MyFitnessPal Weight Loss and Calorie Tracking App
All three of them do what they do quite well. They each have a huge database of foods to draw from. They all have excellent support forums. They also each have a website and app that works with iOS and Android. They all tell you about how many calories a day you should be eating based on BMR and have customizeable goals. They will also let you track calories burned through exercise. Both Calorie-Count and SparkPeople have virtual achievements you can earn based on your progress. Calorie-Count will even assign a healthiness grade based on your food choices for the day. MyFitnessPal will tell you, based on your day, how much you will probably weigh in 5 weeks if every day was just like that one. It can be a real eye-opener! I quickly discovered why I could not only NOT lose weight, but was rapidly gaining. I didn’t need near as many calories as I was eating and my diet was nutritionally void.
SparkPeople will create a weekly menu for you, however I am not a big fan of this feature or their support. I got turned off to SparkPeople when their menu plan for me continually included Yoplait Yogurt as part of their “vegetarian options.” Yoplait contains gelatin (as do most yogurts), and is not vegetarian. I got in touch with their support team who basically told me “just to eat something else then”. It seemed to me that including options from companies that (I believe) sponsor them was more important than accurately producing an appropriate meal plan for me, so I moved on. It just seemed odd their licensed dietitians couldn’t figure out what is, and is not, vegetarian. Their meal plan also lacked variety and I found it included the same thing over and over.
Both MyFitnessPal and Calorie-Count will let you create weight loss tickers, but MyFitness Pal actually lets you use your own photo. I find it much more motivational to see a smaller version of myself kissing my hubby than one of the pre-set images. You can set your ticker to show how much weight you’ve lost or how much you have left to go. It’s more rewarding for me to see my current progress rather than how much of a climb I still have. In fact, my ticker, which shows the final marker at 21.8 pounds, only shows my short term goal. After I reach that goal I will set another one. Taking things in baby steps seems to help.
Basic badge that shows how much I have lost.
I love the tickers! This actually a photo of my husband and I that I use for the background 🙂 The heart shows how much weight I’ve lost and how far I have to go.
MyFitnessPal has a few cool features that really makes it stand out from the crowd – and why it’s become my favorite. Adding foods with my iOS device is easier than any of the other apps. If your mobile device is camera-enabled (and most of them are), you can scan the bar code on whatever product you are eating and it instantly imports that food directly into your food diary. With the other apps, I found myself sifting through 100’s of nearly identical items to make sure I was adding the right one. In frustration, I would end up giving up entirely within a few weeks. They also seem to have a much larger database of foods. It is a rare occasion that I can’t find a food in the database by scanning the bar code. They even have a HUGE selection of restaurant food which seems to be pretty updated! TacoBell’s newest menu items were on there before I could find them on the other websites. With the other apps, I found I frequently had to create a custom food, which frankly, can be quite cumbersome. In short, compared to similar tools, MyFitnessPal is the easiest to use to get to the core functionalities, like tracking calories.
MyFitnessPal will also integrate into other fitness related apps as well. I haven’t had the opportunity to use this feature yet, but have been eyeballing the Withings and the FitBit Aria Wi-Fi Scale. When you weigh on these scales, it uploads it to a website for easy tracking. MyFitnessPal can automatically import their data into the MyFitnessPal app. It also works with the following fitness applications:
- BodyMedia FIT
- Endomondo Sports Tracker
- Expresso Exercise Bike
- FINIS Swimsense
- Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale
- Fitbit Tracker
- Runtastic Pedometer
- RHYTHM Pulse Monitor
- Striiv Play Smart Pedometer
- The Withings Wi-Fi Scale
And they seem to always be adding more. I’m pretty sure that the last time I looked, there weren’t that many!
MyFitness pal has calorie tracking apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phones. I use the iPad app. My husband uses both the iPad and Android apps. Of course, you can always just use the website, too! However, you don’t have that really unique way of entering food by scanning the bar code – which is convenient since I don’t generally have my computer in the kitchen or dining room. The site offers a free place to blog, join groups and message boards which is not available on the app.
No matter which way you choose to use the program, you can still interact with your friends, encourage them when they fall off the wagon, and give and receive praise! If you like, you can even integrate your account with Facebook so that it updates Facebook when you lose weight or update your MyFitnessPal status. That is optional. I find that it’s helpful because then my non-FitnessPal friends can also see my progress and frequently give me encouragement.
If you are looking for a complete weight-loss app, this is an excellent one. Of course, MyFitnessPal is completely free, as well.