Progress using My Fitness Pal

As you’ll know if you’ve been reading my blog or Facebook page over the last few weeks, I’ve not been exercising much, trying to recover and get well again. Last week I did hardly anything except walk plenty, a run and a gym session.

But exercise isn’t the be all and end all when you want to change your body. Sure it helps, and make you feel good, and can help you be social etc.

But if you can’t exercise for whatever reason, what, when and how much you eat and drink, and your relationship with food can have a (perhaps greater) impact on your body too. Food can be a good thing to focus on to improve if you can’t exercise, or if you’re not seeing results with what your doing. Changing what you intake can work.

Up until not so long ago, I’d always had the runners mentality: ‘I ran today so I can eat this or that’. But in the last year or so I’ve realised more that the whilst one of the reasons I exercise is so that I can eat whatever I want, it doesn’t mean I should eat whatever I want.

Think I need to eat more protein! (My fitness pal is great for easily logging a what you consume and providing feedback so you can continue to improve).

If you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll also know that I’m (perhaps controversially) weighing myself every day. It’s giving me a feedback and a measure of how my actions (food, drink, exercise) affects my body, more specifically my body fat % and weight.

I eat what I want, I can have cake if I want it, but if I want to get leaner of lose weight, cake maybe isn’t the vest idea. But f&ck it. I can have it. I’m lucky, I can have it. But sometimes I choose not to because I want to see what the effect of eating well and exercising (or not will have).

If you’re really serious about your health and losing weight, maybe you shouldn’t be saying f&ck it, and eat that cake. If you want to see improvements, maybe you should measure or record what you eat. I find it works for me.

Intermittently I go through stages of logging onto MyFitnessPal and logging my food and drink intake. And it helps, it really does. I might want cake or a mars bar, but if I ate it id have to log it. And if I logged it everyone would see it. So I’m better off just not eating it and waiting for dinner, or drinking some water of something.

It also makes me make better and informed choices about what I eat. It tells me how much is in something in about to eat. I could have chosen wagamamas chicken katsu the other day (at 1,100 cals) plus a starter (at 600 cals), but instead I chose a starter (500 cals) and a sweet chilli chicken salad (at about 450 cals). What a difference! 500 cals between the salad and the katsu.

And here, simple steak and veg, 450 cals. Simple, tasty, filling and good for me.

I started tracking my food on Wednesday and have tracked it for 5 days. I’ve been stronger at work to say no to chocolate that’s been on the rounds (as I’d have to log it and I’d already logged my pre prepared snack).

Look at the result:

Tue 26: 127.6lbs, 27.2% fat, 34.7lbs fat
Wed 27: 126.0lbs, 26.5% fat, 34lbs fat
Thu 28: 125.3lbs, 25.9% fat, 32.5lbs fat
Fri 29: 124.3lbs, 25.4% fat, 31.6lbs fat
Sat 30: 126.3lbs, 25.5% fat, 32.2lbs fat
Sun 31: 127.1lbs, 24.9% fat, 31.6lbs fat

My body fat has dropped from 27.2% / 34.7lbs on Tuesday, to 24.9% / 31.6lbs! In 5 days of tracking my food simply on my fitness pal, vid not lost much weight (0.5lbs again), but my composition has changed. I’ve lost over 3lbs of fat! (I did a good HIIT and strength session on Saturday too, which might have helped today’s result.)

Mainly I’ve done it by eating well and being as active as I can be.

Tracking food and drink intake works (for me), and measuring body fat and weight works too and shows me the results of my efforts. 🙂 technology is making all if this so very easy, simple and clever! If I can do it anyone can.

The pink graphs come from my withings wifi scale, they automatically update and send my readings online, to my withings app and even to my fitness pal. I don’t need to write anything down! It’s all so clever.

Then once you get in the way of it (eating well and being active) you can hopefully get progress without having to track it all. 🙂

…or, if like me, seeing the results helps you focus on improving (and as long as it doesn’t take up too much of your life or brain power) you can keep doing it. It’s totally up to you. 🙂

What do you think? Have you tried MFP? Does it work for you?

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