Get the Most Out of Your Premium MyFitnessPal – Must Use Premium MyFitnessPal Features

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With the Sweat 6-week challenge that started June 6, all participants get the premium version of MyFitnessPal for free for three months! The premium MyFitnessPal features can really take your nutrition logging to the next level.

I have been using the premium version for a few years now, and am familiar with the premium features. Below are my favorite premium features that make it worth the cost.

Do Not Adjust Calorie Goals Based on Exercise

Okay, I love fitness trackers (I have had a Fitbit since 2013), but their estimation of calories burned is way off. WAY off. If you adjust your total calorie intake based on what your fitness tracker is telling you, you’re going to be shooting yourself in the foot.

Instead, set your calorie goal based on your estimated average calorie expenditure, and don’t eat more based on what your fitness tracker is telling you.

With the premium MyFitnessPal features, you can make sure your total calorie goal for the day does not adjust when you work out.

Stop having your calories increased based on exercise
Turn off exercise calories
  1. Click on the yellow crown in the top right corner of the app. These are your premium features
  2. Click on Exercise Calorie Settings
  3. Under “When I log an exercise,” toggle off “Increase my daily calorie goal”

Make Your Logging Less Calorie Focused

One of the best parts of premium MyFitnessPal is that you don’t have to be 100% calorie focused in your dashboard and daily overview.

I find focusing on calories adds more stress and feelings of guilt. While calories are important, being able to focus on working up to something (getting enough protein, getting enough potassium, or other goals) really helps me mentally not feel like a failure when I go over my limit.

It also makes it much easier to be mindful about the things you care about instead of needing to click multiple extra times to get to the screen that shows your macro and micronutrient progress.

There are two settings in the premium MyFitnessPal features for this, and the settings are located in two different places:

  1. Your home screen dashboard (shown when you log in or go to the home screen) can be adjusted from the Premium Features section
  2. Your daily diary (shown when you’re reviewing your daily foods and exercise logged) is adjusted from the Settings
Calorie-focused daily diary
Macro-focused daily diary

Having them separate does mean you can have two different overviews. For instance, you could have your home screen be more focused on micronutrients and your diary view to be focused on macro nutrients.

Set up your MyFitnessPal home screen to be less calorie focused
  1. Click on the yellow crown in the top right corner of the app (these are your premium features)
  2. Click on Home Screen Dashboard
  3. Select your desired information (I suggest Macronutrients Focused or Custom)
  4. If you chose Custom, select 3 nutrients and save. I would recommend showing protein and two micronutrients, such as potassium and iron.

If you worry about feeling emotional about the numbers, I suggest choosing protein and two micronutrients that have no stigma attached. Don’t pick sugar or trans fat or any other micronutrient that has a negative connotation, or an overly positive connotation like fiber. When you select micronutrients that have an emotional feeling attached to them, you will subconsciously focus on them and try to change your eating habits based around them. I suggest protein because it’s so critical for muscle growth and retention that I do want to bring awareness to how much protein you’re eating.

Set up your MyFitnessPal diary to be less calorie focused

Now your home screen won’t be exclusively showing you your calorie intake, yay! Next, let’s make the same (or similar) changes for your diary

  1. Click on More in the bottom right
  2. Select Settings
  3. Click on Diary Settings
  4. Select Customize Nutrient Dashboard
  5. Choose your desired information (I suggest Macronutrients Focused or Custom)
  6. If you chose Custom, select 3 nutrients and save

Now when you go to log your meals and look through past days, you won’t see everything in terms of calories

Show Macros by Meal

This is definitely one of my favorite premium MyFitnessPal features. Under each meal, you can see your macro breakdown by either percentage (percentage of calories from each macro for that meal) or grams. I prefer looking at grams personally because I’m aiming to get a certain number of grams of protein each day, but you can easily toggle between the two views by tapping on them.

Turn on displaying macros by meal in MyFitnessPal
  1. Click on the yellow crown in the top right corner of the app
  2. Click on Carbs, Protein and Fat by Meal
  3. Toggle on Show Carbs, Protein and Fat by Meal

Now when you view your diary, you will see the macros broken out for each meal. Tap on the macros to toggle between percentage and grams.

Also, did you know that a non-premium feature is to customize your meal names and number of meals? I use this to have Breakfast, Morning Snacks, Lunch, Afternoon Snacks, Dinner, and Evening Snacks to keep a log on my snacking.

Log When You Eat

You may have noticed above that I am logging the times that I eat.

If you want to do some real analysis on your eating habits and how much you eat during different times of the day, this is a great one. With the premium MyFitnessPal premium, you have the ability to have a timestamp for not just you meals, but each food. If you’re logging when you snack and you snack multiple times in the afternoon, you can assign a time to each snack but log them under the same meal bucket.

Track the times for your food
  1. Click on the yellow crown in the top right corner of the app
  2. Click on Food Timestamps
  3. Toggle on Show Food Timestamps

Export Your MyFitnessPal Data

Speaking of data analysis, one of the best features is the ability to export your data. While there are some free tools and workarounds to export some of your MyFitnessPal data, this is by far the easiest way to do it. You can download years worth of data with a single click. The CSV file will be emailed to you.

Export your MyFitnessPal data
  1. Click on the yellow crown in the top right corner of the app
  2. Click on Export Your Information
  3. Select the Date Range and click Export My Information
  4. Wait for the results to be emailed

You will receive an email with a link to download the file. The file will be a ZIP file with three CSV files inside: Exercise Summary, Measurement Summary (this includes things like weight, steps, and any measurements you’re taking), and Nutrition Summary.

The Nutrition Summary is summarized at the meal and time level, meaning that if you have two groups of foods logged at different times within the same meal, the file will include two different line items for that meal, one for each time. In the example below, you can see that Afternoon Snacks on 6/9/2020 is listed twice, one for each timestamp.

Sample nutrition summary export from MyFitnessPal

Unfortunately, MyFitnessPal does not allow you to export on a food level. If you want to do that, you’ll have to go through a third-party work around.

Explore Other Premium Features

I don’t use all of the premium features, but MyFitnessPal has been continuing to roll out new premium features, like the ability to set goals by meal or set goals by day of the week. Explore the settings (free and premium) and make it work for you.

There are also plenty of free features that I love

I already mentioned re-naming your meals and creating additional meals, and here are some other ways I suggest using MyFitnessPal:

  • Add friends on MyFitnessPal so you can cheer each other on
  • Share your diary with friends so you can give others meal ideas
  • Create or import recipes to easily determine the nutrition for each portion of a homemade meal
  • If you’re having trouble searching for a food, try searching on the desktop website instead. For some reason, the desktop website’s search capabilities are better at finding exact matches.
  • Connect your Fitbit to sync data between systems (the Fitbit website will also allow you to download some MyFitnessPal data that synced to Fitbit)
  • Leverage the world’s largest food database (just make sure what you’re selecting is accurate)

What are your favorite MyFitnessPal features?

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