So New Years, summer vacation, your birthday; it’s all right around the corner and you think to yourself, “This time I’m going to lose the weight.”  It comes and goes and you’re still your same old self.  Well not this time!  You make the determination that this is it, once and for all!  If you find yourself in this scenario I would love to introduce you to “My Fitness Pal”, an app for iOS.

“My Fitness Pal” is app designed to help you control you weight and dietary needs.  It keeps track of the norms like your caloric intake, foods eaten every day, excises done, and the like. What set this app apart from others though are the little nuances that it provides for its ease of use.  The app is pretty down right straight forward.

Let’s start our journey with opening the app.  I have to say good for you!  You’ve taken you first step to changing your life!  Kudos!  When first opening the app I was greeted with your normal disclosure screen.  I know most of you don’t read these things so I took the liberty for you.  Basically the agreement states that information gathered in the app may be shared with other third party vendors and websites.  This is pretty standard since the app also connects with the My Fitness Pal website where it stores all of your information.  It also states that information such as your device and carrier may be collected for future improvement of the app and will not be shared with anyone else.  You are also limited by the license meaning you can’t give or rent this app to your friends.  It’s not that big of a deal because it’s free for everyone to download.  Also the standard “we are not responsible if you die or occur injury” stuff.   Over all it’s a pretty standard disclosure agreement.

After reading, or not, the agreement you’re asked to sign up and create a profile for yourself and your goals.  Again, pretty straight forward.  You hand out such information as your weight, age, target weight, sex, etc...  You also create an account for the My Fitness Pal website to. 

The meat and potatoes of the app

So you’ve completed your profile and haven't read the disclosure agreement and you ask yourself, what next?  Well the app immediately takes you to your home screen.  The home screen is rather, again, straight forward.  I really can’t stress enough how straight forward this app is.  In fact, expect to hear it thirty more times. This screen states whether you’ve been naughty or nice.  It states how many calories you have left for the day, how many you’ve taken in from food, how many you’ve exhausted with exercise, and your net calorie intake.  You can also view your daily and weekly count and the nutrients you’ve digested as well. 

This little nuance was awesome.  Maintaining a healthy life goes past just your calorie intake and how many useless crunches you’ve done.  You have to make sure you get your vitamins and what not to.  Yes, your mom was right.  We don’t have to admit that to her though.

Next on our list is the Diary tab.  Again, straight forward.  Your presented with your calories for the day, how much you’ve taken in, you’ve exhausted through exercise, your net calories, and the remaining for the day.  My Fitness Pal is also nice and tells you today’s date.  Your list is broken down by your entries; breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.  You can add or subtract to each.

Again, straight forward

Adding an entry is again, straight forward.  You can select which category to choose your food from for the mealtime of the day.  The search function is amazingly put together with little to no food having to be added by you.  And you see another one of the apps little integrated nuances that set it apart.  The search function also includes your normal meals and recipes.  This just takes all the guessing work out of your daily entries.  The meals and recipes will require a little more maintenance though, entering in your own food and information.

After entering in your daily digest you have the option to complete the entry for the day.  Entering in your daily food count will give you a nice display, and tell you that if you ate like this you would lose x amount of weight within x amount of weeks.  It’s nice to see that kind of feedback and know that I’m doing an awesome job.  Thumbs up to me!

I warn you though, don’t press this button until the end of the day!  While playing with the app my curiosity got the best of me, like a little kitten, and I pressed this magical button after only entering in one 80 calorie egg for the day.  If I followed this nutritional path for the next five weeks I would have lost 35 pounds but also checked into the hospital.  So don’t get any funny ideas.  Make sure you eat a healthy amount of food every day.

Next on our adventure is the progress tab.  Again, straight forward.  Did you get the idea yet?  This screen displays a simple bar graph with your progress with calorie intake and the dates.  You have the option to record today’s weight and change the measurements of the graph.  It’s simplistic in nature but a nice addition to see your progress and keep you feeling good about yourself. 

Social Integration

Because the app integrates with the website you’re also presented with a “friends” tab.  My Fitness Pal has its own social network of sorts.  Again, another nuance that sets this app apart.  You’re able to network and talk to other users using the app, offering guidance and advice and just general kudos to others.  I found this feature to be very appealing and useful.  After all, it’s always easier to lose weight or quit smoking in groups. I can’t stress enough how important a good pat on the back is from others while trying to achieve your goals.  That little pat could make or break your efforts.  My Fitness Pal had the idea right with this.  Kudos to them!

And our journey through the app comes to an end with the more tab.  Again, straight forward.  Here you’ll find all the settings to change the app and your profile, food, exercises, and the like.

 

Conclusion

If you have a little self discipline to follow an app then I highly recommend this one.  My Fitness Pal offers a very, again, straight forward and intuitive design that makes your goals easily achievable.  There is very little fussing around with this app.  Even the search features for food and dietary information is some of the best I’ve seen.  The colors and design is easy on the eyes, its simplistic nature, and the fact that you can network with other individuals following the same quest as yourself, and the fact that it is free, makes this a very worthwhile app for any fitness minded person.  In fact, I would go so far as to say I would pay money for this app!

Now, go download it, and start achieving you goals!

Another way to manage your weight is by joining a weight loss food delivery service or a meal replacement commercial diet like Nutrisystem. Read about it here. Nutrisystem has app that helps you track your meals.