Losing Weight in 2011 continued... My Fitness Pal

June 7, 2011

(The first in a series of posts on apps I’ve found useful under ‘the new regime’)

One of the best apps/services I’ve found for general fitness and nutrition and weight loss is MyFitnessPal. I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t have made quite as good progress without it.

The main selling point of the service is that it allows you to track what you eat and what exercise you do, in order to monitor and help regulate your calorific intake. When you create an account you put in the usual details as well as your weight and height, tell it how much activity you do on a daily basis and how much weight you’d like to lose, and it works out how many calories you should eat each day to hit that target. All you have to do is enter the food you eat (by searching the food database) and the exercise you do (cardiovascular/strength training can be entered separately) and it calculates your net deficit/over spend each day.

I’m a big sucker for life-logging, and logging each part of each meal takes this to the extreme. I now have almost 5 months of data on what I’ve been eating. Why I’d want this, I’m not sure, but it’s there now! The service also handles logging stats such as weight, waist, neck and chest measurements, although the progress graphs for these leave a lot to be desired. Like most good services, this is a website with associated mobile app, with android, iPhone and blackberry versions available.

**Large database of foods with calorific and nutritional information
Easy logging of food and exercise, weight and measurements
Adjusts calorie allowance as weight changes
Social features - friends, forums etc

Mobile app makes it easy to log food or exercise while out and about
Easy to stay on top of calorific intake - actually helps with weight loss
Lots of support, encouragement and advice on forums
Can contribute to database if food is missing
Can report inaccurate data, up-vote correct data

Users can contribute to database and some users are stupid
Progress graphs are pretty useless
Mobile app and website sometimes disagree on calories burnt from exercise

The MyFitnessPal website is at http://www.myfitnesspal.com and the mobile apps are available here.

(thanks to my good friend Christopher for the initial heads up on this site!)

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