I have started diets many times before like Atkins, Whole 30, 21 Day Fix, always having a bit of dread. Anyone else experience the same thing? I am eager each time I start because I want to loose weight. But the dread comes from the fact I do not have a good grasp or understanding of how to eat for each of these diets.
It takes a bit of education and a lot of Pinteresting before I feel comfortable. The Ketogenic diet was no different. I knew you ate fat, lots of fat, more fat and very little carbs. I knew that there was a certain number of grams you needed to stay under (20g of net carbs) but no clue how to get to that number. All of it was a little overwhelming….actually a lot overwhelming.
On an 8 hour drive back from Kansas, I pinned recipes, tips, and tricks, anything that would help me get more comfortable. In doing so I stumbled across the Under Armor “MyFitnessPal” app and it soon became my best friend managing my macros, calculating net carbs and keeping me on track.
It was a bit tricky to learn at first but I have provided some tips and tricks below. If you are new to the Ketogenic diet, I would read this and this first before starting with the “MyFitnessPal” app.
Open the app and create an account. Once you create an account, you will be prompted to enter information like your goals, activity level, demographics, weight, height and more. You will then end up on the home screen. Like any typical home page this is where you can navigate to all important features of the app.
The first place to begin is by going to the more section.
From here, select the “Goals” section. And you will be led to this page where you should select “Calorie & Macronutrient Goals” under the Nutritional Goals section.
The next screen will show you the “default” goals that the My Fitness Pal app sets for every new user. Interestingly, you will see that the daily intake for carbohydrates is 50% or 162g which follows the traditional American diet of high carb intake. Don’t freak out when you realize that you are going to be eating 140g less than the American typical diet. It is much easier than you think.
This is where you will adjust the Macros to make sure that you are sticking to the Keto diet guidelines of 20g of net carbs/day. Select carbohydrates and you can adjust the percentages to the ones you were given when you completed the Keto Calculator. Carbs should be ~5% of your diet or around 20g. Protein should represent 15% to 25% and Fat should consist of 65% to 85% of what you eat.
Go back to the home page and let’s enter your first meal by selecting the + button.
You will be prompted to this screen where you can add anything from your water intake, exercise and more. I was only interested in using this app to help me manage my Keto diet so I stuck with the Food icon.
“Select a Meal” from either Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner or Snacks which will lead you to the page below. Since you are just beginning, enter your food item in the “Search for Food” section.
What I love most about this app are the pre-prompted food items. You can search for your food item amongst the list. If it is not in the list, I will show you how to create your own food item shortly. For this example, I selected Trader Joe’s Smoked Salmon.
After making your selection, you can view the nutrient section of the food item and adjust your number of servings to calculate your macros properly. Additionally, you will see nutrient information below listing out the nutrition facts. I really only focused on the Fat, Protein and Carb section.
Scroll down to view the entire nutrition facts. When selecting the pre-promted food items, you have to take note that the app is not going to calculate the net carbs for you. Luckily, Smoked Salmon doesn’t have any Dietary Fiber so my net carbs will be calculated correctly. But, if you enter a pre-promoted food item that has carbs and dietary fiber numbers listed, my recommendation is to add it in as your own food item.
Go back to where you entered your food item to start with. Below you will see a button called “Create a Food”. Select that button and enter all the nutrition facts for your food item. These are all found on the nutrition label. For the carb section you are going to have to enter the net carbs instead of the total carbs that are listed on the nutrition facts. Take total carbs minus dietary fiber to calculate the net carbs and enter. I usually label the food item Keto – (whatever the food item is). That way I know that this is the Keto version of the food item where I calculated the net carbs correctly.
After entering your food item, you can see what the macro makeup of your food diary looks like. Select “Diary” under the home page and scroll to the bottom. There you will find a button called “Nutrition”. Click on it.
The nutrition section gives you breakdowns of calories, nutrients and macros. Click the macro section and you will be taken to the macros makeup of what you have eaten that day.
This was my favorite part of the app because it shows you the breakdown of your fat, protein and carb intake. Plus, it calculates how many grams of carbs you have eaten. As you enter in more food, you will see the breakdown of the macros and can adjust your food intake throughout the day. Smoked Salmon is extremely high in protein but since this was my first food of the day, I know I can plan on eating more fat as the day progresses to ensure my fat intake increases to 75% of what I consume. Good news is I have only eaten 2g of net carbs and have 18g left in my day.
*Please ensure you are calculating net carbs. If you are not calculating net carbs, your numbers to be off. If you need help with this section, reach out to me directly and I will walk you through this process.
Anyone else have favorite apps they use for their diets?