The Weight Loss App that Changed my Life
Growing up, I had a very complicated relationship with food. I think that many women can relate. Many of us were taught that food is something that should be curbed in order to avoid unsightly weight gain. For me, food was always less about nourishment, and more about limitations.
Throughout my childhood, my father warned me about the outcome of overeating and overindulgence by using his family members as an example. “They are obese and now they’re suffering,” he would say. “They have diabetes and other health complications because they don’t take care of themselves. You don’t want to turn out like that.”
On the flip side, my mother and her two sisters were always trying to lose weight and be thin—not by nutritional means or exercise, but through deprivation. They would belittle my oldest sister for becoming overweight, shaming her for her lack of self-control.
As a child, I internalized everything I was told and heard. Through this, I developed a fear of fat and an incessant, consuming struggle with binge eating. Weight gain would sneak up on me, as if I didn’t have control over my body.
I hate feeling out of control. I like to prepare and plan. I like to know what’s going to happen. That’s why I made the decision to take control. On my 30th birthday, I didn’t wake up feeling depressed. I woke up feeling empowered. I had been steadily gaining weight for years, but that morning I made the decision to do something about it. I didn’t want to feel afraid of fat anymore.
I downloaded my first calorie-counting app, MyFitnessPal. It made calorie counting, food tracking and losing weight easy. After downloading the app, I put in my current weight, my activity level and my weight loss goals. After selecting that I wanted to lose one pound per week, MyFitnessPal automatically calculated what my daily calorie intake should be. Throughout the day, I was able to quickly add and log everything I ate, from store-bought food to fast food to food from my favorite restaurants. I was even able to add my own homemade recipes and track my calorie intake by portion size. The best part? Not only is MyFitnessPal completely free—it works! The pounds came off gradually and I was able to keep the weight off.
MyFitnessPal not only changed my life, it saved my life. Once I started monitoring my calorie intake, I was shocked by how much I had been overeating. But that only encouraged me to make healthier choices and control my portions. Over the course of two years, I lost close to 65 pounds.
I give MyFitnessPal full credit. I never believed in gimmicky fad diets. Sure, you’ll see instant results but those results are not sustainable. I wanted to lose weight the healthy way and MyFitnessPal enabled me to do that. It changed my entire outlook on eating and gave me the insight to form better eating habits. I continue using it to this day, four years after I first discovered it in the App Store. This year I even bought my first fitness tracker, the Jawbone UP2, which seamlessly syncs with MyFitnessPal. I use both to help me keep track of my food, sleep and physical activity.
This past summer, I was excited to see MedStar Health open their iBar in Bel Air and Lafayette Centre. The MedStar iBar serves as a place where patients can get assistance and education on wearables and health apps that help them to make better decisions. Offering training on apps like MyFitnessPal and wearables like the Jawbone, patients with struggles like mine will have the support and resources to better engage with their health and manage their weight.
My Jawbone health coach encourages me every day to live my best life. But now, that life isn’t just about me. I am embracing a healthy lifestyle because I want to set a positive example for my daughters. I don’t want them to grow up feeling the same pressure I did. I want them to always feel secure in their appearance and always see how beautiful they really are. And if they gain weight or lose weight, I want them to learn to love themselves at every size.