I’m following my own weight loss programme right now, and I’m a fan of having something motivational that allows me to track my progress.
I’ve tried a number of diet-checker apps in the past – including Nutracheck, and Garmin Connect, but I find MyFitnessPal offers a lot for anyone hoping to stick to diet and exercise goals.
That’s 100 per cent free, rather than just a free trial period which some of the other apps offer. All you need to do is sign up with a valid email address and away you go.
You set your target weight, enter details on your current weight, level of activity, gender, and age. I’m aiming to get to my target weight in one month.
The app asks you how much you’d like to be losing each week. 2lb, I optimistically tap in. “Are you sure?” It asks me, “this may be too aggressive to start with”. I opt for 1lb each week to lose – it’s already giving me sage advice.
Once you’ve entered your statistics and goals, it calculates how many calories you need to be consuming on a daily basis. Bear in mind also, that if you add your daily exercise levels to the stats that this will reflect the daily calorie target. My target is to consume no more than 1,540 calories each day.
The idea is that each day you add all the foods you’ve consumed and all the exercise you’ve done so the app can calculate your daily calorie intake and keep track of your goals. Weigh yourself regularly to gain motivation to reach your target. This is where you have to be honest with yourself, but strangely, I’m admitting everything to MyFitnessPal – it seems to have quite a hold on me.
The great thing about MyFitnessPal is that it’s really user-friendly. You can search for foods, or scan the barcode. If the exact food isn’t on the list, just choose something similar. It saves your frequently chosen foods so you can add them quickly, and uses a predictive text facility for ease.
You can also connect other devices to the app, so I’ve connected my Garmin Connect account so the app can also see how many steps I’ve done each day.
If you want to add some, you can store your recipes and the app gives you a nutritional breakdown on both a daily and weekly basis, so you can see what percentage of carbs, fat and proteins you’ve consumed.
You get the option to create a profile and interact with other users, and there are regular blog posts on the MyFitnessPal blog Hello Healthy, with health and fitness topics, such as “5 Steps to Break Free From Binge Eating”, handy recipes and nutritional information.
I’m finding it addictive. It really makes me think about how many calories I’m consuming and it’s motivating me to keep active and log my exercise.
This is an app I can definitely recommend for anyone looking to lose weight.
I do use MFP regularly but like Peter I find it a bit laborious - trying to log a whole meal can take a long time because each ingredient needs to be found and then often you need to change from American cup measurements into what you actually had - still, it definitely does keep me on track and motivates me to exercise more than the week before so it's not all bad.
I find the issue with this App and the other calorie counters (which essentially it is, among other things) is the fact the process of logging takes ages. I used this MFP for about 3-weeks then gave up because it was too much effort logging everything, even though it saves pasts foods eaten and has a great lookup, it's still a pain. This might say something about my own dedication, however i would rather an app i could take a picture of what i was going to eat and it estimated the calories even if there was a margin of error of 10% or so. This is obviously way more advanced than what is out there but not beyond the realms of reality.
very useful summary. The word 'free' also attracts my attention!
Looks to me like it's aimed mainly at people who want to count calories and lose weight. Has anyone used it for logging activity and nutritional intake?
My Fitness Pal is a great app, and works well for me.
I've heard a lot about this - thanks for a great article that actually says what it does!
I didn't know it was free. And ok for Android too - excellent!