Hi! Thanks for joining me on this new blog series, Tuesday Training! This week will be different than the rest in that I'll be walking you through my favorite app, My Fitness Pal, and then showing you what I have on hand for my workouts. Every week after, I plan on sharing favorite workout videos, meal plans, etc.
I have struggled with weight gain brought on by the steroids and meds I have to take with my colitis since I was 20. When I was younger, I didn't have to put as much thought into how I was going to lose the weight. Now that I'm in my 30s and have had 2 kids and still am sick more often than in remission, I've had to really figure out the best plan of action.
My aunt introduced me to the FREE app from Under Armour, My Fitness Pal, in October, and it's a game changer. I lost 10 pounds by Thanksgiving and felt in the best shape of my adult life. So, for this week, let's get set up on the app.
When you first sign up, the app is going to ask for your starting weight, activity level, goal weight, weekly goal, etc. The app will use this information to program how many calories you need to stay within for each day to reach your goal. My 6 foot tall husband obviously has a different calorie count than I do at just over 5'1''. Life is unfair! :)
So here's what my log in page looks like when I first sign in for the day. (I had already gone in and logged my major meals that I was going to eat for the day, so that's why the calories remaining are lower.)
When you click the three white bars in the top left corner, it'll drop down this menu for you. This is where you can view your progress, your goals, set up or join challenges, etc.
Here's a screenshot of my goals. I had gotten down to 119 but decided to enjoy all that the holiday season had to offer and am now back on track.
This is a continuation of that page where you can customize your goals. Under Armour also offers a paid premium version of the app. They claim users have more success with the app, but if it's free, it's good to me! If you have experience with the paid app, please share your thoughts in the comments below so we can all learn more about it.
Alright, now that we're set up, let's use this thing! Back on my main screen, there is a blue circle with a white + sign. Click it, and it'll make your page look like this:
I'm going to click the orange Food circle and log some meals or snacks. You can choose from the list like this:
If you want to add something that you just recently ate, then your most recent choices will show up in the list as shown:
Click on the Frequent tab if you're wanting to input something that you happen to have a lot.
Maybe you eat a food that isn't found in My Fitness Pal's database, so you want to add the calorie and nutrition info yourself. You can do that here:
Do you have some meals on repeat throughout the month? Create a meal in this section so you don't have to add in every single ingredient each time. You can do that here:
You can also add recipes in this section:
The BEST features of adding food are at the very top. You can search for a food, and hopefully someone on the app has already added what you're looking for or something super similar. You can also click the location pin symbol and it will locate restaurants in your area with their menus and calories. My favorite feature is the barcode symbol. Click it and use it to scan your food or ingredient, and more often than not, it has the info already in the system.
I log EVERYTHING that I eat except for the calories in my multivitamins or medications. Sorry, I don't think that should count against you! But when I say everything, I really do mean it. You have to be completely honest about this or else you most likely won't see success. So if you have the stick of gum to freshen up your breath after lunch, you have to log those 5 calories.
One tip that has worked for me is to log my major meals for the day when I get up. This gives me my calories left to play with for snacks. I think it would be really hard to have had breakfast, lunch, and some snacks only to find out that you could have 2 carrots for dinner to ensure not going over your count for the day!
Also, please know that I'm the world's pickiest eater. You're not going to see me logging a bowl full of roasted vegetables or spiralized vegetable noodles on here. And that's what's great about this program -you can still eat MOSTLY what you want but you're going to learn to change your portion sizes and train your body to be full on smaller portions of some of your favorite foods.
If you scroll to the bottom of your daily log page, it will also have a section for snacks, exercise, and water. My water goal is at least 6 cups or more per day.
I'll tell you more about my exercise schedule in next week's training, but let me show you how to log an exercise. When you click to add an exercise, your page will then look like this:
I don't belong to a gym, so even when I do a weights video, I'll log it as cardiovascular and find a circuit training exercise. You can search for an exercise and then input the number of minutes you did the exercise. The app will calculate an approximate number of calories burned based on your info. You can see my most frequent exercises below.
Now, a quick note. My Fitness Pal is capable of being linked up to a Fit Bit or other activity tracker. This may give you a more accurate view of calories burned than the approximation used on the app. I would HIGHLY suggest that you DO NOT count your daily steps towards your calorie count. I feel like that just opens you up to temptation, and if you're like me, you see those "extra" calories and will eat them away. A friend of mine at school who is an Iron Man triathlete advises to not eat the calories you burned in your exercise for the day to see the most weight loss. Sometimes I can abide by that but not always, let's be real!
There are a lot of conflicting reports about how often you should weigh yourself to keep yourself in check. I weigh myself a few times a week to check in, but I do my weekly weight check in for the app on Saturday morning. I feel like this shows my hard work from the week.
You can add your weight from the main screen's drop down menu or from the daily log's main page using the addition sign. It'll take you to a page like this:
The app offers you the opportunity to upload a progress photo. If that's your thing, go for it! From the main screen, you can always do a check in on your progress by clicking from the menu.
As I mentioned earlier, you can see where I enjoyed the holiday season, so I'm hoping to see this be more downward swinging in the next few weeks!
You can find friends and set up challenges or encourage each other on your journeys. Personally, I like keeping to myself on the app - I don't want any added pressure to lose more when I'm A) not built the same as a friend and have different goals, B) have a completely different lifestyle than my friends given my colitis, and C) am in this to improve myself- not to worry about what others are doing!
Throughout the next few weeks and months, remember that it is most important to do you. What works for me may not work for you. Listen to your body and decide what is best for YOU!
Next week, I'm going to start sharing some of my favorite workouts with you. I don't feel like you should have to spend a lot to get in shape, but I do have a few recommendations that I use for my workouts.
1) Make sure you have a sturdy pair of trainers. I got THESE New Balance trainers this summer and am crazy about them. Knock on wood, but I haven't had an injury since switching to these shoes. I'll recommend some workouts that you can do barefoot, but when you need to be in shoes, definitely invest in some decent trainers.
2) Unless you are planning to do all of your workouts on a carpeted area, pick up a yoga mat. You can always find one at Target, T.J. Maxx, or even stores like Five Below. I rotate working out in my carpeted bedroom and hardwood living room, so a mat is definitely helpful for those days when I'm on a harder surface.
3) I don't get into any massive lifting, but I purchased a set like THIS one over a decade ago and use it multiple times a week. I like having a pair of 3 pounds, 5 pounds, and 8 pounds. You can certainly buy lighter or heavier weights, but I often find the 5 pounds are great for my workouts. Look for some fitness sales that are sure to pop up in January at places like Target and Academy.
4) You'll need a laptop or have your television set up to do workouts from YouTube if you plan on following along with me. If you're wanting to switch things up, I do recommend a series of DVDs called 10 Minute Solution. You can find these at Target or on Amazon, and I've even checked some out on my Netflix rentals. THIS one is my favorite.
Thank you for joining me today, and I hope you will start working out with me next week. Please feel free to ask me questions or leave some love in the comments below! See you soon!
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post contain Target affiliate links, and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link. Thank you for supporting my blog!