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How to Set Goals with a Nutrition App

Photograph of a scale, apple and measuring tape.

Image by TeroVesalainen from Pixabay.

In March, Emory medical students continued their nutrition course series at CVI with a class on individual nutrition goals and plans. Emory students sat down with clients to register and begin working with MyFitnessPal. MyFitnessPal is a great (FREE) app that will help keep a record of the food you eat and the activity you do in order to keep you on track with your weight goals. Follow their steps below to get started:

  1. First, input your height, weight, sex, and age into MyFitnessPal to understand your individual calorie needs (this varies based on sex, age, weight, and general activity level). For example, a 50-year-old male weighing 150 lbs at 5’7” needs about 1800 calories to maintain a constant weight with a sedentary lifestyle. A 50-year-old female weighing 120 lbs at 5’3” needs only 1350 calories.
  2. Next, establish your weight goals. If you’re trying to gain or lose weight, experts recommend a goal of /- 1 pound per week. 1 pound is equivalent to about 3500 calories, or about 500 calories per day. In other words, if you’re trying to lose a pound per week, eat 500 fewer calories than you burn per day.
  3. Next, enter in the foods you eat. MyFitnessPal will calculate how many calories (and major nutrients) you get from these foods. Remember to be as specific as possible! 1 bowl of dry cereal is not the same as 1 bowl of dry cereal with a cup of whole milk and strawberries.
  4. If you exercise that day, MyFitnessPal will keep track of that too! It will estimate and subtract the calories you burn from activity from your daily goal.