Training Tip – Counting the calories using MyFitnessPal


MyFitnessPal on my iPhone

One of the most important aspects of getting fit and healthy is to take charge what we eat. That means we have be more aware of calories, nutrients, carbohydrates, protein, fat etc etc etc. I don’t want to go into the details of what you should or shouldn’t eat. The purpose of this post is just to share with you what works for me.

The most difficult thing about counting calories is actually recording what you eat. My personal trainer has asked me to start keeping a food journal which is a real pain in the *** to me and I couldn’t find the motivation to start that.

That all changed when I found this wonderful iPhone app called MyFitnessPal which is basically a free online calorie counter which helps you record your calorie intake. If you don’t use an iPhone you can still use the service free online. I’ve been using it for over a month now and I can honestly say I can now not live without it. Everytime I sit down for a meal I would use it before I make my order.

The most useful features that I use on a daily basis are:

– goal setting to lose weight
– a calorie intake plan based on the weight loss goal
– an exercise tracker which allows me to track how much I burn
– basic measurement tracker (weight, waist etc etc)
– a pretty comprehensive database of food with the nutrition information- carbs, fat, vitamins, sodium, protein etc etc (try and type any food from any brand and chances are it is listed)
– a way to add food info in the event it’s not listed in the database
– keeps track of favourite food that you eat
– a button you can click at the end of every day when you complete your logging for the day
– an estimate of what you weight will be in 5 weeks time every time you complete your logging for the day

This application impacts me most because I now have a choice everytime I eat. I can key in the food and know immediately the impact if I choose to eat it. I couldn’t do that before so I just ate everything I fancied. And even if I choose to eat what I’m not supposed to (it happens once in awhile) I now know exactly how much exercise I have to do to compensate for submitting to my whim.

The other thing I find extremely is that I can actually plan my food days in advance. I just sit down every sunday and key in the food I intend to eat for the whole week. Pretty useful eh?

The most important thing about MyFitnessPal is that everynight is a potential for success. When you see what the estimate weight loss (or weight gain) is everytime you finish logging, you get motivated.

I think for many people like me, it’s pretty difficult to change our lifestyle and food is an important part of  our lifestyle. If you want to start getting fit and losing weight is part of your goal, counting calories is a huge step forward and MyFitnessPal really works. It gives you choice and choice is important.

You don’t have to start overhauling what you eat overnight but if you use calorie counters like MyFitnessPal (or any other app out there for that matter) I’m confident you’ll be able to start making different choices.

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