MyFitnessPal 101: How I use it to NOURISH my body!
One of the biggest questions I get asked is how I lost weight and what I eat in a day, so I wanted to walk you ladies through my approach to eating. As many of you know ever since my early teens I was a YOYO dieter aka eating super clean for a short amount of time then falling off the wagon, getting back on, and you know the VICIOUS cycle! I was so OVER it because it always left me feeling hungry, guilty, and have cravings that were uncontrollable. I now take a healthy, realistic approach to eating because it’s sustainable and works for me. I REALLY want you to know at the end of the day you need to NOURISH your body and eat however is BEST for you and your GOALS!
It wasn’t until I truly STOPPED DEPRIVING and started fueling my body that I began to see results. In the beginning of my journey I had to start with small steps, because if not I would fall off. I slowly started shopping the perimeter of the grocery store eating more fruits, veggies, lean proteins, etc but didn’t track anything! Once I started to see results I became fascinated by nutrition and really started to research how I could learn more about my body. I was so interested in it and I felt like if I started tracking my food I would have a better understanding of my body! I discovered MyFitnessPal, a fitness tracking tool where you can search specific foods and log them into your daily routine.
The app has so many features and even has a FREE version – yes you heard me FREE. I’ve NEVER paid for premium because I don’t need to. With the regular version I’m able to track my calories, macros, access their blog with exercise ideas, recipes, and I’m able to add friends so I can see how they are doing! Oh and I totally forgot one of my FAV features is the ability to track your progress photos and log your weight for that photo. Why do I love this?! Because SO many times the scale doesn’t budge but when I look at progress photos I look totally different – it’s a good reminder to #SCREWTHESCALE!
When people hear tracking right away they think “I don’t have time for that or it seems obsessive.’"
Is Tracking Time Consuming or Obsessive?
In the beginning tracking may be tedious to you because it’s NEW. Just like anything in life things take practice and the more you do it the easier it becomes – this is the same way! You can save your frequent meals and you can even SCAN bar codes off let’s say a bar or yogurt and it’ll automatically populate for you!
Once I got the hang of the app I got so used to the meals I was making I no longer had to track because I was usually dead on with my portions or close enough to my macros where I wasn’t gaining. A lot of people think MFP can be obsessive but it’s really what you make it and at the end of the day it’s really just collecting DATA. If I’m under or over calories do I freak out? No! No day is going to be perfect and once you get the feel for how much you’re eating you really won’t need to track every day.
Let’s talk about the biggest benefits of tracking:
FOOD AWARENESS – before tracking I would pick any oatmeal off the shelf without realizing what was really in it – how many grams of sugar, was this really the best option? Also, how much was I UNDER EATING or OVER EATING – sometimes we don’t realize how much we aren’t really eating or how many calories were losing sight of like coffee creamers, sauces, etc
PORTION SIZES - I was the girl that could literally eat 10 bowls of cereal – I just love it so much that I’d eat SO much Special K without realizing how much I was off on the serving size
DATA – what is your maintenance level of calories – before tracking I had no data to understand if I was eating enough or over eating so when you track for X amount of time you can analyze how your body is progressing based on how you’re feeding it and then from there you can adjust fit your goals
FREE INFO – the app is 100% FREE unless you pay for premium – with the FREE version you still get to do a lot and even access their blog with yummy recipes that even break down the macros for you!
ACCOUNTABILITY – If you desire you can have friends and family follow your logs so you can have a buddy and get ideas!
Here’s the breakdown for setting up MyFitnessPal
Download the app on the app store
Create a user name
In your profile be sure to set up your height, weight, goal weight, activity level
From there set up your macros - keep reading below
Do I have to track every day? For life?
When I first started tracking I had very specific goals to lose weight so I tracked every day for about 12 weeks because I was following a workout plan at the same time and it just made sense. Again, I got the hang of it and I have a very good understanding of how much I’m eating in a day so I don’t track every day!
Tracking while eating out
· I always scope the menu before I get to the restaurant and organize my day according to what I’ll eat while eating out. For instance, maybe I want pasta for dinner I will make sure earlier in the day to eat lots and lots of protein and save my carbs for that meal
· Many restaurants have their nutrition info on their website – prior to I always go online and see what looks the best for my goals
· When in doubt order a lean protein, healthy carb, and good fat and generically track it in the app so you’re at least in the ball park
How do you override your numbers?
· Go to “more” in the righthand corner of your phone in the app
· Go to goals, make sure everything is updated weight, goal weight, activity, etc
· Go to protein, carbs, fat goals and enter in your numbers (if you need help calculating check out my previous blog post here)
· Enter your numbers two or three times until the system saves them
· General rule of thumb is about 1g/lb that you weigh in protein/carbs and .3-.5g/lb you weigh in fat
· Adjust your macros to meet your numbers and equal 100%
Myfitness Pal Tips/Tricks
· Do not calculate exercise – don’t eat the calories you burn
· Pay attention to GRAMS not percentages if you’re 50%/50% on a category but the grams don’t equate to your goal then that is not correct
· Use the SCANNER – its there for a reason – I SCAN almost every thing except fruits/veggies because it’s so easy
Just like anything new in life I know this will be a little overwhelming so I made a quick video tutorial for you here discussing how I use MyFitnessPal! Remember I want you to fuel and nourish your body not punish it! Tracking should be a way for you to understand your body better and be more in tune with what you’re eating!
Keep in mind too I am not a certified nutritionist so anything you apply from this blog is as your own risk and you should consult a Doctor, but let’s dive in!**