Tools We Love: MyFitnessPal
When you’ve got plenty of items on your priority list (read: any entrepreneur), it’s hard to keep your fitness plans in check. You can pencil in a workout, but sometimes it feels like we’re simply treading water no matter how hard we paddle toward our weight-loss goals.
Is this because our bodies hate us? Not at all! It could be because we haven’t nailed down our diet yet. And no wonder: it’s a real pain to count calories, isn’t it?
If you’d rather not whip out a calculator and spreadsheet every time you sit down for a meal, you’re not alone. But lucky for us, we’ve got a fitness coach right here in our pocket.
MyFitnessPal is a free app that helps track your calories and eating habits. Gather data easily to figure out which foods might be causing your weight gain or stagnation.
Get the Facts
MyFitnessPal is all about helping you gain insight into your diet without interrupting your life. Which foods are causing you the most grief, calorie-wise? The results might surprise you. (Who knew mangos were so high in calories?!)
The best part is, you won’t need to search for the exact calorie content of every food you consume. The app has a HUGE database of nutritional info — and you can easily scan barcodes to get exact numbers. You can even find information for hundreds of restaurants, so it’s easy to check whether you can (or should) order that delicious Shrimp Scampi from the Olive Garden!
Once you set your current weight and your fitness goals, the app will automatically calculate the optimum calorie count for you. Let’s say you want to lose half a pound per week for the next few months: based on your weight, height, and gender, MyFitnessPal will determine (and help you track) the number of calories you should eat per day to reach your goal.
Another great feature? The app makes sure you do this in the healthiest way possible. If you’re under-eating, it will let you know.
Sometimes, the hardest part about getting (and staying) fit is maintaining your motivation over the long haul.
My FitnessPal can help in a few ways. To stave off loneliness, join in-app challenges to win prizes or connect with other health nuts! To stay informed, the app displays a feed of interesting health articles. And for day-to-day encouragement, the app provides a rich, visual outline of what you eat (and how much) so you know you’re staying on track.
Easier Meal Planning
Because you know how many calories are allotted for your day, and you’ve learned what food items are higher or lower in calories, it’s easier to plan meals around a healthy diet.
So if you know that you will have coffee with cream and toast for breakfast, plus a smaller lunch, you won’t need to worry about eating that big bowl of cheesy potato soup for dinner. And because MyFitnessPal also tracks your exercise and activity level, you can still have that Hershey bar for dessert as long as you burn some additional calories.
MyFitnessPal holds you accountable by sending notifications and reminders in case you forget to log a meal. You get little messages saying, “Good job! You’ve logged 50 days in a row! Don’t forget to log before midnight tonight to keep the streak going!”
Whether you are seriously trying to lose those extra pounds, or just want to maintain your current weight, MyFitnessPal is a great accountability buddy. We can say from first-hand experience that this one really works!