The problem with My Fitness Pal
My Fitness Pal really screwed up my eating. The first time I signed up for MFP it told me I needed to eat 1400 calories a day to lose 1 pound a week. In reality 1400 calories was not enough food and completely unsustainable.
I do think MFP can be super helpful but, it has some major flaws in my opinion.
🔸 If you were to just trust the numbers outright, you’re probably going to be under eating – beyond a calorie deficit.
🔸 It doesn’t take into account your current body fat levels so it’ll give the same recommendations if I weight 150 pounds at 32% body fat or weigh 150 pounds at 22% body fat.
🔸 You make be attempting to lose more weight than is safe or sustaible for you because it allows you to choose how much weight you want to lose each week, regardless of if that’s healthy or realistic for you.
🔸 It’ll probably recommend more carbs (50%) than you need and not enough protein (20%). Perfrct for some people, not ideal for others.
🔸 It doesn’t take into consideration your personal metabolism or eating habits – how many calories you’re currently eating. It’s completely normal that 2 individuals of the same height, weight, gender and activity level to need very different calories due to their metabolism and their body’s set point (the weight your body naturally tries to maintain.)
🔸 It doesn’t naturally assist you to lose weight while eating as many calories as possible, which is what should be aiming for.
Nevertheless, I still think MFP can be an extremely powerful tool when used properly. It can definitely provide a lot of insight into what you’re eating and be really helpful! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀
BUT if you’re using it, or any app for that matter, you need to reflect on how your body and brain are doing. If something doesn’t feel good or isn’t sustainable, it may be time to try something else. Or at least to have someone help you calculate your macros while considering your personal needs as an individual.
So, what should you do?
1. I recommend tracking your food for 5-7 days (make sure to include the weekend).
2. Add up you calorie totals for all the days and divide by the total number of days you tracks to get an average.
- Add up your calories 1500 + 1600 + 1600 + 2100 + 1800 + 1700 = 10, 300
- Divide 10, 300 by 6 (number of days you tracked) = average calorie intake of 1716
3. If you aren’t losing weight eating this way, decrease you calories by 200-500. The lower the better because you want to be able to eat as much as possible so you can reduce calories again when your weight loss plateaus.
4. So, 1716 calories – 200 = 1516. Which means that 1516 might be a good starting point. You can always decrease things later but ideally you want to keep your numbers high.
5. You can use this video to calculate your macros based on your preferences. Remember, macros are always a starting point and you need to track your progress to see if they’re effective for you (photos, measurements and the scale are all recommended).
You can find weight loss and macro tips here: How to Lose Weight
Interested in one on one nutritional coaching or want help setting up your macros? Click here to get in touch with me.