Do You Really Want Your Friends or Coworkers Looking at Your Food Diary?

July 18, 2013 | By | Comments (4)

DIET DIARY MYFITNESS PALPart of the deal on the Cooking Light Food Lover’s Social Diet, as I’m pompously calling this little effort, is that the MyFitnessPal and UP apps share progress with friends (or, in my case, with the Board of Advisors). At least they do if you allow that sharing. Folks can see not just whether you made your calorie goal today, but also exactly what you ate that led you to succeed or overshoot the mark. They see whether you ate 1,600 calories of balanced, whole foods or stopped by Hardee’s at midnight for a Thickburger and shake (not that any of us have done that).

I can go into Erin Clinton’s diary and see that she had fat-free Chobani yogurt for breakfast, along with some Kashi cereal and nonfat milk, for a total of 278 calories—and also that she walked 27,000 steps, which is halfway from New York City to Buffalo, I think. However, until five minutes ago she could not see that I ate two slices of 100% whole-grain bread with a tablespoon of American Spoon sour cherry preserves and a teaspoon of butter for, coincidentally, an identical 278 calories. Her breakfast had more protein (from the yogurt) and was probably better balanced.  

I basically felt shamed into sharing my diary: If Erin’s sharing, don’t I have to? But it creeps me out a little bit. One person considering joining our effort said she was simply too private—both regarding food and fitness—to possibly share.

But, of course, a food diary is like any other diary that you know will be read by others: You can always lie to it. So far, the UP band does not contain a lie-detector algorithm … but I’m sure that’s coming. 

Have you used social apps to track weight loss? Comment here, email, and tweet @ScottMowb or @Cooking_Light using #SocialDiet.


  1. URL

    This is an incredibly creative team building activity–and right up your alley!

    February 14, 2014 at 7:33 am
  2. Social Diet Update: Down 13 pounds after 13 weeks – Simmer and Boil | Cooking Light

    […] the group dynamic of using the UP bands and MyFitnessPal is really working. Several members have had slumps and plateaus, but there is unquestionably an […]

    August 6, 2013 at 8:00 am
  3. Linda

    I track on MFP also. Originally, I kept my diary open and notifications went out every time I tracked a single step. After a few weeks of blah responses like “WTG” from strangers, I decided to hide everything and just use the tracker for myself. After all, I’m responsible to myself only, anyway. Looking at other’s diaries can be a hoot, but it can also demotivate. I had one guy who would actually track that he ate a full pound of bacon every few days…who does that?? So now I stay away completely from the public forum and just track my own stuff.

    July 27, 2013 at 8:58 am
  4. Our Studio Kitchen

    I think this app was made with good intentions but it’s things like this that contribute to the attitudes of food shaming and can support people’s unhealthy views towards eating.

    July 18, 2013 at 4:05 pm

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