A Scientific Method to Calculate Your Weight Loss in a Diet Using Calorie Counting

If you have ever tried to lose weight during a diet, you might have asked yourself how much effort should I put in to drop a certain amount of weight in my diet? Also during a diet, you might simply ask yourself how much weight I have lost so far? For the second question, you might answer: I would weigh myself everyday to find out the amount of weight I have lost so far but the problem is not that simple. 

First of all the process of losing weight in a diet is not always gradual but instead it is sometimes a sudden process. In other words during your diet, you might experience 7-10 days with no weight loss and after that all of a sudden in a few days, you would experience a significant amount of weight loss in your diet. Second, if you scale yourself every morning to measure your weight loss, you might not always find the right answer. Your body might have extra body water or your stomach might not be completely empty and that makes a significant error in measuring your total weight loss during your diet.

Theory of our calculations

In this article, I am trying to introduce a method to calculate the amount of weight loss during someone’s diet using calorie counting. In order to maintain your weight in a day, someone’s intake calories should be equal to that person’s burning calories. In order to lose weight, your burning calories should be more than your intake calories and for gaining weight, your intake calories should be more than your burning calories. In our case, we definitely need to lose weight so our intake calories should be less than our burning calories but the main question here is how to find the calorie equivalent of everything in this process.

Calorie calculations

For your intake calories, the answer is simple. You might measure how many calories you consumed during each day. Your burning calories during each day contains two parts (and we have to add them up together to evaluate your total burning calories in each day). Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and the amount of calories you burn during your activities in a day. 

Basal metabolic rate is the amount of calories your body needs to accomplish its most basic (basal) life-sustaining functions. One popular way to estimate BMR is through the Harris-Benedict formula, which takes into account weight, height, age, and gender (reference Here). Below is the BMR formula for women and men respectively: (you can alternatively use this website to calculate your BMR)

Women BMR = 655 + (9.6 × weight in kg) + (1.8 × height in cm) – (4.7 × age in years)

Men BMR = 66 + (13.7 × weight in kg) + (5 × height in cm) – (6.8 × age in years)

You also need to calculate your burning calories during your daily activities as well. That greatly depends on the source of your burning calories each day. Some fitness trackers estimate your burning calories so that’s an option. In my case my main source of burning calories during my diet is by walking so I found a way to estimate my burning calories each day using my total steps. 

This website estimates your total burning calories using your age, gender, height, weight, speed and duration. I recommend calculating your burning calories for 100 minutes to minimize the approximation error. In my case my burning calories per 100 minutes was 621 calories i.e. 6.21 calories per minute. My walking cadence (number of steps in one minute) is usually 120 so my burning calories per each step is usually 6.21/120 calories. Therefore, my total burning calories for a certain number of steps is equal with steps*6.21/120 . 

Maximizing the accuracy of burning calories estimation

Remember by means of time during your diet as you lose weight, both your BMR and your burning calories by your activities during the day would change so you’d better update your numbers in the websites I provided above once every month. For example my (BMR,100 minutes walking burning calories) when I was 79.5 kg were (1795,621) calories respectively but one month later when I dropped 3.5 kg the corresponding numbers were (1748, 607) calories respectively. 

Required calories for losing weight and the assumptions

Now we have an idea about the calculation of intake and burning calories. For example, let’s assume at the beginning of my diet, I had 15000 steps in one day as the main source of my burning calories and my total intake calories in that day has been 1500 calories. The question is how much weight loss should I expect after that day so let’s do the calculation. 

My BMR using the formula I provided above was 1795 calories. My burning calories for 15000 steps on that day using the formula above was 15000×6.21/120=776 calories. Therefore my total burning calories on that day is equal to 1795+776=2571. As a result my burning calories minus my intake calories is equal to 2576-1500=1076 calories. But how much weight loss should I expect for burning 1076 extra calories?

The answer depends on whether you are burning fat, muscle or LBM/protein. There are 3500 calories worth of energy in one pound of fat (7709 calories per kg) and 700 calories worth of energy in one pound of muscle tissue (reference Here). If a person creates a 3500 caloric deficit, that deficit does not come solely from fat but for simplicity of our calculation, we assume that person is solely burning fat. Of course that would lead to an error in our calculations but remember we are just doing an approximation for our calculation. 

Back into our example and using the above assumption, a 1076 calorie deficit would lead to 1076/3500=0.307 lb or 1076/7709=0.139 kg of weight loss.

Calculating weight loss for long term data using Google sheets   

Assume you have your intake calories data for one month and you have also stored your total daily steps as your main source of burning calories for one month. The question is how much weight loss you should expect during that month of your diet. I am answering that question using google sheets and I want to emphasize based on the above explanation, the accuracy of our method would decrease for data more than one month and you have to rebuild your table every month. I am using my own data for one month to show you my method and I will compare the results with my daily weight I measured every morning during that month. The final google sheets data is available in this file.

Let’s start with 7 days of data and we assume we would add each day’s data to the google sheets table at the end of each day. Our table starts with the following data:

ABC
1Intake CaloriesStepsWeight (kg)
21490078.2
320608178.41
417302206078.4
521001532478.6
61160078.4
71380264178.3
814302569879.2

Now our main goal is to see our weight loss each day and add them up together since day one to know our total weight loss. Therefore we would add two columns called weight loss and total weight loss in our google sheets file. The formula for my weight loss cell is as follows: 

=(1795+B2*6.21/120-A2)/7709*1000

If you want to generate the above formula for yourself, you might replace 1795 by your BMR, 6.21 by the amount of calories you burn in one minute of walking and 120 by your walking cadence (your total walking steps per one minute). 7709 would remain the same (there are 7709 calories worth of energy in one kg of fat). We drag this formula in the google sheets file to generate the entire column and we would get a table like this:

ABCD
1Intake CaloriesStepsWeight (kg)Weight Loss (g)
21490078.240
320608178.41-34
417302206078.4157
521001532478.663
61160078.482
71380264178.372
814302569879.2220

Remember in that table negative weight loss means gaining weight. Now in the last column, we want to have the sum of elements of column D. In terms of google sheets formulas, in the last column, we want to have the following numbers respectively from the bottom: sum(D8:D8), sum(D7:D8), sum(D6:D8),…,sum(D2:D8). For that purpose we need to use the $ sign in order to keep one variable constant. Therefore use the following formula in the last column and drag it to the top to generate the formula for the entire column. The formula is:

=sum($D$8:D8)

After generating the formula for the entire column we have:

ABCDE
1Intake CaloriesStepsWeight (kg)Weight Loss (g)Total Weight Loss (g)
21490078.240599
320608178.41-34560
417302206078.4157594
521001532478.663437
61160078.482374
71380264178.372291
814302569879.2220220


Finally we would make the last column which is our approximation for each day’s weight using calorie counting and compare it to the actual weight of that day measured at the beginning of the day by scale. The formula for the last column is:

=$C$8-E8/1000

By dragging the formula in google sheets, making the last column and rearranging the columns we’ll have the following table:

ABCDEF
1Intake CaloriesStepsWeight (kg)Calorie Counting Weight (kg)Weight Loss (g)Total Weight Loss (g)
21490078.278.640599
320608178.4178.6-34560
417302206078.478.8157594
521001532478.678.863437
61160078.478.982374
71380264178.379.072291
814302569879.2220220

Now I will show the google sheet result for the entire 30 days:

Calorie IntakeStepsWeight (kg)Calorie Counting Weight (kg)Weight Loss (g)Total Weight Loss (g)
209093327676.1243120
17102273476.876.31643096
15302226076.776.51842932
11652605477.776.72572748
6602703777.777.03292491
3640917077.276.9-1782163
1685076.876.9142341
15602235577.477.11812326
12712492677.777.32352146
1410077.477.3501910
19902253677.577.51261860
7402418378.577.82991734
30401771777.877.7-431435
20262205077.577.81181478
17302226977.478.01581360
18702536277.978.21611202
1795218537878.31471041
18001589578.578.4106895
1690210787978.6155789
2110718678.7178.67633
32302214578.778.5-37626
1940078.578.5-19664
21902000478.2178.683682
1490078.278.640599
20608178.4178.6-34560
17302206078.478.8157594
21001532478.678.863437
1160078.478.982374
1380264178.379.072291
14302569879.2220220
Intake CaloriesStepsWeight (kg)Calorie Counting Weight (kg)Weight Loss (g)Total Weight Loss (g)

As you can see, the result is surprisingly accurate. After 30 days when I experienced my last sudden weight loss, my actual weight was 76.0 kg and my calorie counting weight was 76.1 kg and the error was literally negligible. 

Making Beef Liver and Vegetables

This Week, I decided to make beef liver and vegetables which is a very healthy food and it’s easy to cook too. The recipes is available all over the internet and you can use the following youtube video too:

I made a few changes to the ingredients based on my taste. The entire process of cooking took me about 2-3 hours and instead I had my main meal for about one week. The photo gallery of my cooking is available in the below link:

Photo Gallery of Beef Liver and Vegetables Cooking

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Making Salmon and Vegetables

This Week, I decided to make salmon and vegetables which is a very healthy food and it’s easy to cook too. The recipes is available all over the internet and you can use the following youtube video too:

I made a few changes to the ingredients based on my taste. The entire process of cooking took me about 2 hours and instead I had my main meal for about one week. The photo gallery of my cooking is available in the below link:

Photo Gallery of Salmon and Vegetables Cooking

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Making Beef and Lentil Stew

This Week, I decided to make beef and lentil stew which is a very healthy food and it’s easy to cook too. The recipes is available all over the internet and you can use the following youtube video too:

I made a few changes to the ingredients based on my taste, specially I used ground beef in my cook instead of diced beef in the video. The entire process of cooking took me about 3 hours and instead I had my main meal for about one week. The photo gallery of my cooking is available in the below link:

Photo Gallery of Beef and Lentil Stew Cooking

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California Vegetable, Corn, Green Peas and Fruit

Among the important things that I always try to keep them in my daily diet is vegetable and fruit, specially california vegetable mix, corn, green peas, apple, banana, orange and mandarin. What I usually do is, I buy a few packs of frozen vegetables, defrost them by boiling them in hot water, then keeping them in fridge in small quantities and serve them in a daily basis.

For the fruit, I buy apple, banana, Orange and mandarin, peel the skin off fruit, dice and mix them, keep them in fridge in small bags and serve them in a daily basis. I usually add salt, chili powder and pepper to the vegetable,  boil it in a little bit of water and serve it like a soup.

About the calories, each bag of california vegetable in the below photo contains about 100 calories and each bag of corn and green peas in the below photo contains about 300 calories.

Photo Gallery of Making California Vegetable, Corn, Green Peas and Fruit

11

Making Beef and Bean Chili

This Week, I decided to make beef and bean chili which is a very healthy food and it’s easy to cook too. The recipes is available all over the internet and you can use the following youtube video too:

I made a few changes to the ingredients based on my taste. The entire process of cooking took me about 3 hours and instead I had my main meal for about one week. The photo gallery of my cooking is available in the below link:

Photo Gallery of Beef and Been Chili Cooking

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2020 Training Week 7 (22/06/2020 to 28/06/2020)

Activity Details in Google Sheets

Activity Schedule in Google Docs

08

My weekly totals

First, let’s review summary of this week’s training: weekly mileage 40.02 km, weekly steps 99’758 (14’251 steps daily average), total weight loss so far 6.7 kg and this week’s weight loss 1.5 kg.

About my weight loss

In regards to my weight loss, I am happy that I made my weekly goal of 1 kg/week and even a bit more. My total weight loss so far (6.7 kg) is also pretty close to what I desired (7.0 kg). In fact in the middle of the week on Thursday (25/06), I made my desired weight loss for the the end of the week by losing 7.1 kg but again for some temporary reasons I gained back a bit of that weight loss. 

As I mentioned last week, I was a bit concerned about my diet on week 7 because last year at the beginning of week 7, I burned out due to my strict diet and had a week of rest. Fortunately this year by taking more reasonable steps, I successfully made my goal for up to the end of week 7. Based on my last year’s experience, after passing week 7, my weight loss journey should be OK up to the end of week 10 so I expect to have an easy/moderate job for losing weight for the next three weeks, but let’s see what will happen in practice. 

Summary of this week’s activities

First, let’s review my activities during this week. I had 4 run activities in this week. On Tuesday (23/06) I had a 10K run with the following averages: (10.01 K, 5:36 min/km, 167 bpm, 25m elevation gain). On Wednesday (24/06) I had a 10K run with the following averages: (10.01 K, 5:26 min/km, 173 bpm, 22m elevation gain). On Friday (26/06) I had a 10K run with the following averages: (10.00 K, 5:54 min/km, 145 bpm, 28m elevation gain). On Saturday (27/06) I had a 10K run with the following averages: (10.00 K, 5:50 min/km, 163 bpm, 30m elevation gain).

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySundayTotal
2210K Run10K Run2510K Run10K Run2840.0 km
122711640615756540016500164591696699,758
81.5 kg80.9 kg81.7 kg80.4 kg81.1 kg81.3 kg80.8 kg

About my weekly mileage

Starting from June 5 2020, I changed my training plan to two 10K runs one day rest.  I had difficulty to keep up with the new plan for the first week because of getting injured and being tired, but since June 14 2020, I have been successfully committed with the plan and my average weekly mileage increased from 28 km to 47 km since that time. Therefore it’s my second week that I have stayed with the new plan and I have to continue with this plan for at least two more weeks before I make any changes to it.  

VO2Max and Comparing activities to see my improvement

My VO2Max this week in my (Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday) activities were (49, 49, 50, 50) ml/kg/min respectively. In order to see my improvement this week, I want to compare two activities, one on Friday 26/06 which was (10.00 K, 5:54 min/km, 145 bpm, 28m elevation gain) and the other on Wednesday 10/06 which was (10.01 K, 6:18 min/km, 145 bpm, 24m elevation gain). 

As we can see, all factors of both runs (my effort, distance and terrain) are the same and the only factor which varies in those two runs is the average pace. I had 00:24 min/km improvement which is a 7.55% improvement in 16 days that I am pretty happy about it.

My lactate threshold pace and heart rate

On Wednesday (24/06), my watch updated my lactate threshold pace (5:25 min/km) and my lactate threshold heart rate (175 bpm). 

About individual runs

This Wednesday (24/06) was the first day in the new session that I had my run with just a T-shirt because the weather was warm enough. On Friday and Saturday runs, I was trying to have my 10K runs with average pace 6:00 min/km because I wanted to save my energy for a hard effort 10K run next week i.e. a run with average heart rate 178 bpm or so. I also had a notable improvement in my running cadence on Saturday’s run where I was successfully able to have my average cadence over 180 spm for all of the 10 laps of the run.