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MyFitnessPal Receives Consumer Reports Top Pick For Diet And Exercise Tracking Software

After 20 plus years researching nutrition and weight loss let’s just say I’ve come to have a degree of skepticism when looking at new clinical trials and non-peer reviewed studies. When a supplement manufacturer pays a lot of money for research they naturally what to see the findings in their favor.

The reality is a lot of the clinical trial studies are somewhat skewed because they’re not truly reflective of “real world” behavior. Controlled environments, frequent reminders, free food, and the like don’t happen in every day life for most people.

Some of the best feedback we can get from diets, supplements, and technology tools used to assist with weight loss will come from the people who have used them in the real world. This is one of the reasons I believe objective and unbiased publications like Consumer Reports can be valuable.

More after the jump…

Consumer Reports recently did a piece that reported on a survey of 9,000 dieters and their experiences with 13 different weight loss programs.

They looked at commercial weight loss programs like Jenny Craig, Medifast, Nutrisystems, Weight Watchers, along with do-it-yourself plans such as the Paleo Diet, Atkins Diet, South Beach Diet, and others.

On-line tracking tools, websites, and apps such as Spark People and MyFitnessPal were also evaluated.

MyFitnessPal which is a site and app we integrate into our weight loss programs here at Shaping Concepts received one of the top satisfaction scores. More than just a tool for tracking nutrition and exercise habits, it provides education, support, and community.

I’ve long been a promoter of tracking your diet for the first 30 days when starting a weight loss program. Experience has shown me that people who do this overwhelming see better results than those who do not.

I think it goes far beyond seeing how many calories you consume or grams of a particular macronutrient. There’s something about recording your food and drink that develops a conscious awareness of what you’re consuming. Most people don’t really think that much about what and how much they eat and drink.

While the old school method of hand writing down meals and snacks on a tablet or journal certainly works better than no tracking at all, I’ve come to be more of a supporter of using apps or on-line software such as MyFitnessPal. As a coach it allows me to see detailed information on calories and nutrient ratios that can be helpful in making recommendations on adjustments.

On the diet side of things, interestingly enough the Paleo or Primal Blueprint Diet received one of the top scores as well. I think one of the reasons for this is because it’s not a typical diet per say but rather a lifestyle plan of eating. It’s something you can stay with indefinitely and there’s no counting of points, calories, and the like.

While counting calories, grams of carbs, etc, is helpful in a coaching situation, it’s not something most people will do long-term. I’ve found it to be more effective to help people discover what foods are best for their body and unique needs then coaching them on developing healthy habits.

If experience has shown me anything it’s that you won’t find one particular diet or way of eating that works best for everyone. One person loses weight better when restricting starch carbohydrates and someone else does better when they don’t.

There are so many factors here with metabolic rate, insulin sensitivity, genetics, allergen sensitivities to certain foods, and the like that it’s really hard to tell what will be best until you experiment.

While I don’t expect the “diet debates” to go away any time soon, I think more and more people are turning to the idea that they’ll have to find what foods work best with their body. The best piece of advice I can give is not to get married to any diet or nutrition strategy.

The needs of your body can change over time, this is especially true with the physiological changes associated with aging. As an example I found that when I was younger I could eat starches in large quantities and still stay lean due to a fast metabolism. Now that I’m forty, I find that my body does best on more a Primal Blueprint type diet where starches are naturally limited.

It’s not that I’m going “low-carb” per say as I still eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. It’s just that I’ve found I don’t need or feel the best when I consume excess starches from breads, pasta, etc. I suspect this has to do with insulin sensitivity changes along with other hormonal shifts.

In short, the concept of starting with a foundation of whole, natural foods is without question the best place to begin. From there you can experiment with removing various foods and see how your body responds.

Regardless of what nutrition or diet plan you ultimately end up following, I highly recommend using tools like MyFitnessPal to track your daily habits. Do it for at least the first thirty days and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results.


Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts. With a staff of over 10 certified fitness professionals, Shaping Concepts provides personal fitness training in Charleston with a specialty on weight loss and body transformation. Sign up today for a no obligations consultation.

 

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Category: Fat Loss.