My Fitness Pal App: Track Calories for Weight Loss

early-morn-runningA friend of mine has been running for at least ten years. She’s done multiple 5Ks and several half marathons. She regularly runs 6 miles as a long run each week.

And for the past several years she’s had difficulty losing weight.

Most people believe as soon as you strap on a pair of running shoes the pounds will fall off; and this is true in some cases. They did for me, though I wasn’t exactly in need of dropping them.

But in my friend’s case, she ran AND did a variety of diets over the past few years. She still had trouble losing weight, and her doctor, during routine exams, still commented on the fact that her BMI was too high and needed to come down.

Recently, though, she told me she’d managed to drop fifteen pounds. Fifteen! When I asked her how to do it, she said through counting and tracking calories. Now, she’d always been a salad eater – sometimes more than one salad a day – and I told her many times I felt she might not be taking IN enough calories to keep her weight steady. If you don’t take in the number you need, your body holds onto fat. She didn’t think this could be true until she started using the app My Fitness Pal.

My mom had a similar experience. She stalled in her weight loss journey and it wasn’t until she started tracking calories and food eaten each day, along with her exercise routine, that she realized she was taking in too many calories. Her culprit: snacking on healthy foods – of all things – like nuts and cheese, and taking in too many calories. She did her tracking by hand but when she met up with my girlfriend and learned about My Fitness Pal she started using the program and is still using it now.

So what does the app do? My Fitness Pal is a free app that allows you to count calories, log how much you work out, and keep track of how much you need to eat – or not eat – in one day.

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First, set up your account to include how much you work out each week. Then you’ll receive an allotted amount of calories for each day. (You can log daily activity as well, but you’ll want to do this during set-up to get an idea of how many calories you should be aiming to eat each day.)

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Then, log in each day when you eat so you can upload your food items. This app allows you to search for specific brand names of different items so you can be as accurate as possible with calorie counts. You include the brand/type, the amount, and when you ate it (which meal). The app tracks not just calories but carbs, fat, protein, sodium, and sugar as well. The foods are then deducted from your allotted daily calories.

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Next, add your exercise. Search for what you did and it will include the number of calories burned. You can even add notes into the app. You will see how much you have done in relation to what you mentioned you wanted to exercise each day when you set up the app.

Additionally, you can create reports about your calories and exercise and talk with others who are on the same weight loss journey.

One note: I have found it much easier to use this on my computer/laptop than on my phone. It takes a long time to type out everything using a small phone keyboard, but that may just be me. You can use it on your phone, tablet, or computer.

Have you ever used My Fitness Pal to track calories and/or weight loss? Do you use any type of app to help shed pounds by calorie counting?

This post is not an advertisement. I’m not getting paid for this blog post by the company; I just believe that for those who are interested in losing weight and counting calories, this might be the perfect device to utilize.

Main image via iStock/My Fitness Pal screenshots via app

What do you think?

My Fitness Pal App: Track Calories for Weight Loss

Kathy Murdock works as a full time writer and web designer. Recently planted in the middle of the deep south from the busy streets of Los Angeles, when she's not coding Wordpress websites or writing about women in business and thrifty motherhood, Kathy spends time photographing alligators, playing with her family, and running. ... More

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2 comments

  1. nichole says:

    i used this app for a short time. it helped me to get a better idea of how many calories i was eatting, but now im preggy, and so i guess sence you cant add pregnancy to the calorie count, ill just be waiting till my lil ones born. but i plan on using it shortly after hes born, but i will end up adding some calories to the amount i allow, because of breast feeding. and then simply stop allowing the over amount as i stop nursing. i really recommend this to people wanting to loose weight! i found the app on my phone great, because i added food then and there, so there was no forgetting to add it in the next time i was around my computer or something.

  2. Phammom says:

    I used this app before I was pregnant and lost weight and got fit for my wedding. I will be using it again once I have the baby. I will be breast feeding so my calorie intake will be more. I highly recommend this app.

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