My Fitness Pal – it works!

I go through phases where I obsess focus on food/ diet. I’m going through one of those phases now, after I noticed a few months ago that everything was fitting just a smidgen (ok, or a lot) too snug. I tried to just “eat less” and decrease my carb intake for a while, but I wasn’t noticing any significant change. So I gave in and started calorie counting again. Like I’ve mentioned before, I did weight watchers with success in the past. Their system works well and I like that you can eat as many fruits and veggies as you want. But I didn’t want to pay for the app again (its pretty inexpensive, but still). Instead I decided to set up a profile on myfitnesspal.com. If you haven’t heard of it, its a free app that allows you to easily enter the foods you eat and track your daily calorie intake. When setting up your profile on My Fitness Pal, you enter you current and desired weights and it calculates your total daily calorie need. If you exercise, then those calories get added on so you get to eat extra (half the reason I exercise!).

best calorie tracker

I remember the first few days I started using the app. My first thought was, wow, I’m eating way too much! My second thought was, wow, I’m going to starve to death if I do this. But I stuck with tracking and suffered (no joke) to keep my calories under goal. It was hard. After a few weeks I got used to smaller portion sizes and avoiding large amounts of sweet snacks (I would still often eat 1/8 cup of ice cream or something at night). I lost the extra fluff I’d put on in about a month. Seeing the weight come off was so motivating – it definitely gave me the willpower to keep going! Now I’m in the “maintaining” phase, which is just as difficult as losing but for different reasons.

I’ve found that the easiest way for me to meet my calorie goal is to plan out my meals and eat the same (types of) food at regular intervals. Let me explain, we’ll start with breakfast. I’m the biggest breakfast lover ever. Pancakes, waffles, omelets, pastries… I love it all. I love it so much that I avoid it most days. Instead, I eat 215 calories of quinoa/steel cut oats. I make a 4 serving batch of this overnight cereal and eat it throughout the week with some cinnamon and a tiny amount of brown sugar (tasty, but not so tasty that I want more and more). I eat this with a huge class of water and it keeps me full for hours and provides a ton of fiber and protein. I know that many days I start to get hungry around 1030, so I’ll bring a small protein packed snack (fruit and cottage cheese, no fat Greek yogurt with honey, etc). This holds me over until lunch. Lunch is my biggest meal of the day. I try to eat protein and veggies and usually have a smaller serving of carbs. Some of my favorite lunches are I often allow myself to have a small treat, too (not a whole slice of cake or something ;)). I may or may not have a small snack in the afternoon. And for dinner I have another small something.

Favorite low-calorie recipes recently:

Mexican-Zucchini Skillet Mexican Zucchini Skillet (via skinnytaste)

lemon-chia-seed-protein-cookies_5356Lemon Chia Seed Protein Cookies (via amyshealthybaking)

Roquefort pear salad Roquefort Pear Salad (via allrecipes)

Broccoli-and-Apple-Salad Broccoli and Apple Salad (via natashaskitchen)

I have a crazy huge list of recipes left to try! If you’re a foodie and need some inspiration for healthy meals and snacks, my pinterest has a ton of yummy looking recipes!