Monday, July 14, 2014

Getting Started with My Fitness Pal to Record Your Progress

Wanna have some fun with your healthy weight loss?  Keep records of what you eat and track your progress. Ok, this might not be fun for everyone, but it COULD be fun. At least it will keep you honest and on track. Plus, when you've reached your goal, it will be great to be able to look back and wonder if you could possibly have ever been "there."

Naturally, you can record everything by hand -- if you're willing to research and record calories, fat, etc in each thing you eat. But, boy will it be tedious!

Since I'm kind of a gear geek and use apps for all kinds of things, I really recommend that you get My Fitness Pal, not only because it records EVERYTHING, but because, once you get over the resistance and early learning curve, it's like a game. You really only need to track things for a few weeks; after that, you'll pretty much know what's what. So......

Here's how to get the program

  • If you are working from a computer, you can get it here: My Fitness Pal. 
  • If you have a smartphone or tablet (which I'll call your "electronic device"), you can download the app from your play store or marketplace.
  • Once they're installed, the information will sync across all your electronic devices.

Here's how to get set up an account

  • Go to, or open the myfitnesspal app on your electronic device
  • Create an account (it's free)
  • Put as much as you want in your personal profile
  • Set your goals (look to top of screen), and do your diet profile
    • Enter your weight, goal weight, height, gender and age
    • Describe your normal daily activities (really read the descriptions and don't fudge)
    • Put in your weight loss goal (eg., 2 lbs/week)
  • Check in (look to top of screen)
    • Enter today's weight
    • Enter your measurements
    • Enter your BMI. If you don't know this, you can use this chart. Also use the chart to see what category you are in (normal, overweight, obese, etc) 
  • Under settings (look to top of screen)
    • Decide what to track. I recommend fat, saturated fat, protein, fiber and calcium
    • Change the names of meals, if you want

Here's how to begin tracking your progress

  • Click on FOOD along the very top of your screen
  • You'll see today's date at the top
  • Under the relevant meal, click on "add food"
  • In the box, type in a food, such as "oatmeal," and then "search"
  • You will see lots of possibilities
    • If you have a particular brand name, click on that. Otherwise, pick something that is close to what you had
    • Look for an item that is listed in the type of measurements you want to use (such as cups or tablespoons)
    • Once you have the food up, look for the quantity that represents a portion size and adjust for the amount you ate, if necessary
  • Click "add food"
  • Once it's added, you can see how many calories, etc are contained in what you ate
  • If you made a mistake you can click the [-] symbol to delete the entry
  • Do this throughout the day
  • At the bottom, you'll see a running total and can know how close you come to your goal for each of the elements
Let me know how you do, or if you have any questions.

In later posts, I'll give some more tips for getting the most out of this application. Enough for now.

Click here to access the full Trim-Up Healthy Weight blog.

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