Do your resolutions for 2016 include losing weight or becoming a healthier version of yourself? When it comes to annual resolutions like these, I have been all too familiar with the feeling that they bring. I mentioned a few months back in my first F21 Fitness Faves post, that I had been trying at the time to get back on track in terms of a healthy lifestyle. Since I was young, I've always been aware of the necessary balance in order to maintain a healthy size. In spite of knowing that, it doesn't mean that I've always chosen the most effective path. Throughout my life, I would describe my health and fitness journey as a bit of a roller coaster. I've had periods of time that I'd be in the gym 2-3 times a day, be on extremely strict "fad" diets, and obsessively worrying if I'd gained a pound or two in my face. I've also gone through phases where I believed that I could eat Pringles straight out of the can and not visit a gym for months at a time. Now that I have experienced both ends of the spectrum, I believe that I've grown and matured enough to where I can truly find the perfect long-term balance.
One of the tools that has helped me find and maintain that more recently has been MyFitnessPal. Now, before you move onto the next blog post, let me say that, no, this is not a paid advertisement for MyFitnessPal. I decided to share my personal experience with this app today because it has truly benefited me over the past 140 days in relation to my weight and eating and exercise habits. I also think that sharing my experience with the app could assist others that are struggling with the same up and down feeling that I have encountered many times in my life. One of the reasons that I truly believe in the results of MyFitnessPal is because it's not a gimmick, it's not a "quick fix", and, actually, it doesn't alter anything about you at first glance. Now that we've cleared that up, let me explain from the beginning.
MyFitnessPal is a free tracking device for food, drinks, and exercise that you consume or participate in throughout your day to day routine. You can choose to change or alter your habits based on the information you see once you've entered it into the App, or you can choose to continue on with what you are doing now. This is a tool to help you become accountable for your body and your health. It takes away the excuses, the naiveness, and the bullshit. And, it's easy. Why wouldn't you use it, right?
You can use MyFitnessPal on your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Each day, you enter in how much of each item of food and drink that you consumed, if you exercised (cardio or strength) and how long, and it will tell you if you've gone over or under your goal for calories, fat, carb, protein, etc. for the day based on that information. You can use this tool in order to gain weight, lose weight, or simply maintain your current weight. If you enter in your current health information and your goal, it will lead you in the right direction of attaining it.
MyFitnessPal works similarly to that annoying idiom that your mother always used to say, "you can lead a horse to water but, you can't force it to drink". Whatever that means, right? Well, MyFitnessPal is leading you to the water but, the result depends on you and if you're willing to change your habits based on what you see recorded. It is surely not a magic pill or a "fix all". You're going to have to hold yourself accountable and, eventually, all of those seemingly insignificant details will add up to a huge change (that you can maintain) in the long-run.
As a matter of fact, I actually get excited each day to use the app. It's become a part of my routine very easily. It tracks where you started, where it estimates you'll be in terms of your goals in 5 weeks, your daily progress, and your "streak" in terms of how many days in a row that you've logged on. I don't match my calorie, fat, carb, sugar, or protein goal exactly each day; sometimes I'm over and sometimes I'm under. No one is perfect on a daily basis.. But, at least I'm aware. I still eat truffle fries (decidedly my favorite snack in the whole world), drink wine weekly, and don't visit the gym nearly as much as I should but, I know my limit on how much I can reasonably slack off and I know that I'll need to make up for it the next day to stay in balance. Another thing I love about this tool is that it doesn't allow you to restrict yourself from food in an unhealthy way. If you click the "complete diary" button at the end of the day and are too far under your recommended calorie intake, it will warn you of the long-term effects of depriving your body of necessary nutrition and will not allow you to close out that day.
Using this tool for me is beneficial because I crave routine. I know that after each meal I consume, I need to enter it in order to track my progress. I enjoy reflecting on each month as a whole and seeing distinct habits that I am proud of or that I now realize that I need to focus on for the following month. I know that it's not a quick fix but, rather a lifestyle change that will assist me in the long-run.
Do you use MyFitnessPal as part of your daily routine? Let me know what you like or dislike about it in the comments below.
XO Anna Elizabeth
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