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First, a little background: I'm a 5'9" ish 22 years old student and I believe I'm somewhere around 5-10 pounds over the weight I'd like to maintain. I used to do a lot of sports, especially long distance (marathon scale) running and well be generally a lot healthier.

However, due to a string of accidents leaving my right knee and left wrist in no shape to be used thoroughly. I also started spending a lot more time sitting in front of the computer mainly because that's what I'm studying.

Now, to the fun part: My wrist has been feeling a lot better and I just got the OK from my doctor to start running again as my knee is in way better shape. I'm really motivated in getting my shape back up to where it was but I'm lacking the proper organization (my good shape used to come naturally as I was running a lot and practicing martial arts and swimming).

Therefore, I'm looking for a tool (maybe web/computer/iOS based or just a methodology) that would help me plan my diet and my exercise program. A couple key things are standing out for me:

  • It needs to be able to tell me as precisely as possible what I should cook and eat. This is the most important part for me as I have no experience in the kitchen whatsoever and it's the area of my health I'm sure I need the most help with. I can not stress this enough (even if I find it a little sad), I'm sure once I'm started, I'll be able to maintain a healthy diet for a long time.

  • I'd like it if it was able to compare my calorie intake/calories burned.

Thank you very much.

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My gym (Lifetime Fitness) has such a tool for members. Although I'm not always a fan of what it produces. Too much variety making it impossible to make efficient use of your grocery money on the food, and too much emphasis on the machines. –  Berin Loritsch Sep 13 '11 at 12:15
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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

On my iPhone I have RunKeeper and MyFitnessPal.

Run Keeper is great because it tracks via GPS where you have run, elevation, time and also provides an estimate on the calories burned. It also helps track a variety of different activities e.g. cycling, running, walking etc.

Preamble: I do not work for or benefit from MyFitnessPal, it's a free app on the iTunes store and so far has a 5 star rating and hundreds of positive reviews. I just like it a lot.

MyFitnessPal is awesome, I can't say enough good things about it. It revolves around a daily diary which reflects your calorie target for the day at the top. You enter what you eat and the number of calories is adjusted accordingly. It also allows you to enter exercise records which you can bring across from RunKeeper (manually). Calories from exercise are also reflected in the daily total.

The other great thing about MyFitnessPal is you can scan barcodes of products that you are eating, it has thousands of products in the database and it is all free. So if I am eating yoghurt I just scan the barcode, enter the serving size and the calories are automically included as the item is added to the daily diary. The diary is also split into different meal times, snacks etc.

It won't tell you exactly what to eat, however, you can easily search the database of meals, pick out something that is tasty and meets your calorie target and cook that. I eat a lot of traditional Chinese meals and the database has so far had everything.

You can also save a particular group of foods e.g. your breakfast and re-use it later without having to enter the items over again or copy from one date to another. This is particularly useful for myself who eats almost the same meal every day for breakfast.

I have only just discovered MyFitnessPal, but it's so easy to use and works well.

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Those are almost exactly what I was looking for. I'm probably going to get help to develop a meal plan and enter it all in MyFitnessPal. Thanks a lot. –  pwny Sep 14 '11 at 18:40
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I believe you're looking for a personal dietitian. There are few tools that can replace that kind of skill and education. There are some incredibly strict diets that do dictate every meal, but most people fail with them because they quickly find portions they don't like and it falls apart from there.

If you really need the structure of a planned diet and you don't want to hire a personal consultant, you could pick-up an old Weight Watchers or other national diet plan and flip to the maintenance section. They often have example meals that you could take as your plan.

As for using a calories in/out calculator, those are just guides and it would be better to monitor your body to see if you need an over all increase or decrease. Trying to plan out by individual day activity isn't practical.

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Thank you for your answer, I was hoping to avoid the dietitian but it might not be possible. Also, my issue is more that I don't know what meal I should cook, it's really not a portion issue as I naturally don't eat a lot. I'm really just a failure at making food so I don't eat so healthy. –  pwny Sep 13 '11 at 17:48
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