Michael_A

My Fitness Pal users-- tips??

9 posts in this topic

I'm two months into my 6 mo pre-op diet. I REALLY need to get on MFP to help me have something to track what I'm eating.

Those of you who use it faithfully- what are your tips for making it work for you? I've downloaded it and looked through it. How do you enter what you eat, when sometimes it seems like the entry will not be totally precise with regards to protein, calories etc? I'm just wondering how you've made it work successfully in a WLS lifestyle.

Trish1967 likes this

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Interested in this as well; I have used MFP for about 3-1/2 years.

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I didn't use it until after surgery. But if I see something on there that isn't going to match up with exactly what I'm eating, I always estimate on the side of caution. That's my first rule. Like if it says it has 25 grams of carbs and I think maybe it only has 15, but I don't know, I'll just assume it's more. 

At the same time you want to do the opposite with protein. I really would focus on protein and trying to get in as much lean protein as you are going to need to eat after you are cleared to eat solid foods. Go to some bariatric recipe sites and find some ideas for new recipes and foods you haven't tried before. I don't think it would have been possible pre surgery for me to eat this small amount of food, I would have gone nuts with hunger. But you can at least start looking at bariatric recipes and getting creative even if you are eating more than what a post WLS person would eat. 

I would get a food scale and start weighing and measuring everything you eat until you get to the point where you are able to eye ball how much something is. It could take months and you should test yourself to make sure you are being accurate. Always err on the side of caution I think.

I usually look at my protein in the afternoon and see where I am with it, have a protein snack if I need it and then plan on how much I'm going to need to eat for dinner. 

Good luck to you! It's an awesome tool. I love being able to scan things in too! 

Trish1967 likes this

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Great tips, @lightenupwoman - I look at my food tracking as an art, rather than a science, and so, like you, I guesstimate low on protein and high on carbs and calories so I make sure that my end of the day looks a bit better in reality than in the app. 

I also make tentative plans for the day and log them, going back and revising if I need to, so that I have paced my intake well throughout the day, rather than ending up at the end of the day needing a bunch more protein or whatever. 

I use the "meals" and "recipes" functions quite a bit so that it's easier to log things later. I also tend to eat pretty similar meals frequently, so that make this easier, as well. There are tons of name brand items in the database, so that helps with making sure you're getting the right info. If you're worried about restaurant food not being precise, you can Google the nutrition info on the restaurant website (if it's a chain) or search for the dish you ate and find an entry that looks high on fat/carbs (hey, it's restaurant food - it's always high on those) and use that. If you're cooking at home, the "recipes" function is quick and easy and saves for later use. 

When I was pre-op, I set my calorie limit at 1200 and tried to max out on protein every day, and lost pretty well that way. It was great practice for the tracking I've done since op, too. 

I find that every time in my life that I've been successful at losing, I've been tracking religiously. It's so easy to have a vague idea in your head of how much you're eating, and then have that shift over time to become a less and less realistic picture of what you're actually eating. Holding myself accountable by putting it all down in black and white helps me to be more truthful to myself. Weighing and measuring is important in this, too. It's too easy for your brain to start seeing 2 oz of cheese and still call it 1 oz. 

That said, my biggest problem post-op is making sure I'm getting ENOUGH food, rather than too much, oddly enough for my brain. However, since I'm tracking, I can say, "Hey, I need 10 more grams of protein today, so I'd better go get a snack" and feel like I'm doing a good job instead of wondering if I'm eating too much or too little. 

It all sounds a little obsessive, but I feel like the first couple of years of this journey might be all about being obsessive, at least for me. The more I consciously monitor my process, the better I will internalize it (I hope). 

 

 

Havamal, LeeC and Trish1967 like this

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I use it constantly but found it nearly impossible to use during puréed stage.  I made a black bean, tofu, Mexican cheese mess that I would nuke and put taco sauce on....Figuring out what 1/4 c of that was worth was just too much bother for me.  Pretty much the same with my other concoctions too.

Trish1967 and Jen581791 like this

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Good topic, I too have been struggling with figuring out best practices with MFP. I look forward to see what else other people recommend.

Trish1967 likes this

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Thanks for your input everyone. I'm halfway through 6 mos of pre-op diet, I'm eating only lean meats and veggies. 

@lightenupwoman, thanks for your suggestion about the food scale. I have purchased one on Amazon and will begin weighing my meats, because I DO want to get an idea of what 2oz, or 4oz, or whatever, looks like.

I do hope some more folks chime in with any ways they are using the app successfully.

Trish1967 and LeeC like this

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I use MFP religiously. I think the thing I like most about it is the scan feature. You can scan the bar codes on most brand name foods into the app, then enter the portion size or amount of the scanned food. It figures the calories, carbs, protein, etc. for you. My pre op diet consists of one egg and 1/4c chicken breast for breakfast, and one frozen Atkins or Lean Cuisine meal for lunch and dinner. I usually have a cucumber for a snack in the evening. I track my water as well, and at least for now it's very easy. I eat a lot of the same meals during the week, so I can even add my meals ahead of time for the next day. I'm sure it will be more of a challenge post op, but for now it's a life saver!

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On April 10, 2017 at 5:05 PM, Jen581791 said:
On April 10, 2017 at 5:05 PM, Jen581791 said:

the first couple of years of this journey might be all about being obsessive, at least for me. The more I consciously monitor my process, the better I will internalize it (I hope). 

 

I feel exactly the same way. I have the need to obsess over tracking my food to keep on track, especially pre op and the first 8 weeks post op. 

Jen581791 likes this

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