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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How do you stay on a diet when you're traveling - with MyfitnessPal

Staying on a diet when I’m  traveling isn’t easy. OK, it’s not that easy at any time, but it’s more difficult when I’m away from home.  I always want to try new foods – that’s one of the reasons to travel after all.  Generally we walk and hike a lot more when we’re traveling than when we’re at home, so the output or energy spent is greater than it would be at home – but the intake is a lot greater too! I’m usually pretty willing to try new foods, but  sometimes  I don’t know what it is I’m eating, and it gets especially hard trying to find Gluten Free (GF) food so that often I give up trying to stay on the diet. 

I just discovered MyFitnessPal a great free app for helping me manage my weight and diet program. I’m using the web version but it’s available as well for Android, Blackberry, and iPhone.

It’s a user friendly app that counts calories and tracks exercise. You register on line with your current weight, height age, fitness level, and goal. MyFitnessPal then comes back with a personalized plan on how you can achieve that goal. The program gives you  information on what your daily intake should be for calories, carbs, fat and protein and tells you how long it will take you to achieve that goal.

You enter the food you ate and your exercise and it does the calculation.  It has more than 1,000,000 foods included in the data base including brand names and supermarket chain products and product packaging sizes.

In addition to grocery items the database has restaurants and menu items. Enter Starbucks, McDonald's, Flemings or nearly any other chain and you'll see the entire menu.

Traveling for business might mean eating at chains but dining when traveling for fun can mean anything from the romantic little restaurants to eating at brasseries and cantinas, or eating off food trucks and street carts or shopping at the local grocery store.  Nearly every type of food comes up in the database with a choice on the portion size.  I found US, Canadian, and UK supermarket brands and chains. There's a bar code scanner for finding packaged foods' nutritional information. MyFitnessPal also includes Spanish/Mexican food and brands.

There is no guess work, just enter whatever is on your plate and the app will give the calories, protein, carbs and fat. My mind is still on France, and because I want to show you that the database has just about everything - I entered oysters. I scrolled down through the database and selected Steamed Pacific Oysters as the closest and best option. This tool offers forums for support and has very active Communities for motivation and support, fitness and exercise, diet and recipes, chit chat, and success stories for bragging on yourself and your weight loss achievements.

MyFitnessPal has been rated as one of  the best all-in-one calorie counters and exercise trackers out there.  Now there are no excuses for ditching your diet when you’re traveling locally or globally. 

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