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Myfitnesspal

Posted by on Aug 21, 2014

Back on July 25th I mentioned that I had downloaded the Myfitnesspal app to my phone in an attempt to start addressing some of my health issues. I figured it was time to talk about it since as of last Wednesday I’d been using it for 4 weeks.

myfitnesspal

For those who aren’t in the know, Myfitnesspal is an app that one can use to help keep track of what you’re eating. In a video I did many months ago I talked about a different app called, appropriately enough, Food Diary, and it was a nice little piece of software that, in the long run, was more complicated in some ways and offered less than this app does.

If you want more detail on why I decided to use this app, check out this video:
 


http://youtu.be/vVwRqVoCpjM
 

Suffice it to say for everyone else, I had a health scare over one weekend while out of town and that told me it was time to get a bit more serious about my health and diet. My doctor had recommended I download this sucker and, me being me, I wasn’t going to do it. But I did, and now I’m glad I did.

Basically, this sucker makes you aware of what you’re eating, as well as tracks calories you’re putting away and other nutritional items. The other app just tracked food but this bad boy tracks the nutritional values, offers a way to scan food that have barcodes and tells you what’s in stuff, does all the calculations on a daily basis and, if you put in a goal, gives you a guide as to how much you’re putting away with everything you eat so that you know when to cut back and are more cognizant about what you’re eating.

In my case it was a real eye opener from the beginning. I started to learn that foods I thought were healthy weren’t close to being healthy. I can’t believe how many times I’ve eaten twice the amount of sodium in a day that’s recommended. I was stunned to see how much fat there is in a regular piece of bacon. And desserts… sniff!

Here’s the thing though. Not counting the first couple of days of working with the app, I’ve only gone over my daily allotted number of calories 4 times. Even by messing up sodium, potassium a few times, fat and sugar once or twice, this bad boy tracks calories and I’ve been able to modify my eating habits so that I stay under the calories. Also, you can earn calories back by exercising which, for me, involves walking, something I’d do more often if my back wasn’t hurting but something I’ve been doing more of, in small chunks, when the weather cooperates; I even walked on the treadmill one night. 🙂

net calories

Let’s get back to those calories for a minute. One of the things you should do with the app is set a goal, either a weight loss goal (this is for most of us) or a weight gain goal. You tell it where you are and where you want to go, and how fast you want to get there. I initially told the thing I wanted to lose a pound and a half a week, and realized there was no way I could eat that little amount of food and come close to sticking with it. Instead, I went with a pound a week, told it what I weighed now and the weight I wanted to get to and off I went.

Let’s talk progress, because I have some. At this point I’ve lost 2 1/2 pounds; that’s not bad. Some might not think it’s great but weight loss is always a good thing. However, the two biggest changes have been how I’ve decided to eat and my glucose levels. Let’s take these separately.

For the most part I really haven’t given up anything I’ve wanted, but I have given up some stuff I thought I wanted. For instance, maybe 2 times a week I’ll stop and get an Egg McMuffin at McD’s; instead, I’ll eat 2 pieces of toast or an English muffin, with the comparisons being the McMuffin comes in at 450 calories whereas, depending on type, the muffin or toast comes in around 200 calories. I’ve learned that for the most part I can eat less in the morning so that I can have a better dinner and still have dessert; that suits me just fine.

For lunch, shocking as it may be, turns out a Whopper has less calories than a grilled chicken Caesar salad at Wendy’s; that was a shocker. However, for the same amount of calories I can get a McD’s fish sandwich and a small fries. One offers more food if I start feeling the hunger because I didn’t eat enough breakfast; see how this works?

carbs

Dinner has been interesting. I eat some meals in the hotel room but most of the time I go out. If I go to a chain restaurant or a restaurant that’s popular in a certain area it’s easy to track (oh yeah, they have a massive database of foods and information; all you have to do is search for them during a particular meal).

If you go elsewhere you have to go into the search function and find something close to it. For instance, I go to this particular Japanese restaurant and I had to search separately for grilled chicken and grilled shrimp to add to the rice I get, and it turns out that steamed rice is very low in calories; I don’t do it all the time but most of the time I’m good with it.

If I’m measuring things well, I always have room for dessert. However, I’ve had shocks both good and bad. The good is that the calorie count in something like a Reese’s peanut butter cup or a Snickers isn’t all that bad at night. The bad is that serving sizes can be underwhelming. There’s this particular cake I like in the town I’m working in that turns out to have 530 calories per serving, and when I did the calculations it came out that the piece of cake I got was considered to be 3 servings; ouch! So, I had to cut it into 3 pieces to stay under. However, I learned that I could handle that dessert in small doses pretty well; always good to find out good things about yourself.

Now, the glucose levels. I’ve mentioned it here often that I’m diabetic. Well, my glucose levels were really out of hand I have to admit. My last eye appointment the doctor said it was starting to show up in my eyes; that’s never a good thing. My last doctor appointment, my overall numbers were down but not my much, and there was no other medications to take, and I was almost at the highest level of insulin one could take before moving into the next stage. In four weeks my glucose level has dropped from a monthly average of 230 (that’s extremely bad) to a level calculated on Wednesday of 129; that’s normal! I haven’t averaged normal since the first year I was diagnosed with diabetes; wow!

Picture 55

Am I happy with what this bad boy had done for me? Absolutely! If I hadn’t lost any weight I’d still be pretty happy. But there’s more.

First, you can add the app to all of your electronics, including your desktop or laptop computers, and all the information syncs whenever you update anything. As I mentioned earlier, if you have a problem with something like sodium you can track that, but you can also alter the numbers to suit you. I have a problem with potassium and unfortunately that one doesn’t always work because the government doesn’t make anyone tell you that, so many times they don’t tell you.

Second, if you’re of the mindset to do it there’s an entire community you can join to talk to people about the app, weight loss, health stuff and more. You can also hook up with someone to let them see what you’re eating and, if you create your own meals with the nutritional information they, and others can tap into it. I haven’t gotten up the nerve to do that yet; I want to drop way more weight first. lol

I’m not sure I can do a lot more justice to talking about this thing except to say that if you’re having any problems whatsoever that are related to eating habits, I’d recommend trying this bad boy in a heartbeat. I’ve even got my wife saying she’s going to start using it once she’s home from her conference; never good to start an eating plan when you’re leaving town for such a thing. 😉

That’s all I have. Any questions or comments… I’m ready to entertain them all.
 

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8 Comments »

Hi Mitch!

You know what? This topic made me remember about myself 4 months ago. I was so all out to lose weight and bring back that thin Metz 2 years ago. I downloaded an application about eating and exercise and for 2 months, it went well and I did loose wait. However, the 3rd and 4th month went bad. LOL! I stopped and now, I regret. Sad to say.

Additionally, I am interested in this application here and I am thinking about downloading it. Sure, my family would love to have a fitness pal too to be healthy and to maintain a healthy body.

Thanks for sharing this!
metz recently posted…25 Things Every Marketer Should Know about Marketing AutomationMy Profile

August 22nd, 2014 | 2:14 AM

No problem Metz. For me the weight loss part is a nice addition but I really needed to get my glucose levels under better control and that’s worked wonders. There are other apps one could use to add to it but I’m not going that route right now. Good luck!

August 24th, 2014 | 12:54 PM
Mother:

I’m with you on this. I use MyNetDiary.com – same concept. Love it.

August 22nd, 2014 | 4:17 PM

It’s great when something off the internet actually helps us in the way we want it to right? 🙂

August 24th, 2014 | 12:55 PM

I just came from a business trip with a business that actually work in this field. Actually I was impressed by these guys. They were counting calories, was carefull what they are eating and drinking and if I am not wrong, were using the same app. To be honest, I felt a bit odd, I am social drinker, I smoke and actually I am fan of fat foots and tasty cakes. However, I’ve never had problems with weight loss, quite the opposite, problems with weight gain. After all, I think it is all about genetics, lifestyle as well as general health conditions.
Kaloyan Banev recently posted…Marketing Trends Every Entrepreneur should KnowMy Profile

August 26th, 2014 | 11:12 PM

Kal, for me it was more about trying to rein in my issues with diabetes than anything else, but if the weight loss comes then good for me. 🙂 I have to admit it’s an odd rollercoaster though. For instance, tonight I was over calories by 10 but yesterday I was under calories by more than 500. I think the general idea is to stay close but sometimes things just don’t work that way.

August 27th, 2014 | 12:01 AM
Holly Jahangiri:

I’m on MyFitnessPal, MapMyRun, and SparkPeople. I prefer SparkPeople for logging food, exercise, and goals. It’s got everything, and if you can overlook the now ubiquitous ads, it’s just more FUN than the others. I like MapMyRun to help me plan out walks and meet my distance goals. I’m committed to using both more. All three sync with my Fitbit One. 🙂 That makes all the difference – I’m more motivated to move when I’m getting credit for all of it. (Shame on me!!)
Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Truth or Consequences: 2015 Resolution RouletteMy Profile

January 1st, 2015 | 10:04 PM

If I did all that I don’t think I’d keep up with it at all. I found my way, it’s simple and glucose is under control. In the six month or so I’ve been using it I think I’ve only failed myself a few times and there’s always been extraneous circumstances that have derailed me. Course, since the only exercise I do is walking I might as well let Fitbit handle that one. 🙂 I hope what you’re doing is helping you reach those particular health goals.

January 2nd, 2015 | 12:15 AM
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