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24 August 2016

There's An App For That!

24 August 2016
I’ve recently talked about my aim to get back on track with my weight and how I’ve been rediscovering my love (and motivation) for exercise. Whilst doing Slimming World earlier in the year I found I had a structured diet to follow, and something to keep me on track with my intake of food/nutrition. Now I’m no longer doing this diet, I was concerned I’d pile the weight back on and once again be back to square one.

Whilst I don’t want to become obsessive over my weight and food consumption – something I found starting to happen whilst on Slimming World – I’ve wanted to ensure I haven’t been eating way over a healthy caloric intake for my height/weight/activity level and so, turned to an app I used to use several years back….. My Fitness Pal.

The app is great as not only does it allow you to track your calories and exercise, but it’s super easy to use. I don’t tend to use it over the weekend as it’s a time I like to kick back and enjoy myself, without having to worry about what I’m eating. After all, we can’t let food rule our lives, sometimes, you’ve just got to enjoy yourself.

On joining the app you enter your details, including name, age, height, weight and activity level, before selecting your weight aims (lose, gain, maintain)… and how quickly you want to achieve this. The app then calculates your daily calorie intake based on these things and it really is as simple as that. Of course, you want to select a goal that is achievable and not unhealthy for you personally. Aiming to lose 5lbs a week isn’t healthy or maintainable, and you’d probably find that the weight piled back on if you upped your daily intake.

When it comes to inputting your food, you can either quickly add the number of calories, set up the food manually or find the food in the search bar. What’s great about My Fitness Pal is that it has pretty much everything already logged from all kinds of brands. This is great and makes adding foods and quantities really quick and convenient. What I particularly like is the feature that allows you to scan the barcode on an item…. It really makes things even quicker and means you aren’t spending loads of time out of your day in trying to keep track of your food.

I think if something involves a lot of effort or hassle, then we are far less likely to keep up with it. My Fitness Pal literally takes minutes to input what you are eating and so doesn’t feel like a chore in the slightest. I find adding my food for the next day the night before is the easiest, as it means I can just get up and go, knowing exactly what food I have planned for the day.

If you want to look in even more detail, the app allows you to see how much sugar, fat, protein, carbs etc you are meant to have in a day. I really like this feature as it means you can see if you’re going way over (or under) in one nutritional element, enabling you to adjust this accordingly. It would be really easy to just eat loads of fatty/sugary/high cholesterol foods all throughout the day because they fit into your calories… but it doesn’t mean that that is a healthy lifestyle choice. For me, it’s not just about losing weight, but it’s about living a more healthy and balanced lifestyle, incorporating nutrient dense foods and exercise… whilst still being able to eat what I enjoy.

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