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What You Eat Matters! Use Myfitnesspal to Keep Track Of Your Eating Habit

What You Eat Matters! Use Myfitnesspal to Keep Track Of Your Eating Habit

It’s easy to remember what you had for dinner yesterday, but what if I asked you what you ate last Friday? Most of us have difficulty keeping track of our food choices. When you don’t record what you’ve eaten, it’s easy to overeat.

Recalling what you had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is one thing, but do you remembering snacks can be problematic. Did you take one of the doughnuts that your boss bought for the office? Would you remember the late-night ice-cream binge or the post-work-week snack attack? Even if you could recall all the things you’ve eaten, you’d have a hard time remembering the size of the portion that you consumed.

Being unaware of your caloric intake can make it difficult to lose weight. Instead of identifying constructive ways to shed pounds, lots of us resort to beating ourselves up or trying to stick to a boring or restrictive diet.

You can’t solve a problem until you identify its TRUE cause

If you want to get to the root of your unhealthy habits, collect some data on yourself. By looking at precisely what you eat, you’ll be able to home in on dieting missteps that are making you unhealthy.

Think about the last time you tried to solve a problem without knowing what caused it in the first place. It’s nearly impossible to come up with a solution unless you have a clear overview of the situation. Your health and wellness is no different. By writing down exactly what you eat and how much of it you consume, you can make healthy dietary adjustments.

MyFitnessPal helps you collect the information you need

If you find the idea of keeping a food journal cumbersome, there’s a streamlined electronic food journal that can help you make informed decisions about your eating habits. MyFitnessPal is an app that enables you to record data about your meals and snacks.

Using this app is superior to other food journals because it allows you to set goals for yourself and track your choices in real time. It can project the approximate number of calories you should take in based on the information you supply.

Besides having a quick and easy way to enter meals and snacks, you’ll be able to pull from a database of over 5 million foods to find the best estimate of how many calories you’ve consumed. If you eat at a restaurant or enjoy food without a nutrition label, you can search the database to figure out the nutritional value of those items.

You can also log exercise in MyFitnessPal in order to determine how that affects your necessary intake for the day. The app is also designed to interface with wearable fitness trackers and apps so that you can sync your data to get the clearest picture about your health. If you want to make a change but can’t hire a trainer or a dietitian, this app may give you the tools to get you started on your wellness journey.

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How to use MyFitnessPal’s best features

Set your calorie intake target

After you’ve created a MyFitnessPal profile, you’ll have a chance to set your health and fitness goals. Note that you can set these goals in-app or on the desktop version of the service.

On the desktop version, go to the “Goals” tab and click on “View Guided Setup” to change your goals at any time. The link will take you to a page called “Update your diet profile.”

    It will give you a chance to input your weight, height, and activity level. You’ll also select if you are trying lose, gain, or maintain your weight.

      After you’ve recorded that information, the app will determine the number of calories that you should consume each day to reach your goals. You can find that number by clicking on the “My Home” tab, or going to the “Goals” tab (shown below).

        You can make changes to customize and refine your goals as your needs change. Checking and updating your goals on the app is simple as well. Just click on the sidebar menu and go to “Goals” to have the information in the palm of your hand.

        Scan barcodes to get all the information you need

        While many of the features of MyFitnessPal are accessible on the website as well as through the app, the barcode scanner is only available through your phone. In future updates, the company would like to include a manual input option for barcodes numbers, but until then, we still have our phones.

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        On the top left, click on the sidebar menu to show your options. Scroll down to “Diary” and click on it. Select a meal. You’ll get a screen that looks like this:

          On the top right-hand side, notice the symbol that looks like a bar code. Click that symbol, which will open a scanner. Scan the barcode for the item you ate. This will load the nutrition facts for that item, which will appear like the image below.

            You can adjust the serving size and number of servings to get an accurate reflection of your intake. When all of your information is correct, hit the check mark in the top right-hand corner. This action not only enters the food into your food journal, but it also subtracts the number of calories from your caloric intake goal.

            With such a simple process, it’s easy to monitor your consumption and determine whether you should indulge or eat a light meal.

            Check your overall statistics to see your progress

            You can see how you’re doing ever day under the “Diary” tab. If you want to examine long term trends, MyFitnessPal makes that easy to do too.

            To see how you’re doing over an extended period of time, go to the sidebar menu on the app. Click on the “Progress” tab.

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              At the top, you have the option to view your weight and designate a period of time. You can also look at measurements such as your waist, neck, or hips, by clicking on the “Weight” tab. You can adjust the period of time from one week, to several months to get a graph or your progress.

              Input exercise data

              MyFitnessPal syncs with fitness wearables such as the FitBit and the UA Band, but you can also sync other exercise apps to upload your data directly into MyFitnessPal.

              If you don’t have wearables or fitness apps, you can also enter your exercise by hand. Input your fitness data by going to the “My Home” page on the desktop version of the site. Click on “Add Exercise” in the “Your Daily Summary” box.

                You can also go directly to the “Exercise” tab to manually input your physical activity.

                  You’ll easily be able to consider your training routine alongside your diet. MyFitnessPal even has a database that allows you to search for your exercise if you are uncertain about the number of calories you’ve burned.

                  Using the app enables you to input the same information by going to “Diary” and clicking on the plus sign under “Exercise.”

                  After you’ve selected an exercise, it will appear under your most recently used options so that you can quickly add it again without having to search the database.

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                  If they don’t have barcodes, search for it

                  By returning to the “Diary” tab on the sidebar menu of the app, you can add food under the meal or snack heading of your choice. Your favorite meals and snacks will appear so that you can add those without looking up the information, but if you’re trying something new, you can enter the item in “Search for a Food.”

                    If you typed in “hummus,” the app would give you all the options for hummus in the database. You can select from different brands, and the adjust the serving size to get the most accurate information.

                      It also comes with supplementary articles too

                      The home page of the app not only shows you your progress for the day, but it also displays featured articles to keep you motivated and educated. The articles include everything from fitness and diet tips to blog posts about activities that get you out of your office and into the world.

                      If you want to search for articles on a particular fitness topic, go to “Blog” on the sidebar menu. You can type a search term and find a plethora of articles on your topic of choice. Read them on your phone to arm yourself with the knowledge that you need to succeed.

                      MyFitnessPal keeps you accountable and visualise your small progress

                      Many of us struggle with making good decisions about what to eat and whether we should exercise. Without motivation, it’s easy to fall into bad habits such as snacking too much or leading a sedentary lifestyle.

                      By committing to recording your meals, snacks, and exercise, you’ll notice a shift in how you perceive the small actions that make up your day. That chocolate chip cookie doesn’t look as appealing when you realize that it will put you over your caloric intake goal for the day. Binge-watching your favorite show when you can see that you haven’t exercised all week may not seem like such a good idea.

                      MyFitnessPal lets you see the big picture. It’s intuitive to use, and it streamlines the process of recording your health data. You can pay for the premium membership to get the most advanced features on the app, but everything I’ve shown to you today is available in the free version of the app. With so many tools at no cost, there’s no reason not to give it a shot.

                      More by this author

                      Jolie Choi

                      Having experienced her own extreme transformation process, Jolie strongly believes that staying healthy takes determined and consistent action.

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                      Last Updated on June 2, 2020

                      8 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life

                      8 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life

                      The importance of effective goal setting cannot be overstated on our personal journeys towards success. This is why there are countless articles out there on how to set your own SMART goals and even why it’s a skill commonly taught to a small degree in classrooms.

                      Learning the importance of goal setting and the benefits of sticking to those goals can be the defining factor determining whether we truly embrace the importance of goal setting. The more willing we are to embrace this method, the more likely we become to reach our personal definitions of personal and professional success.

                      Thus, today’s article is going to walk you through some of the benefits you’ll see from learning to set goals for yourself and answer the question, “why is goal setting important”.

                      1. Goals Guide and Align Our Focus

                      It’s hard to get to where you want to be in life if you don’t know what you’re aiming for. Some people believe avoiding goals means living a more care-free life. How many times have you heard the phrase “If I have no expectations, then I can’t be disappointed”?

                      But is that really what our lives have come to? Living just to avoid disappointment? It doesn’t seem like an overly optimistic view in my opinion. And since you’re reading this article, I’m willing to bet that you agree with me.

                      Without goals, we lack a degree of direction and focus. Sure you may be able to avoid disappointment, but just avoiding disappointment doesn’t mean you are necessarily happy.

                      Without goals, we will pointlessly waste our time, energy, and efforts. Listen to anybody who is the top of their field and they’ll tell you something like this,

                      “Yes talent is important, but often your success depends much more on what you decide to do with that talent.”

                      And what you will do with your talent largely depends on your focus.

                      Your goals give you direction. Your goals give you something to shoot for. This direction and target you create in your mind will help you to progress towards your main life goals rather than simply wander around aimlessly. These goals will help you align your actions and behaviors as you continue moving forward.

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                      So, why is goal setting important? Because it gives you direction, alignment, and purpose!

                      2. Goals Help You Avoid ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’

                      Basically, shiny object syndrome is always being in pursuit of the next big thing, constantly switching your goals based on what you feel is most fun and interesting at the given moment, but never actually giving yourself time to accomplish any of those goals.

                      You don’t get anywhere because you continually change the direction you are heading in. This is one of the consequences that may result if you decide to live a life without goals.

                      Your goals can sometimes help you to create mental barriers, or blinders, that help you to remain focused on what you think is important and avoid the things that are second priority. When you outline goals for yourself, you are better able to avoid things that distract you from achieving and accomplishing those goals.

                      Setting goals helps you to step around the other shiny objects because you’ve taken the time to make some mental notes that remind you what it is that you want from your life. Your goals act as subconscious deterrents to anything less than your main priorities. This is what helps you to reach your personal definition of success.

                      So, why is goal setting important? Because not only do goals tell you what you want from life, but they also help you realize what you need to give up and avoid to achieve that.

                      3. Goals Turn Our Largest Goals into Manageable Steps

                      A lot of us have big hopes and dreams. It’s one of the things that make our lives exciting!

                      But a lot of us never take the time to figure out how we can effectively get from point A to point B. So, sadly, we never fully achieve those goals. We look at our dreams and convince ourselves that only a select few people ever achieve them, so we write ourselves off as people not meant to reach that level of success. Looking at the end product of a goal can be intimidating, daunting, and discourage us from even pursuing them.

                      Thankfully, goal setting helps us break large intimidating goals into smaller ones. These small steps and more achievable goals will help us to build momentum and will encourage us to keep working towards the next phase of our goal. The form the foundation from which we can begin building the life that we truly hope to have for ourselves, our families, and may even for our communities depending on how big your goals are!

                      Whenever I get talking about this aspect of goal setting, I can’t help but think about the mountain climbing analogy, and that the easiest way to climb a mountain is simply step by step.

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                      So, why is goal setting important? Goal setting gives you a list of manageable steps that you can take in order to take your life from where it is now to where you want it to go both effectively and efficiently.

                      4. Goals Encourage You to Take Action

                      This builds on the last benefit of goal setting. Not only does effective goal setting help you break down your larger goals into smaller, more manageable ones, but it also encourages you to actually begin taking action on those goals. After all, a plan is completely worthless if you aren’t willing to invest the effort required to execute it.

                      Setting your goals and putting your plan in place motivates you to begin taking action towards achieving them. These goals give you something to plan and work towards. Essentially, they help propel you forward.

                      What I like to do is write out and place my goals somewhere that I’ll regularly see them. This constantly serves as a reminder of my top priorities. It allows me to focus on taking small progressive actions towards achieving these goals daily.

                      This ensures that I don’t fall into the trap of setting a goal, beginning to work towards it for a while, but then having my motivation fade resulting in me falling off track. This is exactly what many people see happen when it comes to their “New Year’s Resolutions.”

                      If you want to learn about some of the golden rules for goal setting that will help you set and achieve your goals successfully check out this article: How to Use SMART Goal to Become Highly Successful in Life

                      So, why is goal setting important? Because goal setting actually motivates you to stop thinking about your goals and actually get out there and achieve them!

                      5. Goal Setting Helps You Continually Improve

                      This is something that a lot of personal development and self-improvement writers talk about, continual improvement. For those of you who are not aware of the term, continual improvement is exactly what it sounds like — taking small steps towards improvement as frequently as you can to develop into the person you want to become.

                      What’s the point in improving a little bit each day if you’re not improving in the areas that you want to improve in after all?

                      The goals that you define for yourself will inevitably shape you into the person who you want to become. They’ll shape your character. Your goals can help you measure your progress as you strive for this type of development.

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                      Essentially, having goals helps you determine where you started, where you are now, and how much further you need to go. In this manner, your goal setting can serve as milestones and benchmarks that help you determine how well you’re progressing towards your most important goals!

                      So, why is goal setting important? Goal setting helps you make improvements each day that will slowly transition you into the person you want to become.

                      6. Goal Setting Keeps You Accountable

                      Not only does setting goals help you measure your progress, but it also is a means through which you can keep yourself accountable. Too many goals fail because they lack this crucial aspect of outlining accountability.

                      For example, if I have the goal to do 50 push-ups, that’s great. Most people would support that goal. However, this goal lacks accountability. When do I want to accomplish this goal by and what steps do I take to get there? These are important questions that the original goal leaves unanswered.

                      A much more descriptive and specific goal could be to do 50 push-ups within the next 3 months by starting at 5 push-ups, and then adding 5 each week. This goal outlines the deadline as well as the steps I’m going to take to achieve it. This plan will keep me accountable because if I fail to retain my progression schedule, I will know that I’m not going to achieve the goal on time.

                      Additionally, it can serve as a marker helping to signify when something is impeding my progress that I may not have initially accounted for. This tells me that I need to re-evaluate what I’m doing and figure out what adjustments I can make to facilitate my success.

                      So, why is goal setting important? Setting goals is key to keeping ourselves accountable and on-track towards accomplishing our goals according to the schedules and deadlines we set for ourselves.

                      7. Goals Make You Feel Good

                      Trust me, the progress you feel as you set and achieve goals can become super motivating and super addicting (in a good way)! The dopamine release you get from achieving your goals is like a little reward for our brains that continually motivates us to try and hit that next goal!

                      Having some clearly defined goals will help you to feel better about yourself and your life in general, especially when you stick to those goals, actively work towards achieving them, and end up accomplishing and surpassing your initial expectations. I’m not the oldest book on the shelf myself, but I can attest that there are not many feelings quite like the one you experience when you truly get on a roll!

                      Additionally, our goals give us an endpoint to shoot for. Rather than progress for progress’s sake, you can actually see where you’re heading! That’s so much more rewarding. Think about a long car trip as a kid. You ask “if you’re there yet?” ever 20 minutes. It seems like the drive drags on forever.

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                      If you don’t know where you’re going, you risk the journey becoming tedious. It doesn’t tend to be much fun wandering around aimlessly. Goals make us feel good about where we’re directing ourselves.

                      So, why is goal setting important? Because setting goals and accomplishing them plain and simply make us feel better about ourselves and our lives!

                      8. Goals Help You Live Your Best Life

                      I’ve talked a lot in this article about how goal setting helps us progress towards our top priorities and live the way we truly want to live. So I think it’s fit to end the article with this goal because, in the end, I feel it’s the most important one.

                      Setting your goals and clearly defining what they mean to you will help you live a life that is tailored to your beliefs and values. Your life will become directed towards the things that you most want to achieve.

                      Life is a tricky game and only in very rare circumstances are things handed to us on a silver platter. Often it takes a great degree of work, planning, and effortful execution of both.

                      There is no point clinging on to things in your life if they don’t bring you happiness or help you accomplish something that, in some way, aligns with your goals.

                      Simply put, setting goals helps us live a life that allows us to pursue the challenges and rewards that we truly want to achieve.

                      So, why is goal setting important? Because our time is always limited, and setting clearly defined goals can help ensure that you make the most of your life and live to the fullest!

                      Final Thoughts

                      These are just a few of the benefits of goal setting that outline why it truly is so important. If you take a moment or two, I bet that you can even think of a few more benefits yourself that you could add to this list.

                      If I could leave you with something, it would be this:

                      Goal setting has the potential to take us to some amazing places in life because we all have talent and ambitions. To achieve your biggest dreams, you need to be willing to sit down and create a life design uniquely tailored to you that will help you achieve them!

                      More Tips About Goals Setting

                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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