“ Diet and fitness community „
I've been struggling with losing weight for years and have tried so many times to combat my love of food and my terrible metabolism to no avail. My friend told me about myfitnesspal.com and I immediately jumped at the idea and signed up that day: it is essentially a website for calorie counting but it is so much more than that.
When you first sign up and create an account it asks for your current weight, your desired weight and other important pieces of information such as your height, gender and age. It also asks how you'd describe your everyday activities and gives 4 options from sedentary to very active. Finally it asks how much you expect yourself to exercise in an average week and how much you'd like to lose in an average week in pounds. It recommends that you aim to lose 1 pound a week but you can pick other options such as maintaining your current weight or even gaining weight: I find the fact that it recommends you to stick to losing 1 pound a week instead of going for a higher goal as proof that, even though it is a website to help people diet, it is definitely focused on people's health. After you have filled in all this information it creates your fitness profile and gives you a recommendation for your daily calorie limit. You can update this profile at any time if you want to lose less or more a week or whenever your height/weight changes. The fact that this site is so easy to use and update is definitely one of its best features.
-Using the site-
Once you've made your profile you can 'track food' and 'track exercise'. In both of these categories there are pretty much every type of food and exercise that you can think of: I don't think I've ever tried to type in an item of food that it hasn't had in its massive database. If you come across something that isn't on the site, however, you can add it to the database as long as you know the relevant nutritional information.
It is important to note that this is an international site and therefore some foods will be stored in the database in portions in grams or cups: make sure you look at what the portion is stated as as it may be much less or more than what you've actually eaten and you could be mistakenly filling out your food diary for the day.
Once you've been using the site for a while it logs which foods you eat the most and makes a shortlist for you so you can pick food without having to type it in every time. It also has tabs for recent foods, meals, recipes and my foods. I personally don't really use the meals or recipes features but I reckon I will be doing so when I am actually cooking my own meals, since I've been in catered halls at university.
In the exercise section it shows the calories you expect yourself to be burning (calculated from how much exercise you expect yourself to do in a week) and as you do this it fills itself in. When you put in exercise it adds the calories burnt to your daily calorie limit so you can eat more food if you wish - or it'll bring you down to your limit if you've gone over.
On the main page of the website it shows you your 'daily summary' where you can see your calories limit for the day, what calories you've had and what exercise you've done. It also has some features akin to Facebook in that you can friend people and each person has a wall on their main page where their calorie intake and exercise undertaken appear as status updates: you can keep your diary private or make it public, meaning that your friends or people visiting your profile can see it. There is also a forum on the website where you can discuss dieting or anything really with other members: it certainly feels like a community on there.
I've never had any problems with this website and for anyone thinking of dieting, I would definitely advise them to use it since you can customise so many different things and definitely make your own personal fitness profile.
It also has a mobile app so you can add food and exercise on the go: this is great so you can't forget to add something later!
I would say that it acts as a sort of conscience in that, whereas before using it, I wouldn't have thought twice about snacking, now I tend to see whether I really need it and what sort of exercise I'd have to do to make it back to my calorie limit.
It's completely free - even the mobile app!
As I said in my title, honesty is the best, and only, policy with this website. If you eat something, make sure you log it into your diary instead of saying 'if I don't log it down it doesn't count' and if you eat a lot of something, put down the amount you eat instead of a smaller one. At the end of the day, this website is trying to help you so if you're lying to make sure you're always under your calorie limit you may as well not bother. This website only works for you if you're honest with it.
Personally, I love this website and would recommend it to anyone - people who have started using it on my recommendation have also been equally as pleased.
Gaining half a stone after every weight loss diet meant I was 14 or more 'diets' larger than I should be for my height - i.e. 7 stones overweight. My husband, who is tall and thin began to use MyFitnessPal on his iPod Touch after Christmas to lose half a stone. I watched him use it for two weeks at every mealtime and began to realise that he finally understood what I've had to go through to try to lose weight over the years. I have an Android mobile and decided to 'join' him. It's been 10 weeks and I've lost 24lbs and even on a fortnights holiday in an all inclusive hotel I was still able to lose 4lbs! I've projected that I could be down to my comfortable weight by Christmas. For my height and weight loss of 2lb per week I can only eat 1200 calories but this is now easy and I gain calorific value to use on extras if I exercise on my bike or treadmill. The best thing about MFP is its ease of use, no need to write things down or calculate by myself and I love scanning in meals. When I go to my parent's house I have to fish the packaging out of the recycling bin to scan but they're getting used to this now! With each diet I always say 'this diet is the diet of all diets that will work' but this doesn't feel like a diet. No more forking out costs to go to slimming clubs and with my husband's support and my sons partner also on it I have as much accountability as I need to keep me honest - they can see my reports ever day. I can add food on wherever I am as long as I have my mobile or an internet connection for a computer, so I don't have to sit down at the end of a day and try to remember what I've eaten. It really is free and easy. Thank you MyFitnessPal.
I have lived in my own little bubble for years trying every diet plan available to no avail. I would cheat on the plans where food was banned, I would over eat on the plans where you had to limit your food intake. I wouldn't eat breakfast, drink water and I thought 1 Zumba class a week was the height of exercise and I didn't need to do anything else. More fool me...
That was when a friend of mine told me to have a look at MyFitnessPal. As soon as I signed up to this app I started to change my life. No wind ups and no fluffing, this application could possible be saving my life. I had reached a weight that was unrealistic to think I was going to live a long, healthy life and with having a little boy I wanted to make sure I saw his 30th never mind 21st birthday! I started adding my details in and easily set it up on My Ipad to use at home in the house. I also found that this app was android compatible too so I could sync it with my HTC Wildfire S to use on the go. Whatever you do on either machine, it syncs them together and accurately tracks your days calories, exercise and all your measurements.So easy and so simple. You can also access it on the web so you are never out of reach of your prgramme.
A huge database of foods makes it virtually impossible not find the foods you are looking for but on the smallest chance you have one, it is really easy to add the food to the database. I also love the way it keeps a history of your favourite foods for ease of use. I can have the whole days calories allocated and set up before I leave the house in the morning. Gret knowing where you stand and keeping you on track.
The final great function it has is the "If every day was like this you would be ???lbs." It is great to get feedback from the programme that you are doing it right and it's working for me as I have already list 16lbs in 45 days! Pair it up with any app that can monitor walking and exercise calories, such as Cardio Fitness app and you are on a winner!
I have grown rather evangelical about this site of recent and I reckoned I'd take my evangelism out into cyberspace!
I've had a bit of a jelly belly for oooohh, at least as long as I can remember now and although I am a gym addict, I am unfortunately a chocoholic so the belly seemed to be set to be here to stay. The healthy diets never lasted long and who really has the time for looking at the back of packets and counting calories all day long, noting down everything eaten in a notebook all day? Well, that's where this site comes in.
Primarily, myfitnesspal.com is an online calorie counter. When my sister first told me about it I was extremely sceptical. First of all, surely it would just be full of faulty data and guessed calories not tied to particular brands? Secondly of all, if any brands were available to look up, surely it would be American brands and not British? Oh, how wrong I was. The wonder of this site is that users themselves can upload nutritional information on particular products so the database is always expanding. And other users can confirm whether nutritional information is correct so that you know you can trust it if you don't have packaging handy to check, for example. The site is quite popular so a huge amount of nutritional information is now available on it, even for branded restaurant foods eg. Pizza Hut and J.D. Wetherspoons etc.
Registering for an account is quick and simple. On signing in you can see a tab at the top of the page. Simply click on Food and go to your diary where it will have the date at the top which allows you to scroll through days and will have Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Snacks clearly marked. You simply click to add a food and then search for whatever it is that you're looking for in the convenient search box that pops up.
This really makes calorie counting quick and easy and even, dare I say it, almost fun. It not only records your calories but the amount of fat, protein, carbs etc. that you eat and you can look at a detailed nutritional breakdown for the day (although this is where the site is perhaps weak as a lot of users will not submit full nutritional information on say sodium content of foods etc. so the detailed breakdown is not always accurate). However, most of the time, you can trust what the calculator tells you about your carbs, fat, protein and calories and if you really want the diary to be detailed, then you can simply upload your own information for the foods you commonly eat and use that information instead of the information supplied by other people. You can also record daily exercise and the calorie counter will take allowance for this and add additional calories on to your daily goal depending on how much exercise you have completed.
You are also able to have your own settings eg. for how much weight you want to lose, how fast and taking into account whether you're in an active job or a sedentary job.
The site also has useful functions for recording your weight and measurements so that you can check on your progress regularly and also has helpful forums where you can go to ask other users questions about weight loss or just to chat.
It works almost like a calorie counters Facebook in that you can add users as friends and leave and read each others' comments which is a great motivational tool as most people on the site are really supportive. Some users on the forums will set up challenge groups which you can choose to join and again, this is another great motivation.
And how much do you pay for this service? Absolutely nothing. Diddly squat! Believe me, sometimes it surprises me that a fabulous service like this still runs for absolutely free! They have also released iPod, iPad and Android apps now to make it even easier to record your calories while on the go.
After years and years of having a stubborn belly that refuses to shift, this seems to be the tool to finally be producing results for me as I've lost 7lbs since mid-January and couldn't be happier with it. There's a great sense of community there if you interact in the forums as well as lots of useful information and opinions both from people trying to lose weight and from fitness fanatics monitoring their calories for fitness or muscle building reasons. And since you don't have to pay a penny, I'd say it is definately worth a try for anyone wanting to lose a little!
I have been on a bit of a mission to lose a stone since Christmas time really. I have never been overweight, or even anything approaching overweight, but I am always wanting to lose a stone or two and have tried every diet going.
For the first few months of the year I tried calorie counting on my own. I created a spreadsheet on my laptop, and had a good guess how many calories I would need to be consuming a day to lose weight. This was okay for a few weeks but I didn't seem to be losing anything, which isn't really surprising giving most of it was guess work.
Around March I discovered MyFitnessPal, and now I swear by it.
== What is it? ==
MyFitnessPal.com is a free calorie counting website and diet plan. It is actually a very simple concept.
You register, enter basic information e.g. name, weight, height, and how much weight you would like to use. MyFitnessPal will then tell you how many calories you are allowed a day to achieve this goal. You then fill in a daily food diary, entering every single thing you eat. You also enter any exercise you have done. The more you exercise, the more calories you are given that day.
There are progress charts available, where you can check on your weight loss, calories consumed and the exercise you have done.
As well as the website, MyFitnessPal.com, there are also apps available for Apple, Android and Blackberry, all free of charge.
== Registering ==
The registration process is straightforward. You first need to create a username and password.
The second step of registering is personal information. At this point you will be asked the following:
- Current Weight
- Goal Weight
- Country/Post code
- Activity level (Sedentary, lightly active, active or very active)
- How many times a week you excericse
- How much you want to lose a week
This is it. You are given the option to invite friends but you do not have to do this and can simply press the 'skip' button.
Once you have entered all your information you will be given suggested fitness and nutrition goals.
Nutrition goals will tell you how many calories and carbs you can consume a day, as well as how much fat and protein you should be aiming to eat.
Fitness goals are straightforward. For example they may tell you to try to exercise 3 times a week for thirty minutes burning a total of 400 calories.
At the bottom of the page you will be told your projected weight loss per week, and how much you should lose by a certain date, normally 5 weeks away from the date you signed up.
== Food Diary ==
The idea of filling a food diary may fill you with dread, but MyFitnessPal makes it very straight forward.
If using the website, you need to select 'Track Food'.
Your food diary is split into four sections; breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
To add food, you need to click the 'Add food' link. There are a few different ways of adding food. You can search the food database, which contains thousands and thousands of products. If you want a specific brand you can enter the name of this. You can find specific brands of products for exact calories, or you may choose to just search a general product. For example, if you had a sandwich you may choose to just look for 'bread' or you may want to be more precise and enter "Kingsmill 50/50 thick".
If you shop in one of the well known supermarkets, you will find this a straightforward process as the majority of products are already added.
If you cannot find the product you want to add, you are able to create your own food listing, under the 'My Foods' link. You simply enter the name and nutritional information and it will be saved to your account to use whenever you want.
Another way of adding foods is to create a recipe. If there is a particular recipe you cook a lot at home, it is probably a good idea to save this to your account. It is straight forward, but a little time consuming. You enter the name of the recipe, for example 'Sausage Casserole'. You then enter all the ingredients and amounts. You can then add the whole recipe to your diary, rather than individual ingredients every time you have this meal.
As well as adding food, you can also add the amount of water you have drank each day.
== Exercise ==
Adding exercise to your diary is very similar to adding food.
Exercise is split into 'Cardiovascular' or 'Strength', though you only gain extra calories for cardiovascular exercise.
As with adding food, you are able to search an exercise database. This is very extensive, and I am yet to do an exercise which isn't listed. Once you have found the exercise you want, you just enter how long you did it for, and hey presto you will be told how many calories you burned. This will then be added to your calorie allowance for that day.
For example, if your calorie goal is normally 1200 a day, but you do 30 minutes of light cleaning (oh yes, that is listed on there!) your calorie allowance will go up to 1261, as you burned 61 calories cleaning.
== Weigh In ==
MyFitnessPal recommend you weigh yourself at least once a week, and record the information online. They suggest weighing yourself at the same time of day each time, perhaps first thing in a morning.
You can also record neck, waist and hip measurements to check on weight loss.
== Reports ==
There are three different report categories, nutrition, fitness and progress.
This report examines the nutritional aspect of your diary. You are able to choose what part of nutrition you would like to look at more closely, whether this be calories consumed, fat or carbs, the list is huge. You then choose what reporting period you would like to look at, such as the last week.
When you have made your choices you will be short a bar chart displaying your progress.
Here you can either look at calories burned, or how many minutes spent exercising. As with nutrition you can choose what time period you want to look at.
This is again shown in the form of a bar chart.
This shows weight loss and inch loss. You can look at inches lost from the neck, waist or hips, or you can look at how much weight you have loss. You will then be given a line chart showing your loss.
== Community ==
As a MyFitnessPal member you have access to the forums, great for support and just general chit-chat with others also trying to lose weight.
== The App ==
I mainly use MyFitnessPal through the app on my android phone.
The app is free to download and easy to use. You do not have access to all the features available on the website, but you are able to do the important things, such as add food and exercise in the same way you would do online.
The thing I love about the android app is at the end of the date, when you click on the 'Complete this Entry' link you are told how much you will weigh in 5 weeks time if you eat like this every day. This is either really inspiring if you have had a healthy day, or a kick up the backside if you have had a bit of a pig-out.
I find the app really handy, as you can add things as you are eating them, meaning you don't forget anything. There is also a barcode scanner you can use to add products, another handy feature.
== My Experience ==
I have been using MyFitnessPal for around 2 months now, and I am only 3lbs from reaching my goal. I love how easy it makes dieting. It is also great to have those calorie amounts in front of you. If you are running low on calories that day, you know you could go do a little exercise and earn yourself some more.
It makes you realise exactly what you are eating, and seeing the amount of calories in some foods is a massive shock.
This is a great diet plan that actually works, and best of all, it is free!
I have already recommended the website to many people who have also become addicted. Try this for yourselves!