Keeping track of what you eat, especially if you are counting calories, is especially hard if you aren’t writing down everything you consume. It’s so easy to think you are eating well, but once you hold yourself accountable and actually start writing down everything you eat (yes, even those 10 m&ms that “won’t make a difference”) you start being much more aware of snacking and possibly how many bad things you are eating.
In the past I tried keeping food diaries, and just writing down everything I ate, but it can be hard, especially if its at a restaurant, or is something that doesn’t have a nutrition label. Last year I found my savior for this problem, and it’s called MyFitnessPal and is an app on my iPhone!
I LOVE this app. I sort of abandoned it for the past few months, but I started using it religiously last Sunday, and it really is helpful for losing weight!
When you first get the app, you can put in a few facts about yourself (starting weight, goal weight, activity level, etc) and the app will give you a daily calorie count based on your information, along with telling you approximately how long it should take you to reach your goal weight.
Every day you are shown a “Diary” page, where you put down everything you eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. The top of the page lists your calorie goal, how much you have eaten, how much exercise you did, and how many calories you have left.
This is part of my diary from Thursday :) The absolute BEST part of this app is the fact that to get 95% of all your entries, you just have to scan the label of whatever you are eating, and the app searches it’s database and knows the entire nutrition information- down to how many vitamins are in it! Once you’ve chosen your food, you can say how much you had (one serving, half, 3/8, whatever) and it will add it to your diary. If what you are eating doesn’t have a nutrition label, you can search for items and it more than likely will be in the system. You can also add foods of your own, or even create your own recipes as I’ve just found out! So if you’re like me and make daily green smoothies, you just go to the recipes section, add in everything in it, and there you go! no need to put in every ingredient separately, and makes your diary page look less crazy :)
The other great thing about this is there hasn’t been a restaurant I’ve been to that it hasn’t had nutrition information for. Granted, yes, if you go to a local joint that doesn’t have a website, or doesn’t have nutrition information publicly available, then you might have some issues, but it’s really cool to be able to put in a restaurant name and the food I’m eating and know exactly how many calories it has.
The app also lets your see your Nutrient details (this is only really relevant if you are scanning items or the ones you search have more than just calories listed. I always seem to focus just on calories, but it’s neat to be able to see everything else listed, and see where problem areas are. Every day I seemed to have gone over my suggested sugar intake, and honestly I’m not surprised. I’m definitely going to try and work on that next week!
Overall, this has REALLY helped me keep an eye on what I eat, and help me snack less (because honestly, having to write down that you ate a candy bar doesn’t feel great!). I’m sorry if this post sounded infomercialy at all, haha! I just think that this could be super useful to any of you trying to lose or gain weight, as well as anyone who just wants to start eating better.
Next week’s goals: Suck it up and work out more, limit sugars, and stretch more!