Diet Tracking With MyFitnessPal – You Are What You Eat!
By Nate Rich
If you would have asked the 500+ lbs. version of Nate Rich to measure and record everything he ate and drank, he would have thought you were crazy. Well, sometimes the “crazy” way is the right way, and it certainly was for me. Remember, Earth being circular was “crazy” too. To most people, the concept of recording everything you eat and drink sounds ludicrous. However, to fitness fanatics and casual dieters alike, taking detailed notes on the caloric value is a huge aid to maintaining a specific diet plan. Perhaps equally important as the amount of calories consumed is the specific macronutrient breakdown. Although there are many ways to calculate you food and beverages, my absolute favorite is digitally with a program and website called MyFitnessPal.
Let’s go back to 2009 when I weighed over 500 lbs. After the devastating loss of my Dad from heart failure, who meant everything to me, I decided to get serious about losing weight and would not stop until I succeeded. I went from drinking a couple liquid diet shakes a day (sub-500 calories per day), to low carb Atkins-style dieting, to 10 other random diet concepts. The road to losing 300 lbs. was full of failures, but each failure led to another option. One of those options was the concept of recording what you ate and drank, so you could actually grasp the caloric value of everything, and understand your macronutrient intake. At first, it just seemed like a bunch of work for no reason, but the more I got into it, the more I learned and was able to tweak my diet. Some days I would feel starving, and others I would feel almost bloated. Without a record of what I ate (and at what time), I really was just guessing as to what could be the problem.
Being able to grasp what you eat, how much you eat, and how it affects your weight, energy levels, and brain functionality (seriously!), is the primary reason why I believe recording your diet is of use. You have the opportunity to realize your “low carb diet” is actually a “high carb diet” because you thought Sweet Potatoes were considered vegetables. Or, you have the opportunity to analyze your diet and find out that perhaps you are so bloated recently because you’re favorite “diet condiment” is actually loaded full of sodium unexpectedly. We all want to pretend like we know everything about food and diet, and that “I’m not stupid enough to eat something with so much sodium” but I am telling you certain things fall through the cracks that can create a roadblock for your goals. Some of the biggest surprises for people are cream in your coffee, oil while cooking food, carbohydrates in everything (always a surprise), and the biggest one is the sneaky grams of sugar that are everywhere.
My personal preference for tracking my diet is MyFitnessPal. Nowadays, I do not use this religiously every single day while I am maintaining my body weight, but I bust it out any time I see myself gaining weight and want to get serious again. It is a great “check yo-self before you wreck yo-self” tool (Lol, yeah. I just wrote that).
MyFitnessPal is a website with applications for all smartphones. With ease, you can record your body weight, food intake, beverage intake, and even exercise routine. There is a seemingly infinite list of foods, drinks, supplements, and condiments in their standard database that you can search for while adding your meals. If somehow your specific item is not in their database, you can add it with ease. It really is the best diet tracking database I have used.
Tracking your macronutrients is highly undervalued in the mainstream dieting approach. Of course the caloric value of foods matter, and of course the total amount of calories you eat matters. However, it really does matter how many grams of protein, carbohydrates, fat, fiber, and sugar you are consuming. I have seen people tell me that they are on a low-carb diet, but they are eating a TON of vegetables throughout the day. This is not a bad thing, however their vegetables of choice were carrots which are heavy in carbs (sugar). On a low-carb diet, you are relying on ketosis to lose fat, which requires very low-to-no carbohydrates. So, without tracking your macronutrients you may not realize that all of your vegetables are derailing your low-carb diet plan!
Another great feature is that there is an endless history so you can track your progress over long periods of time without losing any information. Let’s say you’ve gained some weight, but you remember a time last year when you were your leanest and felt your best. You can simply look back to that time by searching date or body weight, and peek into what exactly you were eating and drinking during that time. It can be a great way to get yourself back on track.
Overall, I personally use MyFitnessPal, and highly recommend it for anyone. Even if you aren’t trying to lose a bunch of weight, it is still a great way for people to actually learn and understand what they’re eating. It is mostly true that you are what you eat, and tracking what you eat is a great way to manage your diet and body goals.
Author Bio: Hi, I’m Nate Rich, and I weighed 525 pounds about seven years ago. Today, I am 300 pounds lighter, a body builder, a world traveler, and extremely successful in business and in my personal relationships. What happened between then and now is a story of total body and life transformation, which began in the face of extreme adversity. I conquered that through determination, motivation, and my own personal routine of fitness and living healthy.
Twitter & Instagram: @builttoberich