My Fitness Pal: Accessible Food Journal Website and App

March 7, 2017 | Leave a Comment

by Shawn Sturges

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Shawn holding his medal at an adaptive rock-climbing competition

We are just a few weeks into the New Year and like millions of other people, fitness and living a healthier lifestyle are always on my mind.

I live an active lifestyle despite my blindness. Over the years, I have been active in Martial Arts, work out in the gym and, most recently, found rock climbing. It is sometimes difficult to find accessible ways to keep track of my diet, but recently I found My Fitness Pal, a website that offers a food journal to help reach weight loss goals.

I found the My Fitness Pal website easy to navigate with my screen reader — I will not invest any time in a website if I need sighted assistance. My Fitness Pal also has a compatible app that automatically connects with my profile after logging in.

 

Setting up a Profile

To create a profile, I entered my email address and created a password, then began entering my vitals. I entered my current height, weight, gender, current activity level and date of birth. The questionnaire then asked me about my goals for pounds to lose, how many times per week I hope to work out, and how long each session would last. Based on all this information, the site gave me a plan to follow and told me how long it would take to lose the first ten pounds.

 

My Food Journal

The next step of adding foods to my journal was quite easy. The first thing I located is the meal and what foods I ate. A search box gave me the exact calories for each item. After I selected the item, I repeated the process until I filled out my entire journal for that day.

Although I have just started using this site, there are some pros and cons I have already noticed.

  • The major pro is that I can access my journal anywhere, anytime. I can input my food items as soon as I have eaten so I don’t forget.
  • Another pro is the site has over five million food items across many brands and restaurants. You no longer need to search for how many calories are in that cheeseburger from your favorite establishment.
  • However, this can also be a con because there are so many choices. You must know exactly what brands you have consumed to get the exact calorie count. For example, I put in two slices of bread with butter and grape jelly and got a ton of results with various brands. This was a lot of information to sift through to find my exact combination because each brand has a different calorie count. Furthermore, as a blind individual, I need to find a way to keep track of what brands I purchase to know what to input into my journal.

Overall, despite these few cons, it is well worth the time spent figuring out how to use this wonderful tool. If this is the year you want to discover a healthier you, then My Fitness Pal can truly help you on that journey. As with any new diet, workout or fitness routine, it is important to speak with your doctor first so that you know the proper way to institute this into your daily routine.

Enjoy this tool and discover all the ways to achieve your goals in 2017!

Shawn is an avid rock-climber.  He is currently competing for the Holman Prize to pursue his goal of climbing the south face of Washington Column in Yosemite, a 1200 foot climb taking 3 days.  Check out Shawn’s story and vote for him on YouTube!

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