Track Your Calories, Exercise, and Weight

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FAQ
 
What is Calorie Line?

Calorie Line provides a place to keep a log of what you eat, how much you exercise, and how much you weigh. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to track the amount of calories you eat every day.

We want to make counting calories something you can do in a few minutes each day, so that you can log your calories and exercise for a long period of time.

We also provide tools and graphs to help you to look for those patterns in your eating and exercise habits that may have an impact your weight.

Why should I count calories?

The more food records people kept, the more weight they lost...those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records. It seems that the simple act of writing down what you eat encourages people to consume fewer calories.

The quote above is by one of the researchers of a 2008 study, funded by the the U.S. National Institutes of Health, which showed that tracking your calories can help you control your weight.

We believe that if you count calories, the knowledge will help you to control your weight and thus improve your health, not just for the duration of your diet but for the rest of your life.

With the knowledge you get from logging and graphing your calories, exercise, and weight, you will be able to make simple, small adjustments to your eating and exercise habits when necessary. Because it is a lot easier to make the occasional small adjustment then to spend months and months dieting.

What tools does Calorie Line provide for tracking calories?

We have a simple 'ledger' style form for tracking calories, exercise, and weight (and to take notes). The calorie journal is the heart of Calorie Line, where you will spend 3-5 minutes per day (less as you gain experience counting calories).

If you need help on how to enter a meal into the Calorie Line calorie tracker, just log in and go to your Home page, then click 'Help'. The interactive help will literally point you to the buttons you need to click in order to enter your calories into your log.

Our primary goal is to make the difficult task of tracking calories as easy and fast as possible, so we also provide a calorie lookup tool for looking up how many calories are in various foods. Our calorie data is taken from the USDA's web site. In the coming months, we will be adding to the US government's data with data from manufacturers so that you can search for calories by the brand of food or restaurant you eat at.

We also provide a way to track how many calories you burn from exercise. More information on our exercise tracker is below.

For analysis, we provide lots of graphs so that you can see how much you're eating, at what time of day you tend to eat, and on what days you tend to eat less food. It is easy to see trends forming in your eating patterns when they are laid out on a graph. If an area of one of our graphs interests you, click on it, and you will then be taken to a list of the things you ate and the exercise you did during the time period depicted on the graph.

Our advanced search tool can also be used for analysis, by enabling you to search for days you ate below your average calories, or days when you ate more than average.

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Does what I ate last week effect how much I'm going to eat this week?

With Calorie Line, insights that are normally obscured by time emerge in the weekly and monthly graphs. You will see if you've eaten more than average calories for a few days in a row (and by how much), and it will be obvious to you to adjust your intake before you extend that run to 3 weeks.

And, conversely, you will see if you were too disciplined the week before, so you can be ready as you metabolism 'fights back' and tries to recoup some of those calories. These sorts of decisions are only possible when you have the knowledge that counting and graphing your calories provides.

With Calorie Line's weekly and monthly graphs, the relationship between how much you ate last week, or even last month, and how you feel today will simply jump out at you.

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Just how hard is it to count calories?

It may seem difficult at first, but we are confident that if you can commit to counting your calories, you will get fast at it in a matter of weeks, so that you need only to spend a few minutes of each day logging what you ate. While nobody can be perfect when it comes to estimating calories, you don't need to be perfect to get the benefits of tracking and graphing your caloric intake.

There are some fascinating and surprisingly counter-intuitive phenomenon that are revealed in Calorie Line's graphs, but you have to count calories for a few months to see them. If you can get to that level, you will gain a much deeper insight into what causes your weight to do what it does, and so gain some control over the direction your own calorie line moves.

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How much does it cost?

Calorie Line is free. We will introduce enhanced features in the future for premium members.

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Do I really have to be a fanatic about my body to control my weight?

You don't have to obsess about your weight. In fact, the whole point of Calorie Line is to make it simple to track your calories. Calorie Line is an unusual web-site -- it has been designed so that you spend as little time as possible here on the site. Once you put in a couple of weeks learning the ropes of calorie counting, you won't have to spend more than a few minutes a day at it. Is showering too hard, or brushing your teeth? Nobody questions the wisdom of these activities. Like basic hygiene, counting calories can be something you do for just a couple of minutes a day to help take care of your body.

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Is it possible to count every calorie accurately?

Nobody is perfect, and short of walking around with a bomb calorimeter, you cant get a perfect calorie tally. But if you are consistent, and are pretty accurate, and honest, that will be good enough for you to see trends in your weekly and monthly graphs, those crucial times when a small adjustment can save you plenty of grief later. It will be very obvious if you have eaten an above average amount for a few days running, so you can try to get a little extra exercise.

And it will also be obvious if you were too disciplined last week. That may sound like it doesn't make sense. But if you eat way below average calories for a number of days, a quick glance at the graphs and charts we provide will prepare you for the inevitable, when your metabolism fights back as it tries to recoup those calories. That knowledge will allow you to make a small adjustment, maybe by exercising a little more that week, or making sure you have a substantial breakfast that week.

You don't have to be perfect at counting calories to realize these benefits, you just need to be as consistent as you can be, and the crucial information will then reveal itself to you.

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How can you help me stick with it?

We try to prevent slacking off by providing you with a very fast tool for tracking your calories and exercise. While many other sites try to get you to go through page after page so that they can bombard you with advertisements for fad diets, we want to get you on and off of our site as fast as possible. We even encourage using a pen and paper to jot down what you ate when it is not convenient to add to your journal them in online. We want you to spend less time on your weight, not more.

One of the trickiest parts of calorie counting is entering in a meal or snack where you may have indulged yourself. Just because you can get really good and really fast at tracking how many calories you eat, as most people can, does not mean you will enter them all into your calorie journal. Sometimes it's just plain depressing to have to write down that extra snack or drink.

But we have a secret weapon on our side -- the monthly graphs. Those users that show discipline for a few months will start to 'trust' the system, and understand that those pesky up-ticks in the the daily, or even the weekly graphs are often followed by adjustments that bring the numbers back down. In fact it is the very act of writing down the 'bad days', and seeing them on a graph, that empowers you to make a small adjustment fast. So that a couple of bad days don't turn into a couple of bad weeks.

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I want to lose weight. Will calorie line help me stick to my diet?

Sure, as noted above, there is plenty of evidence that keeping a calorie diary will help you stick to your diet. But Calorie Line will also help you when you are not on a diet, because you will develop the skill to assess how many calories are in foods you eat every day.

In the end, it you want to lose weight, you have to reduce your average caloric intake, or increase the average amount of calories you burn through exercise. A diet may help you make a temporary change, but, like a balloon drifting up into the sky, your weight will slowly and almost imperceptibly drift right back up unless you control your average caloric intake when you are not dieting. To do that you will need to know how many calories you are eating each day, you will need to know what is average for you.

With that knowledge, you can make more realistic adjustments -- perhaps an extra day of exercise will work for you, or perhaps you tend to splurge on Wednesdays and need to be careful on those nights. The point is, everyone is different, so the adjustment you make must be the right one for you. To make the right adjustment, you need to know how much food and exercise you are getting, and when you are getting it.

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What tools does Calorie Line provide for logging the calories I burn during exercise?

Exercise is entered on the same page on which calories are entered. The graphs provided by Calorie Line will show you how much you exercised during different time periods and different days of the week. And from these graphs you can see how exercise effects how many calories you tend to eat and how it effects your weight.

As with the calorie tracker, Calorie Line automatically memorizes the exercise you do so that the next time you do a similar exercise, all you will need to do is enter in a few letters from the description and Calorie Line will find it for you, automatically filling in the information.

If you need help on how to log exercise into your Calorie Line journal, just log in and go to your Home page, then click 'Help'. The interactive help will literally point you to the buttons you need to click in order to enter the exercise you did into the log.

We calculate how many calories you burned during your exercise in the following way:

  1. You enter in a brief description of the exercise, along with how long you did it, and then choose the type of exercise you got. When choosing the exercise type, just choose the item that most closely matches what you did in intensity.
  2. The number of calories you burned is then estimated using the following formula:
    • Calories Burned = Weight (kilograms) * Time (minutes) * MET
    • Weight: We take your most recently entered weight then convert it to Kg.
    • Time: You enter how many minutes of exercise you got.
    • MET: When you tell us the type of exercise you got, you are effectively telling us the MET. (more detail below)

If you have never entered your weight with Calorie Line, then we assume a weight of 150 pounds. However, to get any value out of Calorie Line, it is recommended that you enter your weight often.

We base all MET values on the data provided in Compendium of Physical Activities: an update of activity codes and MET intensities (BARBARA E. AINSWORTH, WILLIAM L. HASKELL, MELICIA C. WHITT, MELINDA L. IRWIN, ANN M. SWARTZ, SCOTT J. STRATH, WILLIAM L. O’BRIEN, DAVID R. BASSETT, JR.) (published in 2000). This paper estimates how many calories are burned by various of physical activities in such a way that you can get a decent approximation of the calories burned for an individual of a given height and weight.

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What should I do when I don't have time to enter in what I ate, or I don't have access to the internet?

If you are in a hurry, and you want to enter your weight or exercise in later, just leave a note for yourself in your calorie journal. Write down in shorthand what you ate, and put the word 'Todo' anywhere in the note. The next time you visit the site, you will be reminded that you have Todo items.

If you are unsure of how to enter a 'Todo' note into your log, then login and go to your Home page and click 'Help'. The interactive help will literally point you to the buttons you need to click to get it done.

If you are on vacation, or don't have internet access, just write down what you eat and the exercise you get with a paper and pen. Paper and pen may not give you graphs, or a calorie lookup tool, but believe it or not, they work pretty darned well in a pinch. It won't take you more than a couple of minutes a day. When you get back from your trip, login and enter what you wrote into your calorie journal.

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