3 Things I learned From Using MyFitnessPal for 1 year
A lot of times people assume that we trainers eat what we want and don’t have to worry about it. This could not be further from the truth. There are some trainers out there that don’t worry about what they eat, but most I know and have talked to, monitor food intake in some way. I personally started using the MyFitnessPal app to see how hard it was to count calories and hold myself accountable with the food I eat. It was hard in the beginning, but for a very short time. As I became more accustomed to the app, I found it only took a couple of minutes each day to track what I put into my body.
Lesson 1 –
It’s all about calories in and calories out. The average person can consume about 2,000 calories per day. If they eat more than 2,000 calories, then they gain weight and conversely, if they eat less, then they lose weight. However, not all foods are equal when it comes to calories. Nutrient dense foods allow you to eat more volume with less total calorie consumption. This usually means more foods like vegetables instead of breads. If you are like me, you like to eat… a lot. I eat plenty of vegetables like spinach and carrots to keep me feeling full all the while keeping the calories down. Making smarter choices can be difficult, but as long as you hit your correct total calorie numbers, then it will work out.
Lesson 2 –
Hit your protein numbers. Fats, carbs, and protein are all important. The issue is most of us don’t eat enough protein. There are many different studies showing how much protein people should consume based on their level of activity, from a sedentary individual to an athlete. For most of us, I suggest around .8 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. When you start tracking your food, you may notice that you are way below your protein target, which makes it harder to build muscle. When I started using MyFitnessPal to track food intake, I realized how low my protein level actually was. I added more protein to my diet to reach my target number and then watched my strength increase as my body weight dropped.
Lesson 3 –
If you are serious about weight loss, then tracking your food is one of the best ways for accountability. As a trainer, we are not with our clients all day long. We can talk during our sessions about what they eat, however, there is limited time and it is easier to miss things without it being on paper. An app like MyFitnessPal makes tracking and therefore accountability easier. We can make sure the clients are being completely honest with us and more importantly with themselves. How is that you may ask? If they come to me wondering why they aren’t losing weight, then we can look at their tracking. If everything they eat and enter shows they are eating the right number of calories, but no weight loss is occurring, then there is something amiss. They may not be putting everything into the app or maybe they aren’t eating enough.
I know that MyFitnessPal isn’t the only app out there that does this. Noom is another one that a client has had great success with and FitBit has it built in as well. Whichever app you decide to use, you must use it consistently. And that’s the key word, consistency, in order to see the results you’re looking for.