MyFitnessPal is Not Your Pal

MyFitnessPal is an app that I’m sure many people are aware of. I remember when I discovered it in the depths of my anorexia and it latched on to my illness, fed it and began to control my life alongside it. I think this app should be banned.

On MyFitnessPal you can put in your current weight and your goal weight, you can then find out the calories in almost every item of food simply by searching it and you can record almost everything in the diary. I would even count the ‘calories’ of my vitamin tablets on this app, every time something passed my lips it would get recorded, even glasses of water. I would spend the majority of the day engaging in eating disorder behaviours and recording it on this app. Then at the end of the day the diary would tell me how much I would weigh in five weeks time if my net calories were the same as that day. I was glued to MyFitnessPal, I panicked if it stopped working or if my internet connection went down. I needed it but I needed it for all the wrong reasons. It maintained my mental illness, how is that a good thing?

I am not alone in using MyFitnessPal with an eating disorder, I know hundreds of people who use MyFitnessPal and are battling an eating disorder of some kind. For so many people a milestone in their recovery is deleting the app. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any eating disorder, we may not hear about it much but people are dying from this! Why should an app that encourages this illness be allowed? If they renamed it “My Ana buddy” and it did the same thing as it does now, I can almost guarantee that it would be taken straight out of the app store.

There are some mobile phones that come with MyFitnessPal built in and you cannot delete the app. How dangerous is that? It is not normal to obsess over the calories you eat and the exercise you do in a day no matter what society tells you. Yes, a balanced diet is important. Yes, getting some exercise is important. No, spending all day on an app that takes over and controls your life and makes you preoccupied with food, exercise and weight is not okay.  Could this app actually be a factor in causing eating disorders?

MyFitnessPal is the top app in the ‘health and fitness’ category….health and fitness? There is NOTHING healthy about counting calories, recording your weight daily and your life revolving around numbers. I was not healthy or fit when I was obsessed with MyFitnessPal and if I ever bought a phone and couldn’t delete the app, I would be furious and worried for my well being. MyFitnessPal is not your pal, a pal should make you feel happy, confident and appreciate yourself, this app drove me to self-destruction and feeds so many people’s evil mental illnesses.

This isn’t just about those people who battle eating disorders, MyFitnessPal makes me angry because it implies to people that it will make them feel happy and good about themselves but happiness is not recording your calories every time you eat or adding a glass of water to the diary every time you drink. Happiness is being free, not being chained down by a money making app. Happiness is about memories, about being with people and appreciating your qualities and recognising your achievements. If you are seeking health and happiness, you will not find it in this app.

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