Go to: www.myfitnesspal.com
1. Once at the site, you need to set up your account - username, email address and password.
2. You will need to set up your Diet Profile: Current Weight, Height, Gender and DOB.
3. To answer the question, "How would you describe your normal daily activities" - This is not the exercise/activity beyond your normal day. This is the normal "work day" for you, whatever that may be. It is important that this be honest and correct. This is the Activity Factor that will be added to the equation (behind the scenes) that will give you your first caloric level to hit each day, based on your goals.
4. To answer the question, "How many days per week do you plan on exercise?" - This is the realistic number of days per week, on average, you will be exercising each week, and time per exercise day actually exercising. Start with 4 days per week, 30 minutes per day.
5. "What is your goal?" - In this part, I want you to click “To Maintain Current Weight”. After you complete signing up, check the caloric load per day the system set for you. This is the amount of calories you need to consume, on average, to maintain your current body weight. Write that number down. Now go back into Settings, the Update Diet/Fitness Profile and change the drop down box to “Lose 1 lb per week”, click Save, and go check out that number and write that number down. One last thing to do, go back again to Settings and click “Lose 2 lbs per week”, Save. Check out that number. Get a good look at those 3 numbers now. If you want to lose fat weight over time, the number will be somewhere between the 1 pound per week and 2 pound per week number. Our job, is to find out that number.
Why did we just did all of that?: As you enter food and beverage on your Home Page every day, you will start with a caloric maximum to hit every day, based on the information you just gave the program.
My example, my username is staystrong365 - he weighs 220 lbs and his caloric max is 2470 per day if I wants to lose 2 pounds of scale weight every week. This is my base number to lose weight - WITHOUT EXERCISING. When you exercise and log that exercise in the program, the application adds those calories burned to calories that you can consume that day. As you add your exercise each day, the program automatically does that for you on your Home Page. My suggestion, in the beginning, is to consume HALF of those exercise calories, not all of them. Eating the exercise calories is called Eating to Net, but you will eat HALF of those to start out. There will be lots of tweaking to do the first few weeks and we will do that together.
To "Friend" Someone: When you have the above completed, go to My Home tab. On the far right on tabs, choose Community. On the next page, on the 2 tier tabs, choose Find Members. On the next page, the Member Search function lets you find members a number of ways. You may find that some of your friends are already on MyFitnessPal.com. You can enter their email address to find them. When your leader contacts you via email in a few days, they will tell you their Username. To find and "friend" them, type in that username in the Username or Email box, then click Search. That should send you to your leader profile page. From there, you can send them a message or add as friend. The application will send them a message and they will confirm you as a "friend". This application has a Facebook feel to it.
Once you are friends, your good to go and yourlLeader will let you know what the process will be with communication, blog posts for information and inspiration, etc. Your honest and consistent food and exercise logging, along with future suggestions for modifications from your leader, will start you on the path to better physical fitness and consistent and sustainable weight loss!
Setting Your Diary for Leader Viewing - Must Do!!
1. Go to My Home
2. On the 2nd tier tabs, far right, click Settings
3. On that next page, click Diary Settings
4. On the next page, 3 things to do:
Under Nutrients Tracked - add Saturated Fat and Cholesterol
Under Meal Names - Change "Snack" to "Snack 1" and add "Snack 2" in case you need it.
Under Diary Sharing - Click Friends Only
5. Click Save Changes, below, and you're good to go.
Now, when you log your food and exercise, your leader will be able to read, analyze and suggest modifications as efficiently as possible.
Logging Your Exercise
Cardiovascular - Go to My Home, then to Exercise. You will see that you are on the current day, and that you have a choice of Cardiovascular or Strength Training. For many reasons, I suggest you don't use the Strength Training, unless you want to go exercise by exercise. The easiest way to put in Strength Training is to put it in as Cardiovascular, see below for that. Most will do some straight cardiovascular training like elliptical, treadmill walking or running, stationary biking, rowing, etc. Go to Add Exercise. On that next page, you have a Data Base search window. Type in what you did, let's use "walking", hit enter. You then get a choice of intensity level. Click on one of those and you will see a new window to the right appear. Type in minutes performed and it will give you a calories burned - this is based on the body weight you have entered in the program in the beginning. If you entered your personal weight on a treadmill and it gave you a total at the end of your walk - use that number here. If not, use the number the program gives you. Elliptical doesn't have a lot of choices, so be sure and put in your body weight in the machine when you workout and use that number here. Click Add Exercise. It will add that to today's log AND it will now be a quick choice for future use when you come back to Exercise tomorrow and click Add Exercise. So, like the Food Log, over time, you will have a lot of quick options to choose from, making the process more efficient.
Strength Training - Go to Exercise. Your diary for the day will appear. Under, Cardiovascular (not Strength Training), click Add Exercise. On the next page, type in Strength Training and click Search. Next page, Strength Training should show up in the box under Matching Exercises. Now left click that word, Strength Training in the box. A box should appear to the right, type in how many minutes - go with 30 minutes this time. Calories Burned then appears (that number, based on the info you gave the program in the beginning). Click Add Exercise, and it is now added to today's totals and is ready for you tomorrow under Exercise, just as above. Why this way? You can go into the Strength Training section and add each, individual movement if you would like to. I just think that's a waste of time.
Losing unneeded fat weight or maintaining body weight has many factors, but at the end of the day, to lose weight you must be in "negative caloric balance" in a consistent manner for many days in a row. To do this, you must log your food and beverage so that you have a good idea of your caloric load per day. Without knowing this data, it is almost impossible to lose fat weight slowly and steadily over time. Logging also reveals the "gotchas", those things in your normal circle of foods and beverages that are adding too many calories and that can easily be modified to make a BIG difference in your weight loss journey. Logging reveals the NOW so you can find your better FUTURE. Without knowing what is truly going on, you can not possibly be successfull, and this is what most people do not understand, or do not want to honestly confront.
This is a PROCESS, not an EVENT. You have work to do. If you're not willing to do that work, logging will not help you in the least. If you are also engaging in resistance training, your best bet is to track scale weight AND body fat percentage. All of my clients are engaged in some type of resistance training, so all of them will slowly add percentages of muscle tissue over time. This added tissue will tend to make the scale weight number not move as fast as most would like it too, but the body fat percentage number will drop over time. Remember, scale weight measures everything and hydration status and many other factors contribute to that number.
With either metric - scale weight or body fat percentage - you are looking for it to TREND down over weeks of time, not hours of time. That's a joke, but this point is very serious....this is a trending down process and you will have not so great weeks in this process. You have to stop every week and re-evaluate the week previous, keep what is working and then modify what is not. If you do this consistently and honestly and listen to the right people for advice you will win. On that last point, be very, very careful who you are listening to about anything: exercise technique, nutrition, weight loss tips, supplementation. There are a lot of "experts" out there spewing free advice that have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. Herbalife trains their people well and I believe they understand their scope of practice limitations. In all things, your personal physician trumps EVERYONE.
Adding Exercise - this is where there is a lot of variablity and where people tend to overestimate. The ichange application has a drop-down menu in the Exercise function and you should be able to find what you are looking for, for the exericse you have completed. You may use their number (which is based sometimes on miles per hour, sometimes on an estimate of "intensity, and so forth) or you can use your own number. I have found that most of the numbers are fairly close except the cyclling numbers, mainly because they only have a range of mph, and that just doesn't cut it if you are trying to estimate caloric expenditure within 5-10%. If you are using a piece of cardio equipment, and you have inputed your body weight, by all means use that number when you log. Whatever number you log, though, a good rule is to underestimate caloric expenditure vs overestimating it.
Lastly, and very importantly, please realize that if you are using exercise as the prime driver of weight loss vs logging your food honestly, working within the caloric estimations at first and then tweaking that number as needed to find your optimum "weight loss window", in the long run....you will not win. No one - no one - can out work bad eating habits. You can try if you like, but you will end up with over-use injuries, chronic poor sleeping issues and any number of negative outcomes. The adage that "you get fit in the gym, slim in the kitchen" could not be more correct.