MFP App (for beginners)

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Key features of MyFitnessPal (MFP):

1) Goals

In this feature you can input your weight goal, specifying whether you want to gain, lose or maintain your weight. MyFitnessPal also asks about your activity level and some other basic information such as gender, birthday, height and weight. You can then decide how much weight you want gain or lose per week (unless they want to maintain their weight).

2) Food Log

Active users of this app log their daily food intake into the system. To do this you need to go into the “Food” tab then enter everything you ate for breakfast, lunch, dinner and all the snacks you ate throughout the day. You need to select the food closest to what you actually ate, by specifying the food brand and quantity. At the end of the day you can see your progress and goal timeline.

3)  Input Commonly eaten recipes and foods

If there are certain foods that you eat often, you can favorite those foods in order to make it easier to select them regularly.  You can also input your own recipes in the system if the food is either culture specific or not found in the search tab.  

4) Reminders

You can set daily reminders such as reminder to log in your meals or exercise reminders.

5) Nutrient Goals

You can also set calorie and macronutrient (fat, protein and carbohydrates) range you want to achieve per day. This can be done by clicking “calories and Macro” and adjusting them to a desired level.

6) Exercise log

You also get the option to add your exercises manually by specifying the type of activity you engaged in and other details such as duration and intensity. You can also record your steps by entering it manually or by syncing it with other apps and wearables, such as Fitbit, Withings and Jawbone.  

7) Connect with the community

MyFitnessPal can bee used independently without sharing updates and progress with others, but if you choose, you can connect to the MyFitnessPal community by clicking on the “community” tab. Where you can introduce yourself and join discussion groups. This is where people tell their success stories, share tips and discuss about popular health topics.

The Pros of MFP

  • MyFitnessPal has a very efficient and broad search tool with a food database of 32, 820, 00 different kinds of food to choose from. This makes selecting food more convenient and accurate for users.
  • Users can log in their food and exercise of the day using their phones without having to go on the computer to input this data.
  • It is suitable for everyone because users can personalize their experience by inputting their recommended calorie and macronutrient intake.
  • People are allowed to engage with the community and receive guidance from other users of MyFitnessPal. This feature has been very motivating for people as well as informative.
  • Daily reminders help remind users to input their foods and exercise activities on time daily.
  • MyFitnessPal allows users to scan the barcode of several products, which brings up the exact food they consumed. This allows for a more accurate representation of their diet.

The Cons of MFP

  • One of the biggest disadvantages of using MFP is that most of the foods in the current database have been added by people just like you, and may not have accurate amounts of calories and other nutrients, and distorted portion sizes. I would emphasize that you double check your food labels with the information on MFP when choosing the right products.
  • MyFitnessPal does not allow users to adjust the quantities of the food consumed according their intake. It gives choices from which users can choose from but not all choices given match the actual intake amount. For example, if you had 80 ml of apple juice, that may not be this quantity provided to choose from. This compromises the accuracy of your food log.
  • MyFitnessPal is not able to scan all product’s barcode. User may just need to search and enter the product closest to what they actually ate.
  • MyFitnessPal estimates the amount of calories you burned. However, it cannot figure out the actual number of calories burned because it doesn’t take in account daily activities (causal walking, standing etc.)
  • Though MFP sends reminders and gives advice, these are general recommendations. There is no option for adding a coach (trained nutrition professional) at this time.

How to use MyFitnessPal – step by step (for beginners)

  1. Start by signing up and making an account
  2. Set up your profile by entering some basic information including weight, height, gender, date of birth and activity level
  3. Set up a username, password and zip code
  4. Input your goals for daily calorie intake and macronutrient intake (fat, protein, carbohydrates)
  5. Set up any daily reminders you think are important such as eating more fruits/vegetables, remind yourself to fill in the food and exercise log
  6. Input data into your food log with the quantities consumed as you through the day (Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks) – to make your search easier you can scan packaged food barcodes, enter your own recipes and favorite commonly eaten foods
  7. Enter data in your activity log- make sure to specify time, duration and intensity to receive accurate number of calories burned
  8. At the end of the day, analyze how you did according to your goal- check if you have met the calorie and macronutrient range. Go under reports to see what your estimated weight will be if your day represent how your entire month will look like
  9. You can connect with the community by going under the community tab, where you can engage in ongoing discussions with other fellow users of MyFitnessPal.
  10. BONUS: Add me (ShaisthaRD) as a friend and allow me access to you diary by following these steps:
    go to Settings > Sharing & Privacy Settings > Diary Sharing – and allow “Friend only”. You could also set a KEY and send it directly to me so no one else can see your diary. If you are interested in my coaching services I can send you feedback about your diary via email!



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