Weening off (and finally deleting) MyFitnessPal food tracking app was the HARDEST part of my intuitive eating journey. But realizing the extent of my obsession with it made me fully accept that I had an eating disorder.
Even after I stopped carb cycling, I would come up with every excuse as to why I needed MyFitnessPal. How tracking would confirm I was eating enough calories and carbohydrates. How if I ever discovered a new food sensitivity or allergy, I would be able to show first-responders and my doctor precisely what I had eaten…every single day…for years. This was just a huge, complicated lie I told myself though to justify my obsessive behavior. I wanted the proof that I was in control of my food, when really, food had complete control over me.
Tracking my food via MyFitnessPal (and before that, LoseIt, and before that, Weight Watchers App) was close to what I imagine an addiction is. I was always trying to justify my behavior (thankfully, diet culture makes that pretty easy) and struggled to break the habit. It seemed impossible to give it up. Until I promised myself baby steps and focused on growth over perfection
Here are 3 ways you can ween yourself off MyFitnessPal (or LoseIt, Weight Watchers App, or any other calorie/macro tracker.)
1. Delete the food tracking app cold turkey!
Deleting the app straight away is baller and I’m so impressed if you can just rip the bandaid off like this. If you still have an urge to track though, go old-school in a journal. Write your food down (no calories or macros though!) with pen & paper for as long as it takes until the urge passes.
I will also admit that—with the approval of my therapist—when I’m having a moment of anxiety and feel out of control, I still sometimes write down what I ate that day. Or I list my food in my head while taking deep breaths. It’s similar to a grounding exercise. These moments have become rarer and rarer the further into my intuitive eating journey I get.
2. Pick one day of the week where you don’t track your food at all.
I typically recommend skipping Sundays at first when taking this approach to ween my clients off MyFitnessPal. After a couple of weeks of skipping one full day of tracking, you can slowly add in more days where you don’t track. The goal is to eventually skip 5-7 days of tracking. At that point you should be ready to delete the app.
3. Only track main food of meals—not condiments, snacks, drinks or sides.
Another approach for reducing your reliance on MyFitnessPal, is to stop tracking each and every morsel. Instead scale back by only tracking the main portion (e.g. hamburger patty or pasta). It gives the illusion that your frequency of the app hasn’t changed, but it’s shifting your mindset on what’s “important” to track. Once you get comfortable reducing the foods that you’re tracking, you can begin skipping one entire meal each day—like not tracking breakfast all all. The goal is to eventually work your way down to only tracking one meal/day, before finally deleting the app.
I personally took this approach to weening off MyFitnessPal food tracking app at first, because it helped reduce my obsession of needing to calculate every single leaf of lettuce, squirt of mustard or pickle. When I no longer needed to track each crumb, it gave me the freedom to stop measuring each food item as well.
The benefits of weening off MyFitnessPal food tracking app.
Make no mistake. It can feel REALLY hard to ween off MyFitnessPal or any other food tracker when you’ve become accustomed to tracking each calorie and/or balancing your macros. Diet culture has tried to normalize this behavior—but it’s very much disordered. We weren’t meant to keep food diaries because it puts too much emphasis on how food choices equal weight loss; gives a classification of food (good versus bad); and overwrites our intuition on what our body needs.
Food tracking apps have no way of knowing what your body actually needs. Only you have the God-given ability to know what your body needs—through you intuition. Here are some of the benefits of weening off of MyFitnessPal:
- Increased self-awareness of hunger.
- Increased self-awareness of fullness.
- Ability to listen to your body’s needs and desires versus trying to fit your macros/calories into a pre-determined amount.
- No longer allowing a computer to decide how much more you’re “allowed” to eat
- Increased enjoyment of food.
- Reduction of stress and anxiety around food.
- No more macro tetris!
- No more forcing yourself to eat less to stay under your macro/calorie goals.
- No more forcing yourself to eat more to hit your macro/calorie goals.
- More time for hobbies since you’re not wasting so much time pre-planning, rearranging, and tracking what you ate.
- …and so much more!