Food Diary…ing…

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Let me be clear: I hate food diaries.

Food diaries, sleep diaries, anything of that ilk just irritates me.

But ok, alright – I have to use the tools available to me to get to my goal. It wouldn’t make much sense trying to cut a straight line without a carpenter’s square and expect to have perfect results. FINE.

Many friends have recommended My Fitness Pal as a great online fitness tool. It’s a free site which allows us to track food consumption, exercise, body measurements, body weight, and more. I’ve only been using it for the afternoon, so I don’t yet have a solid, informed opinion, but here’s what I can tell you:

  • Their food database is pretty extensive. This means I don’t have to manually add a bunch of stuff every stinking time I want to add a food item to my journal. There are the usual problems with typing in “sauteed mushrooms” and having 75,000 options to choose from, but #FirstWorldProblems.
  • They have a very nice suite of tools to choose from.

Heck, rather than talk about it, why don’t I just show you? You can click on any of the following images to see the full-sized version:

The food diary is intuitive and pretty efficient – it’s not tedious and annoying. Here’s my report for the day:

As you can see, it shows the nutrient breakdown (though I’ve since added calcium and fiber to be reported, as well,) total daily limits per nutrient per day, the daily goals for each nutrient, and the remaining nutrients before hitting the goal/limit. There is also a “quick tools” drop-down menu with extra help:

This makes adding similar meals much more efficient.

Next up, the Diet Profile:

This is where we update our stats, and set preferences. Easy mode.

The Diary Settings is also quite handy, and we’re able to customize them to an acceptable degree. I would ideally like to track more nutrients, but it’s a free service.

The Check-In area adds more information to our progress reports, allowing us to enter three measurements: Neck, waist, and hips. This can be charted elsewhere.

Here we have our Fitness Goals – how much we plan to exercise, whether we’re meeting that goal, and so forth.

I can’t do much with Charts and Reports yet, this being Day One, but they have a good number of options.

We can also calculate our BMR:

And various details about our own hearts. This one kind of cracked me up (the whale reference seems out of the blue,) but also amazed me – My cardiovascular system would extend 56,800 miles? Whoa!

On the main entrance screen, we see a Daily Summary, which includes this nice, easy-to-read chart:

Thus far, I like the site quite a lot. We’ll see how this relationship progresses as I have to deal with it multiple times per day, every day.

Have I mentioned I hate diaries?

Just checking.

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4 responses to Food Diary…ing…


  1. For some reason, the myfitnesspal system, along with starting the 21 day sugar detox, has been the first time that tracking my food has not driven me crazy. I do really hate the “you could weight this in 5 weeks,” as it is pointless and inaccurate. Otherwise, I think it’s a good system.

    (I’m AmandaLPi on there, if you want to add me :). I’m doing a low carb higher fat thing to see how I feel with it.)

    • Erin D.

      Hi there, Amanda! So far, MFP isn’t annoying me, either. I think largely because it has such a robust existing food database, I don’t have to mess around adding a bunch of stuff. I hadn’t realized the mobile app had a bar code scanner, that’s completely awesome – I’ll have to try that next.

      Kudos on your success thus far! I’ll look forward to staying in touch as we progress. 🙂

  2. It’s a good site! I’ve had some trouble dealing with it since I’ve been forced to do the radical changes in diet but I’m not entirely sure why. Once I figure that out, I’ll be back at it.

    • Erin D.

      Catherine, do you find you’re just not wanting to do it, or are the foods you’re eating not present in the database making it more tedious to enter them?

      I hope you can figure it out and keep availing yourself of this valuable tool. 🙂

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