As part of Lift’s Quantified Diet Project, I’ve been tracking my calories since January 1st using the free MyFitnessPal app. I’ve previously disliked the thought of tracking every meal and snack, unconvinced that tracking only calories was helpful in a diet plan. After using the app for a month, I’m very appreciative to have a sense of what types of foods I eat, how much I snack (a lot) and just how little consistent exercise I do. And of course my lifestyle is slowly changing for the better.
While calorie tracking seems tedious and the manual entry outdated, the task of consciously knowing what you eat everyday and how much you burn off gives, at the very least, a sense of awareness. Who knew that on average my snacking added an extra 500 calories a day, or that I overeat the most when the food choices are Mexican or Italian? There are over 3 million foods in the MFP database so what you are eating is most likely in there – or you can add it. The barcode scanner takes out a lot of typing and you can create pre-set meals for your favorite/most often cooked items.
During this month, I’ve started to eat healthier, eat less, and actually lost a couple of pounds. For those concerned more about the breakout of nutrition, MFP differentiates carbs, fats and protein along with vitamins. There is no food that is ‘bad,’ but there are amounts that can be. So for now I can still eat chocolate covered almonds and peanut butter filled pretzels (thanks, Costco!) but I’m aware of the extra exercise I need with every bite.