I have recently had foot surgery that requires that I elevate my foot for the majority of the day. Imagine you were told you would need to sit with your feet up most of the day for several weeks. Not a completely unpleasant thought, but what would be your greatest concern? My greatest concern was what the house would look like by the time I could move again. In a close second, was how much weight would I gain just sitting around all day?
I have a disorder of the endocrine system that makes it very easy for me to gain weight. My dietician suggested I try My Fitness Pal, a free online program to help me track what I eat and how much I exercises. I have found it to be a great help during this convalescence period, and I think I will continue to use it once I am better.
We all could use a little help from time to time, so I thought I would share it with on my blog. I am a believer in moderation in everything, even desert. This program is helpful in suggesting what is a moderate serving size, and this helps me stay on track.
Exactly what is MyFitnessPal?
It is a free smartphone application and web-sight that is located in the cloud and tracks diet and exercise to determine ideal calorie and nutrient totals to meet my goals. I find it motivating. It gives me a day by day estimate of what I will weigh in 5 weeks if I continue to eat as I did today and graphs how I am doing. For my computer savvy friends, it uses gamification elements to help motivate users. In a 2015 Consumer Reports article, MyFitnessPal was rated the best free diet program in overall satisfaction, "maintenance, calorie awareness, and food variety”.
The first time I eat a food I enter the name of the food or scan the bar-code to find the item in a large database of over 5 million foods. The first time I enter a food, it is honestly a bit of a pain finding which food to enter from such a large list. It is easier to work with a computer than a smart phone because the screen is much bigger. However, after it is in my list of foods, I can just select foods eaten from a list of my most frequently eaten foods with an easy quick click. I can instantly know how much I ate and make adjustment quickly. For travelers, be aware the same food item may contain several variation of the caloric count depending on which country the food item was purchased.
Basically I am not exercising at all now, but MyFitnessPal has different exercises and sometimes the same exercise at different intensities or speeds. The user enters the number of minutes spent exercising and the calories spent is calculated. The calories spent on the exercise is added to the total number of calories that the user should eat per day.
MyFitnessPal can also be linked to a FitBit as well as Jawbone account allowing activity to automatically be calculated into daily calories allowed.
The Jam Scientist