Dear My Fitness Pal,
First I want to say Thank you. Thank you for teaching me how to control my food portions. Thank you for making me think twice when craving a sweet coffee or cake from the coffee shop by telling how many calories were in them. Thank you for helping me lose the weight and balance my calorie intake and calorie outtake. With your advice, I got to my goal weight, and then some… but that is when things got a little crazy in our relationship.
I became so dependent on you that I didn’t rely on myself anymore. By depending on you, I stopped listening to my body telling me whether I was hungry or full. Emotional eating became acceptable because I “still had calories left”. I’ve realized that you really didn’t get to know me well. You are a little too “simple” to be my friend. You couldn’t tell me whether I was eating for fuel or for comfort. You made me obsess about the little things, little insignificant calories, and removed all fun out of eating. You made me spend a lot of precious time inputting data, recipes, menus when all I really needed to do listen to my body.
And since I am letting it all out now I might as well tell you. Sometimes I binged and I didn’t input it into your database. You know some days when I was “under” my calorie requirement, I just didn’t tell you what I ate. Once I ate 2000 calories worth of Mini Eggs, and I didn’t input it. And you know what? I was filled with guilt of not telling you…
I DON’T WANT TO FEEL GUILTY ANYMORE!
When I started this blog I wanted to introduce you to my readers, so they can be our friend too, and follow what I ate, but I’ve decided that I am better off on my own, for now. You never know, I might need you again if I gain back all the weight I lost… but I doubt it. Because I believe I can make it on my own.
I hope that if you do make new friends, they don’t obsess over you like I did. You were damn good when I needed you, but now, I must move on.
Adieu My Fitness Pal, Adieu.
Next week’s letter: Damn you Bob Harper, don’t call me a cheater.
I actually have lost more weight since leaving FitnessPal than I did on it. I brought in far more food than I needed for lunch, snacks etc. I thought about food all the time because I logging, thinking of logging, had just logged caloric intake.
Now… guess what – I eat small portions – but only when I’m hungry. Not a scheduled snack or lunch. And it seems to be working, this thinking for myself. I’m glad to find someone else who agrees.
Happy to hear that you agree! It is amazing how much you can obsess over food when using myfitnesspal. I am happy to hear that you are doing well on your own. So far, I haven’t been too successful but I am a work in progress…
I like your perspective. I’m in an on-again, off-again relationship with My Fitness Pal. When life seems to be spinning out of control and taking my good eating habits with it, I go back to the structure of tracking and I’m reminded of those strategies for healthy eating that have gotten lost. Also, it helps me to avoid restaurants because I wouldn’t know how to log what I eat.
I’ve had a “spinning out of control” type of week and I am starting to think I may need to go back to myfitnesspal sooner then later. However, I am trying to see if I can do it on my own by trying to understand why I eat. It’s a work in progress. I guess that I feel like I can’t trust myself and I will spiral out of control… and myfitnesspal at least gave me feedback on the days I was good. But alas, I can’t go back yet.
I found MFP last summer and told all my friends about it, got all of them on there and then bailed on it. I got tired of seeing the “under calorie goal” notices that really say nothing at all more than that what was recorded (whatever that was) meant someone was under a goal. At first, it was something I tried hard to see for my own feed, but as my friends connected with me, I realized that it is a meaningless statement full of deception.
For example, if I exercise and make mini-eggs my meal for three meals in a day, I can probably come in under my calorie goal, but did I eat healthy? Nope. What if I eat healthy and come in at exactly the number of calories I’m supposed to eat? Is the assumption that I’ve exceeded my goal when people don’t read that I’m under?
What if I eat 50 calories more than my goal every day? Does that sabotage all that I’m working on? Not in my humble opinion.
Perhaps I was overthinking it, but it started to really get to me. I no longer felt the benefit of the community in the tool as much as I felt the guilt of not performing daily as well as I should have. I had a similar issue back when I was using the Daily Plate on Livestrong. If the tool simply said I recorded my calories, then I would probably stick with it. But the pressure to be under got to be too much, especially as my friends list grew and I saw all the celebrations.
I also think these tools are not meant for long-term use. As you say, you have to be able to depend on yourself to know what is good/bad to eat and where you are at with calories.