Tracking applications, do you use them? If they are free to you, the truth is you are the product, yes? Are you okay with that? I guess I am because I use three of these tools. I use MyFitnessPal, Fitbit, and a measurement app called Progress.
Ever since the fitbit came out I have been addicted. The past couple years it has lost some of its luster to me but overall here are my thoughts and opinions (I am not a doctor, dietician, fitness expert, nurse, etc) about using these apps.
The greatest value I find with fitbit is tracking my daily total of steps. I used to enjoy the competition between friends and family but not like I did before. I never liked the food tracking application built into this app. I like that it tracks my heart rate in general. Calories burned is not accurate and I don’t bother viewing this, ever. As I mentioned in previous articles, for me being a slow at losing weight I don’t bother deducting my exercise. I am sedentary and 46 years old. The reality for me is that its merely a heart rate monitor with motivation to step and count steps. I could get the same from a cheaper model that doesn’t utilize your data.
Previously I used the Daily Plate, it changed to LiveStrong I think? The reason I switched MyFitnessPal is because it tracked macros and some weight loss guru said I needed to track that. I don’t actually track that but here I am on this application. When I decided to lose weight I entered my numbers in and gave me a tally to follow, 1250 max daily. I started with that and started exercising to get extra calories. I was losing a pound every two weeks.
An online team mate in my weight loss group told me stop deducting the calories burned. I did and I started losing a pound ever 1-1.5 weeks. After some research about calorie intake I found a site that stated I should be 1150 calories. That 100 calories less has made all the difference. I have been more consistently losing 1 pound per a week. Give or take some fluctuation. I also found a recommendation of doing a zigag with higher maintenance level calories two days a week. With that said the calories recommended by myfitnesspal were actually too high for me to see results that kept me motivated. It was getting frustrating for me seeing that I was allegedly eating calories to lose 2 pounds a week and I was going around a pound almost every two weeks. I love this application though in terms of data and the analysis of your daily intake. I love that it allowed me to adjust my calories to be lower and my percentages too. If you pay for the service you have even more control but I do not.
The last application I use is called Progress, its my tracking application for measurements and photos. Its actually not a tool I use too often. It allows for baseline measurements which is all I really needed or wanted. I also wanted to track photos because I knew that I needed the motivation of both photos and the numbers going down. I knew I needed to lose a lot of weight and it’d help me to see that slow progression of change and my hard work. I used a different app last time but I don’t remember what it was called. I don’t have a lot of thoughts on this application. The free version is limited to three measurements.
The reason I wanted to write about these tools is the realization of their value, at least for me. Yes they are helpful and motivational at times. But please don’t live and die by the information on them. They aren’t always accurate. They use your details as a product. You could always get a food journal and do it yourself, you don’t have to stick with these tools. Its good to be aware of the numbers if they actually work and / or help you or if you need to find alternative information.
On a side note, my mother was always dieting when I was younger. She has a similar build and height as me. She would use weight watchers back when they did the did the counting of calories, before they switched to the cards and whatever they do now. And I specifically remember she was allowed 1100 calories a week and my father was allowed 1300 or 1500 and she used to complain about that. Its just interesting how guides have changed over the years.