Log To Succeed

by tinareale on January 14, 2013

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Good morning, friends! I gotta say that I feel extraordinary today. I guess having a more normal couple of days after days of blindness and pain will leave you in a pretty good mood. I was able to feel productive and look at my family again for the first time in days this weekend. I also got in a few great workouts.

Spin class and some yoga on Saturday. Then, a full body weight session to run through a Best Body Bootcamp workout for my wonderful participants.

Felt good to log a couple sweat sessions. And quite literally, too.

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Who here has heard of My Fitness Pal? I had heard of it for a long while and about six months or so ago joined the site and created a private profile. I used the site in order to check in with personal clients who regularly updated their meals and workouts via My Fitness Pal and had planned to log things for personal use, but didn’t use it to its full potential. I would honestly forget to log things on my computer usually.

I kept hearing more and more about My Fitness Pal over the coming months and toyed on occasion more and more with the site. Then I heard about the mobile app version through Glam Media and decided to give the application a more thorough test drive as part of a campaign partnership with Welch’s Light. Namely because I want to know the workings of an application that many clients and Best Body Bootcamp participants use to log their activity and goals.

Here are some key highlights of the My Fitness Pal mobile app.

Easy to use dashboard to update profile settings – including goals, physical statistics such as weight, email, etc – as well as support. It also provides quick access to updates for your meals and workouts.

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From there, you can go into the logs and have space to update for a number of things easily – breakfast, lunch, dinner, custom meals (I just have snacks lumped together), cardiovascular workouts, strength training workouts, water, and additional notes for the day. Talk about detailed!

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The food log really impressed me!

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Not only could I easily find almost every single food I entered for every meal, but I also could have the option to create a custom food that would save for easy addition to future meals should I not find what I was looking for. Or, if in a rush, I could just add the calorie count of a meal in one simple step. They even have a barcode scanner to search for and add foods! On top of that, you can save favorite meals to add in one click…just as I did with my typical oatmeal mix.

Above and beyond all that, they have full nutritional data just a click away for everything in the database.

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Sweet potato facts!

What I perhaps liked the most though was their accurate calorie targets based on my weight and height and goal to maintain. Plus, it updates for activity. Thank goodness! I cannot stand when sites give a vague “eat 1400 calories per day” suggestion without accounting for the body’s need for fuel with workouts! Two thumbs up that My Fitness Pal accounts for that.

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Thought I was over my goal, but added my exercise…and what do you know? I got some extra food to still be on target! Not going to turn that down. Winking smile 

You can also get summaries for the breakdown of calories, carbohydrates, fat, protein, and many other vitamins and minerals on a daily or weekly basis.

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In other words, the fitness nerd in me loved it all! And using a tool like this can help with achieving fitness and health related goals.

5 Ways The My Fitness Pal App Can Help You Reach Your Fitness & Health Goals

  • Make yourself more accountable and aware. When you commit to logging everything you eat it will make you think twice about the choices you make. The second slice of chocolate cake or extra handfuls of potato chips do add up. Logging them can keep you mindful of foods that otherwise may go forgotten and hinder your goals. The mobile app is even better for this, as you can immediately log foods as you go with the easy to use database.
  • See changes to help keep up motivation. When you reach a new goal, My Fitness Pal recognizes it. Seeing those steps to progress along the way will keep you motivated to continue furthering your achievements.
  • Logs to refer to when facing plateaus or other struggles. Plateaus, injuries, stomach ailments, and a host of other issues can pop up to hinder progress. Maintaining an active log of foods and workouts can serve as a reference point to determine possible contributing factors to challenges when they arise. You may notice you did a few extra workouts the weeks leading up to an injury and determine how to adjust moving forward. Or you may notice a weight loss plateau after incorporating more of a particular food to your diet. Information can go a long way in helping you achieve.
  • Properly fuel your body. My Fitness Pal provides a solid calorie estimate for each individual body’s needs based on the personal information entered and your goals. It adjusts those needs based on workouts and caloric expenditure to ensure that your body gets enough. You can target numerous areas of nutrition for your body’s needs as well. Iron problems? Track it to ensure you get enough. Need more sources of Vitamin B for energy? See what foods help you reach your daily target. Have to get more protein in your diet? Easily view that. Did a tough workout and want to ensure you eat enough to refuel? My Fitness Pal covers you there too by adjusting your daily calories.
  • Group support. The My Fitness Pal app has the added benefit of connecting via social media with others. You can share updates via Twitter and Facebook or solely connect with other members through the site. The home page of the app even has updates on your achievements and others so you can gain inspiration and receive support from others.

All in all, My Fitness Pal is a very useful tool and I would certainly recommend it to clients and those asking for suggestions on tracking. The information and knowledge you can gain on your body, your habits, and your goals through such a tool will prove invaluable. I learned a lot about my own workouts and meal habits in just the few weeks I have used the app. I’m thankful to Glam, Welch’s, and my fellow Best Body Bootcampers who all pushed me to give it a more thorough investigation.

Your Turn: Do you use a tracking device at all for workouts/food? How has tracking helped you in the past or how can it help you in future goals?

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Crisp, delicious Welch’s Light not only tastes great, but also helps you stay on track. With only 45 calories per serving and no added sugar, you’ll be sure to sip smarter with Welch’s Light! Try both Concord Grape and White Grape flavors: made with our very own grapes and full of antioxidant Vitamin C.

Compensation was provided by Welch’s via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Welch’s.

{ 45 comments }

1 Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama January 14, 2013 at 8:10 am

I don’t use a tracking device for food, but I think it’s an awesome way to stay accountable when trying to lose weight. I do use the Nike app for running which keeps track of my miles, routes, pace, etc, which I love.

Have a great week!

2 Laura @ Mommy Run Fast January 14, 2013 at 8:14 am

I’m so glad you’re feeling better! It makes me cringe every time I read about your poor eyes. I’ve never used an electronic app or program, but when I know things are spiraling out of control, I track a few days in a journal to see what I’m actually consuming, and that’s usually motivation enough to clean it back up a bit!

3 Miz January 14, 2013 at 8:21 am

I need to check out my fitness pal.
EVERYONE is raving and Ive “fought” it long enough :-)

4 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More January 14, 2013 at 8:56 am

I used MyFitnessPal with the FitMixer bootcamp last summer and LOVED it. I even continued using it after the end of bootcamp as a way to stay accountable. Since moving back home, I’ve found it harder to get myself consistently using it again but it definitely helped me pay attention to WHAT and more importantly HOW much I was eating so in general I am more aware.

5 Rachel January 14, 2013 at 9:23 am

Glad your eye is on the mend!! It sounds AWFUL!!!

I am currently using the Weight Watchers Points Plus app for tracking. I definitely like tracking my food. I’m not really eating THAT differently than I was before, but now I’m measuring everything that goes in which I didn’t really do. The biggest change I’d say is when I’m cooking….measuring the olive oil, etc.

I also feel like because my food is on point this round of BBB (especially week 1) has been much better than the last round!!

6 tinareale January 14, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Proper nutrition really makes all the difference. And learning proper portions was huge for me too!

7 Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries January 14, 2013 at 9:45 am

I don’t currently use any sort of tracking device, but I did when I was trying to make sure I ate ENOUGH calories last spring. I used My Fitness Pal and loved it! It was easy to use, and it had pretty much every food I could think of in their database.

8 Amanda Perry @ Sistas of Strength January 14, 2013 at 9:51 am

Great review! I recommend this app to a lot of my nutrition clients. :)

9 tinareale January 14, 2013 at 2:38 pm

I had always recommended it as knowing it was one a lot of people used and liked, but now I can recommend it from personal experience too. Always better!

10 Bethany @ Accidental Intentions January 14, 2013 at 9:57 am

My mom uses My Fitness Pal and absolutely loves it. It’s really helped her stay accountable to her weight loss goals and helped her start to incorporate some healthy habits into her life (like exercise). I’ve given Lose It a whirl a couple of times, but I’ve never been able to keep it up for more than a week or so at a time. I’m sure it’s just a matter of habit, but it’s a habit I’ve never been able to get myself into consistently.

11 Rana@Life Love Pursuit of Running January 14, 2013 at 9:59 am

Glad you feel better! I love love love myfitnesspal. I’ve used it on and off for a year, but now I’m really into using it to help with my 2013 goals. I’m a BBB participant and I’ve made logging in one of my goals to help with extra motivation to do it. It also can track water intake which I love, because I’m a runner and need to make sure I’m hydrated (this is my second BBB goal). Another thing I love about it is the ease of mobility and that it syncs with fitbit. I just got 2 of the fitbit products (the scale and the One) and it helps keep me motivated even more!

12 Sandy January 17, 2013 at 12:21 pm

I used Fit Bit and track through that. Is there a reason to track on My Fitness Pal instead? Do they do the same thing?

13 Rana@Life Love Pursuit of Running January 17, 2013 at 12:30 pm

I prefer it for two reasons. 1) Myfitnesspal has a much easier to use interface on the app and even on the website, it’s easier to track and faster. 2) The community aspect. You can connect with friends more easily, see what they are up to. They can comment etc. and its just easier to even find friends and add them. Since it all syncs you can see the calories etc on fitbit from myfitnesspal, and vice versa. It is having two things in one place, but I guess I feel like Myfitnesspal is easier to manage.

14 jobo January 14, 2013 at 10:01 am

What I love about MFP is making recipes in there to see how many calories per serving! It’s genius!

15 tinareale January 14, 2013 at 2:40 pm

And so cool that you can SAVE them too to add it easily in the future. I loved that!

16 Katie @ KatieEnPursuit January 14, 2013 at 10:11 am

Morning Tina! I’m a big supporter of MyFitnessPal as our many of my friends I know who workout & like to stay accountable. Traveling for work part of the year has me scrambling sometimes to stay “on-track” & the app helps a ton. Great review, glad you like it as well!

17 Sarah January 14, 2013 at 10:24 am

Use this everyday – I try to use it to focus on sugar, carbs, protein, and yes calories – but really just focus on the QUALITY of my food…love it!

18 Kristy @ Kristy's Health Revolution January 14, 2013 at 10:42 am

Ok, I have a bit of a problem with this. I love My Fitness Pal, don’t get me wrong, but the biggest issue I have with it is that it automatically gives you 1200 calories a day, no matter what. If you log your exercise, you eat those calories back, but you’re still netting 1200 calories a day, and in my experience that is too low for most people.

Am I wrong? Have they changed something? Luckily, I know a bit more about metabolism so I know I need to adjust it, but someone who just downloads the app looking to lose weight may not, and aiming for 1200 calories a day for most people is really unrealistic.

19 tinareale January 14, 2013 at 2:44 pm

I just recently joined about 6 months or so ago, but it didn’t give 1200 by any means. I would NEVER promote something like that. It had me enter my height, weight, age, and activity level to calculate daily calorie needs and then asked for goals for whether losing, gaining, or maintaining weight. Based on all of that info it gave me a very reasonable almost 1900 calories for maintaining and would increase that daily amount whenever I exercised. I toyed just now with the numbers by changing my goal to weight loss and the lowest it gave me was like 1440 (once again not including activity calories). Maybe that was an old thing it did? Trust me that I wouldn’t back something spitting out 1200 to every single person, which is the problem I have always had with other similar tracking tools.

20 Christine January 14, 2013 at 10:59 am

I track my workouts with Runkeeper. I never track food, never ever.

21 Paige @ Your Trainer Paige January 14, 2013 at 11:28 am

This app sounds really cool!
And as far as logging to succeed, it drives me absolutely batty when people (ok, mainly trainers) don’t keep track of (their clients’) workouts and workout logs. I don’t understand how one can progress effectively and efficiently without keeping track of their weights/exercises/reps/sets etc!

22 Megan S. January 14, 2013 at 11:34 am

I love MFP! I’ve been using it for about a year now, and love the app too. It’s so easy to use and I’ve learned some really great information and gotten advice from the message boards they have in the community section. Although I’m not trying to lose a ton of weight it has definitely helped me become more accountable of what I am eating, and now I usually think twice before eating that cookie or cake, or going back for another slice of pizza!

23 Cat @ Breakfast to Bed January 14, 2013 at 12:08 pm

I ADORE MFP. It is a great way to keep up with yourself. I have had several days where I finish the day saying “well dang, you had precisely squat for protein, WTG.

Glad you’re feeling good. I am sure my day is about to turn around because the kids are eating….PEACEFULLY.
(enter shock)

24 Katy January 14, 2013 at 12:55 pm

I’ve heard of fitness pal but I do not like tracking anything with my S3 because I hate touching with the touch screen! I always end up logging my workouts on my blog and my meals on The Daily Plate when I g et in front of a computer.

25 Melissa @ Live, Love, & Run January 14, 2013 at 2:17 pm

I love using MFP for logging my food and workouts. However, it is NOT a good tool for estimating calorie intake. No matter which setting I use, it never estimates correctly. It’s recommends a calorie intake far lower (by at least 500 cals) than you should be eating. It doesn’t even come close to my BMR. I’ve talked to several RD’s about this, and they’ve all agreed it’s not great for calculating the correct recommended intake, but it is very accurate in terms of calculating your macro percentages and logging your meals. :)

26 Melissa @ Live, Love, & Run January 14, 2013 at 2:19 pm

By the way, I link my BodyMedia up to it, and by using their program synced up to MFP, I can get the accurate recommendation. :)

27 tinareale January 14, 2013 at 2:47 pm

That’s so weird because for me it gave a very reasonable number and I double checked it with the BMR calculations and it was less than 200 calories different which was fine with me since it didn’t include the activity calories in that set number. Someone else mentioned this so I’m wondering why mine was normal and others not so much?

28 purelymichelle January 14, 2013 at 2:20 pm

I have this MyFitnessPal app and have yet to play with it. Maybe soon I will

29 Heather @ Better With Veggies January 14, 2013 at 2:21 pm

I use trainingpeaks to log my workouts and am redoubling my efforts to be more consistent here. I’m also thinking of starting to use Loseit again to track my food – I think I’ve been eating everything in site again recently and could use some help to get back on track. :)

30 Christine @ Love, Life, Surf January 14, 2013 at 2:42 pm

I have heard great things about My Fitness Pal, especially the food log. My friends have said that they can find everything there! I’m trying to be better about logging my workouts but honestly, I always forget. But I love the idea that I can track everything in one app. Will have to check it out.

31 Rachel @RunningRachel January 14, 2013 at 3:45 pm

I have and use mfp… when I remember to log my food/movement on it. :blush:

32 Andrea January 14, 2013 at 3:46 pm

I love MFP! I use it when I’ve been off for a few days and need to get myself back on track. It’s a great wake up call! Also, if I want to plan out meals for the week it makes it easy to calculate recipe nutrition facts! Love it!

33 Nick Goodall January 14, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Hadn’t thought about getting an app for this, until now! This looks totally awesome, it’s already on the download, this will definitely hold me more accountable!

It’s great to see what you’re doing with it, and more importantly that it actually works! I can’t wait to get using this, although I haven’t got much to log this evening as I’m off to sleep, but tomorrow shall be log=tastic! Thank you for sharing this :)

34 Amanda @RunToTheFinish January 14, 2013 at 5:48 pm

i have been using this for a couple years, it’s my way to stay on track when I travel all the time with work!

35 SoFitSoGreen January 14, 2013 at 7:16 pm

I have tracked every run I’ve been on for the past 3 years. That’s like 5 a week. I use DailyMile.com
It shows you how far you’ve run in total, how far that takes you around the world, how many light bulbs you have powered and how much money you’ve saved in gas (and more cool stats). It’s the best site. I always write a little blurb about my workout too so I can go back and check it out. I have never been more consistent with any sort of journal as I am with this. It’s awesome to be able to look back and see my progress, which months have been the best, worst, etc. I highly recommend it!
http://sofitandsogreen.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-daily-mile.html#more

36 tinareale January 15, 2013 at 7:30 am

I love the Daily Mile too for tracking running related stuff and use it often as well. Actually you just reminded me that I haven’t logged much recently since I haven’t been running as much right now. Thanks for the reminder!

37 Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie January 14, 2013 at 7:52 pm

MyFitnessPal is great, it shows me my strengths and weaknesses when it comes to eating.

38 Tamara January 14, 2013 at 9:18 pm

I love MyFitnessPal!
My favourite tool? You can create your own recipes, save them and figure out the nutritional details. Very handy when I want to share a recipe on my blog or with my clients!
Thanks for the fantastic review, Tina!

39 ashley@cupcakesncrunches January 14, 2013 at 9:53 pm

I have the MyFitnessPal App and I think it is great. I don’t use it regularly anymore, but I used it for a while and I think it is great to just make you aware of exactly how much you eat. At the end of the day, it was neat to see not only how much I ate, but what I ate more of…veggies, fruit….cookies. haha

I’ve recommended that app to several of my coworkers and the ones that use it have experienced successful weight loss. My boss just got it and has already lost 7 pounds in 2 weeks using it.

40 Natalie @ FreshLifeFindings January 14, 2013 at 9:56 pm

I have used My Fitness Pal before and it was great for helping me see what I really was eating throughout the day. I’m glad your eyes are feeling better!

41 Bek @ Crave January 15, 2013 at 12:17 am

A while back in the dark days of my ED I use to use a similar site called Calorie Count. I would religiously log everything I ate, look at calories, factor in exercise and use the forums. It was a bad environment to me and helped harbour my ED. It became obsessive and I can happily say since stopping things got better for me.

42 tinareale January 15, 2013 at 7:23 am

I was part of a similar site and it triggered negative things for me. I have come to a place now that it didn’t bother me tracking. I mainly did it to try out the app that my clients often use and I work with them to make sure they do so in a healthy way. But completely agree that it can be a triggering thing to use for those who struggle with an ED at all. Definitely.

43 Tara Golzbein January 15, 2013 at 3:13 pm

I use this app too and love it! I think it is great to get an idea what you are eating and stay on track when trying to lose weight. I just went back to it as I have stalled in my weightloss but plan to eat more intiutevly once I am at maintaince. Great tool though. I think it is great to be aware but agree it can bring out an obsessive side which is why I think it is important to eat intuitvely as well once you have reached your goal.

44 Kelly@ShapeDaily January 15, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Wow, this sounds awesome. Right now I have a blackberry that is really hard to navigate and takes a long time to load websites and apps, so I’m not sure how well it would work. I really hope to get a better smartphone or iPhone soon if not only for Apps like these that are so helpful in reaching your goal. I think I would benefit most from the feature that tracks activity.

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