that time I almost died

“It will be fun,” they said.

“You will love it,” they said.

But I almost died. Really, truly died.

This is the story of how something almost killed me.

It’s also a story illustrating the importance of using correct names for things.


Something should never be called a ‘pal’ if it truly is the opposite.

pala very close, intimate friend; comrade; chum.

Last Thursday, I decided to try out a new app. You’ve probably heard of it. It’s called My Fitness Pal. The basic idea is that you input your starting weight, goal weight, and activity level and it in turn tells you what your daily calorie intake should be.

my fitness pal

I downloaded the app to my phone around 10 AM, thus I had already eaten breakfast. By the time I entered my standard healthy breakfast of granola + oatmeal, I had already consumed 300+ calories.

I was peeling oranges for my kids that morning, so I popped a few into my mouth and entered that into My Fitness Pal = 40 calories.

By the time lunch came around, I was starved. But I had to be careful with what I ate because I still had to fit some sort of dinner into my calorie day. So I made a massive salad with craisins and chicken salad on top = 367 calories.

That afternoon was a killer. Suddenly, since I was keeping track of every single calorie that entered my body, I wanted to EAT ALL THE THINGS!

I was in a very bad mood.

I’m not a cursing woman. But if I were, I would have reserved some choice phrases for this app.

I finally succumbed to my hunger during my kids’ rest time and ate a rice cake + peanut butter. 116 calories. Plus 2 pieces of this chocolate. 24 calories.

I had a phone appointment with a friend that afternoon and spent at least 10 minutes ranting and raving about how dumb this app was and how much food I wanted to eat, but couldn’t. It was a very edifying conversation.

Dinner was chickpea wraps. Tortilla, roasted chickpeas, sour cream, spring mix, guacamole, and cheese. Surprisingly, only 319 calories.

With My Fitness Pal, whenever you input exercise, it adds calories to your ‘daily allowance.’ I was still hungry, so I busted out the 7 minute workout just so I could eat more food. Good life choice.

I finished off the evening with another rice cake + peanut butter and a grapefruit. 169 calories.

My daily calorie intake? 1352. I came in just under my goal.

Initially, I definitely thought I was going to die. But I decided to stick with it through the weekend. And you know what? I’m still alive.
Shocker, I know.

I decided to use the app for a week and try to stay at or under the calorie goal of 1530 calories/day. That means today is the last day of my trial period. But you know what? I’m going to keep using it.

After this week, I’m planning to enter my food daily, but allowing 1 cheat day/week. I’ll probably reserve it for date night so I can eat cookies without fretting about going over my calorie goal.


See that? It even made it to the home screen on my phone!

In fact, I think I’ve actually found a new pal.

Have you ever tried counting calories? Thoughts? Any near-death experiences like mine?


  1. Diana says:

    Waaaait…you’re trying to survive on 1500 calories a day?! No wonder you were so hungry 🙂 Good for you and way to stick with it. And I’m really curious how a person decides how many calories he or she needs in a day. Is there an app for that? (hee hee 🙂 ) I’m pretty sure I need approximately 3500 because I’m still nursing a 9 month old almost exclusively. (That number may be slightly exaggerated. But maybe not. 🙂 )

  2. Laura says:

    Sounds like something I might want to try! Does it factor in other pertinent circumstances like nursing? 🙂 Also, how do you calculate calories for stuff you make at home?

  3. Carol says:

    My 15 year old daughter and I have been using the app for the last 2 weeks, with some days off, :)especially Sunday. It has been eye opening for her to see how many calories are in various foods.We are foodies and love to cook and try many different types of food, so this is teaching us great discipline. It is encouraging to have someone else count calories with you. I also had a new word added to my vocabulary “hangry”. Love your posts!!

  4. Christa says:

    There’s a “create a meal” spot where you can enter ingredients from whatever you made and it calculates the calories per serving. I’ve had to use that a few times! On the phone app, there’s a barcode scanner which makes it way easier than just typing in everything!

  5. Christa says:

    Haha! Well, the app decided it based on what I said my daily activity level was, height, weight, and whether I wanted to gain, lose, or maintain my weight. But yeah, you definitely don’t want to play around too much with your calorie intake when you’re nursing!!

  6. Christa says:

    Good for you, Carol!! Yes, it IS eye opening! And that’s one of the reasons I love it. Who knew there were only 20 calories in 2 cups of spring mix salad?!?! That still blows me away!

  7. Renee says:

    1352 calories! No wonder you are starving! My husband is obsessed with that app. The thing I like is it tells you if you are getting enough protein and certain nutrients like potassium during the day which I think is more important than overall calories. It’s like if you are trying you choose between a banana and a 100 calorie pack of banana wafers. First thought is the banana is better for you but then when you tell me it has more calories than the 100 calorie pack someone who is wanting to lose weight might pick the banana wafers. Difference is real food vs processed food. The processed food spikes blood sugar and you will be hungry again sooner. Better to eat whole foods than count calories in my opinion and easier tod eat healthy. Also much less guilt and mentally freeing and I think promotes weight loss better. But hard because processed foods are so yummy especially for someone with a sweet tooth…. Anyways I think your overall food choices are great! Just want to caution against becoming OCD with calorie counting.

  8. Emily Freeman says:

    I used it when I was trying to lose the baby weight last time and I’ll probably use again after #2 is born. I agree with what others are saying about focusing too much on calories v. real food. I think that’s what I was doing last time, and while I did lose weight, I want my focus to be on nutrition. Next time I’ll try to focus on nutrients.

    Have you found friends on the app? That’s definitely motivating!

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