In which there is an app for that

by DaniGirl on May 19, 2014 · 1 comment

in Me, only better

Two weeks ago, I lamented that despite my best efforts, I had utterly failed to lose a pound and in fact, was losing the battle against the 10 lbs I gained in the last year. I whined that I did not want to count calories, that I was doing my best, that I did not know what else to do.

What a difference an app makes.

On the advice of a friend on Twitter, the very day I posted my last lament I downloaded the free My Fitness Pal app for my iPhone. Oh my goodness, how much do I love this app? I swear I am not shilling for them, but I am seriously impressed by this app. For one thing, it synchs automatically with my Fitbit, so while I log all my food and exercise for the day, it tells me how many calories I have burned based on my daily steps. Very motivating! You don’t need the app, as you can actually do most of the activities via the My Fitness Pal website, but I do like the convenience of having the app in my pocket.

And the whole counting of calories and measuring of portions is made much easier by the app, too. It has three functions I simply adore. First, you can scan the UPC code of whatever you are eating and chances are, it’s already in the database. Just enter your serving size and you are done. I haven’t stumped it yet – from Feta cheese to boxed pasta to dates rolled in coconut, every food I have scanned has been in there. The second is the amazing ability to analyze recipes from websites by simply entering the URL. It scans the page and pulls out all the ingredients and proportions. How cool is that? Sometimes you have to help it interpret a few items, but I find it runs about 80% accurate. Very, very cool! Third, you can chunk foods together as regular meals. We have fajitas at least once a week, so I keyed everything in once, saved it as a meal, and it’s just one click to add it every time we eat it. Same for my daily breakfast of cold cereal and 450 oz of coffee.

In addition to all that, it analyzes everything you eat for the day not just for calories, but for nutritional components as well. Apparently I am not as much of a carb junkie as I thought: I am regularly under on my ideal proportion of 50% of my daily calories coming from carbs and instead I regularly go over on fats. I’m thinking that’s my love of nuts, seeds, avocados and coconuts. And no wonder I haven’t had a cold in 18 months – I usually consume about double the daily recommended amount of vitamin C, but even with the vast quantities of very milky coffee I consume every day, I’m still falling short on the recommended amount of calcium.

(I am, ahem, also very glad that the one thing the app doesn’t measure is daily caffeine intake. A girl needs a vice or two, after all.)

Neat, eh? And the very best part is that I lost THREE POUNDS in the last two weeks! Well, actually I lost two, gained one, lost two, but hey, at least it’s progress! šŸ˜‰

So I am a little more obsessive about the counting and measuring than I would ordinarily be comfortable with, but I have to admit that it is helping me make smarter choices. I figured out, for example, that I can have a small handful of baby carrots with a tablespoon of chip dip and that makes a surprisingly satisfying evening snack at about 80 calories – which I can ‘earn’ with about 20 minutes of walking. And I while I am reluctant to snack on high calorie foods like chips because I have to account for them, I can also choose occasional treats in moderation. Hellllooooo Starbucks macchiato!

What’s kind of funny is that I get so annoyed when I forget to put my fitbit in my pocket for the day, or can’t quite find the perfect representation of what I’ve eaten in the food database, that it’s easy to forget that it’s not what I capture in the app that’s driving my health and weight-loss but the other way around. The app might not see the sweaty hour I put in yesterday turning over a new veggie garden plot in the yard, but based on my muscle soreness this morning, my arse certainly did!

So yay for progress! According to yesterday’s update on the app, if every day were like yesterday I would be within two pounds of my weight goal in five weeks, which is conveniently when we are going to PEI. And while I may just “forget” to enter my daily calories when we’re on vacation, I’m pretty sure I can keep up at least the daily accounting without too much effort going forward.

Yay for progress!


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Sarah McCormack May 19, 2014 at 3:32 pm

very cool………. and yes, you need to lose a few b4 PEI so you have some COWS ice-cream allowance (Wowie Cowie!) and of course, lobster is my favorite butter vehicle.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: