Produced By: MyFitnessPal
Platforms: Web Based, iPhone, iPod, iPad, Android
I started using MyFitnessPal at the start of February this year as a means of tracking calories reasonably accurately. I had already been doing so using a dedicated iPad app, however it was severely limited in it’s functionality.
Before I start discussing the pro’s and con’s of the MyFitnessPal service, I have to say that calorie counting DOES work and really it is as simple as calories out (high) – calories in (low) = weight loss. I went from 242lbs on January 3rd to 169lbs today doing simply that, and it was 99% diet and not added exercise. Weight loss is caused by a change in lifestyle and eating habits and not through fad diets and exercise regimes.
MyFitnessPal makes it very easy to track what you are eating as they offer versions of their software on both the iPhone and iPad as well as any Android devices. These all automatically synchronise with their main website whenever there is an internet connection which means you can track where ever you are.
The biggest problems people find with calorie counting is the time it takes to input data from the foods they are eating. MyFitnessPal boasts one of the biggest food databases which are contributed by both their staff and other MFP members. I very rarely find a food that is not already in their database (mainly commercial kitchen products, so fairly understandable) however it is very easy to add in personal items by entering the nutritional information from the packages. A BIG advantage of the MFP service on mobile devices is the barcode scanning functionality it provides – this makes it very easy to enter foods as they can be scanned and entered within seconds.
MyFitnessPal also offers exercise tracking, which can then take account of those calories burnt to adjust your daily calorie allowance. The guesstimates that the app provides though however can be fairly inaccurate (unfortunately stating too high a calorie burn) as they simply guess calorie burn based on your current height, weight and length of exercise. If you want to seriously track calories burnt you are best to invest in a good Heart Rate Monitor (I use a Polar FT7, which I will review soon) which gives a much more accurate reading – this reading can then be entered into MFP.
MyFitnessPal can also integrate automatically into several other services to provide a fuller experience. I personally integrate it with my FitBit so that my calorie allowance is automatically adjusted by how active i have been that day – MyFitnessPal then passed back the food I’ve eaten to FitBit to complete the circle. It also integrated with many running applications which are popular at the moment, again providing exercise information to MFP.
The site offers weight and measurement tracking which I believe is essential for accurately judging progresss – the site provides helpful graphs and statistics which generates encouragement. I am a little surprised that it does not offer photograph uploads as part of the measurement sections, however you can upload photos to your photo gallery but it does not integrate with the measurement diary.
I highly recommend anyone looking to lose weight to use the service, you just have to be honest with yourself and you can’t go wrong!