The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Health & Fitness

May 12, 2013

Inspiring story? There's an app for that

MANKATO – Scott Nelsen recalls those days like a bad memory.

Those days when he was gathered with his friends at the pub and the digital camera or smart phone comes out and someone wants to post a quick pic to Facebook. So people lean in to each other, smile, and wait eagerly for that image to show up online. Photo taken, image tagged, upload complete. Can't wait to see it the next day, right?

Wrong. Nelsen, a social guy, hated it those pictures.

“I'd look at the photos and say, 'Look at that fat slob,'” Nelsen says, thinking bad to darker days.

Today, though, Nelsen isn't nearly as self conscious about the way he looks.


He's dropped nearly 140 pounds. He's happier. He's healthier. He doesn't mind telling the world every day – check out his tweets at this Twitter account, @nelses1 – that his streak of consecutive days with at least a 2-mile run has hit, by today, 280 days.

Simply put, Scott Nelsen's life has been transformed.

“It's amazing,” he says. “I'm not ashamed when I look at those photos now.”

And he thanks an app on his phone for most of it.

Nelsen signed up a free service called MyFitnessPal, which can accessed online at, or downloaded to an iPhone or Android device. He not only signed up, he surrendered to it.

“If it goes in my mouth, it goes in my phone,” he said. “I don't think I'd be where I am today without it. It changed my life.”

MyFitnessPal, and other similar programs such as Zoom, work by giving you an idea of what you're eating.

For every meal, the program allows you to enter foods you eat – even by brand name – and it calculates for you how many calories and carbohydrates the food has, as well as amount of fat, sugar and protein.

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