When you break the science down losing weight is really simple, eat less and move more. Often it can be difficult to know just how much we are eating and if in fact we are eating less and working towards achieving our goals. Calorie counting can be a great tool help lose weight and, more importantly, keep it off. Whilst there are multiple ways to track your calories an easy and accessible way is to use the app MyFitnessPal on your smart phone/tablet.
Using the app can seem a little confusing at first, but hopefully after reading this you will feel confident enough to start yourself.
Goal Setting & Targets
After adding in details such as age, sex, weight and height MyFitnessPal will generate daily calorie and macronutrient targets for you to hit. In my experience these targets are not always perfect for everyone so it’s best to get a second opinion if they seem to high, low or if you are unsure and would like a second opinion. We are happy to help!
MyFitnessPal is easily the most well-known calorie counting app available. The app is a fantastic tool that turns a daunting task of reading food labels and calculating portion sizes by hand in to a much easier experience. Users can search for the food they consume in the huge database and, once adjusted for portion size, instantly gain in-depth nutritional information. Food can be categorised in to individual meals which combine to create a daily diary.
Overtime you will learn how your eating habits are really affecting your progress and highlight any improves you could implement to make healthier choices. Tracking also becomes easier as you build up your own list of frequently used foods and become better at reading food labels and knowing what to buy when shopping. Consistency is definitely the key, MyFitnessPal report 88% of people who track for 7 days in a row lose weight.
At first weighing foods may seem difficult or even annoying but after time it can become normal and you may even work up the confidence to judge food portions by eye and not rely on the scales.
An additional function of the app that you may not be aware of is “Progress” that allows you to track your bodyweight changes. Consistent tracking over time allows you to see patterns in your progress and can help ensure you are heading in the right direction. Personally, I find this really useful if I am frustrated with progress or having a bad day as it allows me to see how far I have come on this journey so far and how much more I have to do.
It also helps show that weight loss isn’t always linear, meaning that weight loss doesn’t happen in equal drops every day but is rather a zig zag that angles down over time.
I currently use the app on to track my food intake on a daily basis and body weight progress whenever I remember to weigh myself. I am in a lucky mind-set where I can step on a scale and my body weight doesn’t affect my mood, for others this can be a real battle and an unexpected weigh in can ruin their day. Find an approach that works best for you and stick to it.
I do believe that MyFitnessPal should be used when necessary and users should avoid falling in to the trap of becoming obsessed with the minor details. Missing targets by 5-10g here and there is ok, there’s no need to weigh out half a tsp of olive oil or eat an 1/8th of a slice of bread to hit your target (I know that sounds silly but I have had clients do this in the past!) Tracking your calories can be difficult at times, such as when out at a meal for a social event, but with a little bit of patience and mindfulness it can be incorporated in to your daily life and can help you progress towards your goals. Give it a go, it may be that missing puzzle piece to dietary and fitness success for you!