Previously, I told you about how I went out on a limb, took a risk and asked someone I hardly knew to be my accountability partner. It has worked out fabulously so far and has been such a blessing to me to have the accountability, the challenge and the encouragement of a fitness pal.
What I love about my fitness pal is that she is tough on me. She doesn’t let me slide. She’s not rude or mean or degrading in anyway, but she helps me keep on track and maintain focus.
Her first assignment for me was to sign up for a website. And herein lies the key to my other secret weapon. My other fitness pal, if you will.
A warning though: this may sound like an infomercial. But I promise you I am in no way being compensated to write this post. I am just THAT excited about it.
MyFitnessPal.com is an awesome website. My real life fitness pal suggested I join the site for additional accountability and for help with tracking my daily food and exercise, pounds lost, measurements and short and long-term goals. My Fitness Pal helps you with all of that.
The first thing you do when you sign up for their website is enter your weight, height, goal weight and how much you want to lose per week, and your exercise goal. My Fitness Pal then calculates for you exactly how many calories you should take in each day in order to lose the amount of weight you want to lose.
Once you complete that step you are ready to get started. You choose a user name and password and My Fitness Pal sets you up with a home page. On your home page you can see exactly how many calories you have left for your day, exactly how many you have used and exactly how many you have burned off in exercise.
On the left hand side of your home page there is a link for tracking food. This is an invaluable resource as My Fitness Pal has an extensive database of foods. You simply enter the food into their database and choose the serving size you ate and click “add to diary”. My Fitness Pal automatically adds it to the proper meal, calculates the calories consumed, and deducts it from the day’s totals so you know exactly how many you have left for the day.
The whole process takes a matter of seconds. It is very user-friendly and makes it so incredibly easy to track everything you are eating. It also tracks carbohydrates, fat, and protein and you can change your settings to track other things as well such as fiber, iron, vitamin C and several other choices. It really couldn’t be any easier.
Another great part of the calorie tracker system is that there is a place to enter your own personal recipes. I cook from scratch quite often, and while there are usually several choices in the My Fitness Pal database that can approximate what I am making, I like to be really accurate. I am anal like that. So I simply click on the recipes tab and enter the exact ingredients I used, the quantities I used and how many my dish serves. My Fitness Pal does all the work for me, adds everything up and also figures up how many calories are in each serving. Then you save your recipe and it is added to your own personal database, so you only have to enter a recipe once.
Also, if you use allrecipes.com to find recipes, you can look up that particular recipe in the database. I use allrecipes a lot and I have found many of my recipes already in the database. You also have the option of quickly adding just calories if you know exactly how many calories something is, but can’t find the item in the database, or don’t want to take the time to type it in.
My Fitness Pal also keeps a running list of all of the foods you eat, so you don’t have to keep looking up the same foods all the time. All you have to do is click on the food on the list and add it to your diary. If you eat a lot of the same foods (like we do for breakfast and lunches) you can create meals and just simply add them when you have them, without having to do it all over every single time. Really, it is so, so simple.
In addition to the calorie tracker, there is an exercise tracker as well. At the top of the page you simply click on “exercise”. The process is very similar to tracking your calories. You can track both cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise and strength training. You simply enter your exercise into their database, choose the exercise and intensity that most closely describes your activity, choose how long you exercised for and My Fitness Pal calculates the calories you burned. Here’s the cool thing: it then adds those calories burned to your total calories recommended for consumption that day. So the more you exercise, the more calories you can consume and still meet your weight loss goal.
Tell me, how cool is that?
Another great feature of My Fitness Pal is the message boards. Here you can read some really awesome, inspiring success stories. You can support others who are struggling on their journey and you can receive support yourself.
Since I decided I was “all in” on this journey I introduced myself on the message board and received some incredible positive feedback. I got lots of encouragement and advice and have made a few new friends to help hold me accountable to my goals. There is also a Facebook-like feature where you can “friend” other members. I have a few “real-life” friends on there and we check up on each other often, but I also have met several people through My Fitness Pal itself. And let me tell you, this is an inspiring, encouraging bunch of people.
One of my favorite parts of My Fitness Pal is that at the end of the day, when you have calculated all of your calories consumed and burned, My Fitness Pal tells you that “if every day were like today, on ____ you will weigh _____.” It tells you what you would weigh on a certain date (five weeks in the future). It is so exciting every day to see the progress I am making and to get that immediate feedback.
So there you have it, my secret weapon. Oh, and did I mention that this is completely, 100% free, no strings attached. I know, awesome right?
So what are you waiting for? Go sign up.
And while you’re there, feel free to look me up. My ID is HSmamato4. Just be sure to send me a message letting me know you are a blog reader.