My name is Georgia, and I am a recovering MyFitnessPal addict.
If you aren’t familiar, MyFitnessPal is a website and an app that allow you to create a daily food and exercise diary. This means you can record every single thing you eat and every step you take, every day, which is cool because of the degree of precision with which you can see if you’re getting the right balance of nutrients in your diet and eating the right number of calories for your activity level. It’s a good concept, and I have nothing against the its creators because I’m sure it helps a lot of people get on track with their fitness goals.
However, the reason I had to give it up is because I’m kind of a detail-oriented freak (as you might remember, I have a seasonally-updated master grocery list because I can’t stand the thought of forgetting something at the store) and as a result I tend to obsess a little too much over my MyFitnessPal entries. I like the feeling of control it gives me, but I don’t like not eating snacks even though I’m hungry because I’ve already met my calorie goal for the day, and feeling bad about exceeding my daily allotted fat grams but not getting enough protein, and wondering why I’m so tired after yoga if according to the app it only burned exactly 174 calories.
The problem with focusing on the app is that it distracts you from focusing on your body and what it needs, which is (duh) more nuanced than a computer can understand. But tuning in to your body and trusting it is, at least for me, harder than typing information into my smartphone. So for right now, I’m working on finding some balance and focusing on how I feel rather than counting calories and fat grams.
So this may seem ironic, but to help me with my new goal (and admittedly because it’s hard for me to quit fitness tracker apps cold turkey), there is a new app in my life. It’s called Fig, and it lets you choose from a huge variety of completely customizable health and wellness goals and track your progress towards them. And weight loss doesn’t have to be one of them–it doesn’t have to be involved at all. You can choose “breathe deeply,” “take a desk break,” “spend time with friends,” “avoid the dirty dozen,” “enjoy nature,” or any of about a million other things.
Unlike MyFitnessPal and many other tracking apps, there is no negative reinforcement or “helpful” reminders that “eggs are high in cholesterol!” or “you’ve exceeded your calorie limit for the day!” You just decide on any goal you want, like “Eat veggies 3 times a day,” and every time you eat veggies you click on a circle until you get to three and then the circle turns into a star. If you only eat veggies twice, the circle just stays a circle, and (guess what!) you don’t have to feel bad about it. Because (guess what!) you shouldn’t ever have to feel bad about trying to take care of yourself.