November 8, 2012 by Sarah
In July 2010 I created a profile on myfitnesspal.com in order to get an idea of how many calories I was currently eating and how many calories I should be eating every day. It was really one of the first steps that I took in my weight loss journey and it helped me be better informed about what I could be doing to make healthier choices.
Today I am pretty close to my goal weight and continue to use myfitnesspal to track not only what I eat, but also my workouts. It has been such a valuable tool for me and it helps me to stay on track.
There are several sites and apps available for tracking weight, diet, and exercises and I encourage you to find one that works for you and use it. I personally like MyFitnessPal and just wanted to highlight a few tools that have been useful for me.
– MyFitnessPal can be accessed through the website or the app which makes logging information throughout the day super convenient. I take public transportation to work and often find myself logging calories on my morning or evening commute.
– On the homepage (screen shot below), you can easily see how many calories are left for the day (goal calories – consumed calories + exercise calories). Adding in the exercise calories is a huge area of debate on the myfitnesspal message boards. I totally agree with adding back some or all of those calories – it is important to make sure you are eating enough and fueling those workouts! When setting up your account and goals, myfitnesspal will automatically set your calorie goal at a deficit. As long as you are realistic about the number of calories burned through exercise, there is no reason you can’t add some of the calories back in to your daily goal. Of course, it is important to listen to your body and learn to eat when you are hungry (which I am still working on…) and not just because a website says you have calories remaining.
– One of my favorite features of myfitnesspal is the recipe calculator. I love to cook and Mark and I cook dinner at home almost every night of the week. It is so easy to enter the ingredients into the recipe calculator and figure out how many calories there are per serving or many servings a meal should be divided into to make it to fit our calorie needs and goals. Just last week I made a kale and sausage soup and here is what the nutrition information looks like for that recipe.
– Finally, one last tool that I love about myfitnesspal is the ability to run progress reports on your weight as well as a variety of nutrition and exercise variables. Below is a graph that I requested based on the number of calories burned during the past 30 days. It is pretty clear on this graph when my long, training runs are taking place! The graphs are a great way to visualize your progress or spot areas where improvements or adjustments could be made.
Tracking what I eat has been a valuable practice for me and helps me plan my meals for the day and pay more attention to portion sizes; however, it is not right for everyone. If it seems like something that would be helpful for you, I encourage you to check out a few different websites/apps and find one that works for you.
If you are on myfitnesspal, please add me as a friend! My username is run_sarah_run.
Do you track your calories? Is there a website or app that you would recommend?