Over the holidays, my dad mentioned that he was using the MyFitnessPal app for tracking every bite of food + exercise. My sister, brother-in-law, and I all decided to join in the fun (ha!) and commit to doing the same, too. I started, like all good new year’s resolution folks, on January 1st, committing to log each and every bite, record all of my exercise, and track my daily steps. I’m one month in now, and, I have to admit, I’m actually loving this new routine!
I didn’t have any hard goals or preconceived notions going into this, but I think it’s better (for all of us) to live a healthier and more balanced life all around. Nothing that I learned (and am still learning) or discovered (and am still discovering) is revolutionary and hasn’t been written about before, but it’s been really eye-opening to me. And so much of what I’ve learned I already knew… I just maybe didn’t practice it so well. Or I justified it away. Or I just wanted those chips and salsa too much!
Using the app (and really, really committing to using it honestly) made me much more aware of every little bite of food or every drink that went into my mouth. Having a daily calorie limit, and being so cognizant of it, really helps limit what I eat, too. I’m a competitive person by nature, so it’s like a visible competition for myself to eat foods that are good for me (so I don’t see bad-for-me foods when I log in), to say no more often to bad foods, to be so much more aware of how many calories are actually in food, and to crave healthier foods. I’ve been much more deeply aware of the foods that I’ve been eating, for sure. And I’m proud of myself for only going over my set calorie limit just once this month! It’s a little shocking to me, really.
Accountability is key, too! Granted, we all know this… but I know it much more intrinsically now. Having my family doing this alongside me is fun, encouraging, and challenging. We talk about what we’re eating, what we’re cooking, what we’re discovering, and how it’s changing out bodies fairly often. I love when my dad texts little updates about how it’s going for him! And I’m not shy about telling my friends that I’ve been using it, and we’ve had some great conversations, as well.
I’ve also rediscovered a love for cooking! I have long enjoyed cooking, but it’s been so much more convenient (and social!) to go out to eat with friends after work. This month, I’ve eaten out very rarely (which is the opposite of my usual), and I’ve cooked so, so many more meals from scratch (like Brussels sprouts with golden raisins and sunshine granola). I have loved cooking at home, because I like to creativity of cooking new recipes, perfecting my methods, being totally aware of what goes into my meals, and being able to much more easily control how many calories I’m eating. I don’t look forward to meals out as much now, since it’s so much harder for me to eat healthy foods out. This app has been great for tracking meals in restaurants and also meals cooked. And, of course, some days – once in a while – you have to live a little and order those French fries as a side with dinner… but maybe only if you’ve eaten healthy meals earlier in the day!
I also committed to not drinking in January. As in, zero alcohol whatsoever. I definitely indulged around the holidays, perhaps a bit too much while I was on vacation for two weeks. I wanted to prove to myself that I could go without alcohol for a solid month – so no happy hour drinking, no champagne toasts or open bar at a wedding (yes, I went to a wedding and didn’t drink!), no wineries or breweries, no red wine during The Bachelor… you get the picture! I don’t want drinking to be a part of my everyday life (like every.day.), though it is something that I definitely enjoy (and will continue to enjoy after January!) taking part in. Plus, it’s an added expense and so many added calories, so MyFitnessPal will help keep that in check more. I’ve really just been drinking water, hot tea, and sparkling flavored water for the most part in January.
And lastly, I love seeing how many calories exercise burns! The app automatically tracks my steps throughout the day (I don’t even turn anything on), and I always have a goal of reaching 10,000 steps. Now, even though it’s freezing out, I enjoy walking around the city more and take more walks because I know just how many calories walking can burn off! And runs and bike rides (the only other exercise I’m done this month) are awesome motivators, too. It’s cool seeing the benefits of exercise shown in numbers and in calories burned.
Anyway, that’s a long-winded way to say that I’ve really been loving that my family and I have committed to using the MyFitnessPal app. It’s been incredibly eye-opening and helpful to me throughout the past month, and I’m grateful for the added accountability and awareness I’ve seen. I definitely plan on keeping up with it (I think I’m addicted!), and I’d also advise you to check it out, if you haven’t already. I’m sure there are lots of similar apps out there (or even an old-fashioned food log), but this is my favorite app so far.