In my goal to become fit I have often looked into technology to help me gain an advantage over my on-going battle with obesity.
One way technology has contributed is by providing people like me access to free calorie counter applications both in our mobile devices and in our desktop.
These year I have tried several calorie counting applications to find the best fit for me and as of now the app of choice for me is MyFitnessPal.
Before I go into details on why I chose MyFitnessPal I would like to share the other apps that I’ve used previously and some info on why I didn’t end up with them:
- iDAT by the Singapore Health Promotion Board
- This app was made specifically for Singapore by its government
- This shows how health conscious the Singapore government is and it can be seen in their citizens
- Getting fit is a big thing here in Singapore
- The problem I had with this app at the time that I used it was that it is too Singapore which means its food database lacks the number of data other apps have
- LIVESTRONG.COM – Calorie Tracker Lite
- Honestly I didn’t give this app too much chance
- At first try I felt it was a bit complicated (or at least the user interface didn’t seem to agree with me)
- Having a “Lite” version tells me the main goal of this app in the end is to make money and not really to help its users
- That through me off
- Then you have that issue with Lance Armstrong so I decided to not give it a lot more tries
- Calorie Counter by CalorieCount.com
- This app is by far one of the better apps I’ve used
- In fact, majority of my weight loss happened with this app
- The reason why I abandoned it was because most of the food I eat (Filipino dishes) are not in their food database
- This meant that I most probably was tracking the wrong the number of calories in my meal
- Also, the app had a lot of bugs mostly during data entry which required me to go back in the app to make corrections
- What I like about this app and its accompanying website is the supportive community it has
- You will be able to see updates from different people even if they are not your friends
- This made me able to reach out to other people undergoing the same journey as I am
- The website also allows users to upload pictures to update their followers on how they look like now or what activities they are doing
So from the three apps I tried which I ultimately passed on I would recommend Calorie Counter by CalorieCount.com. By the way, all three apps above are free.
Now to move unto MyFitnessPal. Here are the main things I looked at and finally caused me to choose MyFitnessPal.
Food Database, Tracking and Data Entry
Imagine as a Filipino away from his home country and craving for his home dishes and then decides to do calorie counting just to find that Chicken Adobo or Sinigang na Salmon sa Miso are not accepted as valid foods. Super heartache!!!
This is what I didn’t experience with MyFitnessPal. It’s food database is by far the best of all the apps I’ve tried. I was so happy to see the nutrition and calories found in my country’s dishes! It also had data for food readily available here in Singapore. If you ate Chicken Rice you’ll see it there and will be able to add it to your calorie counting activities.
It also had some local food for international food chains like McDonald’s and KFC. CalorieCount was mostly just U.S.
The app also has a feature where you can customize your meals instead of just having to choose from breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I added two other entries – Pre Workout and Post Workout. There is however a limit to the number of additional meals to enter. I hope in the future they allow users to add more.
Also, so far I haven’t encountered any bugs using the data entry screen of the app as well as the website.
Like all other apps for calorie counting, MyFitnessPal also has a feature to give you a report on how much nutrient you have consumed for the day. It also gives you charts on your progress especially for your weight and fat %.
What I like about MyFitnessPal which I didn’t see in other apps is how you can customize what biometric data you keep track of. Initially the default things to monitor are weight, fat %, neck size, and waistline.
For me I wanted more! I looked around the website and discovered that I can add more things to monitor like BMI, muscle %, and visceral fat. The last three along with fat % are important for me. Actually, more important than just monitoring weight.
This feature of MyFitnessPal along with your own way of measuring these biometric measures can produce for you a chart of the actual progress of your battle against the bulge.
Other App Integration
Recent changes made by MyFitnessPal made my calorie counting and fitness tracking life easier. They have recently integrated with RunKeeper. This meant that any exercise I do in RunKeeper is automatically synced to MyFitnessPal. A few months ago I had to enter the calories burned and what type of exercise manually into the app. I didn’t rely on the calories burned measurement built into the app because that might have disregarded other factors that a GPS enabled app can track (e.g., terrain, pace, incline, etc.).
It can also be integrated to other applications like Runtastic, Withings and others. Check http://www.myfitnesspal.com/apps for the details.
The thing that I wish MyFitnessPal will have is a more of a community based approach like that of CalorieCount.com. Right now the only way you can have some sort if interaction with others is through adding your friends. Based on my experience the best motivations often come from strangers who can relate to who you are and what you are currently facing. That’s one thing that CalorieCount has over MyFitnessPal.
Overall, even with the lack of community based experience, MyFitnessPal has more of the things that I looked for in a calorie counting app. The flexibility it gives the users and its superior food database does help a lot. The best part like the other apps I’ve mentioned earlier, it’s free!
To track your food and exercise on the go with MyFitnessPal free mobile apps just click on the following:
Go ahead and try the other apps as well. See what fits you best. Links have been provided to help you check them out.