The author of several incredible self-help books, Charlie "Tremendous" Jones once said,
You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read. [tweet this]
This is true to every aspect especially when it comes to the power of association. The same is true for setting up some weight loss goals as well. I experienced this year as we tried this at office!
As this year started, a few of my coleagues got together and started the initiative for setting up a weight loss competition. I immediately jumped on the wagon as the competition began. The goal was to lose 10% of the current body weight within 12 weeks
with a weekly tracking. If anybody gained any weight in the any week as compared to the previous, there was a $2 penalty.On the other hand, if somebody lost the most, will be rewarded. It was a complex reward system, but nonetheless it was very exciting to see enthusiasm in the group about this program!
And yes, on the very first day, one of the group members introduced this phenomenal FREE iPhone APP called MyFitnessPal to track our individual progress on daily basis. It added to the excitement as now we could not only set our daily, weekly and final goals, but track our eating habbits, calculate calories as we ate during the day, share the progress with other members of the group, watch what others were doing and also motivate others when they needed some with the help of the App.
Here is how it works:
1. Download the App or signup at MyFitnessPal.com
Set up your account and goal. It’s easy, and it’s free. In addition to the web-based program at www.myfitnesspal.com, you can download the iPhone, iPad or Android apps (also free) and create your free account.
2. Setup your profile and set your goals
When you sign in for the first time, MyFitnessPal walks you through a simple wizard. You record your beginning weight, height, birthdate, etc. Then it would ask you to enter your target weight goal and timeframe.
Based on your current situation and goal, MyFitnessPal would show you how many calories you should consume per day and then calculates exactly when you will reach your goal assuming you follow the plan. This is an awesome feature!
3. Record and Track Your Calory Consumption Daily
Begin recording your food consumption. MyFitnessPal has an extensive food and drink database that includes almost everything we find in the malls and restaurants -including Indian curries! You simply pick the meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack) and then select what you ate.
By the way, if you can’t find the food or the drink in the database, you can create make a new entry. Each time you add a food, MyFitnessPal subtracts the calorie count from your total daily budget. As a result, you always know exactly how many calories you have left for the day.
4. Record Your Exercises and Activities Daily
This is my favorite part. MyFitnessPal also has an extensive database of exercise routines. Just like the food module, you can also create custom exercises and routines. When you exercise, MyFitnessPal adds back calories to your daily total. We used this module heavily during the competition period to track or progress, share with others to challenge some people and motivate others. It was fun!
5. Weigh In Everyday Morning
Weigh in yourself every morning and input your new weight into the site or using the iPhone/iPad app. The moment you enter the data, everybody in the group knows. People congratulate you if you made progress ( something like Facebook LIKE) and motivate you to do better in case you fell behind a bit. This is so awesome and gives a feeling of Facebook atmosphere! We enjoyed using this option and everybody loved using this feature regularly till the end!
In addition, MyFitnessPal also sends you reminders if any of your friends haven't entered their progress in a few days. This gives you an opportunity to help your friends keep up. We used this App to keep the group motivated, sent encouragement to others and gave a pat on the back if somebody did really well.
6. View Reports, Share with Friends on Twitter and Facebook
You can even send your progress updates to Twitter or Facebook if you would like to share these. We didn't use this feature, but it is there for those brave men and women who would like to go that route!
MyFitnessPal.com also provides extensive reporting. Since all the foods in the database provide full nutritional information, you can monitor, for example, your weekly intake of cholesterol, sodium, carbs, fat, or protein. You can also see charts of your weight trend over time and many more. I personally did not use these many reports, but the it made those 12 weeks of journey – a lot more fun.
How Much Money and Weight Did I Lose?
By the end of 12 weeks, I lost 12 pounds. I didn't want to lose 10% of my total weight to begin with since my initial weight was only 169 and I wantd to be somewhere around 156 – 157 pounds. So, as soon as I hit my goal, I ran in maintenance mode and remeined there!
Of couse I paid penalty of 17 dollars that the winner of the competition collected, but a loss of $17 dollars and 12 lbs was a great deal and thanks to MyFitnessPal, the journey was so fun filled!
For achievers like me, who want to see their daily progress, MyFitnessPal.com is great tool. The app even awards you “badges” along the way as you make progress. I think sometimes it can be used to motivate other people to work towards weight loss who really need it.
I would recommend you try this out if you haven't already. This is a great tool to help you keep your momentum going.
Question: How have you employed technology to help you achieve your fitness goals? How did it help you achieve your fitness goals? Would you share now in the comments below?