Saturday, 10 January 2015

My Fitness Pal - Week One

I was sceptical about using My Fitness Pal again, thinking it would make me more obsessed and stressed about what I'm eating. I also wondered whether it would accurately log the calories burnt during exercise - because I'm already quite fit and not overweight, it takes a lot for me to burn hundreds of calories. 
Here's what I found.
MFP is mostly accurate due to the huge database of foods already entered. In fact, tonight is the only night I've not been able to find a meal, and that's because the pub chain doesn't publish its meals'  nutritional information. Instead, I used the 'quick add calories' option, to log an estimation of how many calories I ate - this means I don't get the carb/protein/fat etc breakdown, but it's better than nothing.
However, I found it hard to believe that going for a leisurely hack for 80 mins - in walk - would burn as many calories as it says. The way I tackled this was to lower the amount of minutes I actually did the activity, to get a more accurate number of calories burned. Not ideal, but better than kidding myself that I could burn 150+ calories going for a hack!
I like that I can adjust my aims and immediately have access to how many carbs and how much protein, etc, I've eaten each day. Due to the quick access to this information, I've found I haven't been so obsessive. It's almost like, once logged, I can forget about it until I next need to make a food choice.
This last week has been an anomaly in that I've had a wisdom tooth and molar out, so eating has been somewhat challenging. Most of my food has been easily 'mushable'! Seriously though, one morning it took me 40 minutes to eat a toasted muffin. Ridiculous. My dental extractions have helped me to reduce my calorie intake, but honestly, I haven't felt that hungry at any point this week.
Formerly, I thought I was eating too many carbs and too much fat, but this week has shown me I really should try to lower my sugar intake. No more Heinz tomato soup or Heinz baked beans! Well, maybe once a week as a treat. I do love baked beans. Beans beans the magical fruit and all that.
Although I started using MFP last Saturday, I didn't weigh myself until Monday, so I want to wait a full week before seeing if I've lost anything. Due to this, the goals I wrote on my previous post have changed slightly.
My new goals are:
  • lose 1lb a week
  • eat 1460 calories a day - this allowance goes up if I exercise
  • do 4 workouts a week, 40 mins each - although I record any walking and hacking I do, which all adds up, I only really count schooling sessions and weightlifting/circuits as 'workouts'. The other activities I do, like taking Ernest for a relaxing hack, are a bonus in terms of calories burnt.
So, from Saturday to Saturday, I've done 530 minutes of exercise and burnt 1475 calories. Normally the week runs Monday to Monday, of course, and under the 'exercise' tab you can see whether you're on track to meet your fitness goals. 

For this week, going from Monday 5th to now, I've burnt 1001/690 calories and exercised for 310/160 mins. When setting up my account, I selected that I want to lose 1lb a week, am active, and want to complete 4 workouts a week for 40 mins - MFP has obviously worked out that in order to do this I need to eat a deficit of 500 calories per day and burn 690 calories per week. 

Possibly my favourite thing about MFP is that, if you undereat, a warning message on the dangers of underrating comes up. Most will ignore it, I'm sure, but I think it's quite a responsible thing to do. It also has a message that says, 'if everyday were like today, you'd weigh *** in 5 weeks'. It's a nice reminder, or a shock depending on how you've eaten, on where you're headed.

Overall, I'd recommend MFP as a way to monitor your eating and exercise. I just hope that my surprisingly active week pays off when I weigh in on Monday!

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