Week 8: Mike's food tracking diary - MyFitnessPal, we meet again

Going back to where it all started
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Last week was a bit of a disaster. Scratch that. It was a big disaster. I was out of the country for most of the week covering Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Now unlike my trip abroad a few weeks ago when I was testing out Jawbone's food tracking, I was now having to cover a show and that threw up a whole new set of problems.

The main issue was making hunting out shiny new wearables and smart home tech a priority over eating. Anyone that covers these shows knows what I'm talking about. Whether it was running out of my apartment having only eaten a couple of handfuls of nuts or generally just forgetting to eat during the day, this became a regular occurrence throughout the week. Then there was the eating out. These are not the type of trips that you make time to make your own dinner. Direct me to the nearest restaurant por favor.

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After my experiences with Fitbit over the last few weeks, it was time to move over to Withings (sorry, Nokia) and its Health Mate app. I already use the app with the Aura sleep monitor so I was all set up and ready to go with our current health and fitness platform fave. When I tapped that plus icon in the top right hand corner of the app to start logging, I'd come full circle and was back using MyFitnessPal again. That's right, Nokia doesn't offer its own food tracking solution instead relying on one of the most comprehensive solutions out there to do the job instead. I guess if you don't think you can offer a better solution, it makes a lot of sense to go with something that's pretty well equipped at doing it instead.

So I was back using the app with a more accommodating food catalogue than any other platform and more nutritional information than most people probably need provided you're paying up for the premium subscription. Scanning barcodes in another country inevitably became a problem as did trying to work out what to do about logging numerous plates of tapas. I grabbed the receipt on one occasion to manually log dishes later in the evening but it still didn't feel all that useful or representative of the food I'd tucked away.

It felt a little bit like going back to square one in many respects and not in a good way. Granted, this was a scenario a little out of the norm for most people, but it was a real challenge trying to keep up with tracking up during a week when you are working long hours trawling show floors as ridiculous as that sounds. This is where I feel like wearables could do a much better job of looking at your logged data, realising you haven't added any meals in a while and bugging you until you upload. Maybe I need to get shocked like a Pavlok to keep me on track.

The good news is that I'm back on home soil, which means I can go back to eating and snacking at normal times, but I have a feeling that Week 9 is going to feel a lot like Weeks 2 and 3. The food tracking diary is nearing the end and in many ways I'm glad that's the case.

Mike's food tracking diary

Week 1: The quest to find out if food tracking works
Week 2: I'm in measurement hell
Week 3: The struggle is real
Week 4: It's finally starting to happen
Week 5: Making small steps to big change (hopefully)
Week 6: It's time to talk calories
Week 7: The big home cooked meal dilemma

How we test

Michael Sawh


Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of T3.com.

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.

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