Tracking with MyFitnessPal

Throughout my long weight loss journey, I have used all kinds of tracking devices when it comes to my workouts and food. Something inevitably happens and I completely drop the ball. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • It’s something I must wear and I forget to put it on
  • It’s something I must wear and it ends up in the washing machine
  • I decide paper is better so I carry an empty notebook everywhere and never write anything past day 1
  • I end up tracking breakfast and lunch, but then forget the rest of the food for the remainder of the day
  • I give it the good college try for 3 days before completely falling off

Personally, tracking my food is one of the best ways I’ve been able to teach myself about how much food I should be eating versus what I was eating. As a former 455 pound binge eater, my scope of what people should actually eat was way off, as you could imagine. Even the last months of 2012 saw an unrecognized and untracked food creep – portions getting bigger, and “borderline foods” such as gluten free options and sugars in Starbucks beverages becoming acceptable (I typically don’t eat gluten or special gluten-free foods or sugar).

Sometimes I need a reminder of what progress looks like!

Sometimes I need a reminder of what progress looks like. It’s a LONG road.

mfp-app

MyFitnessPal App

I’ve tracked off and on with MyFitnessPal, a food and exercise journaling site, for at least 3 years now. They make it ridiculously easy to track your food online or on their phone apps, which are incredible (I use the Android App). It doesn’t get much easier than being able to scan a barcode and have it automatically put into your journal. Users can also input nutritional information for any item, and for restaurants and such, this is a really great option. There’s also a great social component where you can connect with friends and encourage each other. I used to share everything, but right now I just want to keep things under wraps while I try to figure out what works for me. There are lots of privacy settings, so you control what is shared and what’s not.

Since 1/1/13 (hello, New Years Resolutions) I’ve faithfully tracked my food and exercise in MyFitnessPal and was reminded how easy it is to use and how it really does help me stay on track with my favorite four letter f-word… food. I’m nearly always in front of a computer or have my phone in hand, so there isn’t an excuse to not put the information in. I can’t remember the last time I’ve tracked this long in a row (I know, it’s bad). It’s been great to start off the new year feeling in control with my food and tracking. The thing that’s helping me most this time? I’ve set daily reminders twice a day to ding me to track my food – once at noon and once at 10pm. Nothing like a little nagging (albeit digital) to give me the push I need.

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Disclosure: 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.

Do you use any tracking tools to help you stay on track with your goals?

  • http://musingsofmaia.blogspot.com/ Maia

    That’s what I use! I love it. I’m typically in the same boat. I would track for breakfast and lunch but not dinner, snacks, etc. But for some reason when I got back on the wagon in November I’ve been faithfully tracking EVERYTHING. I’ve almost made a game of it. And it’s definitely working! Keep up the great work!!

  • Rachel R.

    I JUST started using MyFitnessPal on Monday! It’s only been three days, but I have tracked everything. I started for a couple of reasons – one, because I want to lose about 15 pounds, and two, I recently became a vegetarian and I was concerned about my protein. And with good reason – the first two days, I didn’t even get to half of the RDA for protein. MFP is helping me correct that!

  • http://twitter.com/spunkysuzi spunkysuzi

    I love weight watchers but I really like using My Fitness Pal so I combine them :) I also wear a Fit Bit which helps to keep me moving.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cindy.manfra Cindy Manfra

    I combine Weight watchers and My Fitness Pal also. It is a really great tool. I find it easier if I plan out all of my meals the night before, and I write it all down then, so I know exactly what I’m going to eat, and there is no room for cheating.

  • http://twitter.com/debslosingit Debra Wilson

    I use an Excel file I set up that tracks my calories, with breakdowns of fat, protein and carbs, as well as spaces to track exercise/calorie burns each day. I did try using MFP for a week or so, but honestly having to log into the website and enter everything was incredibly tedious, especially compared to just opening my excel file and typing in the numbers each day. (I don’t have a smart phone) I have a separate sheet where I keep the values of most foods I eat so I can literally just paste them into the daily diaries as I need to. I’ve been using this methods for well over a year and have yet to tire of it. :)

  • Sue Ward

    Emmie, I have also settled on MFP for my food tracking – it integrates with my other geekly fitness toys, and has about the best food database I’ve seen out there. Kudos on an excellent endorsement!

  • Erika

    I just started using mfp also…..I love how it has such a huge database…..there is a lot of generic foods that you can scan and it has no problem finding it.

  • http://memyclothesandicecream.blogspot.com/ Margy

    I use Calorie Count, but my husband uses My Fitness Pal. I’ve been considering moving over to MFP, it looks like it might have a better food database. Calorie Count’s use to be a lot easier to navigate, but they seem to have a huge emphasis on certain brands of foods and restaurant meals so it’s recently become harder to find the things you want.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jessica-Drye/753855493 Jessica Drye

    Livestrong.com Myplate is good too~!

  • http://profiles.google.com/limar082002 Lisa Stalsworth

    I was using a program that the gym offers. It seems to be similar to MFP (tracking exercise, calories burned and calories taken in), but doesn’t have a big food database, and has no recipe calculator. With my recent purchase of a smart phone, I am trying to convert over to MFP. Thanks for the positive post for a newbie!

  • Katie R.

    I started using it again 1/1/13 too, and it’s been a huge help. It makes such a difference (and makes it easier to make the right choice) when I see the carbs/calories in one serving of something versus two servings, or the nuutrition facts for something I used to eat regularly versus something more in line with my goals now.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jody-R-Goldenfield/100000069514057 Jody R. Goldenfield

    It was rated #1! Tacking is a thing people hate to do BUT it really tells you like it is! :)

  • http://twitter.com/anewertammy Tammy

    I also find that I stay on track more when I am tracking my food. For the reasons you described, I also use MyFitnessPal. I love scanning with my iPhone, it is so easy and fast!

    Good for you for being able to keep up with it. Keep going.

  • http://womensdietnetwork.com/ WomensDietNetwork

    Tracking food daily is the best thing I have ever gotten into for weight loss! I have been using loseit – but from all the comments I might try out MFP – considering it seems to have a decent food database.. nothing worse than having to find nutritional info on your own because the app doesn’t have it.

  • Alison

    I recently started using MFP, and am pleased with it so far. Personally, I know that I am committed to my weight loss when I am tracking my active and diet. It is a small action that proves that I am not just saying I want to lose the weight and be healthy, but that I have actually changed my habits to do so. I

  • http://twitter.com/StarvingDiva StarvingDiva

    I use My Fitness Pal. I have not missed a day for 340 days. Even when I’m not eating right, even when I’m eating crappy stuff, I keep myself accountable. I need too, it’s the only way I am going to hit my goal.

  • Tami@NutmegNotebook

    I also have found MFP to be super easy to use for tracking food and exercise.

  • http://www.inhealthyhabitswetrust.com/ Alicia C

    My Fitness Pal has been my favorite by far. It seems to be the most comprehensive, the most user friendly and app-sync friendly. I done Weight Watchers (TERRIBLE on Android) and Lose It! But MFP is the clear winner for me.

  • ML Hasty

    I struggle with tracking too, even with all these things available! I think I like MFP the best though. I haven’t used it in a while, and just saw the scanner option. That will make it so much easier to input some foods!

  • Jules@Fat Guy,Skinny Wallet

    I have been on my journey for 2 years. I got pregnant in the middle after losing 66 lbs. I used MFP for the first leg of my journey and now I currently use loseit.com app. I love it and I never forget to use it. I won’t say that it’s better than MFP,but after a year I needed a change. I am currently down 82 lbs and 18 lbs til goal:)

  • theMRS.

    Whats your MFP name? I need more buddies to I feel more compelled to use it!

    - c e l i n a

  • danyca

    Mine is nyca17. I’m also looking for weight loss buddies.