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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

20 Tiny Changes #6: count calories

OK, that isn't tiny at all. It can change your life. But just counting, whether or not you change what you actually eat, is not so hard with all of the apps out there. MyFitnessPal is free, and you don't need a FitBit to use it (though I confess I really like my FitBit). There are many apps like this, but I'll tell you about this one since I've used it.

A very wise friend once said, "You can't exercise your way out of a McDonald's diet." Sage words. Many of us greatly underestimate the number of calories we eat, and overestimate how many we actually need. MyFitnessPal calculates the number of calories you need based on age, height, whether you want to gain or lose weight, etc. The app was so helpful in keeping me honest, I once lost 5 pounds in a month while eating dorm food! It's also useful in that you can enter restaurant foods (which are often more than one portion, or very high calorie, or both), so you know what you're actually eating. And YOU don't have to do the math: it does it for you.

You can also enter your exercise, so you know how many calories you've offset. I confess to going to Dunkin' Donuts, logging my calories, then spending the required amount of time in the gym that day to work it off. I stayed long enough to be sure I didn't pay the price of my munchkins and coffee with cream.

Try using the app just to get a sense of what you're actually putting into your body. Worry about changing your diet later: just count for now.

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