By Matt Weik
How many of you tried to diet only to fail? You grocery shopped for what you thought were healthy food items, you stopped eating out, you started exercising, and even checked to make sure the batteries in your scale were working properly. Yet, the numbers on the scale never seemed to change. You’re left with your arms in the air in frustration questioning why you just put yourself through torture for nothing. You’ve cut back your calories (or so you thought). You were burning a good number of calories during your workouts to effectively lose weight (or so you thought). Enough is enough. I’m going to help you out with some MyFitnessPal tips to get you moving in the right direction with your weight loss.
If you’ve followed me for any amount of time and read my content, you’ve probably on more than one occasion seen MyFitnessPal mentioned in content pieces. No, I’m not sponsored by them, nor am I getting paid to talk about them (but MyFitnessPal and Under Armour, if you’re reading this, hit me up). I simply recommend them not only because I have my clients use the app, but I use it as well. It’s a great way to track your nutrition, fitness, and progress to stay on track, stay motivated, and get the results you are looking for.
MyFitnessPal is a fantastic free app that can be downloaded on all Apple and Android devices. It's simple to use and helps you get your arms around your nutrition and goals. This article is going to lay out 20 MyFitnessPal tips that you can start implementing today to help you lose weight.
When you initially set up your account, you can go into the setting named "Goals." You will notice there's not an option to lose 10 pounds each week. Shucks. But seriously, MyFitnessPal is smart in only allowing you to set realistic goals rather than setting you up for failure.
Under Goals, you will be able to select 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, or 2.0 pounds per week that you would like to lose. This will adjust your daily caloric intake accordingly to achieve those numbers. The lower the number lost each week, the more calories you can consume. The higher you decided to go (for example 2.0 pounds per week), the fewer calories you can consume each day. It's a math game in a sense.
To lose weight in a healthy manner, you should only be losing up to two pounds each week. Any more and you not only risk losing lean muscle mass but you also risk doing damage to your health.
One of the MyFitnessPal tips I use every day is the scan feature. It allows you to take whatever product you intend to use for a recipe or as part of a meal and scan the UPC to pull up all of its details for easy entry. All you need to do is change the servings to whatever you intend on using/consuming and you’re good to go. It’s that simple.
I love simplicity. And I love when things integrate with others for simple tracking and input. I, personally, have a Nokia Wi-Fi scale that fully integrates with the MyFitnessPal app. I step on the scale, it gives me all the readings on the scale itself, and then it transfers my weight over to MyFitnessPal for instant weight tracking over time. If you have the means to purchase a Wi-Fi scale to put in your bathroom, I highly recommend it.
In my opinion, save your money and skip the Premium version of MyFitnessPal. I truly don't see that much of a difference from what's provided with the free version and you can easily work with the free version to accomplish the same goals. So, as one of the MyFitnessPal tips, save your money, and put it towards your healthy food or gym membership.
If you have no clue how much of something you are consuming in terms of serving size or if you are manually entering in a food, it’s always best to OVERestimate rather than underestimate. If you go under, you risk putting yourself into a caloric surplus at the end of the day. At least when you overestimate you will allow yourself a buffer to still stay in a deficit.
In this article, I’m not going to tell you where your macro percentages or ratios need to be. You could be following a low-carb diet or a low-fat diet and either or would completely change the ratio/percentages I would recommend. Figure out what ratios you want for your macros and go under the Goals setting and in there you will see “Nutrition Goals.” Click where it says Calorie, Carbs, Protein, and Fat Goals to be able to enter your individual macro ratio goals.
There, it will also show you how many calories you should be eating each day, and based on your macro ratios it will break down how many grams of protein, carbs, and fat you should be consuming daily.
Are you planning on making your own meals at home using a recipe you found? Make sure you scan all of the packages from the ingredients you use so that you can properly set the serving sizes to input your meal.
You don’t know what you don’t know and if you don’t weigh your food you don’t know how much you’re actually eating. That was a lot of “don’ts” but you get the picture. Using a food scale allows you to better manage your food intake. They are extremely simple to use and effective at tracking each of your food items.
Many scales will do grams and ounces – two of the most common forms of food measurements. MyFitnessPal also uses those estimates so you can easily take what the scale reads and put it directly into the app.
Following up on the food scale is using the tare feature. Here’s the best way to use the tear feature with your meals. Place the plate or bowl on the scale. Press tare to zero it out. Add your first food item and record that number in MyFitnessPal. Press tare to zero it out and then put the next food item on your plate. Record that number and continue repeating this process.
Using tare saves you time from individually weighing everything out and then needing to transfer it onto a plate to eat when you're all done. This is one of my favorite MyFitnessPal tips.
If you’re like me, you have a good memory – it's just short. Telling yourself that you’ll record your meal later is a terrible idea. You’ll forget everything you had, you’ll forget the serving sizes you ate, and your numbers for the day can completely be thrown off. Make sure you track your food as you consume it so you aren’t left scratching your head later.
Many wearable devices integrate with MyFitnessPal. Use them to your advantage. If you own a Fitbit or Apple Watch, use it to track your workouts, steps, etc. and allow it to transfer that data directly into your MyFitnessPal app without you needing to lift a finger. Normally I would say technology is making us all dumber, but in this instance, wearable technology is one of our extremely helpful MyFitnessPal tips.
While not 100% necessary, there is one cool aspect using the complete entry button at the end of each day. When you do this and close out your nutrition for the day, it will give you a future outlook such as, “If every day were like today… You’d weigh # of points in 5 weeks.”
This is pretty motivating as it gives you instant feedback and a forecast. Use this to keep pushing forward towards your weight loss goals. Each day when you close out your log it will give you an updated figure and something to look forward to.
If you consume the same food items fairly regularly, save time with the use of Multi-Add. This allows you the opportunity to simply click on all the items you want to include in your nutrition diary for the meal all at once versus inputting them one by one. This will save you a ton of time and your sanity.
While I included this as one of our many MyFitnessPal tips, this should be a given with anything you want to accomplish in life. If your goal is to lose weight, it will take consistency with your nutrition and workouts to shed those unwanted pounds. It won't be easy, but in the end, it will be worth it. Don’t give up. After a while, your consistency will become second-nature and you won’t even need to think about the things you are doing to help you get closer to your ultimate weight loss goal.
When you choose a food option, you will notice it populated a serving size. Sometimes those serving sizes are odd like 3 ounces, or 1.75 ounces. What I like to do and what I recommend as helpful MyFitnessPal tips are to click on the serving size and see if there is another option that makes your life easier.
I don't want to think when I input food and you're probably the same way. If I can change everything to 1 ounce, I'm going to do it. Then when I use my food scale it simplifies everything. The scale reads 4.5 ounces, all I need to do is change how many servings that would be (4.5) and I'm good to go.
Are you going to a restaurant? Good news! Many restaurants now have their food items in MyFitnessPal. All you need to do is search for the meal you are getting and you’re set. Super easy and without much thought put into it.
Some people may be weirded out that you’re sitting in a restaurant inputting nutritional information, but at the end of the day, everyone else is on their phones texting and they are assuming you’re doing the same thing – so stop feeling weird logging your food.
Some of you might have a hard time remembering to eat your meals due to your busy schedule. Right within the MyFitnessPal app is a meal reminder. You can set reminders for certain meals to be sure you don’t skip them. This is especially useful if you are consuming 5-7 meals a day and try to spread them out evenly throughout the day. If this sounds like you, this will be one of the MyFitnessPal tips you’ll find extremely convenient.
If you have a favorite recipe that you use often, save it in the app to pull from whenever you make it rather than needing to input everything all over again the next time you make your favorite dish. No need to scan UPCs or calculate measurements, everything is saved right there for you to pull from and utilize with the touch of a button.
When you are looking at the Today screen on your log you will notice it only shows the food items and then the number of calories. If you want to see all of the macronutrients simply turn your phone sideways into landscape mode. This gives you the ability to see everything on one screen or you can simply click on the nutrition button at the bottom of the screen and then click on nutrients to see a similar screen. Whichever you choose will provide you with your macro breakdown and how much you have left to consume before reaching your daily goal.
Within the MyFitnessPal app, you can connect with friends and go through the process together. When you go through this with those nearest and dearest to you, it allows each of you to hold the others accountable. It's also nice having friends and family providing some motivation as well as going through the same process themselves – especially during those rough days where you want to give up.
MyFitnessPal is so extensive that it even includes MPA products such as the Iso Poofs and the IsoSolve protein powder. Now, you have the ability to track your food intake as well as your MPA supplements all in one easy to use app.