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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 September 16, 2019

                      How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

                      How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

                      You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

                      We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

                      The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

                      Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

                      1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

                      Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

                      For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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                      • (1) Research
                      • (2) Deciding the topic
                      • (3) Creating the outline
                      • (4) Drafting the content
                      • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
                      • (6) Revision
                      • (7) etc.

                      Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

                      2. Change Your Environment

                      Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

                      One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

                      3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

                      Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

                      Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

                      My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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                      Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

                      4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

                      If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

                      Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

                      I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

                      5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

                      I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

                      Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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                      As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

                      6. Get a Buddy

                      Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

                      I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

                      7. Tell Others About Your Goals

                      This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

                      For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

                      8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

                      What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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                      9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

                      If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

                      Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

                      10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

                      Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

                      Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

                      11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

                      At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

                      Reality check:

                      I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

                      More About Procrastination

                      Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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