Lose weight without sacrificing your favourite foods

MyFitnessPal, an online calorie-counter and daily exercise journal. We put this free weight-loss tool to the test.

by Cassandre Cadieux

Is it your goal to look and feel better? You’re not alone. According to the Heart and Stroke foundation, more than 36% of Canadians are overweight, and over 23% are obese. That means a majority of the population is in danger of developing heart-related or other illnesses, merely because of weight issues. There are hundreds of reasons why weight is the furthest thing from everyone’s minds, but what Canadians need to know are some simple tricks to weight loss that work: moderation and paying attention to what we are putting in our bodies.

photo by Sanja Gjenero, Croatia, 2009.

MyFitnessPal (MFP) is an online tool that allows its users to track what they are eating and what they are burning off everyday. The concept is simple: users input their fitness goals and the website automatically calculates how many calories, carbohydrates, and other nutrients they should be consuming on a daily basis to reach their goals. Exercise can also be logged into the system, and the calories burned are taken into account on daily food allowances. That means that if you input that you did 30 minutes of circuit training and burned 350 calories, the system updates your daily calorie intake to include those extra calories. It even has a free app available for download on any smartphone or tablet to help with easy food and exercise tracking on the go. This means that while you’re doing yoga or grabbing a quick lunch, you can input the information on the spot without having to remember it later in the day. MFP’s simplicity makes it easy to integrate into your daily routine while also teaching users that they can still eat the food they love even if that includes shortbread cookies, as long as it’s in moderation.

photo by Cienpies, Uruguay, 2009.

Like other calorie-counting websites, MFP includes a social media tool that allows users to meet other people from all over the world and share their weight loss journey with them. It is unique in the fact that it is much more like Facebook than a blog or forum, creating a sense of community. Users can interact with ease and about anything, discussing topics outside of weight loss, such as their obsession with karaoke. Unlike calorie-tracking websites, MFP isn’t complex and is suitable for users who are on the move and need something easy to navigate, with no complicated bells and whistles.

It takes some effort to achieve your goals, but MFP makes a calorie-counting lifestyle a pleasant experience as it is more than just dieting: it is a social affair. With MFP, your body will be beach-ready in no time.

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