If you are not familiar with MyFitnessPal, it’s a popular phone app that allows you to track your daily calories. It also breaks down your consumption into macronutrients (Carbohydrates, Fats, Proteins). It provides you with daily goals and a nifty little pie chart showing the percentages of the three ‘macros’.
A current trend is to ‘count your macros’ using this app. What this means is that you plan and eat your meals and snacks based on an allotted total of grams/calories per macronutrient category. For example, 150g of Carbs, 30g of Fat, 100g of Protein. By remaining within these guidelines, the goal is to eat a balanced diet of all three macronutrients, not too much and not too little.
Honestly, I think MyFitnessPal is a wonderful tool that can be used to 1) gain a better understanding of your current eating habits, 2) provide you with data to see if changes need to be made, and 3) hold you accountable to eating a balanced diet as you work toward your fitness goals.
I spent about two years using this tool. I documented every little bite that went into my mouth down to the gram or serving size, except for the occasional weekend of no tracking. It was really exciting when I would reach the perfect balance of allotted grams of each macronutrient for the day, and even more exciting as I watched my body change to a more lean physique.
Eventually, I lost some weight and was to the point where maintaining what I had lost was now my new goal. I didn’t realize that my body wasn’t the only thing changing, but also my relationship with Christ. This tool that was once fun and helpful had now become a habitual task and a distraction turned obsession.
MyFitnessPal had become my idol.
I would find myself not beginning my dinner until I had documented all the macronutrients. I would prepare perfectly proportioned dinners carefully weighing each vegetable. I was constantly on my phone adding up different snacks to eat later in the day to make sure I was ‘balanced’. I was spending more time staring at the screen than talking to my husband. And I seemed to find the time to track my food but couldn’t spare a minute to spend time with Jesus.
The once helpful tool that I was using was now being used against me by satan. I saw this. I knew this. But I didn’t know how to stop. I had an irrational fear that I had forgotten how to feed myself without the help of a red, blue, and green pie chart. I had this anxiety that I would eat too much (or too little) if I wasn’t tracking every bite. I was afraid I would gain all the weight I had once lost.
One morning, I made the time to sit down and read a devotional in Jesus Calling. God had been tugging at my heart telling me I couldn’t continue down this path. So I sat praying He would give me peace about this new obsession that had gotten way out of control. I prayed he would teach me to love my body and not critique it. I prayed he would free me from this idol and this set of rules I had created. And I asked for forgiveness.
I opened my devotional and read this verse…
…Your strength comes from God’s grace, not from rules about food, which don’t help those who follow them.
Which lead me to remember this verse…
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
It’s as if God was speaking right to my soul; answering my prayers in those words. I clung to that verse knowing this was God telling me to cast all my worries onto Him and just let go – to trust Him and give Him my idol.
That day, I did not tally up my breakfast’s grams or add them to MyFitnessPal app. I ate lunch without knowing the macronutrient count and snacked when I was hungry. I have not used this app since that day and it has been so freeing.
I share this not because I am against MyFitnessPal. It was a great tool for me at one point in my life. And this really doesn’t have to be about MyFitnessPal, but anything that you are putting before God. However, for me, it was about this phone app that had become my idol.
I see so many posts and comments on social media about macronutrient counting (“If It Fits Your Macros”), or other diet trends – and I want to urge you to guard your heart. Be alert and be aware of the enemy lurking to use the simplest thing to garner your attention.
The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Do not let satan steal your freedom, kill your joy, and destroy your relationship with Christ. he is manipulative and will use whatever tools, even the ones that seem so innocent, to distract you from the life God intends for you – life of joy and peace as you learn to follow and trust in Him.
I will end with this questioned ask yourself: Is there anything in your life that has become your idol? And I encourage you to let go and give it to God.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.