If there’s been one lasting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that a lot of people gained a few pounds. We all know that the solution for weight loss is to eat wisely and exercise more. There are many apps for tracking caloric intake and activity, but if the process is difficult they won’t be used. Today I’m looking at MyNetDiary (free with in-app purchases), which offers ways to quickly and easily track those items that are important to your health. MyNetDiary is primarily known as an iOS app, but also works on iPad and Apple Watch. Although it’s not advertised as a macOS app on M1 Macs, I was able to load and use MyNetDiary on an M1 MacBook Air!
What Is MyNetDiary?
MyNetDiary has many functions. It’s a calorie counter, a food log, it offers an effective diet plan based on your activity level and age. The app claims over 10 million users, with those who are actively using the app — meaning that they continue to enter activity and calories — losing an average of 1.4 pounds per week.
While the app is free, it offers a premium subscription at $8.99 per month or $59.99 per year. There’s also a version for tracking blood glucose, sugar and carbs for those with diabetes ($9.99 with in-app purchases).
Therein lies the problem with most dieting apps; if you don’t use them religiously, you’re not going to lose weight. Common issues include food-logging systems that are slow and difficult to use, or apps that exclusively focus on one type of diet (low-carb, high-protein, keto, etc…).
MyNetDiary wants you to lose weight, so the app is fast, food logging is easy, and it can handle almost every diet out there. For Apple fans, there’s the added bonus of knowing that you can use the app on iPhone/iPod touch, iPad, Apple Watch, and even on M1 Macs. Whatever device you happen to be using at any particular time is your portal for keeping track of your activity and food intake.
MyNetDiary requires you to set up an account when you first use it; for the sake of anonymity, I used Sign In With Apple. That sign-on works on all platforms, so my information was consistent between iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and even Mac!
The MyNetDiary dashboard is the focal point of the app. When you set up the app initially, you enter your existing weight as well as a goal and the date by which you wish to reach that goal. It calculates a daily calorie budget that you then try to stay under. Eat fewer snacks, exercise more, and keep below your calorie budget on a regular basis, and you will lose weight.
Progress on each day is tracked on an apple-shaped chart. You see everything at one glance — your calorie budget, how many calories consumed so far, exercise calories burned, how many steps you’ve taken, and glasses of water consumed. MyNetDiary even lets you add notes — perfect for a journal of your weight loss journey.
The dashboard can be switched out from the “Simple Tracking” apple to “Macros Tracking” (with detailed macronutrient tracking), “Diabetes and Blood Glucose”, “Low Carb” (optimized for low-carb diets), “Advanced Tracking” showing more nutrients and analysis, and “Classic”, which is a less graphic way of viewing your daily progress.
The dashboard also has the ability to add certain things you want to track. For example, let’s say you want to keep to the US dietary guidelines and have no more than 27 grams of alcohol (two drinks) per day. You can set that target and then every time you have a drink, it’s added to that tracker.
Food Tracking in MyNetDiary
I loved the food tracking system in MyNetDiary for one primary reason — it truly does have most products you’d purchase at a food store or a restaurant in the system. If you don’t find a food in the system, all you need to do is start typing in the name of the food with the brand. Foods that aren’t in there? Scan the UPC bar code. If MyNetDiary still doesn’t find it, you can have it added to their system by taking a photo of the box and the nutrition label on the product.
I also like the ability to enter my own recipes into the system for easier entry. For example, I love making a mock “Egg McMuffin” using a really tasty “Dave’s Killer Breads” English Muffin, applewood smoked organic bacon, Tillamook Extra Sharp cheddar cheese, and an egg microwaved in a special dish. I added those individual items into a recipe, and now I just call up my muffin by name instead of adding the individual items every time I make this dish. That really speeds up tracking.
There’s a huge recipe database built into MyNetDiary. The developers say that there are over 370,000 recipes available and I’d believe it.
The company has registered dietitians who have also added over 400 premium recipes. Those are probably a bit more conducive to weight loss than the majority of those 370,000 recipes. Let’s say you get an email from AllRecipes or a similar service, and you’d love to add it to the app. Under “Me” at the bottom of the app, just tap Recipe Import and the URL of the recipe you want to bring in. With a tap, it imports and properly formats most online recipes.
Shopping List and Grocery Check
This is a feature I don’t personally use because I love AnyList. However, I have to admit that MyNetDiary does a pretty decent job of letting you create a grocery shopping list. That’s great, but even better is Grocery Check. We’re all faced with too much choice in terms of foods, and an appealing package may steer us in one high-calories direction while another product might be better for us. Grocery Check provides an Augmented Reality view of foods. Scan the nutrition label of a food item and you’ll get an immediate indication of whether or not a food is “good” for you (less caloric density) by whether a red, yellow or green dot appears. Red means “bad”, green means “good”.
If that food item isn’t in the database, you’re invited to take a picture of the front of the box and of the nutrition information label to submit to MyNetDiary. They promise a 24-hour turnaround on adding the item to their database.
The Apple Watch App
Like most good food tracking apps, MyNetDiary also tracks water intake. What’s great is that I no longer need to grab my iPhone every time I sip a glass of water — I can add a 1/2 glass (4 oz), glass, a bottle or a custom amount by opening the Apple Watch app and tapping a button.
The Watch app also shows my activity rings, total nutrients (carbs, protein and fat) consumed, the “Apple” showing how many calories I have left in my budget, my weight, and even the shopping list. It’s a pretty worthwhile Watch app.
Like any app — especially one that is this complex — you’ll occasionally run into glitches. For example, some days it seems like MyNetDiary keeps up with my exercise as the day progresses, other times it seems to lag. I also had an issue trying to add a custom item to the dashboard. I needed to “kill” the app completely and relaunch before it took the custom number. But for an app with so many features, MyNetDiary is surprisingly glitch-free on all of the platforms I’ve run it on.
Who is it for?
Let’s face it, some people need more than just a tracking app. I am a firm believer in Noom as a way to change habits, as it gives users a firm background in the psychology of weight loss. However, once you’ve gone through the “course” you really just need a way to keep on track, and that’s where MyNetDiary excels.
There’s a Lot More…
If I really wanted to give you a full rundown on everything that’s in the MyNetDiary app, the review would be infinitely scrollable! For those who are interested in losing weight, I suggest downloading the app to give it a try. When you decide that you like what you see, going Premium is an in-app purchase.