I should start with a small disclaimer: I don’t mean to overly promote MyFitnessPal (MFP) the brand. In the end, there are several apps that work in a similar fashion. That said, I have used MFP consistently over the past year and a half and feel I have met my personal goals in large part to it. Therefore, I’m going to talk about it, hype it up, and explain how to use it for yourself but only because I truly stand behind it from experience. Fore some parts of this post, the same is true for MyFitnessPal and any other calorie tracking app but not always. The below is a “How To” on getting started using the app:
Step 1: Download the app or go to the website and create a login.
Step 2: Go through the set up but don’t worry about what goals you have activity level, etc. That is for later.
Step 3: Track what you normally eat for 1 week. Be diligent about catching EVERYTHING. A food scale is almost a must and a small investment for your kitchen. DON’T WORRY about what calories, macros, grams of protein, etc. you’re getting. This is just to set you up.
*Optional Step*: Look up the username “tribley” and add me as a friend!
Honest Truths – During your “calibrating week”, here are some things to be aware of:
- It’s easier to be exact by eating at home and using your food scale.
- Use the barcode scanner and if you’re searching for a food, try to get the green badge “verified” next to it.
- Foods labeled “raw” (ex. “Carrots – Raw”) are good indications they are correct (probably from USDA)
- Check the break down and see if it “adds up”. There are 4 calories per gram of protein and carbohydrate and 9 calories per gram of fat. If it says 30g of fat but 200 calories that can’t be right.
- If you eat out, see if you can go to place where the nutrition facts are online (Chipotle, Subway, Potbelly’s, Roti are my personal go-to’s). You can enter the information yourself or search to see if someone else already has.
Where will this take you? It’s all up to you but tracking is not the miserable task so many people make it out to be. MyFitnessPal is doing the “calorie counting” for you. All you have to do is enter your food and even that gets easier the more you do it as the app saves your previous foods, recipes, entries, etc. It’s no different than tracking your gas mileage or being good about a budget – like them, you just have to commit to doing it. You have to know what your issues are before you can fix them and nutrition is 90% of the battle. Better yet though – logging your food to align with your goals also gives you the freedom to work in foods you might have thought you “could never eat” on a nutrition plan. How good is that!?
Do the 3 steps above and if you want more information going forward, get in contact with me, and we can start working toward your goals.