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Counting Calories with MyFitnessPal

March 3, 2019

I never started using MyFitnessPal in order to review it, but after my experience I felt it would be good. I had used it previously but not quite so religiously.

 

I have mentioned the use of this app for calorie counting in my post on 20th Feb and the awareness of amounts of calories in different food types. I have learnt in that aspect absolutely, but have now decided to stop counting my calories. Mostly because I've been at war with myself on what the right intake is, what I should be losing, if I should be losing, how active is 'active'? and so on.

 

I'm around 8 st 7/8. But before the end of last year I was usually around 8 st 3 and didn't really waver from that, so once I started getting a little heavier this frightened me. I got to 8 st 10 before I decided to start putting in the hard work.  

 

My biggest problem with the app is the fact you tell yourself to start listening to it, rather than your body. I spent 3 or 4 nights a week going to bed hungry and tired. The app cannot track calorie burning for resistance workouts so it wasn't taking into account the workouts (4 or 5 per week!) that I was doing and I was likely underfeeding myself. But, because I was telling myself I'd eaten as many calories as I could, I would go to bed with a rumbling tummy. After that I started feeling lethargic and slightly unwell.

 

Don't get me wrong though - I think it's a very useful tool if you know exactly what you're doing. I do not pretend to be an expert in this field by any means but I wanted to write about the experience that I had. I know that it has had some bad press recently and due to this they have responsibly installed extra warning alerts for people with dangerously low goals. I know I put in a goal weight of 8 stone and it did warn me that this was very low.

 

Check this article referencing MyFitnessPal and other tracking apps which discusses these concerns more.

'A Twisted Comparison Game': How Fitness Apps Exacerbate Eating Disorders

 

The app itself is well created. I used the unpaid version but I believe you can upgrade to a 'premium' account which allows for better tracking. The barcode scanner is useful and has picked up virtually everything I've scanned, when I used it previously this was only just starting to be used. 

 

I believe it's very important to do your research before using this app, and any other tracking apps, for your dieting changes/goals. For instance, if you're doing resistance workouts (weight lifting) like I am, you should ideally be increasing your intake of calories, particularly protein. The protein aids your muscle repair & growth and subsequently muscles that are growing require more energy to work. You will need to consume more calories as your growing muscles burn more. 

 

I've just been so focused on looking lean and slender for my upcoming holiday my goals have been flitting between building muscle or just generally losing weight to look thinner. From now I am going to workout and eat based on a bodybuilding outlook. Hopefully I will gain the toned look I'm hoping for, but in a safe and healthy way.

 

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