MyFitnessPal vs. WeightWatchers — A Review of Sorts

Photo May 30, 8 28 29 PM
Positive Feedback in MyFitnessPal’s iPhone App

Weight Lost this Week:  2.6 Pounds.

Paying attention to what I’m eating and getting some exercise has made a difference. I’m down 2.6 pounds since last weigh in on WeightWatchers a week ago. That being said, I’m really thinking that I’ll be moving to MyFitnessPal.com as my nutrition and exercise diary. I started using it this week and there’s a lot to like about it.

It’s free

Yes, there are a ton of adds on the site which are mildly irritating. And, yes, the site could use some design help in a serious way, but it’s usable and I have a tendency to tune out adds when I’m on a site anyway.

It’s data rich

One of the things that Weight Watchers had going for it in the beginning of my journey was that I was familiar with it and it simplified things with the PointsPlus tracking method. I didn’t have to keep track of calories, fat, protein, carbs, vitamins, etc for everything that I put into it. That made it easy.

However, as I’ve spent more time learning about my health, I’ve found that I’d like more of this information. I still don’t want to track it, but I want to see it. And that should be easy too. It should be built into the system and visible to the user. I should be able to scan anything with my iPhone and get all the information about it.

It’s got a great iPhone App

WeightWatchers has a scanner app, but the back-end database for the scanner app seems to be missing a lot. Easily, 1 out of 4 times I use it, the item can’t be found. And I’ve only tried it on common foods, not obscure or local foods. The hit rate would probably be worse if I used it on everything.

MyFitnessPal.com has a great app, with the scanner built-in, and a great database (data rich) that seems to be able to find everything. I tried it out on some of the more esoteric items in my pantry and it found all of them. There hasn’t been a miss yet. It even had the bottle of White Oak by the Bruery that I had in the fridge. That’s powerful.

It is more realistic about exercise

Maybe this one is just me, but it seems like I’m getting more realistic information about how my exercise translates into calories burned (more that I can eat) with MyFitnessPal.com than with WeightWatchers. This could be because I actually get a calorie count rather than an obscure points value that I don’t fully understand. But there’s more to it – Granularity. In WeightWatchers, there are basically 2 categories for cycling, one equates to medium and one to high levels of intensity. In MyFitnesPal.com there are 6, bases on speeds, and then separate categories for stationary bikes and mountain biking.

Conclusion

Both of these solutions are good in their own ways. I do think MyFitnessPal has an edge on WeightWatchers when it comes to their database of food, at least when it comes to the foods I’m eating. However, WeightWatchers makes it easy to calculate points if you have three data points on the food (fat, protien, carbs).

It seems to me that if you’re the kind of person who geeks out on data points, MyFitnessPal is the way to go. If you’re someone who just needs a simplified interface and doesn’t mind not having all the data WeightWatchers may be a good choice.

5 thoughts on “MyFitnessPal vs. WeightWatchers — A Review of Sorts

  1. I really love MFP for tracking food and exercise! The iphone app is better than the website, in my opinion, and I love the fact that you can also input recipes from the app now where you used to just have to enter them into the website. I agree that it is very data rich and the exercise break downs are great for running too, especially on the treadmill where I can input my speed and get a more accurate calorie count. I like to have additional data too, and I like that I can track my sugar, for example, on MFP. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

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    1. Robbs-

      Thanks for the comment. I agree that the app is better than the website. If I hadn’t used the App first, I probably wouldn’t have started using the service. I’m really amazed by the scanner functionality, it works almost 100% of the time, which is awesome and eye opening. Has made me stop and think before opening a few regular items!

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  2. MFP seems to have no adverts. Indeed, when you stated that it did, I went to check. At least on my version in the UK it hasn’t any ads.
    One bone of contention with MFP – it is too generous with the calories that it says one burns with exercise. I would say they are at least 50% too generous. If I’d believed their guide for calories burned I would now have lost something like 40 pounds in 9 weeks and not 20 pounds.

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    1. Thanks for the comment. On the iOS apps, there are no ads, but on the website (US) there are plenty of ads. Still, it’s workable. This could be a difference between the US and UK, don’t know.

      I am finding that the caloric burn is about what I expected – and roughly translates to the WW burn. For example, if I ride my bike at 14-16mph MFP says I’ve burned ~1000 calories. WW would have scored this at about 21 points. In either case, that equates to about half a day’s intake.

      That being said, I’m supposedly at a 8K calorie deficit this week due to my biking and I’m up .2 lbs (could be water, could be muscle, could be a lot of things).

      At the end of the day, I’m trending down and I feel good about that.

      Good luck with your weight loss journey.

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  3. I initially tried weight watchers because I wanted to quit smoking and knew I would gain weight in the process. I did WW + the Lady Soma Detox – the combination of both – and I lost 30 pounds and went from a size 16 to a size 10. I quit smoking. The WW + Lady Soma Detox is the easiest program to follow !!

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