While I haven’t found it super helpful with regards to maintaining my weight, My Fitness Pal helped me lose weight after both pregnancies. It’s hard for me to find the motivation to document every little thing I eat when I am just after maintenance – for that, I use my clothes and an occasional visit to scale. But for losing weight – when really, what I needed was a stiff dose of reality – MFP was perfect.
I tried Weight Watchers but found that it was too easy to game the system. My issue is less with the volume of food I eat and more with the quality. I would also save points for wine and gain way too many with exercise.
My Fitness Pal was better for three main reasons:
1. The database had the food I actually eat. With Weight Watchers, I often had to find the equivalent to what I was eating and as such couldn’t always be sure I was getting the calories or portions right. The My Fitness Pal has foods from the restaurants I would visit (specifically I am thinking of Just Salad and Chopt’) and when they weren’t already there, it was super easy to add and then retrieve them again when needed.
2. It didn’t just count calories, I could also look at where those calories were coming from. I was able to monitor fat, carbohydrates and proteins but also saturated fats, sugars, trans-fats, cholesterol and the like. For me, sugar is the biggest issue – I know you’re stunned, considering the name of this blog. But it wasn’t doughnuts (as crazy as I am, I didn’t eat them when I was actively trying to lose weight). My problem was having orange juice, cereal and a banana for breakfast – which covered my sugar for the day.
3. It told me when I wasn’t eating enough. As I have said before, I can go to a bad place when dieting and MFP helped me remember that it’s OK to eat – that you need to eat – when losing weight. That you don’t want to let your body go in to starvation mode. Now, I doubt that one day of eating slightly less than my allotted calories wouldn’t result in such a thing. But it was good to have that little reminder.
MFP also got me back in the habit of keeping a glass of water on my desk at work so I could hit those eight glasses per day and it also motivated me to workout more – to get more calories to play with.