Calorie Data Analysis
I started tracking my cumulative net calories–and just by doing this I have started getting healthier. If you are overweight and like crunching data this might work for you!
My formula is: NC=M-E (where M=meal calories consumed and E=exercise calories burned)
Here is how I am doing (as at 11th March), looking at cumulative net calories over time.
Method for Calorie Data Analysis
Watch the video below to see the method I used to track my daily net calorie flow (intake less burned), or go straight to the summary steps below. Get the file from the video here.
- Create a dataset with four headings: date, item, calories_in, calories_out, net_calories
- Look online to estimate your daily calorie burn (based on age, height, and weight). For example here.
- Update your dataset each day for items consumed (e.g. meals + drinks) or calorie-burning activities done (like playing sport, cleaning your house, cycling to shops, etc.). Just google ‘[food] calories’ (e.g. ‘avocado calories’ leads here). You will quickly get good at guessing. Same thing goes for exercise.
- Add an input range for your chart and use the SUMIF function to get the total net calories per day. Then use a cumulative SUM function to get the cumulative total. To do this just lock the first cell in your range and drag down (in my example ‘=SUM(P$11:P14)’ see video!)
- Create your chart and you’re done!
A Genuine Learning Experience
For me doing this has been quite illuminating. I got the idea from my cousin who lost a lot of weight several years ago and when asked how he said it was just because he started measuring what he was eating. A true testament to the value of data analysis for improving performance. As Thomas Monson has said ‘When performance is measured, performance improves’.
In my case, I think this works partly because I enjoy analyzing data. In recent months I have made attempts to regulate my diet with rules like:
- No eating after 7pm
- Small meals Thursdays
- Half-fasting once a week
And so on. But these have not worked. What has been astounding to me (since I have literally NEVER measured calorie intake in my whole life) is that I could consistently come in under my base burn each weekday, no problem. But then on takeaway Friday or Sunday dinner I could quite easily blow out by +1000kcal for the day! Notably, eating 2/3 of a 200g bar of chocolate will clock about 700kcal (about 1/2 what I had eaten all day on a normal weekday!)
Anyway, all this has helped me to regulate my diet without really exercising too much will power. So it is worth a try.
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