Friday, January 6, 2012

Dieting with MyFitnessPal- How to Make Sure Your Diet is Customized and Non-Lethal

Dieting sucks. What? Because this is a part-fitness blog, you thought I was going to say it rocked? Come on. This blog is for fun-loving people. And while the right diet has the ability to make you look and feel better, it is never fun.

Because even the most reasonable diet will ask you to cut back considerably on desert.  You should also forget about flour, grease, fried things, cream, salt and more. You should also stay away from artificially enhanced/colored products, and anything that screams not-healthy.

Can you imagine having your friends over and instead of serving carrot sticks instead of chips? Well, unless your friends are models or Hollywood, they won’t like it. And it is hard to stick to your diet when

a) Others are eating all the fun stuff,
b) You have a busy schedule,
c) You don’t have enough money for the healthier, and typically more expensive dishes at restaurants.

Thankfully, I found a much more fun and doable diet-tracker thanks to my fitness pal. There is a website called MyFitnessPal that a good friend of mine recommended to me so that we could both keep to our New Year’s resolution (that we would spend 2012 fitter and healthier.)

The website is free and very easy to use. You sign up, and then fill in a form about your weight loss goals (and yes-your goal can be as realistic or optimistic as you want. You can even choose to follow a plan that will help you maintain your weight.)

You choose how much weight you want to lose over what period of time (the recommended is 1 KG each week) and how much exercise (minutes and frequency) you are willing to add to the mix. I believe it is better to follow a longer route that will slow down your weight loss, but won’t turn your each meal into a living hell.

Why shouldn’t you eat that chocolate bar if you can keep the calories within the limit? It is much better to make your lifestyle healthier and less-fattening then going off your annoyingly strict diet? Besides, if you only diet for a certain time and let things go to hell afterwards, you can’t maintain your new weight, what is the point?

After you set and record your goals, you start keeping a food diary on the site that you can choose to share with others or not. You note everything you eat and drink, they have a pretty good collection of food and drinks to give you the calorie count. They also have an automatic calorie adder, in case you already know the exact numbers.

You can also add recipes, record your workouts and be aware of your progress at any given time. And the best part is, the site calculates how many calories (both in total and divided into protein, carbs and vitamins) you need to take each day to reach your goal. And after you finish completing your entry for the day, it shows you how much you will weigh in how many days if every day goes like this.

It is fun, fast and free. It is great for those who don’t want to spend too much time fussing over calorie count and focus on healthy eating.

I should however note that this tool will be more helpful if you have a basic understanding of what is healthy, and what is good for you individually. Good luck to all my fitness pals out there!

What about you? Have you used myfitnesspal? What do you think about being your own fitness coach and dietician?


S. Brown said...

I am starting a 'fitness plan' myself. I hate to say diet because the connotation is so bad. I walked a mile today (even with my lt arm in a sling-surgery last wk, and have been cutting back on my intake and eating better.

Usually the Holidays don't really bother me, but this year they did me in. Sally

zoeyclark said...

It wasn't the holidays, but the never-ending snow that ruined me:) It is very hard to do anything outside, and I have fallen a bit behind my goals. I'll be back with a vengeance soon, though:)

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