My oldest daughter began using My Fitness Pal to lose weight. She wanted to be a slimmer bridesmaid for her best friend’s wedding, and once we saw the pounds falling away, we joined in!
I’d been unhappy with my rising weight for a while, and though I wasn’t overweight I was far off my preferred mark on the scales. So I decided to follow Bekah’s example and download My Fitness Pal, a free calorie counting app. Several weeks later, after a loss of a fair few pounds, hubby joined in. We very much wanted to return to sizes we were many years ago…
Vince was overweight, but not unhappy, just disillusioned with the idea of dieting. He didn’t think he’d stick to a diet, as such, and didn’t believe it would be easy to lose weight. It was seeing Bekah lose a stone (14lbs) that spurred him into action. We explained that calorie counting wasn’t dieting in the sense of banning certain foods, but more about understanding calories, how much we needed to eat and how many calories you needed to allow you to lose weight.
The recommended calorie intake for a man in the UK is 2,500 Kcal, and a woman 2,000 Kcal, advised by the NHS. My Fitness Pal asks about you, what you weigh, how much weight you want to lose and gives you a daily calorie intake to achieve this*, over a period of time.
*Note: it’s advisable to contact your Dr, when making serious weight loss plans or if you have health problems.
We soon realised we knew nothing about calories or the amount we were actually eating each day, and, certainly, it was far more than the recommended intake. For our goal weights My Fitness Pal reduced our intake, mine was decreased to 1,200 Kcal, to lose one to two pounds per week. You can adjust the intake to what you desire.
We very quickly learned how many calories lurked in each item of food we bought! We then went about changing our diets. We didn’t eat much processed food to start with, I prefer cooking from scratch, but we did learn that our portions needed to be downsized, fast! We cut our intake of carbohydrates drastically, reducing potatoes, bread, pasta etc by about 80%, and I soon realised I was putting cheese, large amounts, on and in everything! Dairy and carbs were the first things to go. I stopped buying mild cheddar completely, preferring much smaller amounts of good quality mature cheese instead. We switched to semi-skimmed milk, and cut the amount of desserts and chocolate. We didn’t ban anything, but discovered that healthy, low calorie was better for us. We experimented with soups and salads, and lean meat, and cut our portion sizes.
Now, far from making us hungry, the smaller portions helped us appreciate what we were eating and stopped us feeling bloated from ‘too much just because we could’ syndrome. We found low cal snacks and just ate less of what was higher in calories.
My Fitness Pal requires you to fill in what you eat each day and how much you exercise. From that information it predicts what your weight loss will be. It was dead on. The weight began melting away.
Six months after starting using the app, we joined the local gym. Up ‘til then our exercise consisted of long dog walks, and as we lost weight, the walks got longer. Now we added a gym plan, and instead of just losing weight, we began to tone. Vince noticed the results most, the strength exercises worked for great muscle development and cardio offered stamina and fitness. Calorie counting to lose weight works, but exercise is the key to maintaining and toning.
After nine months, I’d pretty much lost 2 stone (28lbs) and hit a plateau. You can kick start a plateau in several ways, have a few rest days, then step up the exercise, or vary your calories and then reduce for a few days. I plan to lose more, but have decided not to use My Fitness Pal to do so. It taught me everything I need to know and I can count my calories in my head with the knowledge I have. Our family eats much healthier and I don’t feel the need to log it every day. You can find me on My Fitness Pal as lastkrystallos, and I may return to it one day, if those pounds creep up on me!
So at the end of 365 days, I lost 2 stone (28lbs), Bekah lost 3 stone (42lbs) and so did Vince, a total of 8 stone (112lbs) between us!
We are truly shadows of our former selves who love the vitality and va va voom we’ve caught…now we get out into the fresh air and enjoy it!
What are you doing to become healthier, or have you lost weight and how did you do it?