Why You Need A Weight Loss Tracker
You may already know that one of the most effective things that you can do when you’re trying to lose weight is to use a weight loss diary to keep track of everything that you put into your mouth. If you’re using this system, and using it honestly, (Remember, if you cheat, you’re only cheating yourself out of making your goals happen) you know how effective it can be to have to log every bite.
Conversely, it can be just as motivating and inspiring to be able to see the gains (or – erm, losses) you’ve made over a period of time. Seeing that you actually lost 5-10 pounds (for instance) over the past month firmly implants the idea in your head that, not only is it possible to lose weight, but that you do, in fact, have a large amount of control over your weight (and your health) in your hands.
Enter the Weight Loss Tracker
Using a weight loss tracker, you can periodically track the progress you’ve made towards your weight loss goal.
Let’s say you’ve determined that you should lose 10 pounds from your present weight. The rule-of-thumb for healthy weight loss is that you should lose 1-2 pounds per week.
Taking into consideration that in order to achieve a weight loss of one pound requires a deficit (burning more than you’re consuming) of 3500 Calories, that equates to consuming roughly 500 Calories less a day (for 1 pound a week) to 1000 Calories less (for 2 pounds in a week).
Keep in mind that while eating 500 Calories less a day might be doable for both men and women, actually eating 1000 calories less than what you’re presently eating would be a tall order for most men, and darn near impossible for most women, simply because they generally consume significantly fewer calories than men to start with (which is due to the fact that they are generally smaller). So, in order to get to the 1000 calories a day less target, an exercise regimen is pretty much a requirement (if you are not already doing so). So, let’s focus on the 500 Calorie less end, simply so we can focus on diet.
Here are a couple of weight loss trackers you can download to use either by printing out or filling out on your computer, if you have Excel or Open Office.
The excel spreadsheet is good for 16 weeks, as measured by the horizontal axis, and it has a weight range of +10 pounds (hopefully you won’t need this feature), or -30 pounds along the vertical axis.
The printable weight loss tracker here is only an 8 week one because that’s all that will fit on a page, unless you make it really small, which makes it less useful.
With our weight loss tracker, we can keep track of our progress, as taken by weekly weight measurements. Weekly is best, simply because it’s easy to get frustrated when you’re not seeing weight loss from one day to the next. Just stick to your plan, and trust us on this one.
The best way to find out how many calories you are presently consuming would be to – in addition to keeping track of the foods you consume, also find out how many calories they contain, and add everything up. Do this for a week, and then average the total calories consumed by the number of days. That would be ideal.
But who the heck has the time to do that (well, nutrition students doing a class assignment, but that’s another story)?
So, in the spirit of “Let’s do this!” enter the (fairly accurate) Weight-calorie approximation formula:
Body Weight in Pounds/2.2 X 21.6 X Activity Level = calories needed for present weight
I don’t know why they don’t just divide 21.6 by 2.2, which equals 9.8181818181818181 (well, it’s an endless series of 8181818181, but I’m going to boldly chop it off at 9.82 and call it a day).
Ah, but how do we determine the individual’s Activity Level? Never fear, for they are provided for us:
Sedentary (little or no exercise): 1.2
Light Active (easy exercise 1-3 days/week): 1.375
Moderate Active (exercise 3-5 days/week): 1.55
Very Active (intense exercise 6-7 days/week): 1.725
Extreme Active (intense exercise + physical job): 1.9
So, for a 180 pound man who’s essentially sedentary (don’t kid yourself), we have:
180 x 9.82 x 1.2 = 2121.12 calories (voila!).
In case you’re interested, using the full 9.8181818181818181818181818181818 would have yielded us:
2120.7272727272727272727272727273, which, as I understand rounding, is essentially the same thing.
But, I hear you say, “I walk the dog twice a week for about 20 minutes, and those boxes I had to carry around the office last week were pretty heavy. I think I worked up a sweat!” or insert-your-activity here.
Okay, I’ll give you a 1.33, (but don’t push it). Then, you get 2350.908
Anyway, you get the idea. The key is, you have to be really honest with yourself about your activity level, or you defeat your purpose, which is of course, to lose weight in a reasonably short period of time.
Putting Your Weight Loss Tracker to use
Now, here’s where we apply our 500 calorie deficit. If you’re currently consuming 2350 calories, you’ll have to cut that down to 1850 to start seeing the weight come off. With this handy-dandy weight loss tracker, you can keep track of your progress every week.