Last Updated on December 15, 2018 by Michael Brockbank
The sheer number of apps make picking the right one to lose weight somewhat of a chore. Some will promise instant results while others focus intently on body building. Is there one that just keeps an eye on what you eat? That’s where MyFitnessPal comes into play.
After using this free fitness app for more than 1000 days straight, I can say that it has helped me lose weight. In reality, simply using it as a food calorie counter has helped me keep off more than 70 pounds!
This MyFitnessPal review is based on how it has helped me for nearly three years.
What is MyFitnessPal?
MyFitnessPal is an app that let’s you keep track of food intake as well as exercise. At a glance, you can see where you stand in regards to nutrition and how well you eat.
If you want to see something scary, record a $5 meal deal from Taco Bell.
It focuses mostly on calorie count in the food you consume. The goal is to keep the number of calories it shows you “in the green.” This is because the numbers will go red if you eat too much.
You also have other points of data if you want to keep track of something else. For instance, you can see where you stand in terms of carbs, sodium and/or protein.
Initially, it is free to use. But you can pay for the premium service to have access to far more data.
Why You Would Want MyFitnessPal
Aside from the app being free, it’s an easy system to use. Just add your food each time you eat and the system will do the rest.
This is a great app for those who simply want to use MyFitnessPal to lose weight. Essentially, it shows you the results of eating throughout the day and helps you make smarter choices.
For example, let’s say you’re not really into exercising much but you still want to lose weight. By monitoring your intake, you can quickly shed the pounds in most cases.
It’s all about keeping the numbers in the green.
And if you decide to add workouts, exercises or weight training, MyFitnessPal can adapt. For instance, I connected my Fitbit data which calculates how many calories I’ve burned at any given point.
MyFitnessPal will then recalculate how many calories I can eat for the day based on my physical activity. This is the premise behind my Net 600 Calorie Diet plan, which works amazingly well for me.
Keeping track of MyFitnessPal calories is how I’ve lost 70 pounds so far and have kept it off since 2015.
How Well Does MyFitnessPal Work?
Speaking for myself, this app works amazingly well to lose weight. Of course you need to put in the daily effort to record everything you eat. After all, no data is effective if it’s incomplete.
This means you enter every morsel of food and drink throughout the day. Luckily, the mobile app comes with a barcode scanner that helps you make quick entries.
Then, it’s up to you to use the data and make better choices for eating.
And that’s what it all boils down to…you making a conscious decision to change your eating habits.
What Are Some of its Notable Features?
MyFitnessPal works nicely as a food calorie counter. However, it has a myriad of other features that make it stand out. In fact, there are several that I use on a regular basis.
But, it’s up to you if any of these are considered “notable.”
In the free version of MyFitnessPal, you can monitor different aspects of eating outside of counting calories. For instance, you can view your:
This means it’s great for those who need to keep an eye on things like sodium to manage blood pressure.
Vast Number of Integrations
One of the key points to MyFitnessPal is how well it integrates with other apps. Currently, you can connect more than 50 to this calorie counter. This includes some of the most popular apps like Fitbit, Runkeeper, Bowflex and Microsoft Health.
With the right network, you can create a powerhouse of data to lose weight or easily jump into body building.
Charts and Reports
The system comes with quite a few charts and reports you can export to your computer. From tracking your weight loss journey to seeing where you stand in terms of fiber over the last 90 days, there are plenty to choose from.
This is perfect for data dorks like myself who love crunching numbers in spreadsheets.
A Five-Week Weight Loss Calculator
When you finish out your eating for the day, MyFitnessPal has a weight loss calculator that will give you an estimate of how much you’ll weigh in five weeks. It shows the report along the lines of:
“If every day was like today, you’ll weigh X pounds in five weeks.”
This is based on your food intake for the day and subtracted from your recorded weight. It’s kind of a fun feature, and it helps guide your goals.
One of the things I liked most about MyFitnessPal when I started was the support I would find in the message boards. I found several friends as well as forums which are full of people like myself.
I was able to build a bit of a weight loss network.
Today, you can join many different groups for those who are like-minded. For instance, you can join the “Low Carber Daily Forum” if you’re focused on eating fewer carbs.
Creating Your Own Blog
If you want to share your journey in blog format, MyFitnessPal has that built in as well. It’s a simple blog that is open to the public and a great way to keep notes regarding your progress.
I only created a few posts back in 2014 and quit. But that’s because I built this website shortly after.
I didn’t see the sense in maintaining two blogs for the exact same purpose.
Storing Recipes and Meals
One feature I tend to use often is storing meals and saving recipes. This makes adding certain foods much easier. For instance, you can cut time by:
- Saving Recipes
If you have a recipe you like and want to keep track of it, MyFitnessPal can easily be used as a cook book. Plus, you can share your recipes with the community…or even keep them private.
- Storing Meals
Let’s say you have a few things you eat regularly as a set meal. MyFitnessPal will let you combine those foods into a common element. For instance, I’ve combined Trader Joe’s Kung Pao Chicken and Chicken Fried Rice into a single meal for quicker recording.
You can also add a bit of flair to your recipes and meals by adding a picture directly from your phone.
Another aspect I tend to use a lot is setting up my fitness goals. From this screen, you can change how many carbs, fats and proteins you want to eat for the day. You also can set goals for nutrients as well as certain types of fitness.
If you pay for the premium service, you can set calorie goals specific to each meal.
Some Foods Not Available
Perhaps the biggest downside to MyFitnessPal is how sometimes you’ll come across food in the database that isn’t exactly the same on the package label. This is often because manufacturers change recipes or make products differently in various regions.
But, if you come across something that isn’t in the database, you can easily add it manually. MyFitnessPal will then save the food so you can enter it again at a later date.
My Personal Experience with It
I began using MyFitnessPal in 2014, which was strictly on my desktop computer. It wasn’t until late 2015 that I installed the mobile fitness app on my smartphone.
This was before Under Armour bought the website.
Since then, I’ve lost 70 pounds mostly from changing the way I eat meals and snacks. After seeing the amount of damage I was doing to my body on a nutritional level, it sparked motivation to be more healthy.
I went from 290+ pounds down to almost 220. My goal is 200, but I don’t know if I’ll actually hit that simply because I do have a bit of muscle mass on my frame.
My point is that MyFitnessPal plays an integral role in helping me lose weight by providing the data I need to see.
Where Can You Get MyFitnessPal?
MyFitnessPal is one of those apps that works well from any computer system. Just create an account and set up your goals. It’s a bit more of an effort to record meals, but it’s worth the time overall.
You can also download it from Google Play if you’re on an Android device.
What’s the Bottom Line?
Although I am somewhat biased when it comes to my own MyFitnessPal success story, it is a very handy app to have available. From monitoring food and portion sizes to keeping track of my calorie burn from Fitbit, it’s been instrumental in weight loss.
Of course any system is going to work well if you want it to. Find something that works for you and change your life for the better.
Losing weight and being healthy is more than just looking good in the mirror. It’s a way to prolong your lifespan.[template id=”3591″]