I used MyFitnessPal to log my meals. The app helps you set
a daily calorie goal and automatically subtracts calories burned
from exercise using data measured by your Apple Watch. If
your goal is to consume 2,000 calories per day and you eat
2,300 calories in a day and burn 350 calories from exercise,
then you’ve still hit your goal.
Thanks to HealthKit compatibility, you can share data that
you enter into MyFitnessPal with Apple’s Health app, which
can become a wealth of information as you collect more data.
I’ve been a junk food addict for 25 years (growing up on
Southern cuisine hasn’t helped), but in April, I gave up soda
and sweet tea for water and unsweetened tea and started
drinking my morning coffee black. I also traded snacking and
oversized fast food meals for consistent and more considered
breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.
The trick to dieting for me has been to go easy on myself.
I used to eat junk food all the time and occasionally have a
healthy meal, but that didn’t make me healthy. Now I try to
eat better every day and enjoying junk food in moderation
doesn’t define my diet.
Meal logging sounds like a lot of work, but you probably
Step 3: Weigh In with a Smart Scale
eat the same foods routinely, which makes the process pretty
simple. MyFitnessPal and similar apps also have nice databas-
es of nutritional information for lots of foods. This has helped
me be more thoughtful about my eating habits. If I couldn’t
put a number on my eating habits, I might severely overesti-
mate how much I’m eating and diet all wrong. Instead, I can
see when I have room for a Pokémon Go frappe without miss-
ing my goal. It’s key for me to be able to gauge how much
effort I should make without thinking I have to do something
unsustainable to be healthier.
I’ve also found that weighing regularly has been very motivating. While weighing weekly is usually recommended, I like
stepping on a scale daily so I can view the most data and see
patterns (up and down but over time way down). I wake up
every morning, put on my Apple Watch, weigh in, then use
that number to either feel good about my progress or push
myself a little more while keeping the big-picture progress in
mind. I started with a basic scale and entered data manually
each day; then I upgraded a few months ago to a smart scale
that adds the data automatically using HealthKit.
Step 4: Build a Streak
I honestly never thought I could lose 50 pounds when I
started in April—especially by the end of the year—but using the Apple Watch to build a routine and quantify my effort
helped make it possible. Starting a streak in the Activity app
especially helped me keep the momentum going.
Zac’s family photo in December 2014 (top) and December 2016.
Zac weighed 211 on April 1 and 157 on December 31.