Dinner Interrupted so a Review of My Fitness Pal

6 Jul

So I was struck yesterday with this great idea for doing an awesome burger. After I got off work I went running to the grocery store to get the ingredients and rushed home to put it into action.

Long story short – it completely failed (luckily we still had some leftovers from the other day and ate that for dinner instead).  I’m not giving up on it yet though.  Whenever I’m making up a recipe or have an idea, if it doesn’t work the first time I always give it a second shot.  After that, it really depends on whether I think it has a chance of being good that decides whether or not I give it a third try.

So since I don’t have a recipe to post, I thought I’d address MyFitnessPal, a free app for both Iphone and Android.  You can also access it online at www.myfitnesspal.com.

My Fitness Pal Logo

So this app is pretty much amazing and free, did I mention free?  Most people always carry their phones on them so it’s like a portable food journal with the added benefit of being able to search for items to automatically count the calories you consume.  There’s even a feature on the phone app where you can scan the bar code of whatever you’re eating and it will automatically add it for you.  There’s an area to keep track of your water journal and log strength and cardiovascular exercise.  You can even add in recipes you’ve made with nutritional info but if you cook a lot of recipes that can be found online, chances are another used has already submitted the nutritional info which makes it even easier.

Here’s the best part, users also have the option of making recipes using the app or site, and by specifying how many servings the recipe is along with the ingredients, the app figures out the calories for you.  I’ve used it for a variety of recipes, including the freezable make-ahead breakfast burritos I’ll be doing a post on the next time I make them.  They’re an awesome busy morning meal.

A lot of the experts talk about how useful keeping a food journal is when you’re trying to watch your food intake.  It’s also extremely useful to sort of “wake” you up to how much you’re actually consuming.

But I’ll admit, even though I have easy access to it on my phone I’m guilty of not always using it.  Why?  There’s a variety of reasons.  Sometimes I’m busy doing other things and tell myself I’ll do it later (only to not always do it later).  Other times, I just get distracted.  But I guess the main reason is because it’s always a shock to the system to see how little calories I have left/how many I’ve already consumed because it’s there in black and white.  But that’s what makes it good and the whole purpose and point of a food journal.  To be aware of what you’re taking in and not be surprised.

Overall I eat pretty healthy and usually, in pretty reasonable portions (especially taking into account I weigh/measure things out).  But even if something I’m eating/making is healthy, it’s not as healthy if I’m eating more than one serving.  Yes I would like more than half a cup of rice, but do I really need it?  Is it what I’m making/eating better nutritionally than a value meal?  Definitely.  But it becomes an exercise in restraint when I make something particularly tasty.

And then there are times I’ll forget my lunch so I have to grab something (which also makes the app useful since there’s usually nutritional info if you get something from a restaurant).  Or I’ll just be tired from work/school and be guilty of grabbing something on the go (a granola bar and grapes isn’t that bad, is it?)  No matter my excuses though, sometimes it’s something easier to ignore/not think about it.  And for all of the usefulness of the app, when you see it add up it’s a big slap of reality.  So I’m making this post as a declaration of intent and commitment.  I will start using it daily and keeping an accurate and honest account of what I’m consuming.

What do you think?  Is it easier sometimes to hide your head in the sand?  Do you use the app?  Do you like it?  Do you have any tips or recommendations for how you keep a reasonable calorie consumption?

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