WIAW: Tracking with MyFitnessPal

Middle of the work week, baby…we’re getting there!

Once again, here we are at Wednesday and I’m hopping on the WIAW train. A big thanks to Jenn for hosting, as always.

So while today is a regular WIAW kinda day (including all of Monday’s eats) but I also wanted to talk about the MyFitnessPal app. Can I just tell you guys how much I love it?!? Does anyone else out there use it?

A couple of weeks ago, after chatting with Chelsey (as usual) we got talking about tracking calories while breastfeeding and working out. Since one of my goals for my DietBet was to try to get in more workouts, I’ve been working really hard at doing just that, and have managed to stick to about 4-5 workouts per week. However, with that added exercise comes extra calories burned, on top of those that are burned with breastfeeding, so I wanted to make sure that I was taking in enough calories each day.

I was sort of on the fence about using the app, because I really didn’t want to deal with worrying about tracking calories, but I figured it would be in my best interest to at least give it a try so I could see where I was at. The first few times I tracked all of my food and exercise for the day, I was surprised to see that there were times that I was actually coming in below my recommended calorie range (only on the days where I had burned extra calories through exercise). Definitely a huge eye opener, especially considering the fact that I certainly wasn’t going hungry and (thought) I was eating plenty.

Now with the help of the MyFitnessPal app (no affiliation, just loving it), I’m doing a much better job of making sure I’m getting in all of the calories that I need while staying active. So hey, if that means that I must have a bowl of ice cream at night to make sure I hit my goal for the day, who am I to complain? 😉

So here’s a look at Monday’s eats…

Pre-Workout Snack

Yes, you read that right. A pre-workout snack in the morning. For the first time in well over a year, I managed to get in my workout first thing…and I loooooved it! (Granted, it helped that I had the day off from work so I didn’t have to get up until 6am, but still).

I was hungry and needed something quick so I grabbed an iced oatmeal cookie Clif Z Bar. Best. Things. Ever.

iced oatmeal cookie clif z bar

That little guy helped fuel me through my T25 cardio workout. Bam.

Breakfast

A cinnamon raisin English muffin topped with peanut butter & banana slices + coffee.

english muffin and coffee

Can we talk about cinnamon raisin English muffins for a hot second? Oh mannnn, are they good.

Mid-Morning Snacks

A clementine + a chocolate chip cookie dough Quest Bar.

clementinechocolate chip cookie dough quest bar

I was out running errands during the morning and made sure to pack a couple of snacks to go with me. Monday was actually the first time I’d tried one of the Quest Bars that seem to be all the rage in blog land these days. I was skeptical (because, really, 99% of protein bars I’ve tried taste ‘meh’) but I got a box of them off of iHerb.com anyways (I bought the chocolate chip cookie dough ones). Let me just tell you…these things LEGIT taste like cookie dough. I’m not even kidding. I was blown away with just how good it was…it really did live up to the hype!

Lunch

Leftover chicken salad on top of a bed of mixed greens.

sweet chicken salad

Jay and I made chicken salad sandwiches for dinner Sunday night and I still had some leftover for Monday. Gotta love having it all made and ready to go! So I ate that while hanging out with this cutie pie.

lucas

Who was also having a blast in his jumper on Monday, too. 😉

Once little man went down for his afternoon nap, I whipped up a batch of my all-time favorite Cinnamon Chip Scones for a meeting I had at work on Tuesday.

cinnamon chip scones

So, of course, I had to dig in and have one.

cinnamon chip scones

Mmmm…just as good as I remember. If you’re not a fan of scones (I’m usually not) I’m tellin’ you…you’ve got to try these!

Dinner

We still have a bunch of the Hawaiian Chili that I made last week so we re-purposed some and stuffed it into a couple baked sweet potatoes, topped with all sorts of melty cheese.

chili stuffed sweet potato

Oh, heck yes.

Dessert

Because there’s always room for it… Winking smile

ice cream

A small dish of Edy’s Slow Churned caramel delight ice cream topped with some toffee bits and some of the caramel pretzel pops from my NatureBox.

SPEAKING OF…I completely forgot to share the winner of the NatureBox giveaway yesterday! I’m so sorry!

The winner of the 6-month NatureBox subscription is…lucky entry #326: Indhu!

nature2nature1

Congrats, Indhu! Please email me at sweettoothcourtney at gmail dot com so I can get you set up with your subscription!

And with that…I’m off. Have a great day, guys!

Question for the Morning:

Do you use any sort of apps to track nutrition, calories, and/or fitness? Why/why not?

Comments

    • mandee says

      i keep seeing ppl rave about cookies & cream quest, but that one has a weird taste for me! i was so excited about it bc i kept reading about it. the box i ordered came yesterday and i tried one… it just doesn’t taste like cookies & cream to me. i swear it kinda tastes like bubble gum!

      also you should DEFINITELY try double chocolate chunk (no artificial sweeteners in that one), put some PB on it and stick it in the microwave for 13 seconds. it is SO GOOD.

      • Courtney says

        I think you’re the first person I’ve heard have something negative to say about the cookies and cream! Haha, tasted like bubble gum? That’s so odd?! :)

  1. Emily says

    I just bought a whole bunch of quest bars myself to try as I’ve also heard nothing but great things. Cookie dough was one of the flavors and I’m hoping it’s as good as you say! 😉

    • Courtney says

      Can I just say that I love seeing you comment on the blog? 😉
      I’ve heard the cinnamon roll flavor is good too – I’ll be trying that (and cookies and cream) next!

  2. says

    I’m currently on the fence as to whether I should be giving myfitnesspal another shot. Tracking calories has been a negative for me in the past (leading to obsession/anxiety over food), but with knowing that I need to increase my calories right now, it would probably be a good idea. Bah. We’ll see.
    And chocolate chip cookie dough is definitely my favourite Quest flavour. try popping it in the microwave for a few seconds!
    Sam @ Better With Sprinkles recently posted..WIA(OOT)W.

  3. says

    Great idea to track you’re getting enough. I considered it when I started half marathon training, but to be honest, knowing myself, I would get obsessive about it and I didn’t want to go down that trail again.

    So glad you love the Quest bars! The cookie dough one is easily my favorite, right along with the new cookies & cream one!
    Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries recently posted..Day in the Life {February ’14}

    • Stacey M. says

      I agree with you Ashley … though the thought of calorie-counting is somewhat appealing and interesting, I know myself and I absolutely DO NOT want to partake in something that will lead me down an obsessive path once again. As long as I’m not going hungry and don’t feel burnt out all the time, I trust that my body is getting what it needs. I don’t like to spend a bunch of time thinking about food anymore … it’s just not worth it to me. I’d rather just live and let it be.

      • Courtney says

        Great points, Stacey! I have no doubt that this tracking is not something I would be able to maintain long term (nor be interested in doing either, for that matter) but it’s proving to be very helpful for me right now while exercising/breastfeeding. :)

  4. Beth says

    Courtney Did the quest bars give you any stomach issues?? I really want to try them but am nervous because of all the fiber.

  5. Megan says

    I’ve signed up my fitness pal just to see if it may be something that helps me lose some post pregnancy weight. It calculates my daily suggested caloric intake without nursing factored in. I’ve searched to see how I could add that in or how to figure out how many extra calories to add and can’t figure it out. Were you able factor that in your tracking app?
    Thanks :)

    • Courtney says

      I actually just add it as cardiovascular exercise lol…
      They say that you burn about 20 calories for every ounce of breastmilk you produce. Since I “guesstimate” that I’m usually around 25oz/day, I usually put in about 500 calories burned for that. :)

  6. says

    I’ve never used an app to track what I eat, but I know roughly how many calories are in most of my meals and I typically try to get a nice balance of carbs, healthy fats and protein! I like that Quest Bar flavor and really want to get my hands on the cookies and cream flavor that just came out—but there are a few flavors that I’ve had that were just awful! I guess it’s hit or miss! :)
    Claire @ Keeping Up With Claire recently posted..The Comparison Trap: What’s Your Healthy?

  7. says

    I love MyFitness Pal and funnily enough, I’m thinking of using it again. Not being on a regular work schedule has definitely affected my meals. I don’t eat as regularly as I should and sometimes I skip meals. So I’ll be hopping on that train with ya :-)

    PS – I think we often end our days in the same way: with some delicious Edy’s ice cream. Do you ever put Goldfish on it?? Mmm, so good.
    Jamie @ Sometimes Healthy Living Blog recently posted..WIAW: Warmin’ Up!

    • Courtney says

      Mmmmm, ice cream! I HAVE tried putting some of the graham gold fish on there before and it is amazing. That being said, I try not to have those babies stocked too often because I will house them NO problem 😉

  8. Kristen says

    Courtney – you HAVE TO try Quest Bars heated up in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. It will inflate slightly, but the warmth makes it taste like a real cookie! I top mine with fat free whipped cream & its a perfect dessert :)
    Glad you like them!!

  9. says

    I LOVE the My Fitness Pal app! I started using it in January to like you, just simply see how many calories were in the foods I was eating regularly and to try and lose a few pounds. (I HAVE LOST 8!) My favorite feature on the app is the “recipe” section where you can input your own homemade recipes. It’s so helpful when I’m cooking, and it has given me the opportunity to play around with ingredients before I cook anything and see how I can cut some extra calories. Glad to hear you are liking it too!
    Katy recently posted..WIAW: 2/19/2014

  10. says

    I need to try those cinnamon raisin English muffins! I’m currently having a Thomas Brand banana bread English muffin and it awesome.
    I used to track my calories, but that was for restriction, so I haven’t gone back to that. I can totally see how it can be helpful for mamas who are breastfeeding and working out though!
    Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves recently posted..WIAW: Blogger-Inspired Meals

  11. says

    I used SparkPeople.com years and years ago, and I’ve actually considered using it again recently! I want to lose a few pounds before summer, and tracking my meals really helps hold me accountable. I know some people find food/fitness trackers to be too obsessive, but I personally find them really helpful.
    Gracie recently posted..what i hate(d) about blogging.

  12. says

    I had a cinnamon raisin english muffin with peanut butter today for the first time in YEARS. When I had an ED I didn’t allow myself to eat english muffins, and cinnamon raisins have been a “fear food” for the last few years (even though I didn’t realize it). Ohhhh baby I devoured that sucker this morning!
    Miranda @ Loving Every Mile recently posted..wiaw 2/19: unwavering love

  13. says

    I need to track what I’m eating right now. I’m breastfeeding too and I have no idea how many calories I’m eating everyday. I hate to say it but I feel like I never eat a meal, but graze all day, especially off my 12 month old’s plate. I really need to set a better meal plan and figure out how many calories I’m eating.

  14. says

    Those scones look so good! Just bookmarked the recipe! I really need to jump on the Quest Bar train, i”ve heard such great things about them! The only fitness app I used was Map My Run, but even then, once I got my Garmin I hardly ever use it!
    Sarah @ Sweet Miles recently posted..Bring On The Protein

  15. says

    Oooooh those scones look so good!

    Amen to having to upp calories for workouts/b-feeding! I teach pretty much every day, so I am like an eating machine. And some days I don’t think I get enough…so i am working on that!

    Those scones look so dang good!

    I’ve tried that kind of questbar-choc chip cookie dough, it was pretty good, but I want to try the double chunk choc one!
    Annette@FitnessPerks recently posted..WIAW-Stonyfield Organic Greek Yogurt Style

  16. Kaitlyn says

    I love your approach to using MFP! I always was against tracking calories, mainly because I usually would just eat when I was hungry, stop when I was full…until I found out (the hard way) that I wasn’t eating nearly enough! My body’s hunger cues were completely off because I had gone such a long time under-fueling. I began using MFP to get an idea for what an appropriate amount of calories looked like (if that makes any sense), and it was SUCH a huge help! I don’t use it daily, but it has given me a better idea of how much I should be eating :).

  17. says

    LOVE Zbars! Especially oatmeal raisin and the honey graham.

    MyFitnessPal is really helpful. Even if you aren’t tracking for calorie purposes, I think it puts in to perspective our food intake since that is ultimately the main factor of our weight. I think it’s helpful too to see how the macronutrient distribution naturally lays out. A lot of people eat really high in fat or carbs and usually don’t get enough protein!

    Thanks for sharing the scone recipe, it looks amazing!
    Jenni @ Fitzala recently posted..Life of a Trainer #4

  18. says

    I am glad you FINALLY tried Quest bars and love them too! The new flavor Cookies n Cream is legit. I always use Sparkpeople to track calories and its awesome. I love that you can just scan food in these days. Do you have any good tips for stuffing potatoes? Maybe the ones I buy are too small, but whenever I try this they always rip or are too flimsy to hold anything! They look so good!
    Kim @ FITsique recently posted..How More Sleep Can Help You Lose Weight

  19. says

    I use myfitnesspal off and on, it makes me a little too crazy when I can’t find an item to log or when I have to break down a home made recipe ingredient by ingredient to get calories then divide it up by portions. maybe there’s a better way that I just don’t know about but it drives me nuts sometimes and that’s usually when I stop using it. lol
    erica recently posted..trying new things…{greens & vines}

  20. says

    I definitely think that calorie tracking tools can be useful, but what I don’t like about them is that it becomes far too easy to go too far and become obsessive — that’s exactly what happened to me. It got to the point where I couldn’t eat anything if I didn’t know the EXACT calories in it, and I’d spend hours each day planning my meals and trying to balance things just right. Eep. Bad times. These days I just go with the flow and Im much happier this way.
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted... WIAW … this AND that, take 2 .

  21. says

    I’ve tried tracking in the past but it just became much to obsessive for me. I would worry about silly things like “I want more cheese but its going to send my fat macros for the day in a tizzy!” or “Grapes have a lot of carbs so maybe I should cut back on them”. That being said I can see how it can be useful for those wanting to loose weight or those wanting to ensure they are getting enough. I also think its important to realize your body is a pretty useful tool. A lot of those calorie determiners can spit out numbers that are more than 25% off then the amount you should/shouldn’t be getting. Overall I’ve just found listening to my body in terms of both exercise and food works bets! That being said do whats best for you girlie!
    Lyric recently posted..WIAW Just Food

  22. Evamarie says

    I am with you on those Quest cookie dough bars… I didn’t even like quest at first but now I’m obsessed – i also love the PB ones and cashew coconut – yum!
    PS – can you do a overall T25 workout plan review – i was looking into it but not sure.

  23. says

    Making those scones this weekend. They look amazing. I have used the LoseIt app before, but I found that it kind of made me too calorie cautious, and it almost made me competitive with myself? Like I wanted to be “under” the calorie mark. I’ve never had an eating disorder, but even that little change in my thought process kind of freaked me out. I know those apps work great for some people, but it didn’t feel totally right to me. Glad to hear it’s working for you!! Every person is different, right?
    Alexis @ funrunning4life recently posted..Aches and Pains

  24. says

    My Fitness Pal is the only app I recommend to clients for food and exercise tracking. It is such a great resource! I also love how it syncs with things like fitbit so that the app automatically ups your recommended calorie intake when you’ve been really active.
    I really want to try the quest bar but I’m allergic to nuts :-(
    Andrea @ The Fit Scoop recently posted..The Combo Workout and a 13 Week Update

  25. Fiona says

    I have been using MyFitnessPal for almost two years now, and MAN does it hold you accountable! Even when you ‘think’ you’re eating as healthy as can be , it really gives you a true picture of your day! Can’t imagine NOT having it now…

  26. says

    Looks like a FABULOUS day of eats!! I love having leftovers. They don’t take any effort to prepare and they taste better than the first day most of the time!

    I don’t track my calories because I feel that would lead to restrictive behavior.. I just try to eat whatever I’m craving, calorie dense or not!
    Leigha @ Minougirl recently posted..WIAW – Meatless Monday

  27. says

    So many good eats, and yessss the cookie dough Questbar is pretty amazing!
    I never tried APPS that track things especially fitness related numbers because I hate inputting them and kinda scared of falling into a micromanaging mindset with it. I normally love to go by how I feel, now energetic I am, how my clothes fit me, etc. as it keeps me more balanced and doesn’t stress me out. I don’t know though….maybe I SHOULD give it a try just to see?!

    And how’s T25?! Is it just like Insanity only much shorter?
    Ellie@Fit for the soul recently posted..Eat Beautifully Challenge: One Small Change for 21 Days

  28. says

    Yep, I definitely use MyFitnessPal to track my calories. A lot of the time it’s just estimation, and I’m pretty notorious for cheating (meh, what’s a handful of nuts or a few pieces of chocolate here or there?) and not logging it, but if I’m diligent about it at least 3 or 4 days a week, I notice it makes a huge difference and helps me maintain my weight.
    Lauren @ Confessions of a First Time Mom recently posted..18 Months Going On 2, Going On 16

  29. says

    Your dinner looks delicious! I like to repurpose leftover sloppy joes meat over a baked potato.
    My husband got me a FitBit One for Christmas, and I’ve enjoyed tracking my steps. Yesterday I ran three miles which brought my step total to 16,000 :) I’ve heard good things about MyFitnessPal, and it sounds like it’s working for you.

  30. says

    I love My Fitness Pal, they have a huge data base but if I’m in a hurry the scanner is awesome. I think it’s a good idea to track calories because often times we “think” we are eating healthy but I find that sugar sneaks into my diet in foods I don’t expect. It’s good to make note of things like that could be sabotaging all your hard work. At least that is what I found for myself.
    Sheena @ Paws and Pavement recently posted..Wedding Wednesday 2/19

  31. says

    I used my fitness pal, but then I got tired of entering everything I ate, while it gave a full picture of my calories, sugar, protein, etc intake, is a hard work to do. Now I have the fitbit force and the app includes a food journal, similar to my fitness pal. I’m not sure if I’m going to track again my food, but I am conscious that this does help me to stay accountable for what I eat!
    Jess @dearhealthyness recently posted..Friday Favorites: The Simple Things

  32. Nala says

    I know what you mean about Protein bars tasting awful. As a result, I’ve been really weary of the whole “quest bar” craze. But since you say they taste great I think I will venture to taste one!! Those cinnamon scones look great, I need to make them one day. I use WebMD’s tracker, it’s effective and works just right for me.

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  1. […] A couple of weeks ago, I told you all how I was loving using the MyFitnessPal app. Fun fact: The day I told you about it is actually the last time I opened it. It’s a really great app, but I guess I found the […]

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