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When I first started The Calorie Project, my ultimate goal was to gather enough data in order to analyze the relationship between calorie intake, energy expenditure, weight and body fat.
In the beginning, this project was simply about tracking how calorie intake affected body weight. Over time, I started making new relationships and tracking more data such as strength, energy expenditure, body fat and physical appearance. This project is about correlating specific levels of calorie intake & energy expenditure to changes in weight and body fat. The main goal of The Calorie Project has always been to better understand the relationship between calorie intake, energy expenditure, weight and body fat. This graph plots my average weekly calorie intake (X-axis) against my week to week change in weight (Y-axis). The R2 value of the scatter plot describes how well the two variables correlate to each other. The equation of the best fitting line is important because it provides suggestions on how much to eat. This tells me that historically, 3,143 calories is associated with no change in body weight.
This graph plots my average weekly energy expenditure (as calculated on my Nike FuelBand - X-axis) against the week to week change in my body weight (Y-axis). Though the data seems inaccurate, the ability to track movement on a device such as the FuelBand is extremely motivating and pushes me to keep increasing my physical activity level. Since this graph is based on the above graphs (the ones with low R2 values), the correlation here is also going to be weak.
When (calorie intake)-(Nike FuelBand energy expenditure) = 373.5 calories, my body weight stays the same.
If I had a way to [100%] accurately measure my body weight and [100%] accurately measure my calorie intake and [100%] accurately measure my energy expenditure, then yes, weight would be unchanged only when calorie intake and energy expenditure were equal. This graph is similar to graph #1 but it combines calorie intake with energy expenditure into one line.
Graph #1 and #2 illustrate the most basic weight balance rule: the combination of calorie intake and energy expenditure is the only way to control weight. In update 2, I began tracking the effects of decreasing body weight on my strength numbers at the gym.
As of update 2, both my absolute and relative strength numbers were increasing even though my body weight was decreasing. I was unfortunately right and my strength numbers recently began to plummet as I continued to lose more weight. This graph illustrates absolute strength (sum of all three lifts: squat + deadlift + bench press - red) and body weight (blue). This graph also illustrates absolute strength and body weight (blue) but separates the three lifts into separate lines. This graph shows the sum of all the ratios: squat ratio + deadlift ratio + bench press ratio.
This graph also illustrates relative strength and body weight (blue) but separates the three lifts into separate lines. Now that I've reached my weight loss goal, it's time to start the next phase of my body transformation. Ten pounds divided by 52 weeks per year equals 0.19 pounds per week or roughly one pound every 5-6 weeks. To achieve my 0.19 pound per week weight gain goal, I plan to slowly increase my calorie intake and track changes to weight. Yes, this seems like a lot of work to gain what seems like such a small amount of weight but there's no point in gaining 50 pounds of body weight if only 10 of those pounds are muscle. Beginner's ExerciseWith so many ways of exercising, you might be confused or lost when first deciding to start a routine. 12 April 2016 In 1958, a now infamous study concluded one pound of body fat was equal to 3,500 calories.
07 April 2016 Americans' intake of sugar is way too high and it has no real value in the diet. 06 April 2016 Sugar is addictive, bad for you in large quantities and makes everything it touches delicious. 30 March 2016 Everyone benefits from physical activity: young, old, fat, skinny, healthy and sick. Whether you want to lose weight, maintain your current weight or even gain a few kilos, knowing exactly how many calories you should consume each day is the key to success.
Dieters have an inclination to reduce caloric intake far too much during the initial stages.
Laura is a 20-something year old media student with a great passion for fashion, pop culture, beauty and travel.
I had a potential client ask me a question on twitter last week that has been on my mind ever since.
February 20, 2013 76 Comments I’ve had people ask me for months now to show what a normal day of eating is like for me.
Like I said I almost always eat more than this, usually in the form of a morning snack after my workout (protein bar, waffles,…). I’m interested to see once people calculate it if the number is much higher, or lower, than they expected! I thought about adding some photos of popular meals at restaurants that pack the same amount of calories into just one meal!

When I met with a dietician, and I wanted to lose a few pounds, I was suprised that I actually was only supposed to eat 1,200 calories.
Fully understanding these relationships would allow me to gain, lose or maintain weight more precisely without having to guess the appropriate calorie intake. I weighed myself once per week and counted my calorie intake everyday (with the help of MyFitnessPal).
Exercise and diet play a very important role in life and this is my way of showing everyone how.
Until a few weeks ago, I was tracking weight and body fat once per week and comparing those numbers to my average calorie intake and energy expenditure for the entire week.
There are many factors affecting weight, some of them permanent and others, only temporary. At the end of each week, I calculate my average weight and body fat for the past seven days.
Since this advice is based on the calorie calculator's estimate of how much energy you burn each day, it might take weeks of trial and error before figuring out the proper calorie intake for a specific weight goal. Once I know what a certain calorie intake and exercise level does to my bodyweight, I can reach my weight goals with a lot less guesswork. This positive correlation means a larger calorie intake is generally associated with an increase in weight. An R2 value of 1.0 is a perfect correlation while a lower R2 value shows a weaker correlation. If I wanted to keep my body weight constant, I should eat approximately 3,143 calories per day. In my opinion, the FuelBand is a great tool to help you move more, and ultimately, improve your fitness standing and overall health.
Technically, this number should be zero (weight is unchanged when calorie consumption equals energy burned - neither a surplus or deficit) but since none the variables are 100% accurate (calorie counting, FuelBand data, or body weight measurements), the weight balance spot (neither gaining or losing weight) won't be zero calories.
I know this might seem confusing because weight is supposed to stay the same only when calorie intake EQUALS energy expenditure. Unfortunately, it's very difficult to [100%] accurately measure all of these variables, especially energy expenditure and to a lesser degree, permanent changes (body fat and muscle) in body weight. A positive red line indicates a calorie surplus while a negative red line indicates a deficit. Typically, strength decreases with weight loss because during periods of calorie deficiency, the body burns fat and muscle for energy.
Between July and November, my absolute strength was increasing slightly despite a decreasing body weight.
If you've been following my War on Bulking series, you know my philosophy on gaining muscle. If you gain 10 pounds of muscle and 40 pounds of fat in an year, the 40 pounds of fat represents the excessive part of your calorie surplus. Though it pounds doesn't sound like a lot, 10 pounds of 100% muscle is quite a bit of weight to put on. I was hoping my calorie scatter plots would've given me more accurate data which would've allowed me to mathematically pick the appropriate calorie intake and energy expenditure level.
The route of gaining excessive body fat followed by a lengthy period of cutting is wasteful and time consuming.
If you want to gain a pound, create a surplus of 3500 calories over a given period (for example a week or month).
There are plenty of diets you can try and even more foods, medicines and drinks that promise to help. Your target weight should be such, that your Body Mass Index falls within the normal range of 18.
If you’re not confident to count calories on your own, consider joining a program like 12WBT where the meals are calorie-controlled and planned out for you.
You can use the weight loss calculator to determine the time and calorie deficit required to reach your target weight.
If you need to lose weight, take in fewer calories than you use through exercise and your everyday activities.
I’ve hesitated for so long because individual nutritional needs and amounts of calories per day vary so much from person to person.
I’ve also been eating a sweet potato a day steamed in the microwave with some cinnamon and honey! I knew about those formulas but have forgotten my numbers since last calculating it, and my mind is a little blown by how much I burn by simply just living. I’m pretty tiny so I don’t need a lot compared to others, and even I have to consume 1300 just to maintain normal bodily functions!
It’s amazing how much food you can really get out of 1450 calories if you spend them wisely!
I know that if I eat around 1600 calories a day, and don’t workout, I maintain my current weight.
I was told that at my weight I had to eat 1,200 calories to lose the last 5 pounds, and I was in the thick of marathon training. I love learning about this stuff, but have constantly struggled with finding the right calorie count for my body! In this update, I'll go over some of the tweaks I've made to this project, showcase new graphs and discuss my future goals. For a more in depth description of The Calorie Project, read through update 1 and update 2.

This project is concerned with the permanent changes in weight caused by increases and decreases in body fat and muscle. In addition to motivation, the FuelBand gives you valuable data on how many calories you burn each day. The Calorie Project gives me the information I need to reach my weight goal easily without weeks of calorie trial and error.
With the help of some simple algebra (and Excel), I can find the best fitting line, giving me insight on the appropriate calorie intake and energy expenditure levels for certain weight goals. If I wanted to mathematically figure out which calorie intake is best associated with no weight change, I could plug zero into the equation for Y. I starting using the FuelBand in August and have much less energy expenditure data than I do calorie intake data. Unfortunately, that only happens in a perfect world when all the variables are 100% accurate. According to the data I've gathered so far, when my calorie intake is 373.5 calories above my energy expenditure (according to the Nike FuelBand), my weight remains the same. As we found out earlier, the FuelBand energy expenditure numbers don't seem to be accurate. Again, since the energy expenditure data is inaccurate, this graph is somewhat useless other than reminding me how inaccurate the data is. When you cut calories and create a calorie deficit, the body is forced to make up the shortfall of energy with stored fat leading to weight loss and a reduction in body fat. Many people are obsessed with gaining weight and refuse to believe that burning fat requires weight loss. Too many people (including my younger self) are obsessed with gaining weight rather than muscle. Because 10-15 pounds per year is painfully slow, many bulkers simply eat more to speed up weight gain with the mistaken belief that more calories and protein lead to faster muscle growth. Unfortunately, the data turned out to be inaccurate, especially the energy expenditure part. What's the point of gaining all the fat (which is defined as unneeded and excessive energy) if you plan on burning it when beach season starts?
If the body needs 3000 calories to build muscle at the fastest pace it's capable of, any amount of food above 3000 calories is stored as fat. This guide will help you sort through all the information and help you start your own diet. Our Weight Loss Planning Calculator helps you to establish realistic time-lines for your weight loss goals. Each gram of protein contains 4 calories, so to figure out how much of your calorie intake is coming from protein, you would multiply your intake in grams by four. When I first started blogging I saw that most people posted their meals regularly and they always looked so much healthier than what I was eating! I also didn’t start seeing real muscle growth until I started feeding my body enough.
That’s why I feel like I can vouch for these formulas since they are accurate (for me at least.) When I first started trying to lose weight years ago I tried the strict 1200 calories a day and I was miserable! I wanted to analyze an average day for me this week to make sure I’m still eating an appropriate amount of calories, protein and fats since it had been months since I really kept track of all that. This would give me the X value when Y equals zero; in other words, this would give me the calorie intake level (X) that's best associated with no weekly change in body weight. Hopefully, as I gather more data (especially the average weekly weight rather than the once per week weigh-in), the grouping of the points will tighten up giving me more accurate calorie suggestions. When you subtract energy expenditure from calorie intake, you either get a calorie surplus (positive number) or a calorie deficit (negative number). As the difference between calories consumed and burned increases (a more positive value means consumption is increasing relative to energy expenditure), so does weight gain. The slight uptick at the very end of the graph is what I hope to be a leveling off as I increase calorie intake. The amount of calories (and even protein) we eat is not the limiting factor in muscle growth; the body simply lacks the ability to grow muscle at a faster pace.
It wasn’t until I started eating more than I had enough energy to enjoy working out and the weight came off!
A full understanding of calorie intake in addition to energy expenditure makes weight balance much easier. Small increases in calorie intake should allow me to gain muscle with very little added body fat. You should try to lose around 5 to 10 of your current body weight, one to two pounds per week or try to reduce your calorie intake by 500 – 1,000 calories a day. For a weight loss of 2lb per week it came out at just under 1200 calories and they suggest 1200 as a minimum.
BUT I will say that keeping your number in mind, and maybe even doing a measuring day every once in a while, can be really helpful.
Most people will lose weight on a daily diet of 1,500 calories, which is the total calorie count for all the food pictured above. As explained above you can use these calculations to give you an idea where you stand and how much effort you need to make until you meet your goals and target weight.

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