, or Mac computer. You can also get it free for your Samsung phone. This app has changed my life in many ways and I wanted to let you know so that you can utilize it too if you choose. I’ve always journaled my food choices each day as I feel it really helps me get control of my eating, both portion sizes and types of food as well. It’s not just helpful for me though, studies have shown that people who journal lose more weight than people who don’t. In a study published by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, they found that people who kept a food journal regularly lost SIGNIFICANTLY more weight than people who completed a food journal seldom or never. According to a study published by the Journal of Preventative Medicine, people who keep a food diary lost TWICE AS MUCH WEIGHT as people who don’t.
In lieu of the paper and pen journaling I used to do, the My Fitness Pal app on my iPhone is really easy to use. When you set it up the first time you enter your weight, height, and fitness goals, like how much weight you’d like to lose. Then, as you go through your day you enter the food you’ve eaten and the exercise that you’ve done. The app pulls up options for each food item you enter and you choose the type of food and portion size that best reflects what you’ve eaten. It then calculates your calories eaten for the day and how many you have left. When you exercise, you enter the type of exercise you’ve done and length of time, and it computes the calories burned also.
Another cool thing the app does is keep track of the steps you take each day. It then subtracts the calories burned from your steps off of your daily calories. So the more you walk the more you get to eat! Yay! As you can see, by 2:02 pm I had taken 3,461 steps and from those steps, I had burned 35 calories. Free calories rock!
The app also shows the nutritional components of what you’re eating each day. This is really helpful to me to see what I’m eating, and if I’m, for example, eating too many carbs I can make adjustments to my diet based on the information I’ve gotten from the app. Very useful!
At the end of the day, when you’ve entered all of your food and exercise information you just click the “complete entry” and it tells you what you’d weigh in two weeks if you would continue eating the way you ate for that day. Sometimes I don’t have time to finish my journaling on the same day, but that’s not a problem because I have set it up to notify me if I haven’t entered anything in my journal by 10:00 am. At that time, I usually finish my diary from the day before, click complete my entry, and then begin journaling for the next day. If I miss a day of journaling, which I try never to do, I will just get back to it as soon as I can and continue on from that point.
My favorite part of the app is the weight tracker. Once I weigh myself, which I do first thing in the morning without fail, I enter it into My Fitness Pal. The app then keeps track of my weight and shows the changes, up or down. It also shows my weight for the last month, 3 months, 6 months or 1 year. I find this very useful for looking at patterns, to see if changes need to be made.
When you click on “more” you see all kinds of extra, useful information on the app like articles and other useful information.
Also, under the section of “More”, is an area called Apps and Devices. There you can connect other apps and devices to My Fitness Pal. If you have a Fitbit, Jawbone UP, MapMYFitness, and many more devices or apps, they can all be synced to your My Fitness Pal app. So that’s the “skinny”, so to speak, about one my favorite fitness secrets to my success. It has been such a great way to continue my successful fitness journey. Try it and I promise it will help you live a life of vitality- like Valerie!