A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Weight Loss Wednesday: 6 month update with My Fitness Pal

on May 27, 2015

I’m 6 months into my experiment with My Fitness Pal (see why I made the switch from Weight Watchers here) and it seems like a good time to stop and reassess things. At this point in the weight loss game, I’m patient enough to know that I have to look back at several months before I can decide how well something is working for me or not because things just don’t shift as quickly for me here in the last ten pounds end of the spectrum as they did in the first hundred pounds. I made the switch the MFP because I was watching my weight creep up and up and up on Weight Watchers. Perhaps not surprisingly, that really hasn’t been any different on MFP. I’ve drifted up and down in the 170s but haven’t made any real progress back to the 160s where I’d like to be (176.7 this morning). Counting calories definitely isn’t working any better for me in terms of losing these extra pounds to get down to the 160s again.

The bigger concern I have is the other thing I was worried about when I made the switch to MFP. With calorie counting, 150 calories is 150 calories whether it comes from a cookie or a sweet potato, no matter how nutritionally different they may be. I’ve found myself, the further I get into calorie counting, drifting further and further into those empty calorie choices or eating a huge night time snack because I had the calories, rather than because I was hungry (an issue I had on WW too). I’ve gotten into the habit of eating 1-2 of those Nature Valley Oats & Honey granola bars in the car on the way home from work because hey, I have the calories, right? And even if I don’t, I can go for a quick walk to “earn” them back. That’s definitely not the mindset I want to be in. I want to be eating healthier snacks and because I’m actually hungry. I want to be going for a walk after dinner because it’s good for me, not because I need to balance the calorie scale a bit thanks to my snacking.

So, MFP isn’t helping my bottom line on the scale and it isn’t helping me get closer to my goal of improving my food quality. I have to point out that neither of these is the fault of MFP. Lots of people lose weight with calorie counting and MFP is a great, free way to do that. I could decrease my calorie target or stop eating the workout calories or any of a multitude of different tweaks to move things along. This little experiment has just reinforced for me that I need to focus on my own behaviors in terms of eating, rather than on the numbers.

On the plus side, I have essentially maintained my weight in the same five pound range for over 6 months now. I have not had a slide into the 180s like I was worried about. I still fit in (most) of my pants, a big goal for the year in my attempt to get beyond the scale. However, I think it is time to step back a bit and think about what my real issues are (night time snacking, empty calories from “healthy” snack foods like granola bars and Fig Newmans) and my real goals are (healthier relationship with food, improved food quality).

It won’t be a long break. I know myself enough to know I need concrete goals, especially since I’ve got two trips coming up in June and July. For the next week or two, I’m going to focus on eating healthy foods and trying to see if I can actually tell when I’m truly hungry. I need to think about some strategies for that, as well as strategies for improving the quality of the food I’m eating. One thing I think I may toss out the window is the idea of earning indulgences with exercise. An occasional indulgence is part of life, but with the mindset of “earning” them from my exercise, I find myself a) indulging too often and b) losing sight of the real purpose of exercise, which is really more about fitness and stress relief and overall health at this point in my life.

Odd Frog and Toad story in O's bedtime book about cookies and will power. Darrell definitely agreed with Toad - after giving away all of the cookies, the only thing left to do is make a cake. :)

Odd Frog and Toad story in O’s bedtime book about cookies and will power. Darrell definitely agreed with Toad – after giving away all of the cookies, the only thing left to do is make a cake. 🙂

With all of this healthy lifestyle stuff, we’re just an experiment of one, right? It’s a matter of frequently checking in to see how things are going, what’s working, what isn’t and what your goals really are.

How long do you give yourself on a new fitness or eating plan before you stop and reassess? Do you schedule regular check ins? What do those look like for you?



14 responses to “Weight Loss Wednesday: 6 month update with My Fitness Pal

  1. I think one of the hardest things to do is to maintain food quality. It’s an issue that I am struggling with right now, too.

  2. ChristyS says:

    Have you heard of flexible dieting? also called IIFYM or If It Fits Your Macros? Like everything else, it isn’t for everyone, but I find It does help with food quality choices. You are tracking how many Carbs, Fats, and Proteins you get in a day and of course you have to find the correct balance for your own body. There is a ton of information available if you are at all interested. MFP recently made changes so the free per gram macro tracking isn’t free anymore, but macro percentage tracking is still free. (Example 41% Carbs 29% Fats 29% Protein) Jessica, you are so inspiring and I know you will get it figured out because you do not quit!!! Thank you for letting us follow along your journey.

  3. Would you be interested in an accountability challenge group on Facebook? We focus a lot on clean eating and it sounds like that could help you with your goal of eating better foods. We don’t believe a calorie is a calorie when it comes to health.

  4. keen peach says:

    I stop and reassess when I have no progress for more than two weeks.
    Frog and Toad totally takes me back to my childhood! I need to get it for my son. Thanks!

  5. Interesting. Do you still use MFP? I haven’t been to a WW meeting in forever because I’m above goal & would have to pay. But I think I need the meetings. This summer I need to get back down to goal, period. I know tracking & meetings have worked before, so I need to do that again. Also, congrats on maintaining & not sliding more. This is my first time in 4 years of sliding beyond my normal range, and I can see how easy it is to keep sliding…but I’m not going to let that happen!

    • I really wish my old leader was still here. If my meeting hadn’t changed to that leader I didn’t like I suspect I’d still be going to meetings. Who knows where I’d be now if that had happened?

      Sent from my iPhone


  6. […] No snacks after dinner. Like I mentioned when I talked about getting away from calorie counting for a while, I still struggle with night time snacking. This month, I’ve set a goal to not snack after […]

  7. […] I’d update you all on how my little break from tracking is going (more on why I took a break here). In short, it’s going really well (knock on wood!). My weight really hasn’t changed […]

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