Dieting fads have always come and gone – The Atkins diet, the Detox diet, the Fruitarian diet – but for all their cutting-edge gimmickry, nothing has yet challenged the traditional assessment that if we burn off more calories than we consume, we’ll lose weight.

If there’s one app on the market that’s aware of this logic, it’s My Fitness Pal.

Calories vs Exercise

Here comes the science bit, stay with us. Calories are units of potential energy, and any extra ones we don’t use during the day get stored on our body as wobbly bits. Okay, that may not actually be the scientific term, but if we consume more than we need, we put on weight. If we burn off our intake via exercise, we lose weight.

Rocket science it isn’t, but the sheer number of fad diets that exist are testament to just how difficult it can be to monitor this. Your New Year’s Resolution can breathe a sigh of relief however, because that’s where My Fitness Pal comes in.

My Fitness Pal

Getting Set Up

You can create a My Fitness Pal account on any internet based device. There’s a website for laptop or PC access, and a mobile app for your handset or tablet. With free and easy access to your data wherever you go, it’s no hassle to record your progress throughout the day.

After creating your account, the first thing you’ll be asked to input is your current stats. Let My Fitness Pal know your age, gender, height and current weight before also adding your desired weight. Don’t be shy, as My Fitness Pal needs this information to calculate your daily calorie target.

Fitness Pal Account screen

Hitting Your Goals

My Fitness Pal’s approach is simple, yet effective. Your daily target is a sensible number of calories for you to hit each day. Don’t worry, this isn’t a crash diet, so you won’t go hungry. It’s all based on realistic goals over a sensible timeframe. If you do try to starve yourself, the app will tell you to eat more. Skipping food isn’t advised; this app wants you to both eat and exercise.

With its innovative system, My Fitness Pal records everything. Let it know what you’ve consumed each day, and its extensive database of over 4 million foods will add up your calorific consumptions. From banana to big mac, you can either tap to search for the item in question, or use the helpful barcode scanner to instantly log your lunch.

My Fitness Pal Screen View

Next up, record your daily activities. With an extensive list of over 350 strength and cardiovascular exercises, you can record everything from a moderate walk to martial arts. My Fitness Pal calculates your daily performance by adding the calories consumed, subtracting the ones burned, and presenting the figure against your target. It’s a simple equation, but an invaluable one.

Make It Social

Chase a new lifestyle

You’re more likely to succeed if you get your friends involved, so add your friends to share blogs, recipes and messages. Everyone loves a little social media interaction, and wth a Facebook-style newsfeed you can motivate each other by sharing updates and trade recipes.

My Fitness Pal with Fitbit Flex

So make this year’s resolutions count, and let My Fitness Pal inspire a healthier, happier you.