User Pick: MyFitnessPal Web & Mobile App
The Issue: We were hoping that not knowing the caloric amount in our food would mean that there were no calories...but then our pants got tight.
The Fix: If you're going to diet, actually lose weight. Turn to MyFitnessPal, a favorite of our users, Christina Wallace and Megan Wright. MyFitnessPal is a website and mobile app for tracking daily exercise and food consumption.
MyFitnessPal helps you set weight loss and exercise goals and adhere to them by tracking net calorie consumption (consumed minus burned). We love this because we don't want to be responsible for working out, managing men and tedious math on top of it. When setting up your account, you specify your goals, weight and height, etc., so that the app can estimate how many calories you burn in a day without hitting the gym and how many calories you should be consuming daily to meet your weight loss goals. Based on the foods you record eating and the exercises you record doing, the app tracks your weight loss progress and estimates how much longer before you reach your goals.
But even if you don't have a particular weight/fitness goal, you can use this app to track your normal eating habits and exercise patterns and see how they translate to weight gain/loss.
Christina especially likes the app's database of over 450,000 foods, to which users contribute based on published nutrition info. She says, "It's the most extensive I've ever seen, with real nutrition info on homemade dishes and restaurant faves, like the Cheesecake Factory's shrimp fettuccine." But Christina cautions from experience, "Best to check the app before ordering, honestly. I had no idea just how bad some of the dishes at restaurants were."
There's also a robust database of exercises, so it's easy to track your progress and estimate how many calories you've burned at the gym.
Christina says the best part about using this app is that it keeps her honest with herself. She elaborates, "It's helped me keep the snacking to a minimum because I dread entering those lattes and Skittles later on. It also helps me control how much I consume when eating out--we all know American portions are ridiculously huge, yet we seem to think if it's on our plate, it's fair game." (It's so very hard to not finish the rest of a four-pound lasagna when it's just staring at you, right?)
The website and mobile app (for iPhone and Android) are synced through your account, so you can use the website and phone app interchangeably, based on convenience. Added bonus: registering for an account and downloading the app are totally free.
Like those creepy education commercials in the 90s always said, "Knowing is half the battle." And, we're willing to track our eating habits to know that we won't have muff top by spring.
In Chicks' Picks, we present health-related, non-prescription products that address a common problem and that relevant professionals like. This is not a product endorsement or recommendation on behalf of ChickRx. Please use your own judgment and consult your physician before using any new product.