Fitness/ Nutrition Tips

5 Things I Learned About My Eating Habits from MyFitnessPal

It’s no secret, I’m a HUGE fan of food journaling. I’ve shared a list of food journaling apps before, but my all-time favourite app for that is MyFitnessPal <- Feel free to follow me. Anytime I’ve ever successfully lost weight or maintained my weight it’s been through food journaling. When I’m left to my own devices I gain weight.  The thing is my weight loss successes have not come from the counting calories in and out part of MyFitnessPal, it’s been from the things I learned about my eating habits from MyFitnessPal and analyzing the nutrients I take in and making adjustments to my food choices.

Which brings me to the point of this post:

What Myfitnesspal can Teach You

5 Things I Learned About My Eating Habits from MyFitnessPal

  1. When I’m tired I overeat. 
    I confuse being tired with being hungry.  I also tend to crave sugar when I’m tired. Knowing this I check my sugar intake on the days I feel tired and am working on making smarter food choices on those days.
  2. When I run longer than 8k I become RUN-gry!
    I don’t seem to have a problem managing my appetite after shorter runs, but long runs leave me hunting for food all day long.  Having a protein shake after a long run seems to be helping with that.
  3. I crave carbs and not protein.
    If I was left to my own devices I wouldn’t eat very much protein.  I do like protein, but I like carbs more.  When I started logging my meals I was blown away by how little protein I eat – no wonder I feel tired (and hungry) all the time!
  4. My iron levels are low because I don’t eat much iron.
    Every time I went to have my iron levels tested they were low, I would take palifer for a while, then stop because I figured I get enough iron in my diet to maintain my iron levels… Slowly my iron levels would fall back down and I’s be back to where I started.  When I started using myfitnesspal I quickly learned that I just don’t take in enough iron.
  5.  I don’t take in enough potassium.
    Potassium is important to the normal functioning of your nerves and muscles, as the sodium potassium pump in neurons and muscles creates the action potentials responsible for nervous system function and muscular contraction.  In other words – we need potassium and I don’t take in enough from my normal “diet”.  I have since learned through myfitnesspal that avocado has a lot of potassium in it!

With the 5 things I’ve learned about my eating habits from MyFitnessPal I’ve been able to make small adjustments to the foods that I choose to be healthier, and to manage my appetite better.

What have you learned about your eating habits from food journaling?

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  • Jen @ Pretty Little Grub
    August 13, 2015 at 9:48 am

    I’m totally a carb lover too. I really have to purposefully think about protein intake in order to get enough. Which is why I love My Fitness Pal too. Although I haven’t been logging for a while now. Probably a good reminder to get back at it particularly as I am back into Marathon training.

    • Janice
      August 13, 2015 at 10:04 am

      Marathon training is the perfect time to start logging, I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir, but nutrition is a key part of sport performance, particularly with endurance sports. Good luck with your training!!

  • Kellen
    August 13, 2015 at 10:01 am

    I absolutely love this post! I’ve used MyFitnessPal for years and have learned so much about my eating habits. I used to justify treats if I worked out but then realized my treats were more calories than I burned in my workouts. MyFitnessPal helped me understand balance and proper nutrition (with the occasional treat 🙂 ).

    • Janice
      August 13, 2015 at 10:07 am

      It was a HUGE eye opener for me too. I can’t say enough about how much I love food logging, thanks for stopping by!

  • Ange @ Cowgirl Runs
    August 13, 2015 at 10:52 am

    I’ve started back with MFP for two reasons.
    1 – to make sure I’m eating enough protein and 2 – because no matter what I’m just not losing weight, so I actually want to track my food for a few weeks, print it all off and bring it to my doctor and say “FIX IT” 🙂
    I think when you step away from just looking at calories, food journaling is extremely helpful.

  • Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home
    August 13, 2015 at 11:12 am

    I don’t food journal, but if I think about it, I don’t really crave much foods. I used to crave carbs, but since I started eating more protein, that has kind of gone away. Chocolate is a huge mood booster for me, but I try to limit it.

  • Nicole @ Fitful Focus
    August 13, 2015 at 11:35 am

    So interesting! You know, I use MyFitnessPal to track calories and macros, but I never thought to look into some of my habits. I’ll have to start doing that.

  • Jess@ Flying Feet
    August 13, 2015 at 11:42 am

    Thanks for sharing. I just downloaded the app. It’s super easy and love that I can can a barcode!! What?! Lol I’m curious to see my patterns. I’m betting I’ll be similar in that I eat when tired. I feel like I snack more when super exhausted.

  • Ivanna
    August 13, 2015 at 11:54 am

    I also enjoy food journaling and I feel like it is one of the ways that keeps me successful with weight loss and maintenance as well. I am currently on a streak on MFP and am trying to remain very honest with myself on there, I also crave carbs but they are the worse for me.

  • Lucie Palka
    August 13, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    I have used myfitnesspal in the past. I love the barcode scanner feature. I also like seeing my %carbs, fat and proteins. It made me realize how little protein I do eat and how much fat I consume.

  • Kathryn @ Dancing to Running
    August 13, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    I too tend to eat more carbs than protein. Its a habit that I definitely need to break.

  • Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes
    August 13, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    I am very hit or miss with food journaling. I get on kicks and then blow it off. I have actually learned that I eat way less than I think!

  • Abby @ BackAtSquareZero
    August 13, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    The same 5 totally apply to me.

  • Marcia
    August 13, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    You’ve had some helpful revelations! I learned that snacking mindlessly is where I spin out of control. MFP helps me a ton but I’ve yet to stick with journaling for any length of time.

  • Sam @ Grapefruit & Granola
    August 13, 2015 at 11:27 pm

    A research article I read lately suggested eating more protein at breakfast would actually decrease carb cravings (and snacking) later in the evenings. However, the study wasn’t done on an athlete (or people working out), which I’m sure affects your craving as well. Your protein and iron probably go hand in hand, since many foods that are protein-dense are also high in iron.

  • rachel
    August 14, 2015 at 10:16 am

    I love this. I struggle wiht nutrition and have found that I learned a LOT about me and my eating habits through recording my food on MFP also.

  • MCM Mama Runs
    August 14, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    I love protein, but I’m usually too lazy to make it when I’m hungry. I’ve solved that by making sure I have pre-cooked options in the fridge or freezer. I’ll pull that out, heat it up, throw it on a salad and be a happy camper.

  • Patty @ Reach Your Peak
    August 17, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    I really need to start tracking. I have no idea even how many calories I eat I just hate tracking so much!! It is such a pain bc I never do exact serving sizes and if I pack everything in the morning, I can’t just “scan” it in because I don’t have nutrition labels on me. There must be an easier way! lol

    • Janice
      August 17, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      Oh there is! I input my planned food for the day before I eat it, then if I eat less or more than I planned I adjust the quantity and fill in those treats I didn’t originally plan. It’s too late to negate the calories after you eat them, so I use it more as a planning tool.

  • Verniel Cutar
    August 26, 2015 at 12:29 am

    Hi Janice, thanks for recommending MyFitnessPal. It seems like a great insight tool to know your eating habits. I have zero idea about my eating habits, lol. But I think I agree with you about craving carbs instead of protein. Our bodies have become so used to many years of heavy carb intake. When we go moderate on the carbs and balance it out with generous protein intake, it takes a while for the body to get used to it! This is especially true when you have an active lifestyle and have a vigorous exercise routine.