My Fitness Enemy

As part of my New Year's plan to move my body more, and thus decrease the extra poundage which accumulated during the holidays, I have reaffirmed my commitment to My Fitness Pal. This is a free app which I have used in the past, and discussed on this blog. Check it out here:

I'll give you a refresher. You download the app and sign up for free. Then type your weight into a little box and then add your goal weight into another box. The little elves inside your phone (or computer) will then decide how many calories you can eat per day. For me, the total is 1200. This amounts to very little. Maybe half a sandwich and a cup of soup. However, when you post your daily exercise, as long as it is cardio, you will be given extra calories to consume based on how many you burn. I suggest doing zumba (or zumba-style dance aerobics) or running a daily marathon (26.2 miles) in order to accrue a massive calorie burn. Don't forget to add your dog walking. Every little bit counts! (Don't bother doing any yoga, Pilates, or strength training because you will receive ZERO extra calories for your time and sweat.)

One of the nice features of My Fitness Pal is its flexibility. I'm not sure if I mentioned this in an earlier blog, but you can adjust the percentages of macronutrients you wish to consume. (If you don't adjust this yourself, it will automatically give you something like 50% carbs, possibly even higher! ACK!) In order to follow the Zone diet, you would plug in 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fat. This is a very good, middle-of-the-road balance of macros. However, if you find you are not losing weight, you might need to go lower carb. I am currently set at 50% fat, 25% protein, and 25% carbs. (I've been struggling a little bit to keep the carbs in line, mostly because I was going hog wild over stuff like chips and cookies over winter break.)

Studies have shown that keeping track of your food intake--through a food journal or an app of any kind--automatically helps people eat less, even without consciously trying to diet. Maybe it is the huge inconvenience of having to find your phone or notebook every single time you put something in your mouth. Each time I reach for the chip bag, then remember my commitment to logging all my food, I stop myself. Absolutely no food enters my piehole without being logged. And since my calorie allotment is so low, I can only afford to eat 3 meals and one SMALL snack. I have gone to bed hungry every night this week, but in my experience, this is the only way to lose weight: through pain and suffering.

Another feature of My Fitness Pal which I enjoy is the scanner. If your food has a UPC code, you can scan it with your phone and all its innate properties will be automatically revealed. Maybe this is only exciting for me? The database is very large, but if your food has never been entered into the system, you can do it yourself. It takes a little longer, but you can feel good about helping others who may also be eating imported Italian salami from Trader Joe's.

At the end of the day--or week or month--you can assess all the nutrients you've consumed and see how you're doing. This is a great way to stay on track not just for your calories, but for your macros (protein, carbs, and fat) AND some of your micro-nutrients like calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamins A and C. (For example, I find I am consistently eating too much sodium and not nearly enough potassium. It's probably than darn salami.)

Now for the kicker: after logging all my meals and exercise for the past 3 days, My Fitness Pal tells me I will GAIN 2 pounds in the next 30 days if I continue to eat this way!!! (No lie!) And this is after I have religiously stayed UNDER my allotted calories. Well, not under the 1200, but under the 1800 I have been given for exercising. This is why I am now referring to this app as MY FITNESS ENEMY.

If you are recovering from holiday indulgences and would appreciate some weight loss coaching and support, please contact me in the comment section below. You are not alone!



  1. I need to make an amendment! Today I discovered that My Fitness Pal WILL give me extra calories for yoga AND Pilates! I just never searched for these activities under CARDIO before! My bad!


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