Monday, April 9, 2012

Make a Change Monday - My Fitness Pal

I know...with this being the day after Easter and all...that maybe we shouldn't be talking about "eating healthy", but I learned a lot this weekend thanks to my new friend (pun intended) My Fitness Pal that I wanted to share.

I HATE to exercise.  HATE IT. I've joined gyms and stopped going after a month, hired a personal trainer then blamed my travel schedule for not following through, signed up for 5ks I didn't show up for, I've done (or not done as the case may be) it all.  I know I NEED to, and I WANT to find something I enjoy - but that is something I struggle with on a daily basis.  I know I'm not alone.

As I've aged I have realized that if I am NOT going to exercise, I HAVE to watch what I eat. That is also something I struggle with, because I LOVE FOOD.  I eat when I'm happy, when I'm sad, when I'm bored, when I'm with friends, I just love to eat.  While I don't sit around eating an entire package of Oreos (very often), I would have five or six every night after dinner with a big glass of milk.  While we don't eat out more than once a week or so, I would slather sauces and toppings on every homemade meal. I knew I needed to get a handle on it, and I knew I needed help.

Just like with exercise programs, I have tried all kinds of different weight loss programs - including Nutrisystem and Weight Watchers. I loved the fact that Nutrisystem delivered all of the food right to you, but didn't love the food.  I loved that Weight Watchers foods could be purchased in the grocery store, but found it hard to guesstimate and understand the points (and then points plus) system. What I found to be most helpful about WW was the online tracking system, but I had to pay for it.

Enter My Fitness Pal.

The name is decieving.  While it may have been originally created to track fitness goals, the calorie counter/food portion of this free program is AMAZING.  When you log in for the very first time you are asked a series of questions about level of activity, current weight, goal weight, how quickly you want to lose weight, etc to provide you with a personalized daily calorie count, and then you are ready to go. The program is EXTREMELY easy to use, I downloaded it on both my phone and my ipad and am able to easily track what I eat throughout the day, and it has given me some additional information that I think I knew deep down, but now I see it in front of me in black and white (like - I have WAY too much sodium in my diet, almost twice the recommended amount, and I do not drink nearly enough water).

I have been using it for about two weeks, and have lost about a pound a week, and...I know this is a cliche...I actually DO feel a little bit better. It is nice to feel like I am gaining a little control over my weight, I pay more attention to what goes in to the food I'm cooking at home, and I actually think about WHY I'm eating instead of just randomly putting food in my mouth throughout the day.

The only downside?  I have become OBSESSED with food (this is what I realized this weekend). On Friday we were working on our taxes and I wanted something to snack on SO BADLY, and I pulled at least 20 things out of the cupboard, checking calorie counts as I went. On Sunday we went to an Easter brunch and I must have stood over the food table for 10 minutes calculating each item in my brain trying to decide how I could get the most food with the least amount of calories.  This morning at my folks' house, my mom brought out a tray of homebaked cinnamon rolls (a gift from her neighbor) and I made Don taste one first to see if it was "worth" the calories. I'm hoping as I get used to the system this part will become a little easier, but I'll take every little success, however it comes.

So if you - like me - have been struggling with those few (or many) extra pounds and exercise is a dirty word, give My Fitness Pal a try.  Did I mention it is FREE?? You have absolutely nothing to lose but the weight - and maybe further down the line we'll actually try the fitness part.  ;)


PS - a few little snack gems I've found along the way:

Kraft Milk Bite Bars - holy crap...these things are good. I've only tried the chocolate bars, but they are as good as a candy bar and only 140 calories each.  You do need to keep them in the fridge, but that makes me love them even more!

Special K Chips and Crackers - because I LOVE salty snacks I needed to find something that would cure my cravings but not go overboard on the calories.  These are both PERFECT.  They come in a few different flavors but I like the "plain" flavors best.

Specialkchips Crackers

Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwiches - I am CRAZY for the strawberry shortcake ones with the vanilla cookie "sandwich".  At only 150 calories per sandwich this will cure your ice cream cravings this summer!


Happy snacking (and healthy eating) everybody!



  1. Terra makes AWESOME sweet potato chips along with other root chips. They have Sweets and Beets, and my fave - sweet potatoes and apples with cinnamon. Eaten in moderation, they're pretty good for you, but I prefer to eat them by the bag !

  2. Thanks Elizabeth! These sound delish - especially the cinammon ones!