I think that when people start out with myfitnesspal, I think it's all self explanatory and fun and games when really, it could take at least a little explanation. This is going to be the explanation of the FREE version, because if you have followed me long, you know I'm a big budgeter, so therefore I don't see the utility in upgrading when I can get all of what I need from the free version.
Some cool things about myfitnesspal.
- They literally have almost every restaurant under the sun (many you would never expect so always look)
- You can follow friends and see their recipes
- When Tanner was asked for people to follow him, he was like "THATS WEIRD! You don't need to see what I eat" Hahaha! I was like "DUDE, It's for recipe sharing. Slow ya roll"
- It does all calculations for you with adding up your foods however I do not recommend using their calculators for macros and recommend the calculations and explantations found in my e-book The Macro Starter Guide.
- It keeps a streak of how long you've been tracking and so it becomes a game.
Things I don't like about myfitnesspal
- Sometimes it's straight false because as a food database, they have to allow anyone to be able to enter in their own food and that creates false information
- It also has a lot to do with the fiber in foods and the debate over whether or not something has absorbed calories (I'm not getting into that in this blog).
- If I see something that looks weird, then I don't really trust it and I'll look for another source. The best thing is to scan labels.
- You can't set your exact grams unless you upgrade to the premium version.
Upgrading to the premium version allows you to do only that-enter your exact grams. It allows you to also enter all of your different macros on different days if you have a carb cycle or if you are an athlete that eats different amounts of different days. I'm a triathlete so yes I eat different amounts on different days, however I still don't see the point. I can know the numbers in my head, and meet those each day without having myfitnesspal to remember them for me. If you see that being worth your $50, then that's totally up to you. Everyone is different.
When you log in for the first time, it'll have you make a username and all of that so that you can share this with your franz and then you can get great food ideas for different days. Tip: If you decide to not count on Christmas or birthday because #endlessmacros then just chart your coffee so you can keep your streak and then you're good to go. #priorities ;)
From there, it becomes quite easy.
You just simply go to Diary then Add Food under Each Category (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner/Snacks) and Search your food in the search bar.
To know the totals for your day, first click on nutrition and then it will bring you to this screen which has a pie chart with the percentage ratios of each of your macros. That is not the screen that you want to pay attention to but rather you want to click on "Nutrients" at the top and it will take you to your macros for that day. Look to the next picture and you'll see where it says "Calories" "Nutrients" and "Macros" at the top and you want to click on the "Nutrients" one.
You'll notice when you are looking at your exact numbers of nutrition, it'll have your Total, Goal, and Left Columns of your macros. These are NOT my macros, and like I said I eat different every single day based on my training so I don't even input my goals to be honest. (Note: Just look at Total Fat (g) , Total Carbohydrate (g), Protein (g) and not all those other numbers. For the purposes of today's blog, let's just focus on those).
To change what your goals are, simply go to "More" on the Home Page which is the furthest to the right with the 3 dots on the home screen. The third option is Goals. You can only change calories and percentages. That's OKAY and doesn't mean that you are doomed, but just get it as close as you can, and then that's good enough.
Don't worry about charting your workouts. Your coach should factor in your workouts for the macros that you should have based on an activity factor, and myfitnesspal is going to tell you to do really ridiculous things with macros so I don't trust it much with telling the actual macros to follow.
One goal thing that you can do also is add recipes.
It used to be that for me, it was much easier to do on my computer but myfitnesspal has had some updates therefore you can also do this from your phone really easily. You just simply go to your diary and when you click on "Add food" under Breakfast for example, it will take you to this screen:
If you see at the top, it has "Recent, Frequent, My Foods, Meals, and then Recipes" so click on Recipes. Scroll down to the bottom of your recipes, and click on "Create a New Recipe." It will ask you if you want to add from the web or manually and I always choose manually. It will ask you for the Title and Serving size so if you are making an entire 9x13, you can decide that you want your serving size to be 12 so this is where you put that in. From there, you just add your ingredients. When adding your ingredients, you can scan them in using the barcode on the package directly from where you are making it so that's so nice to be able to do from your phone. You'll see this in a picture description below.
I also do this from my computer sometimes. Just log into myfitnesspal.com > Click on Food > Click on Recipes > Click on Add Recipe Manually. From there, you can name the recipe, put in all ingredients with serving size and it will calculate the macros for each serving size. The coolest part about this is when you go to your phone, it will sync up to the computer added recipes therefore from there on out, you have that recipe to just BAM! Add to your day! So, when you go to Add Food there are different icons at the top that say "Recent, Frequent, My Foods, Meals, Recipes" as I mentioned earlier. It will default to Recent but if you want to see one of your recipes, then you just click that tab and can add that to your day!
I know what you are thinking. WHY IS THE WORLD WOULD ANYONE GO THROUGH ALL THIS WORK? Personally, I think it's fun. You can go out to eat and even if you are getting something "bad", you can just put "NYC 99cent pizza" and that junk comes up on myfitnesspal and you just plug it in and go about your day continuing towards your goals. I mean I think that's a pretty stellar diet that I follow. Chains are the easiest as they always have documentation of nutrition. NYC is hard as no one has nutrition but guessing is easy enough.
I hope you have enjoyed your tour of myfitnesspal! GOOD LUCK!