30-Day Get Lean in 2018 Challenge Day 2: How to Get Your Weight Loss on Track

Katie using MyPlate Cal Tracker
Check out the MyPlate app to track calories consumed and burned. (Image: Kristen Schellenberg / LIVESTRONG.COM)

Look at you, already on day 2! You’re visualizing your goals and ready to make lasting changes to help you reach and maintain them.

But we get it; you have a busy life. Between work and personal commitments, you’re plate is pretty full. That’s where the LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate Calorie Tracker comes in — to keep track of everything on your plate (literally).

Inputting your daily caloric intake an expenditure is a good way to make sure you're eating just the right amount of food, as well as correctly diversifying your macronutrients — protein, carbohydrates and fat.

This is especially essential if you're trying to lose weight. In fact, a 2013 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that mobile apps help boost weight-loss efforts when used as part of a comprehensive strategy.

How to Use the MyPlate Calorie Tracker

LIVESTRONG.COM’s MyPlate Calorie Tracker — available on desktop and for iOS and Android devices — helps you track everything from your meals and beverages to workouts and BMI changes.

One of LIVESTRONG.COM's biggest success stories, Ashley Donahoo, lost 137 pounds using the MyPlate Calorie Tracker. Check out her nine tips on using the app to get lean.

Get the Most from Your Calorie Tracking

New to tracking? Once you get the lay of the land within the MyPlate app, you'll want some insider tips to get the most from your food-tracking efforts. Here are a few helpful ideas to get you started:

  1. First of all, be honest about everything that you eat and put it into the app. It won't help you lose any weight if you're not 100-percent honest with yourself. If you overindulge one day, track it! It's a way to keep yourself accountable and not let one "bad" day throw you off track.
  2. Input all your go-to healthy recipes ahead of time so that when meal time rolls around, you aren't spending a ton of time inputting everything. Do this from the "My Food" tab. Click "Create New Food" and add all the ingredients individually. Save with the name of the recipe and refer to it every time you eat it.
  3. Turn on notifications in the app so that you get daily reminders to track each of your meals. From your Account, click Settings, and then Daily Reminders. From there, you can turn on notifications for up to three meals a day and customize which time you'd like to get those notifications.
  4. Try a new recipe that's already in MyPlate. There are hundreds of recipes from dietitians on our site and thousands more from the MyPlate community. You can try high-protein breakfasts that aren't eggs, easy and savory oatmeal recipes for any time of day or dessert swaps to satisfy your sweet tooth.
  5. Find a pre-made meal plan that suits your dietary needs. If you have an iOS device, you can access our vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, gluten-free or omnivore meal plans designed by nutritionist Keri Glassman for our STRONGER program. Just look for the icon in the bottom navigation bar.
  6. Track your water intake. If you're using MyPlate, there's a button right next to your meals, exercise and weight where you can keep yourself accountable to drinking enough water throughout the day. Water intake is important for so many reasons, especially when you're trying to lose weight, since thirst can often be confused for hunger.
  7. Be sure to track your exercise, too! If you're tracking all the calories you consume, make sure you're tracking all the calories you're burning as well. That will give you a better idea if you're eating the right amount to match the exercise you're doing. After all, under-eating can be just as detrimental to your weight-loss efforts as overeating.
  8. Sync your MyPlate app to either your iOS Health Kit or fitness tracker to automatically track your daily steps and calories burned. That way, you won't have to manually input the calories you burn by walking around every day.

How to Join the 30-Day Get Lean in 2018 Challenge

using a smartphone to track calories eaten on the MyPlate app
Tracking is easy with MyPlate. (Image: LIVESTRONG.COM)
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