Introduction: How to Use the MyFitnessPal App on the IPhone

Are you scrolling through with one hand and shoving your other hand in a bag of potato chips? Do you find it challenging to stick to good eating habits? Do you use time as an excuse to neglect a healthy lifestyle? Are you ready to make the transition from couch potato to hot potato but don't know where to get started? We've got just the PAL for you!

The MyFitnessPal app on the iPhone is a quick and easy app to use, even for the busiest of people. Because it is on a device you use constantly, your iPhone, it is the best on-the-go tool to manage your eating habits, your water intake, and your daily exercise. This app has many easy to use features including a calorie counter that adds calories when you select the food items you ate during that day and subtracts calories according to the amount of exercise you input.

Follow the steps in this insructable to start your journey to a healthier YOU!  

Materials Needed:

Step 1: Signing Up

After downloading the MyFitnessPal app from the App Store, open the MyFitnessPal app.  You can choose to sign up with your Facebook account, but for this instructable, we chose to simply tap the "Sign Up" button.

Enter your complete email address including the URL (for example When you are finished typing your email address, tap the "done" button that is located at the bottom right corner of your screen.

Step 2: Enter Your Weight and Activity Level

Begin by tapping the first white box under "How much do you weigh?" and enter your current weight in pounds. If you are unsure of your current weight, you can estimate for now and edit your settings later.

Then tap the second white box under "How much would you like to weigh?" and enter your goal weight. You can also change this as your goals change.

Choose how active you are from the following options: sedentary, lightly active, active, or very active. 

Step 3: Enter Your Gender, Date of Birth, and Height

Select your gender by tapping either male or female. 

Then enter your date of birth by tapping of the white box under "When were you born?" and scroll through the options and until reaching the correct month, date, and year. After selected your date of birth, tap the blue "done" button at the top right corner of the keyboard. Then tap the arrow at the top right corner of the screen.

Enter your height by tapping on the white box under "How tall are you?". Select your height in feet and inches by scrolling through the options and then tap the blue "done" button in the middle of the screen.

Step 4: Enter Your Username, Password, and Zip Code

Tap the first white box that says "Choose a user name" and type the user name you would like to use for the app.

Tap the second Choose a user name and password and then list your zip code.  After your account is created, it will list your net calorie goal.  When you wish to begin, press "Start Tracking Now". 

Step 5: View and Agree to Terms and Privacy

View and agree to the MyFitnessPal Terms of Use.  You will then be directed to your home page.  

Step 6: Add Food to Diary

When you want to enter your first food item, click "Add to Diary" in the top right corner.  Select which meal you would like to enter from the following options: breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack.

Step 7: Search for Food

Search for the food you would like to add by tapping the area that says "Search for Lunch". Then begin typing the food item you wish to enter.

Step 8: Search and Select Foods

To begin searching for food, tap the white oval search bar at the top of your screen.  Using the keyboard, type what you ate for your meal.  After typing, press the blue "Search" button in the bottom right corner.  

Search results will appear and will contain the title of the food and a small description beneath it as well as the portion size and calorie count.  You will need to scroll through the options until you reach a food item that most closely resembles what you ate. To select a food item, you simply have to tap it.   

Step 9: Add Food to Your Food Diary

Once you have selected a food item by tapping it, you can change the number of servings you ate.  For example, if you only ate half of the Chick-Fil-A chicken sandwich, tap the row that says "Number of Servings" and scroll to "0 1/2".  For this example, we kept the number of servings at 1.  To finish adding the food, tap the white check mark in the upper right corner.  

It will then return you to your Diary homepage, and the calories consumed will be reflected in the Food calorie count number and the calories remaining number.   

Step 10: Select Water to List Water Intake

To begin adding water intake, press the white + sign in the upper right corner of your Diary home page.  

From the "Add Entry" menu, scroll down until you see the row labeled "Water" under the title "Water".  Tap the "Water" row to add water intake.  

Step 11: Select Cups of Water Consumed

To select the number of cups of water consumed, scroll through the numbers until you reach the number you consumed.  Then tap the white check mark in the upper right corner.  

You will then be returned to your Diary homepage.  Your water intake will then be reflected under the row labeled "Water Consumption".  

Step 12: Add Exercise to Your Diary

To begin logging exercise, tap the plus (+) sign in the upper right corner.   

Scroll down to the section titled "Exercises".  Select either the "Cardiovascular" row or "Strength" row by tapping based on the type of exercises completed.  For this example, we chose cardiovascular exercises.    

Tip:  Cardiovascular exercises are things that elevate your heart rate for an extended period of time like running, jogging, swift walking, swimming, bicycling, and almost any sports related activity.  Strength exercises are muscle-building exercises like lifting weights and doing things like push-ups, squats, and pull-ups.  

Step 13: Search for Exercises Performed

To search for exercises, begin by tapping the white, oval search bar at the top of your screen.  

Type the exercise performed using the keyboard, and tap the blue button labeled "Search" in the bottom right corner.  

Step 14: Select Exercises Performed and Time

Search results will appear and will contain the title of the exercise and a small description.  You will need to scroll through the options until you reach an exercise item that most closely resembles what you did. To select an exercise item, you simply have to tap it.

You then have to type how long you performed the exercise in minutes using the keyboard.  To complete the entry, press the white check mark in the upper right corner.  

It will then return you to your diary homepage and calories burned will be added back to your calories remaining box.  

Step 15: Keep It Up and Keep Yourself Motivated!

That is how you use the MyFitnessPal app! Some things to help you get motivated may be committing to use the app for a specific time frame or to add friends in order to have someone to answer to for whether or not you are meeting your calorie goals.  

We hope that this has encouraged you to remove your hand from the potato chip bag and use it to download this app.  It is great for recognizing your current lifestyle habits and helping you to form goals towards reaching an ideal weight.  

We wish you couch potatoes the best of luck on your journey to becoming hot potatoes!