I've had this app for a while, and when I go into one of my fitness kicks I always reach for it. With so much information flung at you from the media, how are you supposed to know what you're doing right and what you're doing wrong? I stopped reading women's magazines because on one page I was told to go on a 'detox diet' of peppers and vinegar and the other told me to go on a diet which consisted of juicing random vegetables into a disgusting brown paste and only consuming this for 2 months. So instead of taking in this garbage talk I decided to do things the way I was taught when I was younger, cut down on sweets and processed foods, snack on fruit and vegetables and ensure you're getting all your food groups in moderation.
My fitness app conveniently sets up all your details and devises a mini plan for you depending on your height, weight and how much weight you want to lose. The detailing is reassuring as you can tap in how quickly you want to lose it (within reason of your health) and what job you do so you can work out a realistic exercise goal and a realistic weight loss goal of 1 or 2lbs a week. There are also options to add recipes to share with others and you can even add foods to the seemingly massive library of available foods by entering the nutritional details and calorific value.
After setting up, the app is pretty easy to use on the go. With each meal group you can type in which foods you have consumed throughout the day and it tots up the calories for you, and there is even an option to view the entire nutritional value of all the food consumed (ie how much sugar, fibre, protein etc). You can also add in how much exercise you've done such as going for a walk for 20 minutes burns up to 140 calories, so it adds it on to your calorie allowance to remind you to continue to energise yourself by eating.
One thing I find quite creepy about this app is that it's based around a social aspect of adding all your friends and sharing information about who's eaten what and who's lost weight encouraging some form of warped obsessive competition. I understand that some people may find this encouraging and fun but for me? I'd rather my friends didn't know about that sneaky bag of malteasers I wolfed down on my way home from work! I read an article recently about similar apps causing a stir within pro-anorexia sites, and many users were engaging with each other through these fitness and diet apps to compete with each other and encouraging starvation. Although my fitness app does alert you if you're under your calorie goal and what physical implications may occur if you carry on under eating, it certainly doesn't deter all of us.
I think this is a good app for general awareness of your eating habits but I wouldn't recommend taking it too seriously. Many of the foods listed in the library actually have incorrect nutritional value therefore you're getting an inaccurate reading of your daily allowance and it is easy to become obsessed with filling in your fitness diary. I recommend using it as a general outline if your eating habits if you're starting out with the whole health eating, but taking it too seriously can lead to dangerous territory.
A couple of years ago, following the birth of baby number two, I decided that I needed to lose the baby weight (and, being brutally honest, the excess weight I'd been carrying since my pint-drinking student days). I successfully lost three stone following the Weightwatchers Online programme and, with this, one of the things I found most helpful was being able to track what I ate / how many points I had left for the day on an app on my phone. Since then, I have kept the majority of the weight off but still need to diet from time to time as I do find that if I eat 'normally' I end up slipping back into the bad habits that I had before - and there is no way that I want to get back to the stage where I need to lose that three stone all over again. However, with less weight to lose, I didn't really want to pay the monthly subscription fee for Weightwatchers Online. When some of my friends recommended 'My Fitness Pal' , I decided that it was worth giving it a go.
* About the App *
My Fitness Pal is a free app for iPhone / iPad which is available for download via the App Store. It is also available for Android, Windows and Blackberry phones. The basic premise of My Fitness Pal is that it is a calorie counter and diet tracker, enabling you to keep track of what you eat whether you are trying to lose weight, maintain weight or even gain weight. You start by creating a profile - a user name, an uploaded photo (should you choose to do so) and then some information about you. The information you need to enter is your current weight, your goal weight, height, gender, date of birth, activity levels and workout aims for each week. You can then decide how much weight you would like to lose per week - mine is set to losing 1lb a week, as realistically I am just aiming to lose 10lbs by our summer holiday. This will calculate your daily calorie goal - mine is 1490 calories per day.
* Food Diary *
The main purpose of My Fitness Pal is to enable you to track what you eat using a food diary. Clicking on the diary brings up a daily planner with sections for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Snacks. At the bottom of the screen are three rows of figures - 'Totals' which keeps a running total of the calories that you have consumed as well as carbs, fat, protein, sodium and sugar; 'Daily Goal' which is a reminder of what you should be aiming for in those areas for an optimum day, and 'Remaining' which basically tells you what you have left. Tracking using this app is really easy - I am very impressed by how comprehensive their database of foods is, it is extremely rate that I need to enter a food manually as everything from shop-bought food to popular lunchtime take-away food from places like Pret a Manger and Eat already seems to be on that database. For things like fruit and vegetables you do need to weigh out your food to get a truly accurate representation of how much you are eating, but I usually just guesstimate based on one of the options on the database (i.e. five strawberries, half a cup of cucumber slices, a medium banana). Like Weightwatchers, you also need to weigh out portion sizes, especially with things like pasta where it is very easy to eat more than you should.
The other feature I like is the ability to build and save your own recipes. This feature is slightly hidden in the app as it is stored in the 'Profile' section, but clicking on 'Edit Foods and Exercises' brings up a menu which includes 'My Recipes'. You can then use the food database to work out the calories / nutritional content in home-cooked meals, and these will then stay available as an option for future tracking. This is especially useful if you find yourself cooking the same meals on a regular basis.
* Exercise *
In addition to the food tracking, you also have the option to add any calories burned through exercise. These calories are added to the daily total of calories available to you to eat - so a Saturday morning run, for example, earns me enough extra calories for a few glasses of wine on a Saturday night. This is great for encouraging me to do more exercise - I don't track any short walks (the school run for example) but if I do a fast walk that lasts for over 20 minutes I will add that to my tracker. I find that doing this, and sticking to my calories the majority of the week, means that I have a surplus of weekly calories come the weekend and I can relax a bit. There are a variety of exercise options listed on the tracker - although, with exercise, it is obviously difficult to know exactly how many calories you have burned as there are so many different factors to take into account.
* Graphs and Progress Reports *
There are also a couple of features which allow you to track your progress. The first are the summary charts on the home page where you can get a weekly overview of your eating habits - from a bar chart showing daily calories consumption and pie-charts showing how your diet breaks down into carbs, fat and protein (useful if you are trying to limit your carb consumption). There is also a chart showing your progress towards your weight goals. This is a line graph which is updated each time you enter a new weight - I always find watching the line go down very motivating. You can also track measurements on this screen, although the options are just for neck, waist and hips.
* Social Element *
The final element of the My Fitness Pal app is the social aspect. If you have friends using the app you can 'connect' with them and cheer each other on in your weight loss diary. The privacy settings are fairly good - you don't have to reveal your weight to your friends, although any losses/gains come up in the Facebook style news feed (in the style of Brownie_Queen lost 2lbs this week). The news feed also announces whether friends have achieved their daily calorie goal and lets you know if they are logging in regularly. You can also view friends' food diaries, but this is dependent on their privacy settings.
* Final Thoughts *
For a free app, My Fitness Pal is fantastic. It enables you to track calories quickly and accurately on the move, with such an extensive database of foods that you rarely have to enter anything manually. I like the linking of exercise to the food diaries too - this definitely encourages me to be more active which is clearly a positive thing. I have used it successfully both to lose weight and maintain weight in the last year or so. However, like all diet applications, this isn't going to 'make' you thin - if you use it properly and track everything, you will lose weight. If you don't use it, or you track everything except the three biscuits you ate (standing up in the kitchen, broken so all the calories fell out and with nobody seeing you eat them), then you probably won't. It is all about being honest with yourself about what you eat.
This free app is a weight losers dream. I have recently embarked on a light diet and have found this tool invaluable for helping me keep track of what I eat and how many calories it contains.
It's a very easy app to use and navigation is largely intuitive. The main function is to be able to keep a diary of what you eat and keep track of calories.
As a starting point, it asks you various questions about yourself (age, height, etc...), your lifestyle (exercise , sedentary work, etc...) and what you hope to achieve in terms of weight loss ad over what period of time.
It then works out what your daily calorie intake should be to reach that goal based on the info provided. Once you've received this horrifying info, the 'fun' really begins as the realisation you'll be eating like a rabbit over the course of the next few months dawns.
The app has an easily set out diary split into 4 sections - breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. There is an exhaustive library of different foods in an easily manageable search engine. You simply type in what you've eaten and it finds it, or the nearest thing and how many calories it contains. The range includes most popular shop bought items and often includes the exact calorie count for that brand (e.g Saunsbury's steak pie). It also has estimates for home made items (e.g sausage and mash) so pretty much everything is covered. Rather niftily, there is also the option to scan the barcode of your food to get the exact calorie count. This also works excellently and has a wealth of products again in the database. Simply hold the barcode within the box shown on your camera screen and it will automatically read it.
Once you have selected your item, you simply click 'add' in the top left hand corner and it automatically adds it to your day. It calculates each item added and tells you your remaining calorie count for the day.
...and that's just eating. You can also include any excercise you've done that day as well. The interface is very similar to the eating and a simple matter of searching what you've done and adding it. This is then set against your food intake automatically and recalculates your calorie allowance again. You can select the exercise done by either cardiovascular (such as running or walking) or strength (gym work).
Once added to the diary you can get a daily or weekly overview of your intake and excersize which can be a useful snapshot at progress. This also includes a detailed look at the calorie breakdown - how much I what you eat is fat, protein or carbohydrate.
These are the basic functions. There are also numerous diagnostic screens that can show you charts of your progress, etc... That range from quite useful to only any use to the fitness freak. I don't really tend to use them too much but I'm sure for some they can offer hours of entertainment.
I find the progress chart quite handy. Here you can record your weight at various intervals to keep track of what you are actually losing per week and hence assessing whether the diet is actually doing any good. If you are into communal dieting then there is also an option add friends. I've not used this function as most of my friends are healthy and fit, but I'm sure the competitive element would be fun.
The interface really couldn't be more straightforward to use and user friendly. There are instructions but really no need to use them such is the intuitive and self explanatory nature of this app. You really can install and start right away.
I can't think of anything it doesn't cover that you might need. Given it's free as well I think it's an excellent fitness device for anyone trying lose weight, or just interested in knowing what they eat.
Before I begin to write this review, I want to express and point out that this application is not an IPHONE application, it is a PHONE application.
The assumption that all applications are iphone applications angers me, as we have not all been swallowed into Apple's iphone craze.
I have used this application on three different phones, all which have been android and I have been pleased with the process of this application throughout all.
I have used this application on my old Samsung Galaxy S, the Samsung galaxy ace- which has a smaller screen, and now on the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S.
*Who is this application best for
In my opinion, this application is not only suitable for those wanting to watch their calorie intake as a controlled diet, but it is also useful for those who are wanting to understanding better how many calories are in which foods.
Using this application has helped me and enabled me to understand better which foods I should avoid, and which are best for eating whilst I am on a diet.
I don't think this application is suitable for people who are not that serious about dieting, as I have found myself that when I am having a break from dieting- or also known as, giving up for a while- I also give up using this application, as it just makes me feel worse seeing how many hundreds of calories I have gone over! And as I have learnt to be able to memorise and count the calories in my head, I no longer need to keep track as its easy for me to have a mental count on a day to day basis.
*Is this application addictive?
I have mixed opinions as to whether this application is addictive or not, and I do really think it all comes down to individual personalities.
I have read some people arguing that counting calories can cause eating disorders and cause people to become obsessed with calorie counting, but this hasn't happened to me, and I have been using this application on and off for about two years now!
When I first began to use this application, I did find I was constantly thinking about inputting my food into the diary every time I ate, and I was constantly thinking about how much I could eat, but that is just how I am when dieting, and it is also why 9 times out of 10, I cannot reach my diet goal!
My Fitness Pal allows you to input personal details, such as your height, current weight and goal weight, gender and age etc. It is also asks whether you would like to gain weight, stay the same or lose weight which means it is suitable for various people. My partner actually used this application for a few weeks when he was trying to gain weight, and he learnt a lot about the foods he was eating and which food was best for him.
When the application loads, it will show you how many calories you have remaining for today. If you have already eaten and recorded, it will show you the nutrient details you have consumed from that food, and if you have gone over your goal it will appear in red with a minus sign. This can also be viewed as a Daily or Weekly view, so you can see the areas you need to watch or eat less of.
HOWEVER- This may sound useful, but if you consider the facts that anybody can add new foods to the food diary, meaning you can select foods which have been added by anybody, I don't see how reliable these food facts can be.
When adding foods, it often happens that the food with say N/A across all areas, which I expect means whoever added it couldn't be bothered or didn't know the nutrition facts- but this means this food item will not be counted in your daily nutrient consumption.
As many people understand, whilst dieting it isn't advised to eat less than 1200 calories per day. Although when I first added my age, height, weight and goal weight, the application created an automated goal of 1200 calories for me to reach my goal within a set time. I didn't like having the lowest advised calories as a goal, so I altered this up to 1300- which is a useful setting to be able to use.
The application also has a set goal for each area such as saturated fat - 40g. Although surely if you are on a diet, 40g of fat is still too much?
The goal also says 45g of protein, and if you go over that, it will appear in red with a minus sign which irritates me as I try to eat as much protein as I can when on a diet.
Although it may be useful for some people to have set goals for things like salt and sugar, I think there should be an option to change the goal for things like protein.- If you are on the Atkins diet whilst using this application, it won't be happy with you.
The best thing I like about this application is the ability to add and record the amount of calories you have burnt at the gym. There are many exercises to choose from, including a range of walking and running speeds along with other common exercise machines.
HOWEVER- The calories burnt on this application are NOT reliable. If you add '30 minutes' into the Elliptial trainer, it will show up with 310 calories burnt. I don't understand how the calories can be guessed as everybody is different, and there are many different levels on each machine. My exercise machines always show a completely different measurement, I usually half the calories shown as burnt and add these- as the application allows you to add your own calories burnt instead of using there estimates.
Fitness Pal have also recently added the option to connect with others using this app, which means you can add your friends. Although I don't use this as I don't like the idea of my friends being able to see how many calories I burnt at the gym that day, or whether I met my calorie goal or not! I personally think dieting is a personal goal.
The application also has a 'water' area for you to add the amount of water consumed, which enables you to track your fluid intake.
I have always found it easy to add food to my diary, although I have never created my own food. If the diary doesn't have the food item available, there are other options of inputting the calories.
When adding foods, you can either scan the barcode from your phone, search for the food name manually or input the amount of calories yourself.- Which is sometimes easier and quicker.
I found when using the application on my Samsung Galaxy S that after about a year of use, the application became quite slow and when adding new foods it often froze or took ages! Although since using it on my new Xperia Arc S phone, it has been fine!
When adding foods, you can add them into 4 different areas!
This is a useful way of tracking the amount of snacks you have and be able to see what time of the day you eat the most calories.
What I love about this diary, is that it doesn't just have the everyday food items saved, it also has Mcdonalds, KFC and the popular fast food restaurants! It also has Toby Carvery on it, although I'd love to know who is able to count the amount of calories in a carvery? I've never trusted the calorie content for this!
I do think this is a very useful application to use, but I do think you need to have some level of knowledge of dieting and nutritional information before using it.
Somebody I introduced to this application was over the moon that she had burnt 400 calories walking home from school- I didn't dare tell her that the application was not reliable for calories burnt. But if somebody genuinely wanted to use this application solely for dieting, it could miss-inform and cause confusion across many areas!
Thank you for reading, I also post on Ciao.
I LOVE THIS APP!
I orignally used My Fitness Pal on the main website, and then discovered the iPhone application.
In short, this is a calorie counting device where you can also record weight loss and exercise.
When you first join, you enter you age, height, current weigth and weight goals. It then uses this information to calculate a daily calorie goal that will help you obtain your weight goals.
You input what you eat on a daily basis, searching for specific foods (i.e. heinz baked beans) and then how much you had of that food, and it calculates the calories you have consumed. It tells you how much you have left of your daily allowance, or if you have gone over and by how much.
If a certain food is not in the data base (most are though) you can easily add it yourself.
Adding in exercise you have done increases your calorie limits and allows you to eat more if you want to.
Once you have completed your diary for the day, it will calculate how much you would weight in 5 weeks time if you were to eat/exercise like that every day.
Obviously this is not an exact science, but it is the closest thing in my opinion!
The application is free, and is really handy to see what foods have what in them (it tells you salt, calcium, carb amounts too, and more).
The community side of things is great too, it is like a forum and you can add friends to help with encouragement.
I've lost lots of weight with the aid of this app, and I would recommend it to anyone.
After having my first child I lost alot of weight so I have been trying to put a bit of weight on. I saw this App on my Android and thought it may be useful. Being free I downloaded it straight away. It took about a minute to download which was pretty pain free.
The first thing I had to do was register my details e-mail address etc in case you want to update it online. I found this kind of annoying as I dont want my details splattered all over the internet. I did it anyway which was also pain free.
The second thing to do is add all your relevent details. Weight, age, height and gender. Then you add your goal weight either more or less than your current.
Throughout the day you have to tell it all the different type of excersice you have done and all the food you have eaten. To ad these is really easy. You just go to the main screen and press the 'Add to Diary' button. This brings up a menu of Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks , water and excercise. There is a search box were you can type in the food you have eaten. The search brings up many different brands and options.Being from England quite alot of the brands I eat are not there as most of them seem to be American. As you add each item it tells you how many calories are remaining for the day. As you add the exercise you have done the calories will go back up.
The thing I found most interesting was the nutrient sumarry. This section adds up the total of all your nutrients. For example Cholesterol, Fats, Potassium and sugars. It then tells you your Total, gain and ammount remaining.
This App is so easy to use and tells you lots of useful information. The only thing I found strange was at first I guessed my weight. A few days later I weighed myself properly, but even then my results stayed the same. There sould really have been a big difference so now i'm not sure that it works well.
I have been trying to loose weight for a log time now after a 1 stone weight loss I have just got stuck so I thought it was time I thought to look at the food I am putting in my mouth as well as the exercise I am doing. My sister recommended this app to me as she had been successfully using it for 3 weeks and was beginning to loose weight.
The app is free and available on iphone and ipod you simply download it in the same way you would any other app.
Once the app is downloaded you decide a user name and put in your details - height and weight you can choose kg or pounds for this. Once registered you set a target for how much weight you would like to loose then your ready to go.
Once you have set up your app you will enter the home screen which tells you how many calories you are able to have for the day in order to meet your weight loss targets. You can then enter the Diary section where you can enter your Breakfast , Lunch, Dinner and Snacks. I was really suprised at how much food selection they have including meals on pub menu / fast food places i.e the harvester and McDonalds. For things you have daily it saves in the Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner section for quick access meanig I am able to simply press them to add to my selection. Once the diary is complete you can see how many calories you are having at each part of the day. If the food you are eating is not on the selection you are able to save it and add the calorie details. As well as calories you can also enter the nutritional value of food you are eating. The app then also provides a list of nutritional properties and shows you how much allowace you have for the day and when you have goe over it - which is good if you want a more indepth look at your diet. In the diary section you can also add cardiovascular exercise you have done and strength exercises. Again there is quite a wide variety of acivities from running to house work and you can also add your own. For each exercise you calories are shown which you have burnt and are then deducted from your daily allowance. You are also able to add your water intake to the diary and also any notes you may have on food and exercise you have done that day.
The next part of the app is Progress you have made here you can add your weight, also neck, waist and hips measurements and a graph is produced to show your progress. You can enter your weight whenever you want to I am doing it once a week and in my first week I lost 2ib which made me happy to see the graph go down.
Another great part of the app is the friends section here you can add friends and you get updates on how your friends are doing with their weightloss I find this is encouraging and can be competitive you want to try harder to beat your friends weight loss and exercise for the day. You are also able to leave comments on your friends progress to encourage them. Myfitesspal also has a message service where you can send private messages if you do not want others to read your comments.
Overall for a free app this is excellent and I would actually have been willing to pay for it. It is so simpe to operate and it has really made me think about what I eat and drink for example when before I may have had a regular coke and not thought about what was in it I can now see that 1 can of regular coke is 140 calories whilst a diet one is just 1 calorie! Its these little changes that seem to be making a difference and as I said earlier I have managed to loose 2ib in my first week which is great as my weight loss had stopped for while. The app also encourages you to eat your daily calorie and if you are under it will advise you that it is not good for you and your body may go into starvation mode and stop your weight loss. This I feel is encouraging and I think it will mae people think before trying to drop their calorie intake anymore than is recommended.
I give this app 5 stars
I like to be aware of what I am putting into my body, and how many calories I am eating on a daily basis. I also like to keep track of what calories I burn, and I wanted an app that enabled me to keep track of it all, in an easy, accurate way. I headed to the app store and searched under calorie counter, the first one on the list was My Fitness Pal. I decided to give this one a try, as it was free and I could easily just delete it and get another one if it turned out to be no good.
The first thing I had to do when I downloaded the app was to sign up to an account with My Fitness Pal, which is also free and only took me a couple of minutes. It asks for the usual name, email etc, but also asks for height, weight, fitness goals and activity level. All this information is then used to determine what calorie amount you should be eating a day. This will vary for everyone, as everyone is different and are looking to gain different benefits from using the app.
Once I got everything set up and running, I set about looking around the app to see how it worked. I was surprised to find it was really easy to use, and everything was pretty much self explanatory. The main screen you see when you first enter the app, is your "home screen" This is where you will see how many calories you have left for the day, and a news feed of what is happening with your friends who also use the app. I have added many people from the main website, and also through the friends I already had on the app, and you will be amazed how quickly a support network builds up for you.
At the bottom of the screen is where you will find the tabs for the other screens in the app. These are My Diary, Progress, Friends, and More. The My Diary is where you will find your daily log to enter your food, drink, water and exercise. You can also scroll back through your old diaries to see how you have progressed with your eating and workouts, should you so wish. It is really easy to add items to your diary, just tap the add button, and you will see a choice of adding breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks to your food, and strength or cardiovascular to the exercise. Once you have selected, you can then search for what you want to enter into the diary, and almost every food item in the world is on there, even fast food and resturant food. Occasionally I have come across some items that are not on the app, but there is the option to add these, so you can use them again in the future, and it adds to the food database for others to use to.
When you add exercise, this is just as simple. Pretty much every exercise is on the app, so you should be able to find what you are looking for, and it will tell you how many calories you have burnt at each exercise, although I have found this is not always totally accurate, and if you have a heart rate monitor, it may be wise to listen to what that tells you instead.
At the end of each day, you can log your diary, by pressing the log button on the bottom of the diary. This will then post to your news feed and let your friends now if you went over your calorie limit or not! Friends can also view your diary and see what you have been eating, and what you do for a workout. This is a great way to get tips and advice from others who doing the same as you. I have found it really helpful that other people can see what I do each day, and I can see what is in their diaries too.
Progress is where you will find exactly that, your progress. You can record your weight loss here, as well as measurements lost (you don't have to do this bit) and it will keep track of your weight loss or gain. You can scroll back through to see how well you have done along the way, and you can set this weight to be in lbs or kilos, so you whichever works better for you. When you lose weight, and record it on the app, a post is made to the news feed so your friends get to see how well you are doing too. It is really great the comments and support you get when you post your weight loss, it really keeps you going.
Friends is where you can see who is on your friends list, as well as see if you have any new friend requests or messages. You can also search for friends by name or email address on this page, and there is a news feed here too, which contains a few more posts so you can see what is happening with your friends on there.
The More page is basically the settings or options page, and it is here you can change your goals, calorie and activity amounts and you can also logout from this page. I have never actually logged out of the app, but I have checked out the frequently asked questions on the page. They are quite useful and may be worth reading should you use this app.
I am really glad I found this app, as I have managed to lose quite a lot of weight. I still have some more to shift, but with the help of this app, and all the wonderful support I get through the other My Fitness Pal members, it really does seem like there is nothing stopping me. I really do not think I would have done so well if it was not for this app, as it really does allow me to know exactly what calories are in my food, and I have learn to eat so much better and healthier since using this app.
I 100% recommend this app, and I think anyone trying to lose weight or gain muscle should at least look at this app. It is free, and has been amazing for me to use, I may never leave it!! I can not tell you enough how much I value this app, and I hope that all of you who decide to try it, will find it as wonderful as I have.
5 out of 5 stars from me.