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Calorie Tracking Websites

Old 02-22-15, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka
OK, the first thing I'm noticing, after entering 3 days worth of information, is this ... my sodium levels are LOW. Well below the daily goal (wherever that came from).

Perhaps this might explain why I crave salt all the time ... and therefore I crave salty foods like potato chips, crackers, cheese, and olives.



Everyone says, "there's already so much salt in our diets ..." but there's not when you eat a whole lot of fruit and veg.


Interesting.
Salt is a nutrient like the rest, and a very important one. So many are overindulging mainly from eating processed foods, but if you are eating a bunch of "healthy" food and avoiding salt, you can be easily under consuming salt, especially if you workout and sweat a lot.
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Old 02-22-15, 06:16 PM
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Yesterday was the first day since I started tracking that I actually reached the suggested daily goal for salt ... and it took two electrolyte pills and half a cheese and herb calzone to do it.

But yes ... I usually eat fruit, veg, and grains, and there is no salt in any of that.
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Old 02-22-15, 06:39 PM
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I recently signed up for Weight Watchers Online. After a couple of days I was getting very frustrated with their apps/website, so I tried MyFitnessPal also. So far (1 week) I prefer MFP and may try for a refund on the WW fees. LoseIt and MyNetDiary sound interesting and I may explore them also.

STP
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Old 02-22-15, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by jsk
Their exercise database is kind of a joke, the calorie estimates are way high for cardio exercises. If you're going to log workouts I'd suggest using a partner service that can sync more accurate info to MFP. Or if you log manually at least lower the calorie numbers. I train with a Garmin and once my workouts upload to Garmin Connect they automatically sync to MFP (and since I have a power meter I know the calorie estimates are pretty accurate).
When MFP "gave" me 612 calories for a 1-hour cross-country hike, I thought that might be, um...optimistic. And I was looking forward to some dessert this evening...

I use a Garmin 305 for hiking and such; Garmin 500 for bike workouts. I use an heart rate monitor, but no power meter, so using Garmin Connect to sync wouldn't really help with MFP?

STP
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Old 02-22-15, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Porschefan
When MFP "gave" me 612 calories for a 1-hour cross-country hike, I thought that might be, um...optimistic. And I was looking forward to some dessert this evening...

STP
I'm only getting 243 calories burned for a 1-hour walk. But then, I'm also selecting "Walking, 12.5 mins per km, mod. pace". I may, at times, walk quite a bit more briskly than that, but there are other times I don't so I figured I go with a low-ish average.

And since I've always sort of assumed 250/hour when walking, 243/hour is ballpark.


The 500 calories per hour MFP is giving me for cycling is also ballpark. That number might be just a tad high, but that's approx. what I've always estimated that I burn per hour while cycling.


But some things I think they're a little high on, and so I'll pick a slower pace or slightly less time to bring it down to a more realistic number.


I wish they would show calories burned for the strength training category ... after all, if I'm standing there doing weights for 15 min, I'm burning more calories than sitting on the sofa doing nothing for 15 min.

Last edited by Machka; 02-22-15 at 07:02 PM.
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Old 02-22-15, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Porschefan
When MFP "gave" me 612 calories for a 1-hour cross-country hike, I thought that might be, um...optimistic. And I was looking forward to some dessert this evening...

I use a Garmin 305 for hiking and such; Garmin 500 for bike workouts. I use an heart rate monitor, but no power meter, so using Garmin Connect to sync wouldn't really help with MFP?

STP
Also...any recommendations or comments on the exercise portions of these apps. Or alternatives--like exercise/calorie counters whose data could be incorporated manually into the diet app?

STP
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Old 02-22-15, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka
I'm only getting 243 calories burned for a 1-hour walk. But then, I'm also selecting "Walking, 12.5 mins per km, mod. pace". I may, at times, walk quite a bit more briskly than that, but there are other times I don't so I figured I go with a low-ish average.

The 500 calories per hour while cycling is ballpark. That number might be just a tad high, but that's approx. what I've always estimated.

But some things I think they're a little high on, and so I'll pick a slower pace or slightly less time to bring it down to a more realistic number.
You're referring to MFP's exercise database, right? I chose Cross-country hike (lower than climbing up hills, even though there's some hill-climbing in all my hikes). I guess it's a learning process, but I would like to explore getting more accurate ideas of how much my exercise is "worth".

I must say that if I exercise regularly--like 5-6 times per week and eat sensibly I'll lose weight. "Eat sensibly" is the key--and I think it's time for me to educate myself on the basics, since leaving it up to how I feel seems to eventually not work.

One of the big frustrations I was having with WW (and there are some hints of this in MFP too) are WILDLY differing estimates for "points" values for food. A fried egg: 2 points. s A scrambled egg: 5 points--with no additional data about prep. WW website and apps look slick, but to me were hard to navigate and had a lot of contradictory info.

STP
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Old 02-22-15, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Porschefan
You're referring to MFP's exercise database, right? I chose Cross-country hike (lower than climbing up hills, even though there's some hill-climbing in all my hikes). I guess it's a learning process, but I would like to explore getting more accurate ideas of how much my exercise is "worth".
Yes, I'm referring to the MFP's exercise database.

My personal policy, every time I use these things, has always been to estimate low on the exercise ... pick a speed slightly less than what you think you've done, and flat terrain.

There is no exact measurement on calories burned. Every website you look at will give you a different number, and the range can be quite dramatic.

I guestimate 500 calories per hour while cycling, unless I know I'm cruising along easily in which case it might be lower. I guestimate 250 calories per hour while walking, unless I know I'm just strolling in which case it might be lower.
And housework, I've got at 100 calories per hour.
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Old 02-22-15, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka
Yes, I'm referring to the MFP's exercise database.

My personal policy, every time I use these things, has always been to estimate low on the exercise ... pick a speed slightly less than what you think you've done, and flat terrain.

There is no exact measurement on calories burned. Every website you look at will give you a different number, and the range can be quite dramatic.

I guestimate 500 calories per hour while cycling, unless I know I'm cruising along easily in which case it might be lower. I guestimate 250 calories per hour while walking, unless I know I'm just strolling in which case it might be lower.
And housework, I've got at 100 calories per hour.
Sounds sensible.....

I just briefly perused MyNetDiary and LoseIt and it looks like neither of them even track exercise. MyNetDiary looks pretty slick, so I may give that a try also.

STP
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Old 02-22-15, 08:26 PM
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One thing this tracking program is doing is to motivate me to exercise. Their suggested calorie limit is 1280 calories per day in order for me to gradually lose a few kg ... which, at the moment while I'm adjusting to that, is leaving me feeling a bit dizzy. But of course, if I exercise, my calorie limit goes up. A brisk walk for 30 min at lunch, and all of a sudden my calorie limit is about 1400. That doesn't mean I'm going to eat 1400 calorie ... it just loosens the restrictions a little bit.
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Old 02-22-15, 08:54 PM
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You can track exercise with LoseIt.

One thing about the exercise calories, they scale with your body weight. For cycling, for example I'm really small, so I can only burn about 450 cal/hour for HARD riding, but a person with a higher wattage output could burn maybe even twice as much. I get these figures from my power meter, which is an pretty accurate way to measure calories burned cycling.

There's no way I would be burning 250 cal/hour walking. And stuff like housework doesn't count that's just part of being alive.

Machka, 1280 is crazy low, if you are really eating that little I would think you would be dropping weight dramatically fast. I would be. I can only deal with net 1500 when I'm trying to lose weight.
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Old 02-22-15, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by valygrl
Machka, 1280 is crazy low, if you are really eating that little I would think you would be dropping weight dramatically fast. I would be. I can only deal with net 1500 when I'm trying to lose weight.
Nope ... not at all. Not even 1 gram.

I've been tracking each and every little thing, even the light skiff of margarine on my toast. Checking and double checking the calorie content of the food against other sites. I'm even weighing the amount of yogurt I eat.
I've been estimating quite low on calories burned for the exercise I've been doing. Again, checking and double-checking against other sites, and picking the lowest values. (I'm currently estimating 240 for 1 hour of brisk walking, not 250, and less than that if I stroll)
And I've been netting under 800 calories a day all but one day where I netted 1200. So even if the walking only amounted to 100 calories for 1 hour ... I'd still net under 1000 calories a day.

And not a single gram lost in the last 5 days.


The odd thing is, I've done this before (in 2011) and my net limit then was 1500, not 1280 ... and I dropped 13 lbs in 13 weeks nice and consistently.
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Old 02-22-15, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Porschefan
When MFP "gave" me 612 calories for a 1-hour cross-country hike, I thought that might be, um...optimistic. And I was looking forward to some dessert this evening...

I use a Garmin 305 for hiking and such; Garmin 500 for bike workouts. I use an heart rate monitor, but no power meter, so using Garmin Connect to sync wouldn't really help with MFP?

STP
Well, Garmin's HR-based calorie estimates are probably better than MFP's excercise database. So you could still connect your Garmin and MFP accounts so that your hikes/rides automatically get synced to MFP. If you feel that the calorie estimates are too high/low you can manually adjust them I guess.
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Old 02-22-15, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka
Nope ... not at all. Not even 1 gram.

I've been tracking each and every little thing, even the light skiff of margarine on my toast. Checking and double checking the calorie content of the food against other sites. I'm even weighing the amount of yogurt I eat.
I've been estimating quite low on calories burned for the exercise I've been doing. Again, checking and double-checking against other sites, and picking the lowest values. (I'm currently estimating 240 for 1 hour of brisk walking, not 250, and less than that if I stroll)
And I've been netting under 800 calories a day all but one day where I netted 1200. So even if the walking only amounted to 100 calories for 1 hour ... I'd still net under 1000 calories a day.

And not a single gram lost in the last 5 days.


The odd thing is, I've done this before (in 2011) and my net limit then was 1500, not 1280 ... and I dropped 13 lbs in 13 weeks nice and consistently.
Sometimes weight loss comes in spurts, where it stays static for several days or a week and then drops substantially in just a few days. But I would be careful about how long you stay on such a low-calorie diet, eg weeks not months. Such a low calorie diet can be detrimental in the long-run because your body will try to adapt by being more efficient and slowing down you metabolism. That's why for long-term weight loss a combination of diet and exercise is more effective than diet alone; the exercise helps keep your metabolism going, and since you don't have to cut calories as much your metabolism doesn't fight the process.
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Old 02-22-15, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by jsk
Sometimes weight loss comes in spurts, where it stays static for several days or a week and then drops substantially in just a few days. But I would be careful about how long you stay on such a low-calorie diet, eg weeks not months. Such a low calorie diet can be detrimental in the long-run because your body will try to adapt by being more efficient and slowing down you metabolism. That's why for long-term weight loss a combination of diet and exercise is more effective than diet alone; the exercise helps keep your metabolism going, and since you don't have to cut calories as much your metabolism doesn't fight the process.
I know. That's why I said that tracking calories like this motivates me to exercise. The more I exercise, the more I can eat ... within reason of course. I'm still trying to keep the net at about 1280.

Today, it was drizzling and spitting and showering at lunch, and I might have stayed in, but instead I was motivated to dash out for a very brisk 30 min walk.

And I know that I tend to retain water after a weekend of cycling ... such as the one I just had. So, for me, weighing in on Monday morning is pointless. If there's going to be a weight loss, I'll see it tomorrow or Wednesday.

I also know that sometimes it takes a week or two before I suddenly start losing weight. Again, it's actually pointless for me to start checking my weight in the first week of something like this. It's like it takes a little while for my body to realise what's going on.
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Old 02-22-15, 10:27 PM
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Definitely LoseIt! Easy, quick, tons of foods and exercises in data base. Exercises are customize able by speed/intensiveness etc.
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Old 02-22-15, 10:48 PM
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Ugh machka, sounds frustrating.

Edit, whoa autocorrect!
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Old 02-24-15, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Porschefan
Sounds sensible.....

I just briefly perused MyNetDiary and LoseIt and it looks like neither of them even track exercise. MyNetDiary looks pretty slick, so I may give that a try also.

STP
MyNetDiary has a separate tracking app for exercise that enters the exercise & calories directly into the diet app. But it does not utilize heart rate monitors so I stopped using it (makes it too inaccurate). It also has a place to enter exercise & calories burned manually. So I use DigiFit for tracking my exercise and calculating calories (it's more extensive and powerful than the diet apps) and then enter it manually into MyNetDiary....
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Old 02-24-15, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka
Nope ... not at all. Not even 1 gram.

I've been tracking each and every little thing, even the light skiff of margarine on my toast. Checking and double checking the calorie content of the food against other sites. I'm even weighing the amount of yogurt I eat.
I've been estimating quite low on calories burned for the exercise I've been doing. Again, checking and double-checking against other sites, and picking the lowest values. (I'm currently estimating 240 for 1 hour of brisk walking, not 250, and less than that if I stroll)
And I've been netting under 800 calories a day all but one day where I netted 1200. So even if the walking only amounted to 100 calories for 1 hour ... I'd still net under 1000 calories a day.

And not a single gram lost in the last 5 days.


The odd thing is, I've done this before (in 2011) and my net limit then was 1500, not 1280 ... and I dropped 13 lbs in 13 weeks nice and consistently.
I experience the same... MyNetDiary was telling me I should be losing a pound or two a week -- but it worked out to a pound or two a month (and usually in spurts)... It was so bad that I found myself double checking the calories it showed by comparing them to food labels -- but it was accurate. I never did figure out what was going on. I just went with it. And, a pound or two a month was fine by me because I never liked weight loss diets: I was trying to establish a healthy lifestyle instead.
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Old 02-24-15, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by GeorgeBMac
MyNetDiary has a separate tracking app for exercise that enters the exercise & calories directly into the diet app. But it does not utilize heart rate monitors so I stopped using it (makes it too inaccurate). It also has a place to enter exercise & calories burned manually. So I use DigiFit for tracking my exercise and calculating calories (it's more extensive and powerful than the diet apps) and then enter it manually into MyNetDiary....
Thanks, George. I'll look into both MyNetDiary and DigiFit. I dropped Weight Watchers and am promised a refund, so I'm just using MFP right now. It's a learning process.

STP
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Old 02-24-15, 03:30 PM
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Super-high sodium

I don't want to hijack this thread and if I am, I can start a new one or look for something more appropriate. That said, I'm alarmed at the sodium levels I'm eating, according to MFP. On Monday I had a target deficit of 4,200 (milligrams??). It's something I hadn't been aware of. Any pointers to information about how to cut this back to something healthy? It appears that just about any prepackaged or restaurant food is liable to be chock full o' salt!

More generically, how do these apps calculate daily targets for nutritional components? And can you adjust your profile to, say, get a lower target for carbs. I'm borderline diabetic (and full-blown diabetic if I fall off the carb wagon) and would like to set lower targets for those.

STP
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Old 02-24-15, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Porschefan
I don't want to hijack this thread and if I am, I can start a new one or look for something more appropriate. That said, I'm alarmed at the sodium levels I'm eating, according to MFP. On Monday I had a target deficit of 4,200 (milligrams??). It's something I hadn't been aware of. Any pointers to information about how to cut this back to something healthy? It appears that just about any prepackaged or restaurant food is liable to be chock full o' salt!

STP
Cut back on the prepackaged or restaurant food. You're right ... they do have a whole lot of salt in them. Just about any processed food is full of salt ... it's part of the processing and preservation process.

I've been eating mainly fresh fruit, veg, and grains, and I'm coming in at about half my "daily recommended value" ... to the point where I've started taking an electrolyte tablet now and then to curb the cravings for salty food.

My "daily recommended value" is 2300 (milligrams??), and yesterday, for example, I consumed 1154. The day before, 1618 ... but I salted my dinner quite well to get it up there.
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Old 02-24-15, 08:50 PM
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I once saw an interview with Lance Armstrong where he was was asked how he tracked his calories in. He said with an air of amusement, "I read the label!"

I don't normally eat anything with a calorie label on it. So what I do to track both calories in and out is to weigh myself daily. ~3500 calories/pound of body fat. Takes 5 seconds and my scale is very accurate. Sure, I get daily fluctuations, but I put it in my electronic training diary and graph it. Pretty easy to see the slope of the line. Also pretty easy to see what puts it on and what takes it off.

Long ago there was that "everyone eats too much salt!" scare, so we cut the salt in our recipes in half. About 5 years ago we added it all back in. You want 3/4 t. salt per day, so if you eat three meals, each one should have 1/4 t. salt in it. Of course some things have salt already in them, but once you get to know the taste of enough salt, it's pretty easy. It's always easy to add more, impossible to take it back out.
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Old 02-24-15, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
Long ago there was that "everyone eats too much salt!" scare, so we cut the salt in our recipes in half.
I think (although I haven't done any research on it, so I can't be positive) that the "everyone eats too much salt" scare came from an upsurge in the amount of fast food and processed meals people were eating (TV dinners, canned goods, cold cuts, etc.) in the 1970s and 1980s.

If that's what you eat, chances are you are consuming more than enough salt in your diet.


Many people continue to eat diets that mainly consist of those sorts of things. Even "diet" processed meals have quite a bit of salt in them.

But there's a push now to eat "whole foods" ... plain ordinary apples, instead of a processed fruit-and-other-stuff paste pressed into some sort of sheet or bar ... plain ordinary chicken breast, instead of a chicken-ish paste pressed into a stick and crumbed. And that's great ... but the plain ordinary apple and plain ordinary chicken breast don't contain salt ... and we do need salt.
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Old 02-24-15, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka
I think (although I haven't done any research on it, so I can't be positive) that the "everyone eats too much salt" scare came from an upsurge in the amount of fast food and processed meals people were eating (TV dinners, canned goods, cold cuts, etc.) in the 1970s and 1980s.

If that's what you eat, chances are you are consuming more than enough salt in your diet.


Many people continue to eat diets that mainly consist of those sorts of things. Even "diet" processed meals have quite a bit of salt in them.

But there's a push now to eat "whole foods" ... plain ordinary apples, instead of a processed fruit-and-other-stuff paste pressed into some sort of sheet or bar ... plain ordinary chicken breast, instead of a chicken-ish paste pressed into a stick and crumbed. And that's great ... but the plain ordinary apple and plain ordinary chicken breast don't contain salt ... and we do need salt.
A chicken breast has ~70 mg. Not much, but not none either. I suspect a chicken-eating coyote gets enough salt. Herbivores have more of a problem with it, which to some extent includes the plant-based diet folks.
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