One Month of My Fitness Pal, the free Version

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Regardless there was a spate of time where the weight was put on. And it didn’t come off. It stayed. Then I decided to go on a weight loss journey. The reason was simple, I woke up one morning and got out of bed and couldn’t remember when my feet didn’t hurt at some point throughout the day. I decided that was not a good thing and that it was high time I did something about it.

I know, not as sexy as wanting to look good in a bikini or getting ready for a class reunion or even running a marathon, but it was my reason for losing weight.

the problem was where to start. while I am a full time writer now, I went to school for (and still write about) Architectural History. It means I can tell you a great many sociological reasons why American banks were designed to reference Roman architecture, but I can’t tell you squat about the human body aside from a third grade song listing the bones of the skeletal structure.

So I dove into the world of dieting and fitness.

I don’t know if you have been, but it is a terrifying place. It is also full of very opinionated people.

What I wanted sounded simple in my head. I wanted to shave some weight off of my body so my feet didn’t hurt shortly after I got out of bed. I wanted a program that I could maintain for a life time rather than a quick fix. As at my heaviest I weighed 246 lbs, I knew there wasn’t going to be a quick fix. I was in for a long haul. Crash diets weren’t going to work. Cutting out a single food group wasn’t going to work. i had over a hundred pounds to lose and I needed a long term solution.

What I landed on was portion control and regular exercise. I know, like ,making my feet not hurt it isn’t the sexiest of diet plans. There is no cool name or concept backed by pseudo-science. it is no magic fat melting pill. I just needed to balance my calories in and calories out. As simple as it sounds I have tried many ways to do this. The simplest way for me is a food diary. I have used a notebook and pen to record what I eat and how much activity I got, but then I had to look up the calories and while it was helpful, it is just plain easier to use an App for that.

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My problem with a lot of the apps is that they seem to assume that I am purchasing pre prepared foods. While this works for a few things, I tend to cook most of my meals. One of the things I really liked about the My Fitness Pal is that I can build a recipe. I can type the ingredients in and then tell they system how i portion out what is created. Then it tells me how many calories I consumed.

The recipe builder and food diary are the two elements of the My Fitness Pal app that I use the most. One of the things I like is that it lets me keep the regularly used items in the list so each morning I don’t have to input coffee I can just check the box and have done with it, easy peasy. I am sure most of the apps do that, but it is the recipe builder function that is in the My Fitness Pal app that I have found a lot better than most and the most helpful. It takes a bit to add the recipes in but once you have then you are done.

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While I have used these features for years at this point (off and on), this month I committed to using it and building the habit of logging in every day. For me, keeping track of the food keeps me on track. I also enter my exercise so I can figure out my calories in and calories out. Oddly enough the checking in section has been hugely beneficial. While I weigh in once a week officially for the Friday Weigh in, I really like the habit of getting on the scale each morning and just typing the info in to the system for a chart. I know there are going to be some points (like the holidays) that I don’t want to do that, but there is something i really like about seeing the chart grow and build. I think it is because while there is a degree of up and down in my dieting, I can look at the chart and see that even if this week I gained half a pound, the chart still shows an over all downward trend. I find that encouraging to see. It really helps me not get caught up[ in minutia.

The blog function has also been useful for me as well. It has been a way to just add quick thoughts about what is going on. New foods I’ve tried, things that go well or don’t go well. I have also found inspiration in the news posts about various exercises and foods that come up on the site. Overall it has been a really good tool for me to use and after a solid month of use, I am now in the habit of using it. It has become routine to log in and input what I am eating and to log in my work outs.

the version I have been using though is the free version. I have found that sometimes I use a free version of a program and love it, and then dislike the paid version. On the other hand, sometimes once I try he paid version I find there are parts I really don’t want to let go of and remain with the paid version. There are several items on the paid listing that are intriguing to me;. There is a greater depth to the food logging app and a guided nutrition plan. There are also recipes targeted towards my nutritional goals. As I am always looking for new recipes to try out, I am very interested in that. The paid version sounds like it would actually be a benefit. So now that I have gotten used to the free version i am going to give the paid version a trial and then do a side my side comparison to see if it is the right plan for me or if I was fine with the free version of the app. So shall we see if the paid version has elements that I really need, or if the free version is all that I need? I think we shall. Let the trial begin!

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