Sometimes I wasn’t tracking at all. Those weeks I found that I was certainly able to still eat healthy (I have practically memorized calorie info for some foods because of all the tracking I’ve done in the past). However, I noticed I was more likely to eat more than I needed and to justify that not-very-healthy foods were a better choice than they were. For example, when you’re not tracking, it’s easy to think, “That piece of banana bread wasn’t so bad. It had banana in it—it’s practically a serving of fruit!” Then in reality, that piece of banana bread was a 400 calorie snack followed up by an 800 calorie lunch.
But even the weeks that I only tracked for a couple days, I found that tracking my food was a great way to maintain a realistic view of the decisions I made around food.
The gal who leads my FP4H group kept recommending MyFitnessPal.com. I was hesitant to even try it out. I have tried other food tracking sites, and I find most of them very frustrating. Either their food database is small making it hard to find any foods that I eat, or it’s plastered with so many “Lose belly fat!” ads that you can barely see the site, or it doesn’t let you set any custom settings making it useless to tailor to myself.
But I am loving MyFitnessPal.com! Not only can I custom set all the nutritional and fitness settings, but their food database is amazing. I was able to specifically set my daily max calories, and my percentages of Protein/Carbs/Fat. You can even set the nutritional limits (like a sodium intake limit), and then tell it to track that on your food diary page. The display is really easy to read and browse, and there’s even a print option if you have to take your diary with you (like to a meeting).
There’s also a great community! You can invite your friends and they can see your food and fitness diaries. Oh! AND there’s a phone app for it (on both iPhone and Windows Phone).
Honestly, this site is hands down the best calorie tracker I’ve ever used (it even beats the 20/20 Lifestyles tracker which was previously my favorite). If you decide to join, message me and we’ll encourage one another!