What is MyFitnessPal?

There are thousands of guidebooks out there promising people, to give the best tips and tricks on how to lose weight. Everyone has been through at least four different diets, in my case it’s been dozens, hoping to quickly lose some pounds, but in the end it never seems to last and we gain the weight back almost instantly. The yo-yo effect. For a long time now experts have been warning us, not to do extreme diets and not to overwork our bodies à la ‘The Biggest Loser’ – why? Because it’s simply not healthy for your body, nor your inner mentality.

Instead what you’re supposed to do is, write a diary, remind yourself to do the 20 minutes of aerobics three times a week. Write down what you eat, counting the calories you consumed, and calories you burnt. This is the so called ‘most effective way’ to lose weight. While that’s true, unfortunately it can also be a very time consuming way to lose weight. And as always, what is time consuming needs effort, and discipline, and self control, and everything else most humans rather wouldn’t bother with.

So how can you lose weight the healthy way, while keeping track of your progress, and without losing motivation? You don’t do it alone. One thing books and online guides are lacking significantly, is being able to keep track with the reader. His or her everyday needs, mood swings, to be available at the right moment, when one needs advice badly.

But that’s when technology and MyFitnessPal comes to play. MyFitnessPal is a free app that has risen in popularity like no other, having millions of users that make up a community of determined people to become healthier, that swear on the benefits of having the app on their phone, and being able to access useful informations, whenever needed. In fact, the app was once rated the best free program in overall satisfaction, when it comes to maintenance, calorie awareness, and food variety.

MyFitessPal’s popularity can be explained easily, they aren’t promoting dangerous diets, instead they recommend delicious recipes explaining why certain foods can be eaten all the time, and others should be consumed only every once in a while. The biggest reason for the app’s success, next to having a supportive community, is probably that it has the world’s largest data base on food nutrition, listing how many calories each meal has. Right now the app has officially over 3 million food entries! What’s also great is that you can find them on indoor treadmills and bikes!

And let’s face it, numbers don’t lie. If you see how many calories a milkshake has, you will think twice whether you should drink one. You will keep in mind, after drinking the shake, a one hour work will be necessary to balance out the set daily calorie intake again. Is it worth it today, or is it better to give it a pass?

It is not forbidden to eat choco ice cream, you just have work for it. MyFitnessPal, next to helping you keep track of your calorie intake, also keeps track on how many calories you’ve burnt with simple exercises. Whether it’s an half hour jogging, dancing, intense housework, you type in the app how many minutes of exercising you have done, and the app calculates how many calories you have burnt. It’s extremely useful to have both calculations on your phone.
In the morning you want to eat some toast with strawberry jam, type it in the app and it will calculate how many calories you had for breakfast, and how many more you have left for the rest of the day. It’s that easy and overseeable.

As I mentioned before, one of the biggest obstacles when it comes to losing weight is to keep the motivation up. The app creators thought about that as well, and let all the users be part of a big community. You can check out each others profiles, befriend members, steal their tasty recipes (maybe that’s just me), browse through your feed, listen to your friends’ news and stories, share your own goals and whether you’re close to reaching them. It’s adding a whole new layer to the experience. You’re not on your own. All of a sudden, this journey you started, this calorie tracking, working out, losing weight, it’s oddly super fun.

A new thing I discovered recently, specifically about myself, is, how much I enjoy working out on upright bikes now. I never seemed to like it before, it was more a chore, another thing on my checklist, but since I actively started tracking my calorie intake with the help of the app, and saw with my own eyes how much weight I was losing week after week, I came to the realization that that upright bike in my brothers apartment is a major reason, why I’m losing all this weight. Of course it’s also a result of me stop buying doughnuts from my local bakery, but without the roughly three/four hours a week of me working that bike, I don’t know whether I would have lost 22 pounds that quickly. I’m pretty close to my dream weight, and I know I will continue using the app, so I don’t fall back to old behaviors.

In case the basic functions of the app aren’t enough for you, MyFitnessPal also offers a premium membership, where you pay a little sum and upgrade the app.

Last but definitely not least, another nice addition to the app is the MyFitnessPal official blog http://blog.myfitnesspal.com. You can find many great articles written by professionals on what to keep in mind, once you started working out, changing your diet and losing weight in the long run. Anything you could ask for can be found on that blog, from fitness videos, more recipes, life hacks on how to eat better, and so much more. And since clothing company Under Armour owns MyFitnessPal, you will find their sportswear in the shopping section. It’s definitely worth checking out.

In the end, the fitness app is a helpful tool, I know it continues to help me, but how you use it is completely up to you. My last advice would be to enjoy it and don’t force yourself to your limits, take your time.