As you may know, I’m trying to get my healthy living game back on track.  I’ve found there are a myriad of tools that are available free of charge to help keep you on your A game.

My favorite tracking site by far is “My Fitness Pal.”  It’s available as an app for your phone or accessible as a website.  If you use both, like I do, they sync automatically, so no need to worry about multiple entries.

I started on my phone, but with these aging eyeballs, I prefer the larger screen of my laptop.  Plus, I find it quicker for me to type and navigate throughout the site.  Those of you who grew up in the texting generation will have no problem using the app.

You get started by answering a few questions about yourself.  Age, activity level, current weight, goals, etc.  You’ll then be given a recommended number of calories, fats, proteins, sodium and sugars for your daily intake.

A daily log is then created to record your meals, water intake and activities.  You get caloric credits for exercises performed.  That’s right, more food :)

You’ll find entries get easier the more you use it.  The tracker stores all of your entries.  This means less researching items for either your food or exercise journal.  It pulls up your previous entries so you can quickly check off items to add to your journal.

A few nice perks:

* If an items isn’t in the app, it has a barcode scanner.  With a smart phone, you can scan any item and the app will pull up its information.  Not everything is in there, but damn near close.

* There’s a recipe calculator.  Here you can enter your ingredients and number of servings and you’ll be given all the nutritional information you need for your entry.

* The app syncs with most fitness trackers such as Fitbit, apps like Map My Run, Expresso exercise equipment and the Withings Wi-Fi Scale, which I have connected, so no need to login my daily weight.  There are many other apps available for syncing, making your recording process that much easier.

To help me with accuracy, I purchased a food scale for a mere $15 at my fav Costco.

One huge thing I’ve noticed in my eating habits is that I may be eating well, but I’m eating waaaay too much!  Thanks to that food scale, I can prepare my meals in the appropriate portion.

The tracker also helps me make smarter choices as I try to stay within my allotted calories.  If it’s nearing the end of the day and I don’t have many calories left, I’ll opt for a filling, higher protein meal.  The only time I was really hungry was the first 3 or 4 days.  It takes that much time to really get into the hang of recording your meals and adjusting to your new reduced caloric intake.

The thing is, you’re not depriving yourself, you’re eating what you’re supposed to.  It’s easy to get used to that.

The app is most effective when you enter your food as you go along.  You don’t want to get to the end of your day only to see that you’ve gone overboard.

At the end of your day when you complete your entries, the tracker will tell you how many weeks it will take you to get to your goal if you continue to eat and exercise the way you did that day.  Pretty cool huh?

Whether your goal is better nutrition or greater fitness levels, this online tool is a no brainer!