General Discussion Triathlon Talk » myfitnesspal - Your opinions Rss Feed  
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2015-11-03 10:58 AM

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Subject: myfitnesspal - Your opinions
I'm trying to learn to balance exercise, recovery, and nutrition because I've got a really ambitious race plan for 2016. As a Super-Clyde my biggest obstacle to success will be my weight. I'm 6'2" and currently weigh 370 lbs. I am using the BT training log on a regular basis and use mapmyfitness to record my rides and walks. (I'm not planning to even try running until I am at least under 300.) I'm trying to limit myself to no more than two rest days per week. My winter plan is for 2 swims, 2 bikes, and 2 walks each week. I get an easy 7-8 hours sleep per night, although at 57 years old I am up several times a night for the necessary. Still, I don't "feel" tired at all during the day.

The one place that I definitely feel I am not doing enough is on the nutrition front. For instance, lunch yesterday was a sleeve of Ritz, with PB spread between the pairs, and a large glass of milk. I know I can do better than this.

What I'd like to know is what your experience with myfitnesspal has been. Was it a real benefit, or was it more trouble than it was worth? When I was attending Weight Watchers I noticed that their mobile app was a LOT less friendly than their website for tracking foods. How would you rate MFP for ease of use/entry?

ETA: Is the Premium worth the upcharge, or is it just for the convenience of no ads?

Edited by leatherneckpa 2015-11-03 11:11 AM


2015-11-03 11:41 AM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: myfitnesspal - Your opinions
At the end of the day, tracking your nutrition is always going to be harder and a bigger pain in the butt than not. MFP makes it easier. I started tracking in January after the scale at Christmas showed me a number I never thought I'd see. Since then, I've lost 20% of my body weight, and I'm light enough to start running my way back into my sexy legs.
I found the mobile app pretty easy. When I track honestly and carefully (weigh your food! do not trust volume measurements!) I have success. Does it take more time to plan nutritious meals, log my food, and weigh all my fruit? Yes, of course it does. But I want to lose weight, and this works. I find it particularly helpful to enter recipes in, like the soups or grain salad I batch cook for my work lunches. Then its a quick tap to enter, rather than tons of separate ingredients.
Good luck!

ETA: I haven't gone Premium, don't see the need. Maybe if I was tracking something specific for lifting or wanted to really dial in my nutrition. But for CICO and basic vitamin/minerals? Basic is all good.

Edited by Atlantia 2015-11-03 11:41 AM
2015-11-03 11:49 AM
in reply to: leatherneckpa

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Subject: RE: myfitnesspal - Your opinions

I've used MFP off and on.  If you want to get serious about tracking your calories, I think it's a key tool.  As mentioned above, tracking calories in general is very difficult, but the MFP app makes it at least somewhat possible.  It really becomes an eye opener as to how much calories you put in your mouth even if you just use it for a few days.

I am currently not using it, but I refer to it from time to time just to get a ballpark idea of how good or bad something might be that I'm not familiar with.  Once I get a general idea, then I kind of just do napkin math in my head.

I never felt the need to move to premium.

2015-11-03 12:03 PM
in reply to: leatherneckpa

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Roswell, Georgia
Subject: RE: myfitnesspal - Your opinions

I love MFP because you can scan in bar codes - makes it so easy!
The trick is being super honest about how much you are eating. If you aren't honest with your volume, and aren't logging 100% of what goes in your mouth, it's not worth the effort.

If you are entering exercise in MFP just be sure to adjust the calorie burn it assigns. I usually adjust to about half. I looked at a friend's log the other day and wonder if she really believes she burned 500 calories doing 30 minutes of the arc trainer? That kind of thing can really throw off your numbers.

2015-11-03 12:13 PM
in reply to: leatherneckpa

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Subject: RE: myfitnesspal - Your opinions
Working with MFP really was easy, especially once you had a list of the normal things you tend to eat at the different meals and could quickly select them, and it can be really eye opening as to what you are taking in, if tracked accurately.

I no longer use it, as I've gotten much more intuitive with my intake after using it for a while.

As said above, I don't use their numbers for calorie burns, as they are estimates, and some are pretty far off what I would expect.

With some experience you get an idea for the activity required to be at a deficit for a certain intake as evidenced by the losses and can better estimate the calorie burn from there since we tend to stick to a few activities.

Didn't even know there was a premium version, so I wouldn't bother paying for it personally :p
2015-11-03 12:37 PM
in reply to: dfquigley

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Subject: RE: myfitnesspal - Your opinions
Biggest issue with myfitnesspall or any calorie counter is being honest or knowledgeable about actual portion sizes. My lunch was a pesto premavera pasta. I know that it is 270g and was 240 calories because that is what was printed on the box. Eating microwave dinners isnt really good for your either so If I were to make this at home from scratch I likely would have had eaten twice as much and doubled that calorie count - I might also log it as a serving then wonder after a month of calorie counting why I hadnt lost weight. Its important to actually measure to ensure proper portion size.

Like everything else if you put garbage in you get garbage out.


2015-11-03 12:48 PM
in reply to: DaveL

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Subject: RE: myfitnesspal - Your opinions
I used it to track my calories, as I was not getting enough. I should eat around 2,700 calories per day, and I barely make it to 2,000... I don't eat much meat, so that's a challenge for me.

I created an excel spreadsheet for it, but it was such a waste of time, because I had to search for all nutrition information. So MFP saves me time.
Mary
2015-11-03 1:09 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: myfitnesspal - Your opinions
I began using it in June when I weighed 207 and was training for my first sprint triathlon. I lost 30 pounds in 11 weeks and got my goal weight of 177 one week before the triathlon. I don't think I could have done that without keeping track of what was going into my body.

After the race and all my goals were met I was on the fence about whether or not to keep doing it. On the one hand it is a pain to have to log everything you eat, but on the other I didn't want to take even the smallest step backward. In the end I decided to keep using it and still do. I've been right on 177.3 since labor day now and plan to keep it up.

For me there's a lot of peace of mind in being able to go back and measure progress (even if it's the same weight in this case). That way if something isn't going well in training, I have a better chance of quickly figuring out what the problem might be and fixing it. It also helps in setting goals going forward. For example, I'm running my first marathon in February and have a goal for how much of my diet is carbs vs. fat & protein. MFP is an easy way to track that.

As far as the premium goes, I wouldn't bother. The free app gives you more information than a healthy person could really ever need (i.e. calories, net calories, fat, protein, carbs, sodium, potassium, iron, trans fat, sat fat, cholesterol, fiber, etc.).

I would try it for a week and see if you think it's worth your time. It won't cost you anything.



Edited by marti038 2015-11-03 1:10 PM
2015-11-03 3:56 PM
in reply to: leatherneckpa

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Subject: RE: myfitnesspal - Your opinions

I dont know whether it's user error, but I found it horrendous!!

All the suggested calorie counts are wrong and/or conflicting. I know you can submit new counts but it's a bit of a pain. As I cook mostly from scratch it's difficult to find similar recipes with appropriate nutritional information.

The way round it for me was to grade the typical meals I ate and just revolve my food around these staples. I'd use it to get your bearings, and perhaps as a diary occasionally when you think you're losing your way. The absolute KEY though is to never lose sight of your goals for next year - everything will fall into place if you work towards these goals everyday and never give up. 

 

2015-11-03 4:41 PM
in reply to: leatherneckpa

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Subject: RE: myfitnesspal - Your opinions

I've used about 4 different nutrition logging apps personally, and I've had personal training clients and athletes use just about every one available.  MFP is the best one I've found for accuracy, ease of use (both the app and the website), and compatibility with other services (autosync with TrainingPeaks, and Garmin).

I'm not aware of any upgraded functionality for the paid version.  I believe you're right that all it does is remove the ads.

As an aside, logging your nutrition is essential for success for most people.  It doesn't necessarily need to be an app, and it doesn't necessarily need to be accurate calorically.  What's important is that you log everything, and you look at it so you can see what you're truly eating.

 

2015-11-03 6:50 PM
in reply to: #5150463


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Subject: RE: myfitnesspal - Your opinions
I didn't read all the posts but I like to use myfitnesspal for nutrition and endomondo for exercise. The apps work together, endomondo puts the calories burned into myfitnesspal.


2015-11-04 8:46 AM
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Subject: RE: myfitnesspal - Your opinions
Definitely do it. When you see how many calories you ate with the crackers you'll be less likely to do it again. Probably with all those carbs you you didn't even feel full - but low carb is a different thread.

It's a great learning tool, but if I plan on recording my food after eating it it doesn't happen.

Instead I plan my food ahead of time. That way I can manage the f/c/p ratios. That really helps. If I'm hungry I look to see what's left to eat that day. If it's only one or two things I'll put off eating it so I will have something for evening. I find I will record the occasional additional food and that's not too bad. I swear it changed my life.

It keeps your foods so when you do go to input something it's right there to check off, it is not always going online to find an item.

As someone said it's great to be able to scan the barcode of an item and have it recorded.

When I put in an Atkins or similar product I input the nutrient values myself so I can minus the sugar alcohols as they shouldn't be included in your totals. When I start that it will bring up what other people have input, but they usually haven't calculated it correctly. Plus if you are cooking from scratch you will have to figure out what each item adds to the total and divide by serving size then give it your own name. Again once it is there for you to check off each time you eat it.

Do it, do it now and come back and tell us you signed up!

BTW, when I started at 5'1" and 198 lbs I found the elliptical helpful - mimicked running movement without the impact.
Mitzi

Edited by MuscleMomma 2015-11-04 8:51 AM
2015-11-04 11:02 AM
in reply to: leatherneckpa


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Subject: RE: myfitnesspal - Your opinions
I use it religiously, for about a year and a half now. It not only helps to keep track of calories in/out, but I find the macros to be very useful...I keep fat around 20%, and protein/carbs around 30-50% each, depending on if I'm trying to burn fat, gain muscle, or focus on cardio or strength (i.e. higher protein to lose weight, gain muscle mass; carbs for when I'm focusing on endurance over strength training).

I never bothered with the premium feature, the basic works fine for me.

I think it's a great app, every bit as valuable (to me) as Garmin Connect, which are basically the two fitness apps I use the most (I use some others to a lesser degree).

Once you get in the habit of tracking your nutritional intake, it becomes second nature, and isn't difficult at all. Eventually, it'll "remember" most of your favorites, so you don't have to bother with searching or scanning.

If you're trying to lose weight, I think it's a GREAT tool.

Beyond that, some simple revisions to your diet can make a big difference, once you adapt to them. I eat a lot more fruits and vegetables now, as snacks, and switching to complex carbs over simple ones, grilling food vs frying, skim milk over whole, etc, can really add up to impressive gains (or losses).
2015-11-04 11:22 AM
in reply to: dpd3672

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Subject: RE: myfitnesspal - Your opinions
Thanks everybody. Based upon your reviews I went ahead an got the app. I haven't used it on my phone yet, but the online version is SO much easier to use than the WW's version. As Mitzi said, that feature where it retains your recent items is great. I was able to input my breakfast and most of my lunch today with about two clicks each. I think this is going to be helpful.

I won't count too heavily on it's "Calories Earned" feature, and I have not historically used what I earned as WW's Activity Points. Maybe in time I will reconsider that though.
2015-11-04 12:04 PM
in reply to: leatherneckpa

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Subject: RE: myfitnesspal - Your opinions

FWIW, I started using MyFitnessPal 9 weeks ago.  With the combination of that, and getting back into training, I have lost 22 pounds in 9 weeks.  MFP has absolutely helped me make much better food choices, and realize the impact that eating this or that has.

2015-11-04 12:22 PM
in reply to: 0


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Subject: RE: myfitnesspal - Your opinions
Originally posted by DaveL

Biggest issue with myfitnesspall or any calorie counter is being honest or knowledgeable about actual portion sizes. My lunch was a pesto premavera pasta. I know that it is 270g and was 240 calories because that is what was printed on the box. Eating microwave dinners isnt really good for your either so If I were to make this at home from scratch I likely would have had eaten twice as much and doubled that calorie count - I might also log it as a serving then wonder after a month of calorie counting why I hadnt lost weight. Its important to actually measure to ensure proper portion size.

Like everything else if you put garbage in you get garbage out.


I used Sparkpeople for calorie tracking. I'm sure it's comparable to MFP.
Calorie counting was crucial (along with fitness, obviously) to losing 100+ lbs for me.

Here's how I handled counting stuff made "from scratch" when I didn't feel like entering all the information in and weighing or making guesses at portion sizes. (Although, I did that for meals we would make frequently and "save" them.)

Let's say....my wife made meatloaf. (And she makes the BEST MEATLOAF EVER. It's truly world class).
I would look up "meatloaf" at Boston Market in the Sparkpeople app/website as they have lots of comfort food type stuff we tend to eat a lot. That's their schtick. Home made meals you don't have to make. Anyway, I figured I'd use THEIR nutrition information knowing on the fact that they were way higher in sodium and calories than my wife would make. I wouldn't "bank" those extra calories or anything and consume them later.

I figured it just got me down the road a little further.

Edited by jhaack39 2015-11-04 12:23 PM


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