Just like everyone else, this year I pledged to finally start working out and eating better. Part of it is vanity — who doesn’t want to look good in a bikini at the beach this summer? — but the other part is knowing that, as I get older, I have to start taking care of myself if I want to live a long, healthy life.
The problem is, I’ve always had a hard time getting (and staying) motivated — but not anymore! I recently signed up for an online fitness tool, MyFitnessPal, which helps me eat better and lose weight by keeping me accountable for what I’m eating.
When you’re creating your free account, MyFitnessPal will have you input your current weight and then enter your weight loss and fitness goals to come up with your calorie goal for the day. Note that this is only a suggestion and you should find what works best for you based on your lifestyle — I actually raised my calorie goal a little bit because I felt mine was too low and I was starving, and now I’m having no trouble staying within my allotted calories (and I’m still losing weight).
Then, just log all the foods you eat into your food diary (there are thousands of foods in their database, and you can even add your own if it’s not listed). My favorite thing is logging the calories I burn after doing cardio exercise — I love that it gives me a little extra wiggle room if I feel like having dessert (or an extra glass of wine)!
MyFitnessPal is more than just an online food journal. Additionally, it’s also a great web community where you can connect with other like-minded individuals that are trying to get healthy. Read blogs and tips from other MyFitnessPal users and connect with friends to motivate one another. A few of my work friends are on MyFitnessPal, and we’re always talking about our own progress and goals, and it’s nice to see each other’s progress. Plus, losing weight and/or trying to get in shape is so much easier with friends, because you have a support system that keeps you motivated!
This is the longest I’ve ever stuck with any weight-loss regimen — I’ve been sticking with MyFitnessPal fairly religiously for almost a month now, and I’m loving my results!
Laura is a St. John’s University grad who spends way too much time watching TV and imagining the characters are her best friends. She’s addicted to online shopping, dessert, and Pinterest. Follow her life at @lkdondero.