Can MyFitnessPal help you lose weight? That all depends on how you’re going to use it. Losing weight is a problem for many and having the right tools to hand can help you if you use them correctly. The problem is, people don’t always use them correctly and this can hinder your progress or, even worse, stop it all together. MyFitnessPal is one of those tools. It has the potential to do great things for you – but you shouldn’t take it as gospel. Think of this as my ‘MyFitnessPal’ review.
What is MyFitnessPal?
MyFitnessPal has become to the go to app for tracking calories over the last few years and it’s easy to understand why – it literally has everything on it. I’m not kidding, you could visit any random shop and pick up a food item and be pretty much certain you’ll be able to log it in your diary.
When you log in you’re presented with a page which allows you to add in your current weight, your goal weight and how you wish to achieve that weight.
It’s pretty vague but it gives a relatively good starting point for most. However, everyone is different and this figure is not the be all and end all. If MyFitnessPal generates a caloric figure for you and you stick to it and you’re consistent and you do not see any changes on the scales then the figure is not right for you and at this point, you need to change things up – on the other hand, should you find yourself losing in excess of 3lbs a week you need to slow it down and increase calories. Personally, I prefer to calculate my own caloric allowance using a tool such as this one at IIFYM.COM as it allows you to enter your body fat percentage for a far more accurate assumption. Body composition is an important factor when calculating calories as a person carrying a lot of extra fat will require fewer calories than a person of the equivalent weight carrying more muscle and that is a factor which MyFitnessPal does not take into effect.
The applications home page gives you a selection of articles to read through should you wish, I, personally, do not read them as they’re usually pretty bias and not backed up by any kind of real evidence but they can sometimes be interesting. The main thing to note here is a screenshot of your day in the form of; goal calories, current calories consumed, any calories burnt through exercise and any remaining calories.
This display is pretty useful as its there immediately upon opening up the application. This makes it incredibly easy to check how many calories you have remaining for the day. How does this affect your daily life? Let’s say you’ve just had your tea and you’re still feeling peckish. You are able to quickly whip open your phone, hit the MyFitnessPal icon and see how many calories you have left for the day – the deciding factor between a chocolate bar and an apple. The exercise calories are an area of concern for me as I think this can easily be misleading and hinder your weight loss. Why? When you set your MyFitnessPal up it asks you for your activity level as this is a deciding factor in how many calories you are allowed to consume in any given day. If you chose a high activity level this already implies that you spend a lot of time on your feet, you work out regularly – several times a week and with high intensity and as a result of this your calories will be set higher than someone who is otherwise sedentary. For you to then log your workouts in the application and be given the equivalent calories back seems nonsensical to me. If your daily allowance is 1500 calories and you burn 500 calories in the gym, MyFitnessPal will then grant you 2000 calories for that day – personally, the 500 calories burned would be much better off going towards my deficit and helping me lose weight. Not only this, but it allows for you to log things such as cleaning and housework as calories burnt which, not only should be included in your activity level but is also grossly over generous. Use with caution.
One of the best aspects, and my personal favourite, is the progress screen.
The progress screen in MyFitnessPal allows you to see how your weight loss has manifested itself over a given time scale. The example above, as with all the other screenshots, are from my girlfriends MyFitnessPal account and it clearly shows how her weigh ins have been over the course of the year and how much weight has been lose as a result of using MyFitnessPal to log workouts and caloric intake. It adds the option for you to attach progress pictures to the weigh ins and also body measurements. This is one of the most useful things above this application. Not only is it hugely useful to get a bigger picture of your weight loss but it’s also extremely motivational. If you’re feeling like giving up you can log in and see your progress and see how far you’ve come.
Bottom Line – Will MyFitnessPal Help You Lose Weight? Does MyFitnessPal Work?
Okay, so MyFitnessPal isn’t some kind of magical application that will have you losing lb’s of fat immediately as it finishes installing but it can be pretty useful as a tool. What do I mean by this? Well, although it does have a tonne of different features (including a bizarre ‘pro’ version which doesn’t real offer any real benefit) it’s most useful as a way of tracking your calories. This is literally all I would suggest using it for. That isn’t to say it isn’t a great app, it is pretty great – as a food diary. Losing weight is as simple as monitoring what goes into your body relative to what your body needs to function. Provided this is in a deficit you will lose weight – how you get to this point is entirely your choice but MyFitnessPal is absolutely flawless when it comes to calculating your calories.
How Do I Use It?
I use it like this, and I have had success using it this way.
Calculate your goal calories using an accurate method – the one I mentioned earlier worked perfectly for me.
Add those calories into MyFitnessPal and disregard the calories they suggest.
If you’re having an intense work out on a particular day, rather than log in the calories burnt on MyFitnessPal, just consciously make the effort to eat extra carbs prior to working out.
If your weight loss slows down – adjust caloric intake accordingly.
Take a cheat day once a week/fortnight – it does wonders for the metabolism and it also helps keep you feel happy and satisfied.
Thank you to Shannie.blog for allowing me to use your MyFitnessPal account!