The 5th app of Christmas that Teena Hammond gave to you is MyFitnessPal!
In the spirit of the holidays, we thought we'd create a smartphone series based on a popular Christmas song. The 12 Days of Christmas starts on Christmas Day, but our 12 Apps of Christmas begins today, and we'll continue to post one app per day, leading all the way up to the holiday. However you celebrate this season, and whatever device you own (or platform that it runs on), we hope that you find some gems over the next 12 days — as these are the apps that the TechRepublic's editorial staff and bloggers actually use and feel passionate enough to write about. Here's what Teena Hammond had to say about one of her favorite apps called MyFitnessPal.
I've been using MyFitnessPal online for four years, and I added the app to my iPhone two years ago. The app is one of the best ways to keep track of food intake and exercise, and I use it much more frequently than the full online version. MyFitnessPal has a database of the nutritional value of more than 3 million foods, so you can either type in a food by name, or you can scan a barcode of the item you're eating to automatically plug it into your daily journal.
Every time you log in, it shows you your weight loss or exercise total since your last visit. Admittedly, there is a guilt factor involved, because if more than a few days have passed since your last log in, it notes the absence.
There's something about knowing that everything you eat must be accounted for that makes losing weight easier. And does it work? It definitely does. I've lost 85 lbs. since I started using MyFitnessPal. That's an entire fifth grader. And the app makes it easy to keep weight off — every dieter's Achilles's heel — since, again, everything is easily tracked.
There are options for entering body measurements and weight, and reports are available to see how you've done over the past week, month, year, or longer. It's also ideal for setting goals, and your daily intake can be customized with specific amounts, such as whether you want to increase your protein or reduce carbs and fats (Figure A).
You can easily track your food intake with MyFitnessPal.
There's a community feature if you prefer to share your data with the world, but you can also keep it private. And you can connect with friends to share weight loss goals and support each other. You can also set reminders to log in and fill out your daily journal for meals so that you're not tempted to forget. Overall, this app is a dieter's best friend.
What is your favorite nutrition app? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.
TechRepublic's 12 Apps of Christmas
Teena Hammond is a Senior Editor at TechRepublic. She's an award-winning journalist and specializes in business and lifestyle features. She has also worked at People magazine, W magazine and Women's Wear Daily.