Heard of MyFitnessPal? The app which calculates how many calories you should be eating depending on your goal, tracks how many calories you eat per day and can work out the amount of calories burnt during exercise. Sounds amazing right?! Especially at this time of the year, everyone is motivated to lose weight and get healthy, so My Fitness Pal can assist you with that. I’ve used My Fitness Pal A LOT in the past, i won’t lie about that, but it does have it’s pros and cons.
MyFitnessPal is available on iPhone and Android phones and it’s a FREE app!! You put in some information about how much you weigh, how active you are, whether you are trying to lose or gain weight, then the app will work out a calorie consumption and macro breakdown. It’s also linked with facebook so you can see how your friends are doing too, which is great for motivation! The app allows you to scan the barcodes on foods, i don’t think there has been a food which i haven’t been able to find in it’s library. Once you have had the food once, it gets saved so it’s easy to add it again the next day or whenever you have it. You can track your weight and it’ll even come up with a lovely eye pleasing bar chart to show your progress! You can track all your meals, snacks and water intake. Let me start with the pros of this app!
First of all, by using an app to track your calorie intake, it really does make you more aware of how much you actually eat on a daily basis. Foods which you think are healthy, may prove you wrong or shock you at the high caloric density of that food. It makes you more aware of portion control and will allow you to restrict your intake meaning you lose weight *YAY*. You will need to weigh out your food to make sure you are being exact, but once you have done this for a few months or a year you’ll be able to eye food and roughly know how many grams are in that portion. If you don’t know how much you eat and you are trying to lose weight or gain weight, without tracking how much you are currently eating you will never get to your goal. When you first get the app, just eat how you would usually eat on a daily basis, inputting everything you eat and drink (yes that includes coffee!), just to see how many calories you consume and what your macro (protein, fats and carb) breakdown is. Then you can adjust your diet to make sure you are getting the correct amount of macros and hitting the targets set.
Using an app like MyFitnessPal keeps you motivated whilst living your healthy lifestyle. Knowing that you stuck with your calories and maybe even having a few extra left at the end of the day, gets you pumped. It makes you feel like you have accomplished something. I used to love that sometimes at the end of the day i would need to eat something to get to my calories on point and actually eat more! It especially helps when you can see your friends losing weight, adds an element of competition there, let’s be honest, who likes losing?! Also, by having those friends or relatives there on the same journey as you, gives you some comfort that if you are having a low day, they might be feeling exactly how you are feeling, you can talk to them and they will give you advice on how they got through it.
My favourite thing about this app is the fact that you can technically eat whatever you like. If you know that later on in the evening you are going to want that bit of chocolate whilst watching your favourite TV programme, then you can have it as long as it fits within your calorie intake for the day. This might mean you have to cut back on something else during the day, but it’ll be worth it right?! MyFitnessPal doesn’t give you a food plan. We all know what foods we should limit and what foods we should eat more often. The app is great for us that love a variety of food. I personally can not stick with a meal plan and eat the same things everyday for months on end. Don’t get me wrong this approach will work for some people,, just not for me personally. Being able to change up my food whenever i liked or if i fancied something different, you can! There are really no limits as to what you can eat it’s all about controlling the amount you eat!
Right so, they are all my pros to MyFitnessPal, but what about the cons? Well…
The app isn’t 100% accurate. Labels on food isn’t 100% accurate. Sometimes you can hit all your macro goals, but still have calories left which can be confusing. Food labels are also allowed to be up to 20% off of the actual calorie density of a product. So if you go 50 calories under or over of your target don’t go stressing. You may find that you need to change your macronutrient goals on the app depending on you as a person. For me, i know that if i have a high carb intake it will make me feel sluggish and sleepy, too high fats and it’ll cause me stomach pain so i stick with high protein which makes me feel alert, full and energised. You can adjust the percentage of macros in the ‘more’ and ‘goals’ section of the app. This is just a trial and error really, you just have to understand how food makes you feel both mentally and physically. The app will automatically set the percentage for you but feel free to change this if you need to.
If you don’t hit your targets, or go over target, for some people this can be very demotivating and cause guilt eating, or if you are like me, with the mentality of go hard or go home, end up eating everything in sight because you went 20 calories over. This isn’t healthy. That’s one reason i don’t track anymore, i found myself being obsessed with the amount of calories i was on, and if i was to go over the total amount, i would binge, quite heavily. This is NOT healthy, for your mind or body. If you go over on calories, simply either eat a little less the next day or just forget about it! You have to do what is right for you with this one. If you feel better the next day by eating a little less than that is up to you. But don’t punish yourself for eating a little too much, sometimes we have social events and can’t help ourselves, including me!! Also, try not to get so obsessed with the whole calorie thing. I know that it can be addictive, especially when you start seeing results, but you can’t live your whole life counting calories, it’ll ruin food for you.
Which leads me onto my last point. Using MyFitnessPal can be very time consuming. Having to weigh out all your food to the exact gram, scan it in, make sure you select the right one, can be very tedious at times. I do understand that not everyone has the time to weigh out food 24/7, especially if you have a busy job, or a full time mum, other priorities get in the way. However, having said that, like i mentioned earlier, once you’ve done it for a while you will roughly know the amount of porridge you are eating, how much chicken you are cooking and it’ll be a lot easier. One thing i would recommend if you don’t have the time to weigh out all your food, is to pre plan your meals. I used to plan the night before exactly what i was going to eat the next day. It might sound ridiculous but it made my hectic life a lot easier. This way i had all my food prepped, planned and ready to eat, i just had to eat them. So i completely get that weighing food can be boring and pretty time consuming, but it’ll be helping you out in the long run to reaching your ultimate goal!
I think that’s pretty much it guys! To sum up, i do think that MyFitnessPal is a great app, but you just have to make sure that you have a good mental strength and understanding of what you are doing. As soon as you find yourself getting a little obsessed with counting calories or macros, take yourself off of it for a few weeks and have a break. I haven’t counted my calories now for over a year i just use my eyes and how hungry i am. I know that for me counting calories would make me feel unnecessarily anxious and restricted. But if you are looking to achieve a certain goal, weight loss, muscle gain or prepping for a competition of some sort, then YES 100% i would recommend this app! If you want to know more about macros or flexible dieting then comment below and i’ll get a post up! Have you, or do you use MyFitnessPal? What are your thoughts on the app?