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October 7, 2014

MyFitnessPal: Updated and Better Integrated

This popular diet and activity tracker is now easier and more useful to help you get and stay in shape.

Now that October is here, the holidays are right around the corner (yes, already!). And holiday celebrations center on food, glorious food, which makes sticking to a healthy diet and workout plan especially challenging.

Luckily, the MyFitnessPal app for Windows Phone 8 and above has recently been updated (version 2.1.4) to help you stick to the straight and narrow, at least when it comes to your health.

As former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is fond of saying, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”

The app–which tracks calories, fitness activity such as cycling, and sleep–now also plays well with some third-party devices and apps such as Fitbit, so you can get a more complete picture of how active you are.

So without further ado, here are some MyFitnessPal (MFP) features you should know about:

Barcode Scanning: If you eat pre-packaged foods like cereal or soup, there’s no need for manual recording. Instead, tap the barcode sign next to the Search bar and scan the item’s barcode. Ta-da! The app will recognize the item (MFP has more than three million food and liquid items in its database) and input calories and nutritional content for you.


Up-to-date Live Tiles: I love this feature. At any time of day, MFP’s Live Tile shows at a glance how many calories you have left within your daily allotment and how many extra calories you get from running, walking, cycling or other physical movement. For example, right now, MFP is telling me that I can consume 840 more calories, and that I netted 560 calories after completing a 7-mile morning run.

Third-Party Integration: The app integrates well with third-party devices and other apps such as Fitbit. Pairing is painless: For Fitbit, download the Windows Phone Fitbit app if you haven’t already, sign in, and the MFP app will automatically sync with the Fitbit app and your Fitbit device. For a complete list of apps and devices such as activity trackers and heart-rate monitors that sync with MyFitnessPal, go here.

Push Notifications: We all need support when it comes to staying healthy, and the app makes that easy by alerting you when friends cheer you on and comment on your progress.

Voice Command: Log your food–hands-free! Let’s say you want to add your breakfast oatmeal to the in-app food journal. From your phone’s Start screen, press and hold the Windows button. When the microphone pops up, say “MyFitnessPal, add breakfast,” then tap “Go.”

The app will open and will ask what you want to add. Say “oatmeal” and tap “Go.” You’re then given a plethora of oatmeal options. Tap the one you want and MFP will add it to your food journal. Easy-peasy.

Note: This is a handy little feature, but usability seems to depend on which Lumia you have. For example, Voice Command works well with my Lumia Icon, but not with my Lumia 521.

Do you use MyFitnessPal? If you’ve paired it with third-party devices, please let us know!