Newest Review: ... 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... more
Your Personal Fitness Friend
Member Name: GuruOnAMountain
Advantages: Handy, helpful and totally free!
Disadvantages: It makes weight loss seem almost easy!
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!
Summary: An excellent online calorie counter.