"Happiness lies first of all in health."
~ George William Curtis
As I've mentioned in a few other posts, I'm not currently in the shape I'd like to be in. I'm going for less of a "round" one. Ha! Seriously though, I've been slacking off on my nutrition and workouts for far too long, and though I don't think it's truly necessary, I do think it's definitely helpful when you feel like you've gone off track, to be able to log your food and/or exercise (I've always liked logging my exercise) so that you have a record to look back on, and to help you just be a bit more mindful of your choices.
I've used SparkPeople and LoseIt! in the past, and I've liked those - I lost 20 lbs. with SparkPeople about 5 or so years ago - but at the time I felt I was "ruled by the log" and it was actually a lot more stressful and time consuming for me than I could keep up. Yesterday, I decided that just having a food log would be beneficial for me to get back on track, and I opened up my LoseIt app, only to be frustrated with the lack of items in their database. One thing I think is kind of sad with most food log/calorie counters is how many processed/packaged foods are in the database, but I get it - that's how most Americans eat nowadays. But it makes it totally frustrating to try to write a food log when you have to "create a new food" each time you try to enter something that didn't come out of a box or a wrapper.
Anyway, I got fed up with LoseIt! and decided to look at alternatives. In the wee hours of the morning, I was checking the app store, and came across MyFitnessPal. My friend Mike has been using it and has been doing spectacularly with his weight-loss goals. One of the hardest things about logging your food is that it takes a bit of time, and Mike is one of the absolute busiest people I know, so if he can log in MyFitnessPal, it must be good. I installed the app, and it took me just a few minutes to get acquainted with it. It's streamlined and simple, and has a pretty similar home screen both in the mobile app and on the website:
I even entered all that I had logged from the day, and then realized I had put the entries on 4/20 instead of 4/19 (because it was technically 4/20, duh) and didn't know how to change the date. After messing around for a while in the app with no luck, I checked out the FAQs section and got my answer, and was able to change the info quickly. All this when I was basically falling asleep in bed. Total win.
I feel like this system is a combination between SparkPeople and LoseIt, and just better. SparkPeople.com is great - it's actually very similar to MyFitnessPal.com, but their mobile app leaves much to be desired (when I used it five years ago they were just developing a mobile app and the current one doesn't have high ratings), and LoseIt! is a nice mobile app, but between the app and the site (which I never used much because it wasn't that robust), there's a lot of clunkiness. If you're looking to start a food journal, I'd highly recommend MyFitnessPal - it's easy to use, the database is huge, and its reports, charts, and breakdowns are great. It's even got a barcode scanner for those times when you DO eat something packaged. That's awesome. Good luck!