About a year ago I hurt my back and it’s taken me this long to be able to get back to being active. I did 16 weeks of intensive physical therapy and have kept up with my exercises, but I still gained weight.
A little over 2 weeks ago I decided to lose that weight, and to use technology to do so. After calling on my network for suggestions, I settled on buying a Garmin Vivofit and using MyFitnessPal to track my calories in.
While I would really like the Vivofit to sync with MFP automatically, I’ve been able to manually add my steps as a “Steps Adjustment” cardio workout every night. My strategy is to use MFP to track calories in and try to hit the goal it sets for me, and keep my walking calories as a safety net; if I go over my goal I still have my negative walking calories to put me back under. Now that I’m going back to the gym I’m stationary biking at least twice a week, and the vivofit has really kept me motivated to not be sedentary.
The best part about all of this is that it’s working! After 2 weeks I’ve lost the predicted 2 pounds, this information is easily visualized in MFP’s progress window. What I don’t see is any kind of visuals on my nutrition, so I decided to make my own.
It took me about 30 seconds to find the My Fitness Pal Data Downloader Chrome extension and use it to extract my MFP data as a csv. After that I imported the data into a google doc, converted it to percentages of my daily allowance, and created this graph:
It’s great! I can easily tell a few things about my level of nutrition at a glance. I eat very little sugar and trans fats, sodium is often high, I occasionally go over on fats and cholesterol and pretty much everything else is in line.
MyFitnessPal, I’d love to see you implement something like this, or at least make it easier for us to extract our data!
PS: I’m a freelance software engineer and could make this happen for you.