If you're looking for an easy way to count calories and keep track of your exercise, I highly recommend checking out MyFitnessPal.
Although I've been successfully losing weight for 8 months, I wish I had discovered MyFitnessPal earlier. It would have saved me a lot of guesswork. The site is free, and the service is priceless. It's available through their website at www.myfitnesspal.com, and it's available as a free mobile app.
When you register, you're taken through a brief questionnaire. You'll be asked how much you weigh now, and how much you want to weigh. You'll also be asked how many pounds a week you'd like to lose or gain (max 2), and how active you are. It gives you examples of jobs that fit different activity levels. Although I exercise regularly, I selected a sedentary activity level because I sit at a computer or play guitar most of the day.
Once you've been taken through the questions, you're given the maximum number of calories you can eat every day and still meet your weight goal. Throughout the day, you enter meals and workouts, and the day's remaining calories are automatically updated.
The site factors in exercise, and you can do a customized search for different types of exercise. For example, after I run 4 miles at a pace of 10 minutes per mile, I'll add the workout on MyFitnessPal. The 644 calories I burned off are added to the number of calories I can consume that day.
If you know how many calories are in the meal you just ate, you can simply type the number. If you're not sure, there is a huge food database that includes lots of restaurants. Just add the calories or add the food, and your remaining daily calories will be updated.
While this isn't an exact science, I'm finding MyFitnessPal to be a very useful tool to help me stay on track as I work to lose the rest of my excess pounds. A few days ago, I was tempted to buy some cookies when I ate at Subway. I looked up the cookies on the MyFitnessPal iPhone app and learned that they would have totaled more than 600 calories, and this helped give me the willpower to pass them by.
If you're a calorie counter and a gadget geek, you can't go wrong with MyFitnessPal.
- Tom Godfrey
- Atlanta, GA, United States
- When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995 and have been music director at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation since 2011.