Today I’m writing about life after My Fitness Pal. Tracking food can be a very viable strategy for people to lose weight. I personally started off with tracking my food. Purely to understand how many calories I was eating on a given day, to give myself a framework of how many calories I should be eating on a given day. It was this that gave me the ‘aha’ moment that allowed me to start to build a better relationship with food.
However, My Fitness Pal can have some downsides, it can be quite arduous to use for some people, other people love it and find it very simple, but it can also give you that same diet mentality of either being on a diet and tracking your food or being off a diet and not tracking your food. This can give you that same dichotomous ‘good versus bad’, ‘on versus off’ type of thinking. Whereas really what we want to do is provide a framework for us to live our lives after losing weight. Of course, calories in calories out is the biggest determining factor of losing weight, then we have to think about the amount of nutrients we’re getting in a day for health purposes, things like fibre as well for our digestion and gut health and other things.
So, there is definitely life after using My Fitness Pal. But how do we get there?
We need to make sure that we’re using My Fitness Pal initially just as a tool. It’s a tool of becoming aware of your calorie intake versus where it needs to be. So what you’re eating now compared to what you need to be eating in order to reach your goal weight, or in order to maintain a healthy body weight after you’ve got there. When you’re using My Fitness Pal, rather than just logging and forgetting it, using it very mindlessly, the best way to use it is mindfully so being very in the presence of what you’re doing. Being very aware of the foods that you’re weighing, the foods that you’re eating, the foods that you’re logging, so that you can start to build a database within your head of how many calories are in what foods. Learning what foods are high in protein, what foods are high in carbohydrates, what foods have a lot of calories per serving size, what foods are lower calorie serving sizes compared to what you get for them. You can start to build an awareness in your head of what you’re eating on a day to day basis that provides you plenty of protein, provides you plenty of nutrients and still allows you to live a balanced life. For example, how do you fit in a biscuit here in there? How do you fit in having a bag of crisps? How do you fit in having a meal out and enjoying yourself without wrecking your progress? These are the things that you can learn to do while using My Fitness Pal, in a mindful manner. So rather than logging it, and forgetting it, make sure you’re being aware of everything that you’re doing, and you’re starting to build habits, build an awareness and you’re starting to essentially live within the matrix where you can see the labels of foods in your head, as opposed to having to use an app to do it.
Once you’ve gotten a good bearing, once you’ve started making progress, if you feel confident and comfortable to do so, you can start moving away from tracking your food and it doesn’t have to be a complete off switch. It can just be a bit of a dimmer switch that you slowly turn down over time. So starting to ease away from it through having non tracked meals, non track days, and then you can still be aware of what your body weight is doing throughout the week, what your measurements are doing throughout the weeks, you can start to slowly but surely ease yourself off of My Fitness Pal, a bit like weaning off of anything. You’re doing it slowly. You’re doing it gradually, you’re giving yourself the confidence in your habits and your ability to regulate your food intake without using an app. This can go very very well with intuitive eating, starting to really clue into what you’re eating, how hungry you feel, what your body actually thinks that you need. Then you can really start to make headway within that sphere. I’ll be talking with a couple of nutrition experts on Friday to discuss more and more about this intuitive eating so do keep your eyes peeled for that podcast.