20 MyFitnessPal Tips for a Healthier Life!
MyFitnessPal is an excellent health and fitness tracker. If your goal is staying healthy, losing weight, becoming more active, or eating healthier. But while many people utilize MyFitnessPal, not all of them use the app or website correctly.
Knowing about some helpful MyFitnessPal tips gets you headed on the road toward healthier living. You can look better, feel better, and increase your overall quality of life.
- 1 #1 Track Everything in Real Time
- 2 #2 Don’t Forget to Record Liquid Calories in MyFitnessPal
- 3 #3 Avoid Choosing the Lowest Calorie Option Every Time
- 4 #4 Measure Portions Correctly
- 5 #5 Don’t Forget to Log Condiments into MyFitnessPal
- 6 #6 Don’t Always Choose Low-Calorie Foods
- 7 #7 Know Your Daily Calorie Allotment
- 8 #8 Set Realistic Weight Loss Goals
- 9 #9 Use MyFitnessPal’s Barcode Scanner
- 10 #10 Make MyFitnessPal Friends
- 11 #11 Don’t Forget to Log Exercise and Daily Activity
- 12 #12 Rotate Food Diaries to Landscape Mode
- 13 #13 Use the MyFitnessPal’s Complete Diary Button
- 14 #14 Learn How to Track Restaurant Foods in MyFitnessPal
- 15 #15 Use MyFitnessPal’s Food Logging Reminders
- 16 #16 Customize Daily and Weekly Goals
- 17 #17 Don’t Get Discouraged
- 18 #18 Store Your Favorite Recipes in MyFitnessPal
- 19 #19 Use MyFitnessPal’s Repeat Meal Function
- 20 #20 Log into MyFitnessPal Daily
- 21 Where Should I Begin?
#1 Track Everything in Real Time
When tracking your food and calorie intake using MyFitnessPal, record it in real time. That means track it right away using the online version of MyFitnessPal or the app with your phone or tablet.
If you don’t have access to MyFitnessPal during the day, write down what you eat (when you eat it) in a food journal and plug foods into MyFitnessPal later to ensure the information you enter is accurate.
#2 Don’t Forget to Record Liquid Calories in MyFitnessPal
A common mistake many MyFitnessPal newbies make is forgetting to track liquid calories, or the calories you consume from drinks. Even coffee and tea, while very low-calorie drinks, contain a few calories in each serving.
Sodas, lemonade, sweet tea, juice, and energy drinks – while not beverages you should consume a lot of when trying to stay slim – often provide 100-150 calories in each serving.
Alcoholic drinks contribute to excess calories too and can pack on unwanted pounds quickly. If you sugary or alcoholic beverages containing calories, drink them in moderation and don’t forget to track each drink in MyFitnessPal.
#3 Avoid Choosing the Lowest Calorie Option Every Time
Every entry in MyFitnessPal isn’t always the most accurate, so avoid choosing the lowest calorie option every time. For example, if you enter “banana” into the MyFitnessPal database, you might see entries for 89 calories, 105 calories, or even 110 calories.
If this happens to you, choose the option that’s not the highest or lowest (in this example it would be 105 calories), or use the USDA FoodData Central database to confirm your choice.
#4 Measure Portions Correctly
Another MyFitnessPal tip to remember is to measure portion sizes correctly. Learn about accurate portion sizes before logging foods and drinks into the MyFitnessPal database.
Use measuring cups or teaspoons when preparing meals at home and if you’re dining out, use the following MedlinePlus guidelines to estimate food portions:
- One-3-ounce serving of fish is about the size of a checkbook
- One 3-ounce serving of poultry or meat is approximately the size of the palm of your hand or a deck of cards
- A 1-cup portion is about the size of a woman’s fist
- A 1/2-cup serving is approximate the size of a tennis ball, or a rounded handful
- Two tablespoons is about the size of a ping pong ball
- Eight fluid ounces of your favorite beverage is equivalent to 1 cup
#5 Don’t Forget to Log Condiments into MyFitnessPal
If you’re eating a veggie burger, turkey burger, or tuna sandwich, don’t forget to log ketchup, mustard, or mayonnaise if you use these condiments. For example, 1 tablespoon of ketchup contains about 20 calories and 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise provides 45 calories. Italian salad dressing contains about 35 calories in each 1-tablespoon portion, and 1 teaspoon of olive oil provides 40 calories.
#6 Don’t Always Choose Low-Calorie Foods
Choosing low-calorie foods, such as leafy greens or other non-starchy vegetables, to round out healthy meal plans is an excellent choice. But don’t always opt for low-calorie foods, even during weight loss. Why is this the case? Because eating too few calories can drain your energy and deprive your body of essential nutrients it needs to function at its best.
For example, avocados, oils, hummus, nuts, seeds, and nut butters are nutritious, high-calorie foods you should add to healthy meal plans – even if you’re trying to drop weight.
#7 Know Your Daily Calorie Allotment
Before tracking your calories with MyFitnessPal, know your daily calorie allotment. Dietary Guidelines suggest men consume the following number of calories to maintain healthy weight based on their age, current body weight, and physical activity level:
- 19-35: 2,400-3,000 calories
- 36-40: 2,400-2,800 calories
- 41-55: 2,200-2,800 calories
- 56-60: 2,200-2,600 calories
- 61-75: 2,000-2,600 calories
- 76 and older: 2,000-2,400 calories
If weight loss is your goal, aim to eat 500-1,000 fewer calories than your usual intake. Consuming 1,500-1,800 daily for weight loss in men is a good rule of thumb, and the recommendation from NHLBI.
#8 Set Realistic Weight Loss Goals
If dropping weight is your goal when using MyFitnessPal, set realistic weight loss goals so you don’t get discouraged. Doing so increases your chance of keeping lost weight off long term. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend losing weight at a pace of 1-2 pounds weekly to effectively drop weight and keep it off.
Doing so means you can still eat a well-balanced diet without feeling deprived or suffering from unpleasant symptoms of starvation diets – such as headaches, nausea, extreme fatigue, nutrient deficiencies, and hair loss.
#9 Use MyFitnessPal’s Barcode Scanner
Another key MyFitnessPal tip to remember is when using MyFitnessPal to track calories and nutritional content of your favorite foods, use the barcode scanning tool whenever possible. Scanning the barcodes of foods you eat often makes inputting exact portions easier and faster – especially when preparing home-cooked recipes!
#10 Make MyFitnessPal Friends
Connect with other members of the MyFitnessPal community to receive motivational support needed to stay on track with your healthy eating plan. Seek friends with similar interests and goals, recruit your friends to join, and add new MyFitnessPal friends whenever you have a chance. The more people you have supporting you, the better your chance of healthy living success!
#11 Don’t Forget to Log Exercise and Daily Activity
In addition to logging food and calorie intakes, record workouts and activities of daily living into MyFitnessPal too! Aim to exercise at least 30 minutes most days of the week and stay active all day long if you can. For example if you rake the yard, mow the grass, swim, practice sports with your kids, or walk the dog, log this activity into the MyFitnessPal database.
#12 Rotate Food Diaries to Landscape Mode
If you’re using the MyFitnessPal app on your phone, you can view daily food items and calorie counts while in portrait orientation. However, by rotating your phone to view the landscape orientation, you can see which micronutrients AND macronutrients (protein, carbs, dietary fat, fiber, vitamins, minerals, etc.) you’re eating versus your daily goals. This information becomes invaluable when trying to plan well-balanced meals.
#13 Use the MyFitnessPal’s Complete Diary Button
When using MyFitnessPal’s food diary feature, try the Complete Diary button on the bottom of the screen at the end of each day. Tapping on this button lets you see into the future so to speak, showing you what you would weigh if you continue eating the same way every day through the next several weeks.
Using this tool can give you the motivation needed to stay on track with a healthy eating plan or make dietary changes that increase your chance of long-term success.
For example, the Complete Diary button might show you, based on your current daily intake, that you’ll lose 10 pounds, maintain the same body weight, or even gain 10 pounds if you don’t make dietary changes.
#14 Learn How to Track Restaurant Foods in MyFitnessPal
Studies show that eating at home versus dining out is associated with a healthier diet and reduces your risk of unwanted weight gain over time. However, it’s often difficult to eat at home for every meal if you’re always on the go. When dining out at restaurants, know how to track calories in MyFitnessPal.
Simply input the restaurant name into MyFitnessPal’s food analysis tracker. For example, type in “McDonalds,” “Potbelly,” or “Pei Wei,” depending on where you’re eating. You can also use the Restaurant Logging feature on the MyFitnessPal app to track restaurant food portions, their calorie content, and each food’s nutrient composition.
#15 Use MyFitnessPal’s Food Logging Reminders
When using MyFitnessPal to log food intake, customize the program’s food logging reminders so you remember to log foods during specific time periods. After signing up for MyFitnessPal, the app automatically creates reminders for you to log foods at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack time.
But if default reminders aren’t cutting it for you, customize your own reminders based on your personalized meal plan and schedule! To change eating reminders, simply tap on each meal in the MyFitnessPal app.
#16 Customize Daily and Weekly Goals
Studies show that setting daily and weekly weight loss goals leads to greater long-term success versus not setting goals. When using MyFitnessPal, customize daily and weekly goals and alter them when the need arises. You can set goals in your MyFitnessPal settings for weekly weight loss, overall weight loss, nutrition, activity level, and daily or weekly workouts.
#17 Don’t Get Discouraged
When using MyFitnessPal, don’t get discouraged. Play around with the app or online version of MyFitnessPal to become more familiar with it. If your initial calorie or exercise goals aren’t working for you, it’s okay to change them! Try making small dietary, exercise, or other lifestyle changes one at a time instead of all at once. Choose a dietary pattern you can stick with long term, and don’t severely deprive yourself!
#18 Store Your Favorite Recipes in MyFitnessPal
Because cooking at home more is associated with a healthier body weight, store your favorite healthy recipes when using MyFitnessPal. Use the MyFitnessPal bar scanning feature to track ingredients and nutritional information for your recipe, give the recipe a unique name, and save it to use the next time you cook. Doing so makes logging meals into MyFitnessPal a breeze.
#19 Use MyFitnessPal’s Repeat Meal Function
MyFitnessPal offers a Repeat Meal function, which is useful if you eat the same meals often throughout the week. After initially entering your favorite meal into the database, save it and you never have to look up the ingredients again.
For example, your regular breakfast might consist of 1 cup of cottage cheese, a banana, and a protein shake. Save this meal as “protein-rich breakfast” or another memorable name so you can re-enter it quickly next time.
#20 Log into MyFitnessPal Daily
One of the best MyFitnessPal tips to remember is that logging into MyFitnessPal every day versus just some days each week is the best way to determine if you’re on track with healthy eating and weight loss goals.
Don’t skip weekends, holidays, or days you slip up by binging on junk food or going with friends. Make it a goal to log into MyFitnessPal every day to improve your chance of long-term success. Don’t give up!
Where Should I Begin?
Learning more about efficient MyFitnessPal tips is just the beginning of your journey toward weight loss, better fitness, and healthier eating. To enhance your results and boost your chance of long-term success, sign up for Fitter Healthier Dad.
The program is designed specifically for men over 40. It helps busy dads like you lose excess body fat and get fit. Have energy to keep up with your kids and busy life, and gain the boost of confidence you deserve.
Upon signing up, you receive personalized meal plans and custom fat-burning workouts based on your current weight, body fat percentage, activity level, and lifestyle. You also gain motivational support from other busy dads and health experts. You will also receive additional tools necessary for long term success.