MyFitnessPal has become extremely popular thanks to features that help users keep themselves accountable and stay motivated as they eat healthier and lose weight. While the application does a great job of reminding you to log the food you eat in order to keep track of your calories, there is one incredibly useful feature that doesn't get much attention.
If you feel like you're not motivated enough to continue using MyFitnessPal, you need to take advantage of the "Complete Diary" feature, which estimates how much you would weigh five weeks into the future if you continued eating that way. The thinking here is if you see a clear path to betterment, you'll be more likely to follow through — and that's backed up by science. Here's what you need to know about using this unique feature every day.
Before you can complete your diary, you must do a good job of logging all of the food and beverages you have consumed through the day, including beer, snacks, hot sauce, dressing, and anything else you intake. You do this by tapping on the big plus sign (+) at the bottom of MyFitnessPal's main menu, selecting the meal, choosing the meal times, and searching for what you consume.
To make things a bit easier, you can scan the food item's barcode instead of searching through the massive database — you'll also get more accurate results and serving sizes this way. Once you've found a food item, make sure to choose the correct serving, then tap the check mark in the top-right corner to add it to your diary.
Once your diary is thoroughly (and honestly) filled out for the day, go to the bottom of the Diary tab and tap on "Complete Diary." MyFitnessPal will ask if you want to complete your diary for the day. If you're ready, tap on "Complete Diary" again to confirm.
Once you've done that, you'll be presented with a five-week projection of your weight change, using your current weight as a starting point. It assumes that for the next five weeks, you'll be eating the same as the day you just completed.
It's also important to note that women must consume 1,200+ calories and men 1,500+ calories if you want a projection; anything lower and you may either get a message alerting you of underrating or not receive a projection at all.
Every day you can complete your diary to see if you're on track. If you've had a rough day, seeing a message such as this can be the motivation you need to keep going, so it's best you take advantage of this feature.
This article was produced during Gadget Hacks' annual Health & Fitness special coverage. Read all of the Health & Fitness series.