In my other video here I’ve covered why bother tracking calories in the first place. In this video I want to talk about how to do that with My Fitness Pal and the best and worst feature of this app. What’s great about My Fitness Pal is it makes calorie tracking really easy and not only that, when you start out with the app it will ask you for your height and your gender and your current starting weight. It will use this to calculate for you how many calories to set depending on how aggressively you want to lose weight. So the great thing is you don’t need to go and do any calculations yourself. Not only that, adding food to your food diaries really easy, You just pick the category: breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc. Click add food. You can either scan the bar code with a camera or you can just search by name. A lot of food from restaurants in your country are going to be in the database to begin with anyway. Often when it’s a generic food item though, you’ll find multiple entries. What I try and do is to play it safe. Kind of look and see what are the kind of higher end estimations for how many calories are in that item? Obviously there’s always a few outliers. I normally ignore those. Yeah, just so I’m not kind of trying to cheat. I think the best feature of this app is hidden away at the bottom of this food diary section, if you hit the nutrition button you will actually see a visual representation of the macro nutrient breakdown of where your calories have come from that day. And if you click down from day view to week view, you can see how you’ve been doing for the whole week. Now this is really useful — not only because a lot of diets including the diet that I use, the ketogenic, low-carb, high-fat diet are all about manipulating the ratio of different macro nutrients — but also it does it in a visual way that other apps I’ve seen don’t do. For example I use Fitbit to track my steps and activity, but I don’t use Fitbit to track my food. Because even though it’s got a similar database setup, you can search easily, you can scan bar codes, all you get is numbers and an overall graph of calories. You don’t get a macro nutrient visualization of any kind and that is really the killer feature of My Fitness Pal. On the other hand, My Fitness Pal’s worst feature by far is also hidden away at the bottom of the diary section. If you scroll down there and click the complete diary button, it will then give you this phrase, “if everyday were like today, you’d weigh, insert weight here, in five weeks. When I first saw this when I was starting on my weight-loss journey, I found it really discouraging because I would never hit this projected level of weight-loss. There is a little disclaimer at the bottom here that says “your projected weight loss is an estimate based on your total net calories for today, actual results may vary.” Yeah, no sh**. I think this is an anti-feature, it actually detracts from the usefulness of the app for me, if you want to know more about the technical details of why a calorie is not a calorie I highly recommend the book “Catching Fire, How Cooking Made Us Human” by Richard Wrangham. and really talks about all of the problems of the idea of calorie as a unit of estimating energy potential in food. Interesting stuff like the fact that cooked food and raw food both are listed at the same amount of calories on nutrition labels even though the human body extracts different amounts of energy from them. I also recommend listening to the podcast “Cooking Issues” with Dave Arnold where they had Richard Wrangham on as a guest. Really interesting cooking show for nerds. But Dave Arnold the host, kind of gave this example: This is 5 litres of cooking oil, technically I could consume this, like get a funnel and pour it down my throat. It has a lot of fat, obviously, and a lot of calories. My weight would not go up by the amount of calories and the amount of fat in this bottle of oil simply by ingesting it. My body isn’t going to digest all of that energy. That’s common sense. Often times though, especially when we start out can take the numbers in these apps a little bit too seriously. So I just want to point that out that that is an anti-feature of this app, don’t kind of be too harsh in yourself if you don’t lose weight as quickly as it’s projecting. The human body is quite an interestingly complex machine. ♪ Your body is a wonderland. ♪ And it’s behavior can’t really be predicted by subtracting one number from another number, so take that with a pinch of salt. But I hope this video has been a really basic introduction to the features of My Fitness Pal. If you’re interested in seeing more videos about this and about using quantified self methods to lose weight Please subscribe to this channel. Leave me feedback, and hopefully we’ll help more people find this video. Thanks for watching.