You read that headline correctly. An app helped me lose weight. Say what? Actually, it more than helped; I could probably attribute most of my recent shape up to a little friend called My Fitness Pal. And, no, this is not an advertisement.
Here’s a little background. I’ve been active all my life, from kicking balls around fields to dancing hip hop to the best of my white-girl ability through high school. Then I went to college, and though I didn’t particularly become inactive, I was more into playing beer pong than practicing competitive sports every day of the week. I still worked out at my campus recreation center, but what I was putting into my body was not exactly getting worked out. Wait a second. Is that why they call it working out? Mind blown.
Anyway, now I’m a year out of school, and I definitely don’t wear those same college party pants anymore, but I can tell some habits from back then have stuck with me — particularly, the habit of absolutely no self control or portion control when it comes to foods I love. Tex-Mex comes to mind first and foremost. So even though I workout regularly, I was using exercise as an excuse to eat anything I wanted and however much I wanted. For, like, a really long time — like, even as my metabolism annoyingly turned all grownup and slowed way the heck down.
I’d actually used My Fitness Pal before; it’s a tracker app where you can scan barcodes of foods you eat, or just search the generic name (like, “Fuji apple”), and all the nutritional value will be logged into a daily food intake diary. You can also track your daily exercise and steps, so basically, the more exercise you do in the day, the more calories it allows you to eat, which is definitely, totally, absolutely not my favorite part. (Yes it is.)
When I’d used the app before, I didn’t know anyone else using it, so I didn’t really have someone there to, I suppose, keep me honest. I’d not log a giant bag of chips I ate so I could stay “under” my daily calorie goal and not feel guilty. See what I mean, guys? The lack of self control was so real.
My uncle and his wife told my boyfriend John and I they’d each lost 30 pounds using it a while back by both using it and supporting each other, and John and I both promptly decided to join and keep each other accountable. John loves any type of progress-tracking app (he has one for types of beer he drinks), and I was ready to give anything a shot after a very rude scale at my doctor’s office told me I weighed the heaviest I have ever weighed.
It’s so helpful to have someone there keeping me on track, if by nothing other than John “liking” a workout I log. Plus, we cook and eat kind of a lot of meals together, and I realized soon into having My Fitness Pal that my body does not need anywhere near the portion sizes that my six-feet-four-inches-tall boyfriend needs. So unfair. But also a learning curve, which led me to lose almost 10 pounds and counting in a month. That’s my kind of education.
It might sound like a drastic weight loss in not a lot of time, but after I learned how many calories and how much fat and protein my body actually needs (yup, it tracks all of that and other things that I know next to nothing about in the macronutrient realm), I realized I had been way overeating for a long time. So of course my body responded with weight loss once I chilled out the overconsumption a bit, and guess what? I’m not starving. I never go to bed hungry. In fact, I go to bed feeling fulfilled and not overly stuffed or fatigued.
All this to say: this app is so COOL. It has a lot of bigger restaurants’ menu items to search and log easily, plus almost everything you can find in grocery stores (barring some bulk foods). If you’re needing a change health-wise, or just want to become more in-the-know about your personalized nutrition, grab a friend, download the app together (or find and add me! Hi!), and make a game out of taking your health into your own hands.
And if you have a tool you love to use for your fitness and health, leave it in a comment below! I am so on the health-tech bandwagon right now. Can you tell?
Please be aware: I am a health-minded writer, not a doctor or a nutritionist. I wanted to share what’s worked for me, but if this is not a beneficial app and regimen for your mind and body, please do not use it, or consult a physician beforehand.