Thursday, July 18, 2013

My Fitness Pal

I am going to be blunt. I am someone who has struggled with my weight my whole life. Why? You know, I really have never pin pointed why. Growing up, I never knew the negative effects calories could have on the body and I guess I was never really taught. While I know I didn't have it awful as a child, I will say that I had to deal with some circumstances that not all children have to deal with so perhaps this played some role. Who knows; in my family it was never an issue.
I  must have been about 10 here.
I was extremely lucky that I didn't have to deal with bullying, at least to my face. I could only imagine being myself growing up in today's society where bullying is so much more prevalent and in my opinion, worse. I cannot say, however, that I wasn't bullied behind my back and never knew about it but I guess what I didn't know, didn't hurt me. I never had boyfriends but I always had friends.
My first car! I was just 16 here.
Not until body image started to matter to me, around 10th grade I would say, did I ever try to seriously lose weight. Maybe I just grew up but in a matter of about five months I lost approximately 60 pounds. Did I starve myself? No. I had a new job that kept me busy during the afternoons so I would not snack and I started eating slightly healthier; I remember using a small plate instead of a dinner plate at dinner and that really helped. Regardless, after dropping the weight, I entered into my first relationship which lasted for three years (from about the age 16-19). 

When we went our separate ways, which is a whole other story, I ended up progressively taking better and better care of myself. I worked out a couple days a week and seriously began watching what I ate. I lost about 20 more pounds before I started a new relationship, during which I continued to lose and then gain back slightly. Thinking back, I felt really body image pressured in that relationship which was probably not the best situation to be in; when that relationship failed, I was very depressed. I was in college and did what any other crazy college kid would do in that situation, drink. I was drinking a lot and when I wasn't out drinking and partying I was studying and going to class, which left little time for eating. I would have to say that this was most  likely the lowest weight I had ever gotten to, around 125.

 Around this weight, I met my husband. We spent two weeks together until he had to go back to where he was working, in England, and wouldn't be home for six more months. I have to say during this time I gained a lot of weight back. I was living in substandard conditions, had very little money, and was taking 18 credits in school. Not to make excuses but I think my situation along with my husband, then boyfriend, living so far away, hindered my weight. When my husband arrived home for our wedding, I had gained about 20 pounds. He's awesome and never said a thing but I know he noticed.

When I got pregnant with my son, I weighed 150 on the nose; when I gave birth I weighed in that day at 199. I hated gaining weight during my pregnancy even though I knew it was what was best for my baby.
After I had Dexter, I was determined to get down to a smaller size than I was before I got pregnant. I breastfed my son, who is allergic to milk, again, a whole other story, so me not eating any dairy so that it would not pass through my breastmilk and breastfeeding combined got me off to a great start. Over the course of a year, and a lot of hard work, I got down to 142! Yay! My son just turned a year on June 7 of this year, so this was not very long ago.
My son and I a couple days before
his first birthday.

 In April, I put my husband and I on a diet and downloaded the app that got me on the right track to eating healthy. I LOVE and thank the My Fitness Pal App so much (for those of you without an iPhone or other smart phone OR would just prefer, it is available online for tracking as well.)

How it Works

When you first start an account with My Fitness Pal, you will be asked to enter in a plethora of personal information.

Once you have entered all the information, the app will calculate a daily caloric intake for you in order for you to achieve your goal. It will also ask you a time line of how long until you want to lose all the weight and remind you every day when you are done logging what you will weigh in X-amount of weeks if you eat and work out every day as you did that day. 

Not only does it track your calories, it tracks salt intake, fat, etc. See below.

Every day, you simply plug in what you eat. Most foods are already programmed into the app; like today for breakfast I had Kroger brand instant oatmeal. I didn't have to enter any information from the box because it was already available for me. As well as most foods being available for plug in, most exercises are already there too so you don't have to calculate calories burned. If you go on a mile walk, it will tell you how many calories you burned, such a nice feature!
Select which meal you are adding to,
then simply search for what you ate.

Along with plugging in what you eat, you plug in any exercise you do as well. Your burned calories will be added back into your allotted food calories for the day as you can see in my photo above.

If you have your own homemade recipes, like I do, it is easy to add a recipe. You will be asked how many people the recipe serves, plug in all the ingredients, then the app will divide the total number of calories into how ever many servings in the recipe which lets you add one serving easily to your dinner slot or what-have-you.
For example, the Tuna salad option above
is a recipe I added. Where as the Steak N Shake
chicken fingers was already readily available for me
to chose. Your recent, frequent, and recipes are
conveniently available for you at the top
so you don't have to do a lot of searching for something
you eat regularly.

I don't have a scale so I'm at a bit of a disadvantage and don't take advantage of another great feature the app offers. If you weigh in once a week and plug it into the app, it will track your weight loss and help you see yourself achieving your goals.

For extra motivation, you can add friends who are also using the app. Your exercise and daily totals will be displayed like a Facebook news feed. It also reports when someone hasn't logged in a while so you can reach out to that person and offer some support they may need. Or you can use this app privately, as I do and will only see yourself in your news feed. You always have the option to share to Facebook as well.

The BEST part about this app is that it puts you in check REAL quick. If you have 1200 calories for the day, that's all you have. It makes you realize how much you really were overeating or maybe even under-eating. I guess its really similar to Weight Watchers, but wayyyyyyy more simple, in my opinion. And it's free.

For more information, visit their website or ask me, I'd be glad to help and I'd be glad to add you as a friend for support. Good luck! It's so possible.



PS! I am also trying the 30 Day Squat Challenge. I just started yesterday. Give it a try, it's fun, hehe.

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