Food Tracking Can Be Effortless

UH OptiWeight Blogger Meghann Featherstun, MS, RD, LD

Meghann Featherstun, MS, RD, LD

January 8th, 2013

What if there was a device that could calculate the nutritional value of everything you ate or drank on a daily basis? I envision this device as a little patch (similar to a cardiac monitoring lead) that magically senses and calculates every morsel of food that hits your stomach and then tells you how much more food you can eat for the day to meet your weight loss goals. This could effortless change how we eat forever. I have dreamt of just this for far more years than I wish to admit (which is probably fitting given that I became a dietitian.) If anyone can help me with this, I promise to share in the millions that we could rake in! But, as you all know… This is a pipe dream! I digress about this for a moment to affirm that we have found the next best thing, and I’ll let you in on a little secret. It’s FREE! Be sure to set up your account at or download the app on your smart phone or iPad/tablet.

Step one in your journey to optimal weight in the UH OptiWeight program is setting up your account at myfitnesspal (MFP). Next, you need to start logging everything you eat and drink. Studies show that people who log what they eat lose TWICE as much weight as those who do not. This can be the key to you meeting or falling short of your weight loss goals over the next 12 weeks. This user friendly website/app has an extensive database including fast food, restaurants, prepackaged foods, raw foods, cooked foods, and even Sodexo’s food items in our cafeteria. And the handy dandy scanning function on your smart phone turns any UPC code into the quickest logging tool you could ask for. (Arguably even quicker than our dream device discussed above!) In the year that I have been using MFP, there has only been one food that was not in the database! I’m impressed. (Note: you can add that food to the database for future use. Genius!)

If the database isn’t enough to sell you on MFP, then the meticulous and instantaneous report of your nutrition for at that point in time will sell you. At any given time, you can see how many calories you have left to eat for the day. And, you can see how many grams of protein, fat, sugar, sodium, etc you have consumed. It’s truly incredible! If I haven’t convinced you to give it a try, maybe this NY Times article can. Happy food tracking!

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