Weight-Loss Software > Calorie Tracker
Using a Calorie Tracker to Lose Weight
By Terry Dunkle, DietPower Editor-In-Chief*
Nothing is better for weight loss than a calorie tracker, because the number of calories you eat is the leading factor in determining your weight. (Also important is the number of calories you burn in exercise-which we'll get to in a minute.)
The Principle Behind a Calorie Tracker
Every calorie tracker rests on a simple rule: one pound of body weight = 3500 calories. In other words, if you eat 3500 calories less than your normal intake, you'll lose a pound.
You can give up those calories over a long period or a short one, depending on how fast you intend to lose weight. Most experts say it's foolish to drop more than two pounds a week, however. You'll starve yourself of vital nutrients, and eventually the weight will come back.
Before Using a Calorie Tracker...
...find the number of calories you need for reaching your goal, by using DietPower's calorie budget calculator.
A Low-Effort Calorie Tracker
Anyone can track calories by reading food labels and tallying by hand, but it's a lot less work using your computer.
Basically, you have two choices: use a calorie tracker that works on the Web, or buy software that you download from the Web and install on your own computer. Downloadable software ($20 to $70) offers two advantages: it's more private, and it works faster. (One brand of calorie tracker software, DietPower®, is actually free.)
To Get More Than a Calorie Tracker...
...choose a downloadable program that simultaneously tracks your intake of other nutrients (fat, carbohydrates, etc.). Many programs award you extra calories for exercise, too.
One software program, called DietPowerŽ, watches 33 nutrients and guarantees reaching your goal weight on your target date by automatically adjusting your calorie budget to your metabolism. It also tracks calories burned in 1000 kinds of exercise. And it's free.
*Terry Dunkle is a 30-year veteran medical journalist and consumer advocate who serves as CEO and chief editor at DietPower, Inc., a leading maker of nutrition and weight-loss software.