Friday Fitness: My Fitness Pal

I thought I’d try something new here on The Lunchbox Diaries. How about a Friday Fitness post every – you guessed it! – Friday. Just an average girl’s take on fitness trends, fitness attempts, and fitness failures. All with a sense of humor, of course ;)

We’ll see how it goes.

I’ve been hearing rave reviews from my friends about My Fitness Pal.

I’ve shied away from apps like this because I refuse to count calories. And while I like to think I’m pretty good at portion control, I don’t meticulously measure out how much peanut butter I’m putting in my morning oatmeal.

That said – I’ve been feeling a little bloated lately. Blame it on the heat (or the Sweet Frog) but I feel like I could lose a pound or two (literally) and feel much more comfortable.

So, rather than taking matters into my own hands, I turned to an iPhone app for help. It was super easy (and free) to sign up, which I appreciated.

Three things to point out here:

1. Yes, I put my weight on the internet. Sorry if that bothers/offends/grosses anyone out.

2. And while it is the truth, I do have a desk job, I hate choosing a “sedentary” lifestyle. That’s just depressing.

3. I feel like 1,200 calories isn’t enough. #nomnomnomm

Next came the entering of calories and serving sizes. I have to admit, this program makes it insanely easy to track everything I put into my mouth. Every food I searched came up in the database, which was quite impressive.

PS – Cory’s favorite dinner is hot dogs and velveeta mac ‘n cheese. Of course that’s what I’d eat the night I start tracking my nutrition and calorie consumption for the entire interweb to see.

Just keepin’ it real, folks. Just keepin’ it real.

I was surprised by how close I came to 1,200 calories. I didn’t snack at all yesterday, which is out of the ordinary for me, and I didn’t add 1/3 cup milk I put in my oats.

In a painful way, it’s good to see not just the calories, but the fat, carbs, and protein, too. I wish sugar and sodium were in there as well.

With My Fitness Pal, you can also track how many calories you burn per workout. My only real complaint is that you can’t search fitness classes – and that’s pretty much my workout routine these days.

I’ve broken up with running yet again, so it’s difficult to calculate how many calories I’m burning during my morning workouts.

I need a Nike+ FuelBand. Seriously. Have you seen one of those things?!

I digress.

Overall, I think this is quite a user-friendly weight loss tool. If you’re looking to drop a good bit of weight (i.e. not three pounds), I’d highly recommend My Fitness Pal. It takes the hard work out of counting calories, which I think is super helpful in keeping someone track!

Let’s chat – Have you/do you use(d) any weight loss tools like My Fitness Pal? Were you pleased with the results? 

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43 Responses to Friday Fitness: My Fitness Pal

  1. Megan Parker says:

    I like this idea of your Friday posts. Oh I guess that would imply that I typically don’t like your blog ideas which would be VERY wrong. Can’t wait to read next weeks!!

    • Colleen says:

      Ha, Megan, you’re too funny! I did NOT take it that way! Glad you like it! Any ideas about what you’d like to see – let me know!

  2. Fran says:

    I’ve used My Fitness Pal for a while now. It’s pretty neat. One cool feature is if your friends are using it you can “friend’ them. It’s great to see how others are doing and give them encouragement. The only thing I’m weary of is the calculation of how many calories you burn during exercise and that not all fitness activities are on there. I do like how it charts your weight loss. I’m a huge fan of seeing that line go down! Overall I am a fan of this app.

  3. I just downloaded my fitness pal the other day…and your bday is the day before mine. yay for october babies :)

  4. Emily says:

    Clearly I am a “My Fitness Pal” fan :)
    I was shocked when I saw that I could only eat 1200 calories a day, because I have a love affair with food, but it gets much easier to stay within that limit, the longer you use the program. However, I’ve found that I go over on my protein every single day!! What can I say, I love me some chicken & eggs, yum! Also – how the heck are we supposed to calculate calories for BodyPump?? (If you buy a fuel band, I will too haha). I’ve gotten to where I just don’t plug in my workouts, I assume that I still have 1200 calories per day, and on days I work out, I don’t stress if I go over my calorie limit just a little. So glad we can do this together!!!

  5. I’ve never used an app like that but I’d be interested to track my eats at least for one day just to see what everything adds up to. I really have no idea how many calories I consume per day!

    • Colleen says:

      I really don’t know either! I think every day is so different for me. It was interesting to see the breakdown of calories and such. I thought I’d be waaay over!

  6. i used my fitness pal several months ago when i was trying to “lose a few pounds” (even though looking back i know i didn’t need to – stupid me). i really liked it, and it was very user friendly. not to mention it had pretty much any food you could ever think of in the database. my crazy control freak type A personality liked it for a few weeks, but then i got sick and tired of tracking every little thing. i’m sure it works if you stick to it, but i had a difficult time sticking to the calorie count they gave me so i didn’t see much result from it. i looove my FOOD!

    • Colleen says:

      I think we’re very similar! :) As a fellow type A control freak, I see the benefits in this app – but I’m bad at keeping up with it!

  7. Katy says:

    I’ve tried the calorie tracker My Plate from the Livestrong website, but I found myself forgetting to input my info :( I might have to give this app a try since I always have my phone with me!

  8. I’ve used My Fitness Pal, in fact I was using it up until this week, but like you found, it suggested I take in only 1,200 calories. And 1,200 calories was simply not enough for me and I got paranoid about seeing those red numbers meaning I went over, so I stopped using it. Since I used it for a few weeks it gave me a good idea about portion sizes and how many calories are in what I’m eating so I feel confident I can keep track without actually entering it in. But for people who don’t let seeing those numbers bother them I think it’s a great tool.

  9. Stephanie says:

    I use My Fitness Pal on and off. I wish you could quick add calories burned like you can quick add calories eaten. Also, you can change what nutrients are tracked to include sugar and sodium under settings.

  10. Jada says:

    I love myfitnesspal! I also love scanning the barcodes of everything I eat….because I’m not a real adult.

    Also you can edit the settings so that it tallies up your sodium and sugar too :)

  11. This is the go-to app for most of my clients, and I use it on and off too.

  12. Elle says:

    If you go to the settings on Myfitnesspal you can choose to show other categories like sugar and sodium. I love this app because of saving the meals, adding my own recipes, and such.

    I also really like run keeper. It is way more accurate for calorie burn and they have a bunch of different activities to choose from, not just running.

    Happy weekend!!

  13. Elle beat me to it…I use it to track my sugar and sodium too. Sodium is just depressing….why does everything have so much salt?!

  14. I have tried to use My Fitness Pal but it only lasts for a few days and then I forget about it for a month! Maybe I’ll try it again… :) On an unrelated note, you have the same birthday as my Dad!

    • Colleen says:

      YAYY birthday twins! I know what you mean – I tend to forget about logging in to apps like this as well. We’ll see how it goes! :)

  15. I used My Fitness Pal in the past & agree that it’s very simple to use. I’ve sort of moved away from it, because it started feeling like a chore to enter everything & that was lame.

  16. Calee says:

    Hey Colleen — I love MFP. I used to use LiveStrong, but the features here are really great. I like that I can keep track of macronutrients AND calories and that you can set custom goals.

    I think if I set my goal weight in there it gives me like 1000 calories a day. That’s wrong! 1200 is probably the bare minimum, especially if you work out. I would maybe give yourself some leeway on days where you workout extra hard.

    I’m doing the fitmixer bootcamp and I think the minimum anybody got calorie-wise was 1300 (even the shorties like me) and we’ve been told to eat 6 times a day. I’ve noticed that this model works better for me (eating more often) because I’m not constantly hungry. I can’t remember ever counting calories and NOT being hungry.

    Regarding BodyPump, I’d put that in as Circuit Training. It should be about equal. I think that’s what Lauren from Oatmeal After Spinning does and she teaches that class.

    Also, you should friend me! thechimes. ;) Losing weight is more fun with friends!

    • Colleen says:

      Hey Calee – Thanks for all that input! I agree with the eating 6 times a day. If I wait 6 hours between lunch and dinner, I become a food vacuum as soon as I sit down to eat. It’s ugly. I’ll go friend you right now! :)

      • Calee says:

        Woo. Glad to help! Hope this goes well for you. I’m on there for the same reason as you. Just to lighten the load a couple of pounds.

        Plus, eating alllll day is so much more fun, right? ;)

  17. Calee says:

    Ooh and one more thing — the app has a barcode scanner. Which is bitchin’ when you’re grocery shopping or when you have to pick up something on the road.

  18. I must admit, even though the cheese is super fake, that Velveeta mac n’ cheese is pretty amazing–beats the classic blue box mac every time in our house.

  19. Julie says:

    I broke up with MyFitnessPal. I got too obsessed over it and trying to fit in everything – calories and the right amount of fat/protein/carbs.

    When I first started losing weight, it was perfect but now it just keeps me from living.

  20. Jess says:

    I’ve used my fitness pal since December/January and I think it was very instrumental in helping m lose my weight ( 25lbs) More so than counting calories it helped me understand how much fat/proteins I should be eating too.

    And with most fitness classes , anything Les Mills, there’s an avg count or google it and people post what they got using there calorie watches . LOL

  21. Sienna says:

    I started using my fitness pal this year and it helped me lose my cookie weight from the holidays. I find it helps me avoid those few extra snacks or bites when I know I have to write it down.

    In case anyone’s curious you can also go to settings to change your goal calorie intake. I got sick of seeing the red and upped mine to 1600 which is a little below what will maintain my weight. It’s nice to see days I’m below the line due to exercise.

    Some days I don’t record anything to avoid food anxiety. It can be hard to see how many calories you consume on a splurge day and certain times it’s better to enjoy and not worry.

  22. This is pretty cool! I think I might get too obsessed with it if I tried it…I saw you mentioned that you are also a type A control freak (as am I), so you might understand — I’d want to follow everything the best that I can, so I’d eventually just give it up altogether! I also like to eat too much…way more than 1,200 calories, I’m sure.

  23. iscribbler says:

    I’ve used MyFitnessPal and I do like it for how easy it is to track not only calories but other areas as well, but I’ve had to step away from it lately due to my reaction to calorie counting. I found that I was becoming too obsessed with the number and that caused a more unhealthy relationship with food to develop. :/ It was wonderful, though, in getting me to realize portion sizes and nutrient amounts in the foods I ate.

    • Colleen says:

      Very true – when tools like this become an obsessed rather than a helpful aid, it’s time to step away. Good for you! Glad it helped in the beginning, though!

  24. Sparkpeople is another free option out there as a way to track calories and fitness. It’s a website, but also has an iPhone app. Bonus: you can enter in a recipe (with all the ingredients you use), save it, and then select it from a list and add it to your day. Makes it easier to eat “real” food like chicken and vegetables instead of packaged food with all the calorie information typed on it.

  25. Beth says:

    I’ve used My Fitness Pal and have lost 45 pounds since November. I now have a Fitbit (since I love to walk) and the two sync and it’s great.

  26. I’m the same weight as you but 1 inch shorter and would love to get back to 119 like I was a couple of years ago but it’s such hard work fighting my sweet tooth! 1200 calories sounds so little. Unfortunately I have a phone from the dark ages that can’t get apps. Or the internets for that matter.

    • Colleen says:

      My sweet tooth is my biggest problem!! I think I’d rather enjoy my sweet tooth than be 3 pounds less, though. I mean, this girl needs her dessert! ;)

  27. Anne says:

    I think it’s neat how easy it is to keep a food journal using myfitnesspal and for me it was interesting to see the breakdown of what I eat. However, 1200 calories seems very little, I remember reading that anything below that will kill your metabolism and send your body in starvation mode – which will just make it hang on to these lbs you are trying to lose even more.

  28. Caitlin says:

    I’ve used the LoseIt Iphone app and it’s great! You can add foods, meals, recipes, workouts, and it keeps track of everything- what’s really nice is, say you eat oatmeal, coffee, and fruit everyday for breakfast, you just set up that meal and instead of entering each thing in the morning you can just select ‘previous meal’) I used it for a couple months and feel that I have a much better awareness of what I am ACTUALLY eating everyday, worth the FREE price tag!

  29. Donna says:

    Sugar and sodium are on there, it is on a drop down box under settings. You can add and remove things you dont really need to keep track of.

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