Lose It! Calorie Tracker

In my previous weight loss cycles I never specifically counted calories.  I improved what and how much I ate, but that’s it.  During last week’s mid-week weigh-ins I was even lower than the final end of week weight and I knew it was not muscle loss so I decided to take a look.  I saw other posts recommending Lose It! and gave it a try.  I have to say, it’s a very nicely done tool.  I am using both the website and the smartphone app.

After inputting my current height, weight and goals – 1lb a week and a final final goal of 170 which is the high end of normal weight according to BMI charts.  (I’m not sure  if this is really my final goal at this point but for now it was a good starting point for the tool.)  I was surprised when it indicated I would be allotted 2483 calories a day and still expect to lose 1lb a week.  I know I have a lower than normal metabolism, so I knocked this down to about 2.2k using the adjustment screen (a total guess).

Then I started tracking.  It has a large database of foods already including many commercial lists.  It also allows you to add entries as well as recipes you can build up by listing ingredients.  I was able to estimate the calories for three Rachel Ray dishes – Bean Taquitos (we skip the sour cream),  Spaghetti Frittata, and Pork, Apple and Cheddar Meatballs with Noodles.  I was also able to quickly enter a homemade quiche recipe from another cookbook that already had the calorie count.  You can also enable to track nutrients, though I did not try this feature.

As a side note – the last dish is probably single-handedly responsible for me not clocking in < 250lb on Sunday.  Even with portion control I had no idea how calorie rich it was before putting it on the meal plan.  But – it was tasty – especially as leftovers.

It also has common exercises listed for you to add to your activities.  Though I’m still not convinced how to put in weight lifting – I do a highly modified Bill Star 5×5 program which involves lifting very heavy weights 4-6 times which takes 30 seconds, followed by two minutes of rest.  Takes me an hour, though I am only actually weight lifting for about 15 minutes.  Is that 15 minutes of vigorous weight lifting or and hour of light or moderate lifting?  Right now I’m going for an hour of light, not really moving it more than 75 calories either way.

I was immediately shocked to see how little I was really eating now.  For, Wednesday, July 27, it had me about 1k calories light of 2.2k target – I ate 1800 calories approximately, and burned around 566 bonus in the gym.  On non-gym days, I am running around 500 shy of target.  I’m glad I started using the tool as 1) helps explain why the weekly weigh-ins are going so well lately, 2) I need to be careful not to overdo it and fall into starvation mode, 3) I have a little more leeway (but only a little!) on snacking than I thought, and most disturbingly 4) I actually eat better at work than I do home on the weekends – the exact opposite of what I thought and explains my usual weekly weight trend.

Excellent tool to have in the tool belt.  Things that don’t impress me:

  1. while it has lots of reports and graphs, does not seem possible to create cool links from the blog to them.
  2. no choice on units used to enter quantity – sometimes the conversions in my head are shaky if it wants it in cups, and I have it in tablespoons.
  3.  coffee with whole milk and splenda – non-existent coffee choice – if i have splenda i can’t find whole milk, skim only.  if i start with whole milk it assumes I would only use sugar, not splenda.
  4. not super friendly to non-americans with their kilos and centimeters from the forums
  5. Has some ‘Motivators’ to log updates to facebook/twitter – blah, not interested

Anyone else use anything similar or better?  I will try My Fitness Pal maybe next week.

About J.

40 year old IT guy on a health and fitness kick.

Posted on August 4, 2011, in Exercise Log, Food Log, Software and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. I am using MyPlate at Livestrong.com. I am sure it is very similar. The website works well, but it only has an iphone app for smartphones. Calorie tracking has allowed me to move from floundering at my weight loss goal and actually making progress.
    I was shocked at some of the calories and other nutrient information that the site provides. For example, a slice of Costco pizza ranks in at 800 calories and almost the daily allowance of sodium.
    I have read reports that tracking your activities will increase your chance of success, and continued success, after you reach your goal.

  2. Okay, you have motivated me. I am going to try LoseIt! Thanks for the great post and info.

  3. I need to check this out. I use mapmyrun and it has a section for storing and calculating foods etc, but, I don’t really utilise it. Nutrition/food is something that I need to start looking at more seriously. I kinda think I count calories, but, I don’t, not properly. I’m still allowing exercise to be the primary vehicle of change. I could benefit so much more (I’m sure) if I took a proper look at food. It just seems like too much hard (brain) work.

    • Also look at myfitnesspal. The food db looks almost identical. Better for those on metric system. Let’s you track exercise reps. Calorie goal looks more realistic (to my non doctor eye) Reports looks more basic tho. I was going to give it a whirl. Livestrong is Facebook login based and no Droid app so completetely useless to me at work.

  4. I have used fitday.com for years. I haven’t tried “lose it” yet, but it sounds similar. When I started eating “clean”: only lean meats, fruits, vegetables and “good” fats, I was surprised at how low my calorie count actually was. Carbs and protein only have about 4 calories/gram as opposed to about 9 calories/gram for fats. If you’re not hungry, don’t feel like you need to add snacks in just to keep your calorie count up. I have been surprised at how much less I eat now, while still maintaining my muscle mass. Keep up the great progress!

  5. Lose It will allow you to enter your own foods. For example… When I eat a can of something (like soup) – I eat the whole can. The food database has all kinds of crazy amounts like grams or ounces and they all seem a little off to me. So I just reenter them for the value of the whole can.

    It will save them to your own database and you can submit it for consideration to THE database. look for “Create Food” when you enter a meal. You can also create recipes with how many it serves – then just enter how many servings you ate.

    You can also “create” exercises if you do a workout that isn’t on there.

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