Ep. 258: The Best Calorie Counting App

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Today, we’re chatting about the decisions you’ll be making on your weight loss journey, and how to know for yourself which ones are the BEST.

Are you looking for some advice about the best calorie counting app? Then this podcast is for you! Today on the Fitness Matters podcast, we’re chatting about all the decisions you’ll be making on your weight loss journey, and how to know for yourself which ones are the BEST.

What You’ll Learn

👉  Why other people’s OPINIONS aren’t as helpful as you think
👉  How there’s no such thing as making a WRONG choice
👉  Why I don’t use ANY calorie counting apps for myself


You're listening to the Fitness Matters podcast with Pahla B, and this is episode number 258, "The Best Calorie Counting App". Welcome to the Fitness Matters podcast, where every week we talk about the fitness matters that matter to you. I'm Pahla B, YouTuber, certified life and weight loss coach, soon to be author and your best middle aged fitness friend.

Are you ready to talk about the fitness mindset that matters to you? Me too. Let's go. Before we dive into today's topic, here's a quick message about the Pahla B Wellness Over 50 Book Club in partnership with Chirp audiobooks. Our latest pick is The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion, by Christopher Germer, which you can grab at a steep discount with no monthly subscription fees at chirpbooks.com/Pahla, that's P-A-H-L-A.

While you're there, be sure to click the follow button to get exclusive access updates and register for the Live Book Club event on Friday, October 21st. I'll see you there. Well, hello, hello my friends. It's so nice to be here with you today and I am so excited as always to be able to talk with you about calorie counting apps today. That was a little bit sarcastic to be honest.
I have a love hate relationship with calorie counting apps and it's something that I get asked about a lot. And actually here, I'm sorry, I'm like distracting myself. But I was laughing at myself for saying, I'm so excited to talk to you about whatever, because I literally say that, not even figuratively literally, but literally literally say that for everything all the time.

And just so you know, I am not actually excited about every single thing in my life. There are some things that I'm excited about, there are some things that I am not excited about. I'm not very excited about the fact that Blossom is jingling a lot and clickety clacking on the hardwood floors right now, which I know you can hear.

And I apologize for how distracting that might be for you. Blossom, do you want to just come sit down? No, she does not. All right. Well, you're going to hear lots of clickety clacking in the background while she decides whether or not she's going to sit next to me or go back down the hallway to her own little bed.

And in any event, I'm not always excited about everything. I know that there could be a kind of misconception that I am the person who's always up and always excited and always has all the energy. And I will tell you that everything else in the world, sometimes I am very up, sometimes I am not very down, but I do sleep and I do sit.

I don't sit very still, but I do sit quietly. Sometimes I have a push and a pull, a yin and a yang, I have a dark and a light, I have an enthusiastic and a less than enthusiastic. It's just that you guys always get to hear my enthusiastic side. It's kind of nice, right? I mean, unless it's annoying to you.

But it's nice for me to know that every time I spend time with you, either here on the podcast or when we're working out together or when we're coaching together, if you're in my Get Your Goal group or when I'm showing up on social media, I really like that I have an outlet to be naturally, I'm going to call it overenthusiastic because I'm over lots of things.

I have lots of big emotions and over enthusiasm is my jam. It does not feel over to me, but I have been told my entire life that I'm a lot. So therefore, it's nice for me that you come along for the ride, that you enjoy the journey with me, that you hang out with me when I am being overly enthusiastic about things.

Anyways, here are the reasons why I have this love hate relationship with calorie counting apps. First of all, I have a love hate relationship with apps in general. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that while I am tech savvy, I have learned how to do lots of technological things for myself in business because for a long time I did not make enough money to be able to hire somebody to be able to help me with them.

And now I do and I love it. God, one of the best checks I write every month, even though I don't write a check because I pay it online. But one of the best checks I write every month is to the woman who helps me take care of my website. I never have to worry about updating PHP again. And I love that because I don't understand it.

There goes Blossom walking back down the hall. I love you, sweetie. Goodnight. She's going to go back down the hall to her little crate in my bedroom because that's where she is cozy and safe, because I'm sitting in her gray chair just in case. I mean, not just in case. You can't see me, but I'm sitting in her gray chair and she's very annoyed that she cannot sit in the gray chair.
Anyways, so I don't love apps just in general, not a huge fan. As much as I play on my phone and I do use apps obviously to play games on my phone, I still don't think about taking out my phone for a lot of life's little essentials. My kids use their notes app for everything. They always are writing themselves notes in their notes app.

I tell you, I will search high and low for a Kleenex and a stub of a pencil in my car to be able to write myself an actual note before I would open up my notes app. I forget I have a notes app and obviously it's very convenient. I just, I don't think like that. I don't think about using my phone for things that I think I should use a pen and paper for. And this is where I'm going to go with the best calorie counting app.

I think it's pen and paper. However, I do have more to say about using an app and even not even just using an app, but really specifically asking me this question. I get asked this question, I think I can safely say on the daily, I get lots of emails, I get lots of DMs, I get lots of comments on YouTube and Facebook and other social media asking me for my opinion about the best calorie counting app.

And that really is, it's where we're going today. But I'm also going to broaden this topic a little bit and let you know that if you are asking me this question about the best... Fill in the blank, this podcast applies to you. What we are talking about of course is not the difference between Lose It! And Chronometer and FatSecret and MyNetDiary and Fitbit and... Can I think of another one?
I don't know, whatever other one you use, we are not actually discussing the pros and cons of one versus the other. Partly because I haven't used them all and therefore I do not have a thorough and in depth opinion about any of them. But partly because, well, this is a mindset podcast and we're going to talk about the mindset behind this question.

Here's how I see this playing out for you in your life when you ask me what is the best calorie counting app or what is the best exercise routine, not even just one exercise routine, but which... I've got so many different series of workouts. I've got the weight loss challenge, I've got the walk off the weight, I've got weekly challenges. This year in 2022, I've been doing the five pounds down series. I've got two…

Well, by the time 2022 is done, I will have 200 weight loss workout videos for you to choose from. And I'm going to tell you something that maybe you don't want to hear, they're all the same. I know you don't love that, especially if you've got a really strong opinion about one of the series versus the other and which one's harder and which one's not.

I want you to know, I actually did the math one time really specifically between, I had a 31 day series that I put out in 2020 and then I had a 31 day series that I put out in 2021. I did the math one time. They are within two minutes of each other for the total of the 31 days.
I don't remember which one is longer. I think it is the 2021 series is two minutes longer over the 31 days. They all the, both series have the exact same number of days with dumbbells. They have the exact same number of days that are mostly walking. And I think the 2021 series has more days of stretching, but maybe it was the exact same.

It's been a while since I've done the math. They are virtually identical and yet I know if you have done both series, you have an opinion, you have an opinion about which one is best. And that is actually what we're talking about. This is what I want you to really take ownership of. I know when you first get started losing weight, there's a lot of decisions to make.

I have so much empathy, so much sympathy, so much heart for how kind of overwhelming it can feel. I mean, you have to do the math on how many calories you're eating and how much water you're drinking, and I ask you to figure out a bedtime routine. What time are you going to bed? What time are you getting up in the morning?

I ask you to either get started exercising or to curtail your workouts by a relatively significant amounts for some of us. I'm raising my hand on that one. I'm asking you to start this journaling practice where you're finding your thoughts and you're deciding if they're helpful. And it's this whole process and I totally get it.

I love to put it out there that the 5-0 method, which by the way if you don't have it's just right on my website, Pahlabfitness.com. I love to talk about how simple it is because technically speaking, it really is it. It is. And even though it is simple, that doesn't mean that there are no decisions to make or that it's, I'm going to say easy. There's simple science behind it.

It is simple to continue with the habits once you have created the habits. It is the creation of the habits that can feel very complicated, it can feel very hard, it can feel very overwhelming when you like first come to it. It is simple, but not on its surface, not immediately simple. So here's the thing.

I have a lot of sympathy for you coming to me and saying, "Okay, tell me the best decisions to make so that I can move forward?" And I want you to know that that is the wrong question to ask. When I offer you the 5-0 method, the reason I don't tell you, "Go download this app. Eat this for breakfast. Eat this for lunch. Eat this for dinner.

You're going to eat this number of calories and this number of calories is going to work for everybody. You should go to bed at this time. You should do these exact workouts as they are with no embellishments, nothing more, nothing less," et cetera. The reason I don't do that, it is twofold. Number one, there is no one size fits all. And number two, making the decisions is what gets you the results. I want you to really hear that.

I know, I know because I have been there, that we all think that there is a decision that is the right way to lose weight and that making that decision is the thing that is going to propel us to weight loss. We actually talked about this fairly recently on Guaranteed Weight Loss, and I highly recommend that you go listen to that episode if you haven't heard it.

When you're in the show notes or the description box, wherever you watch or listen, there'll be a link to Guaranteed Weight Loss podcast. It was my podcast, it was the Fitness Matters podcast. It was the episode called Guaranteed Weight Loss. But thinking that it is the program or the decisions that are going to create weight loss for you is not how this works at all.

And there's also kind of a, not even not subtle, I was going to call it subtle, but it's not subtle. There's also a part of this equation that I don't think we've talked about before. When you ask me for the best calorie counting app or the best workout series. And best might not be the word that you use, sometimes people will ask about which one is the right one to use.

I want you to notice that you are undermining your own opinion when you ask for somebody else's opinion. And let me be really clear, when you are asking somebody else like me or anybody else about the best or the right app or exercise series or honestly anything, car, airline, clothing brand, shoe brand, house size, literally whatever you are asking for somebody else's opinion of, I want you to recognize that it is an opinion that you are asking for.

And when you are asking for those opinions, that by asking for them you are, this time, I will use the word subtly because I don't think any of us notice it. You are subtly telling yourself that your opinion doesn't matter or that your opinion isn't as good or that you don't have the knowledge or the expertise or even the ability perhaps, to form your own opinion.

This is actually an argument that I get into with my husband all the time, with my husband all the time. He will read reviews for everything before making a purchase. And really specifically with online reviews, I mean, come on, so many of those get paid for. So many of those are people asking their friends, "Oh, go make sure that you write a good review on Yelp for my restaurant or on Amazon for my product" or wherever.

I mean, just so you know, when my book comes out, I'm going to ask you to go write reviews on Amazon. I totally am, but everybody does that. So you're going to see a lot of really glowing reviews from people who probably would've said something kind of mediocre in their own mind, but they really like the person who was selling the thing.

And you're going to see some absolute, oh, I can't use the right word here, some terrible reviews from people who for one reason or another, maybe hold a grudge against that person. Or the thing that I notice all the time on Amazon reviews really specifically, they're always complaining about shipping.

They're always complaining about something that the seller, I mean, the seller does have a lot to do with shipping, but they're complaining about things sometimes that the seller doesn't have any control over. They'll complain about the price of shipping or something like that.
I mean, we're all complaining about the price of shipping right now. But lots of review, lots of bad reviews really specifically aren't offering you anything helpful. They're not offering you an opinion that has anything to do with expertise. It's just that every single human being has the ability to go online and type out their thoughts.

That's what reviews are. That's what opinions are. It's somebody else's, frankly, unmanaged brain telling you their automatic thoughts. You have plenty of those yourself, my friend. And here's why we're talking about this today. I want you to think about what it would be like to think of yourself as the person with the answer.

And I very specifically said the answer because I want you to know that the answer to any of the questions that you have about weight loss, about a calorie counting app, about the best exercise program to go with, about what time to go to bed, what time to get up, any of it, you are the authority for yourself.

Because otherwise, you'll become one of those people who's online telling other people your opinion because you think that you are the authority for everybody. And I know that we all feel that way. It's like, "Oh, well this is the program I liked the best you." I mean, I literally wrote you a free program, the 5-0 method, telling you all the things that I think are best.

However, the 5-0 method really is backed by science. It's not just me who says that this is how weight loss works, it's actual biology, chemistry, science, menopause research, et cetera. There's a higher authority behind a lot of what I say. However, as far as any of the daily decisions that you need to make, you are the authority, you are the solution.

I mentioned this all the time in our workouts together and I feel like it bears repeating. And I like to repeat it often enough in a lot of different ways so that one of these times it'll hit you exactly right and you'll be able to just shift the knob so that you realize that it applies to everything.
You can make every single thing about this program work for you. And when you do, it will work. The program, the calorie counting app, the exercise series, isn't doing the work for you. It's not making your body lose weight. If you are just going through the motions, maybe the 5-0 method will work for you and maybe it won't.

When you are actively making decisions, trying different calorie counting apps, trying different exercise series, trying different bed times, trying different journaling techniques, trying to drink your water all in the morning or all in the afternoon or in eight ounces at a time throughout the day.

The reason lots of us don't like to do that is because we feel like if we don't get the results that we want right away, that we have somehow wasted time and done something wrong. Here's the thing about wasting time. I will argue with you that you are actually wasting your time when you are asking for other people's opinions.

When you are trying something and not getting the results you want, you are actually making more progress then you when you are asking somebody else's opinion. It's weird to think about that, right? Because we feel like if we gather enough data, if we get enough opinions, if enough people agree that such and such app is the right one to use, then once we get going right out of the gate, we are 100% guaranteed to have successful results because everybody said this would work.

I want you to know something in no uncertain terms, nobody else is getting you results. Somebody else online who just really loves the such and such app, it's like, "Oh my God, this is laid out in a way that my brain totally understands.

It's really easy for me to scan the barcodes, or it's especially simple for me because I always use it on desktop and I can just input the recipes and then it'll help me figure out how many calories in each portion size," blah, blah, blah. Whatever it is, that person has that opinion because of so many other factors in their lives.

When somebody loves something, it's not really about the thing, it's about every other decision they have ever made in their entire life getting them to that point where that particular thing just happened to hit them in the right way. Now sometimes, sometimes this works out for us perfectly.

Sometimes we have a synchronicity of likes and dislikes in a way that, I mean, you know how you'll meet somebody and it's like, "Oh my gosh, that's my favorite this" or "That's my favorite that, and we have all so much in common and this is so amazing." Yes, sometimes that absolutely happens, but not every time.

And spending your time trying to decipher what other people like or don't like when oftentimes, I mean, especially online, yes, everybody wants to share their opinion, but they often don't even necessarily know or share all the reasons why it works out so perfectly for them, why their brain just happens to like, "Oh, green is my favorite color, and so this one just makes me happy every time I log into it" or something like that.

Because sometimes it really is subtle factors like that. The reason a calorie counting app might feel like the best one for you isn't always the features or the benefits that you think it is. Sometimes it's just laid out in a way that you think is really pretty.

Sometimes it has something to do with just the way you've arranged it on your phone or you happen to like the logo or there are little tiny subtle factors that are influencing your like or dislike of the app that maybe you don't even know. And here's the thing, when you spend time asking other people for their opinions, it does not guarantee your success.

When you spend the time, and I'm going to use the word failing. Y'all, don't be afraid of that word. Do not be afraid of the word failing or failure or any of its other permutations. On your way to success, you are going to fail at something. You are going to have to figure something out that didn't go well for you no matter what it is.

Maybe it's the calorie count app, maybe it's the exercise series, maybe it's how to eat when you're on vacation. Maybe it's how in the world to figure out how to go to bed at the same time every night. Whatever it is, you're going to have to figure it out in order to move forward. So recognizing that that is your responsibility right from the get go.

Right up front, every choice I make is going to be a choice that I make. And no matter how it turns out, this was the best choice that I could make because there is information for me.
When you think about your experiences, all of them, good, bad, ugly, and different, whatever, as information, they feel very different than thinking about it as right or wrong or a win or a failure. When we think... No, I'm going to go ahead and say you in this sentence because I really want you to hear this one.

When you think that you could choose the wrong app and you're basing this on the results that you get. It would be the wrong app if I gain weight. It would be the wrong app if I waste two weeks of my time trying to figure it out and I was frustrated the entire time. It would be the wrong app for me if I don't like the number of calories that it gives me or the one feature that I really want, I have to pay for and I don't want to pay for.

When you think that there is a right or a wrong instead of information, do you feel how much you are taking on that isn't yours to take on? Thinking that you are responsible for the performance of the app or the exercise series or the whatever, is not the right way to go about this? Yes, right and wrong. It is not the most helpful way to go about this.

Taking responsibility for the things that are yours and giving back the responsibility of the things that are not yours is one of the greatest lessons that I can teach you. When you trust yourself and take responsibility for all of your decisions, it will feel very different. And let me be clear that it will not feel less overwhelming.

There will still be plenty of decisions to make as you get going. There will be plenty of decisions to make on the daily about what you're going to eat, how you're going to input it, how you're going to make it all tetris together to fit within your calories, whether or not you're going to put down a project in the middle of it so that you can get to bed on time.

There are decisions to make every single day. But when you are not dithering in those decisions because you think there's a right way to do this or a wrong way to do this, but you simply take responsibility and trust yourself and think of the outcome as information instead of some evidence of a win or a loss, this entire journey will feel incredibly different for you.
And not only will it feel incredibly different for you, but it will guarantee your success. This again, I'm going to refer you to that guaranteed weight loss. I love that episode. It's one of the best ones I've ever done.

Honestly, it's one of the best episodes I've ever done because it was exactly what I needed to hear at the exact time that I offered it to you. It was really funny. I find myself doing this sometimes when I'm in the middle of a podcast. I'll be talking to you about your weight loss and I'll be hearing it for myself about whatever it is that I'm working through right now in my business.

Weight loss and business are exactly the same. Mindset work is exactly the same no matter what your goal is. My friends, take responsibility and trust yourself truly. And finally, you guys, I'm going to leave you with this because I do have an opinion and here it is. I have an opinion about the best calorie counting app.

First of all, it's whichever one works for you, and second of all, my personal favorite is actually just pen and paper. I kind of hinted at this at the very beginning, but I really like tracking things for myself. When I was losing weight, I don't track anymore. And that's a whole conversation to be had about being done but not finished, which by the way is also one of my free resources.
I think that there is a lot to be said for taking responsibility by actually writing things down versus letting an app take care of it for you, and that is a personal opinion. It is my level of wanting to be responsible for myself for certain things.

Again, kind of coming back to the business, I was thinking about this, how this might be related to what I was telling you about not taking care of my website anymore or not updating my website anymore. I did that for 10 years. I know exactly how to do all the things and I choose not to anymore. I choose to let somebody else be responsible for stuff like that.

I personally believe that being responsible for yourself first is one of the best ways to make a decision about how you'd like to move forward. Doing the math for yourself, looking things up, deciding whether or not this is the right food, letting it take longer than it would if you just scanned a barcode. I personally think there's a lot to be said for that. But that might not be the thing that works best for you.

How about you trust yourself to make a decision and take responsibility, not in a way that it feels like a win or a loss, but take responsibility for extracting the information out of the results that you get and moving forward from there. That is the best calorie counting app, my friend. Thank you so much for listening today. I really hope that this one was helpful for you and I'll talk to you again soon.

If you are getting a lot out of the Fitness Matters podcast and you're ready to take it to the next level, you are going to love the Get Your Goal Coaching and Accountability Group. We take all the theory and knowledge here on the podcast and actually apply it in real life on your real weight loss and fitness goals. It's hands on, it's fun, and it works. Find out more at Pahlabfitness.com/get-your-goal and let's get your goal.

Listen to the full episode here, and be sure to leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts.

Originally aired October 16, 2022
Today, we’re chatting about the decisions you’ll be making on your weight loss journey, and how to know for yourself which ones are the BEST.
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Meet Your Host

Mindset expert and certified life coach Pahla B knows a thing or two about changing your mind to change your weight and your life. She’s the creator of The 5-0 Method, Amazon-best selling author of the book “Mind Over Menopause,” and former yo-yo dieter who has cracked the code on lifelong weight maintenance. Join Pahla B each week for the personal insights, transformative mindset shifts, and science-backed body advice that can help you lose all the weight you want and keep it off forever.