Calorie Counters - Paper vs App - how do u log your calories?

07-05-2013, 09:32 AM
I am curious - what do u prefer to count your calories and why?

After using MFP for a while I decided to use a paper log (dietminder) for the next few weeks. I feel that using an app makes me just add up the numbers but I don't really memorize them. I just hope to be able to learn the calorie counts of most foods and this way be armed when going on vacation (where my phone doesn't necessarily work) or at a buffet.

So I will go the old fashioned way for a while.

I was curious how other people do it and what kind of app/log they use. Do u buy a log, print it or just use an app?

07-05-2013, 10:28 AM
Hi Andee! I like to use MFP, although I tend to use it on a computer rather than the mobile app. (I have the mobile app, I just don't use it much). I also use a Fitbit to track my activiity, and the two sync well.

Best on your journey!

07-05-2013, 11:58 AM
I prefer using the computer apps, but I understand what you mean about learning the values. While I could never tell you the actual values of foods, over the last 6 months I've learned which foods are low in calories, carbs, and sodium (the thing things I have to focus on), which aren't, etc.

The important thing is that you're tracking your calorie intake. The winging it approach has led to several set backs in this journey for me. Have a great time on your trip.

07-05-2013, 12:34 PM
I actually use neither. I keep a rough estimate in my head. Logging would drive me insane.

07-05-2013, 12:45 PM
I started out with tracking my calories on paper. I now use MFP though. I find that being able to see the graphs helps me.

07-05-2013, 12:52 PM
I use paper since I really only keep track of the calories (and a rough estimate of carbs/fat/sugar). I find it WAY easier that way, plus it helps me be able to guestimate if needed when away from home. If I used an App I doubt I'd hardly know how many calories was in something because it would add everything up for me.

07-05-2013, 02:29 PM
I use mfp, if I'm too where I can't get to the internet, I either plan ahead or write out down and log later.

07-05-2013, 03:52 PM
Thanks for all your replies - so interesting to me!!!

I am really curious on how I will be doing writing things down.

Missy Krissy
07-05-2013, 05:49 PM
I use a digital kitchen scale to measure my food, a simple calculator to calculate calories, and I write everything down in my binder. I like pen and paper and the math is pretty basic.

I'm not a huge app person.

07-05-2013, 06:36 PM
I use MFP via my laptop to track my calories. I also weigh most of my food and keep a small notebook to jot that info down before I add it to my MFP food diary. I more or less know the calorie content of most of the food I eat, but I still find comfort in tracking it all down with MFP. You've made me more curious about tracking my calories with pen and paper, hmm.

07-05-2013, 07:27 PM
For those that track with pen and paper - where (besides labels) do u look up calories? Is there a certain homepage u find very reliable?

Miss Krissy that sounds great!!!

PositiveAttitude and everybody else - thx so much I really enjoy reading all the different approaches.

07-05-2013, 10:05 PM
I keep track the old-fashioned way! I have a pen and paper on the fridge! Works for me :)

07-06-2013, 12:11 PM
That is awesome!!! I thought about buying the calorie king book but google isn't as obvious haha

07-06-2013, 10:16 PM
Andee, If you're like me, you eat most of the same foods again and again. I bought the Calorie King book a long time ago and got rid of it when I quit counting (bad me). Bad not for getting rid of the book, but that I quit counting. I just wanted to say that the book was somewhat helpful in the beginning, but I could have found everything I needed online and this time I didn't purchase the book again because I very seldom referred to it when I did have it.

I have a small notebook that I have calculated my favorite recipes in and have broken down how many calories per serving. Not only recipes, but also other snacks or things I eat on a regular basis, with the amounts and cals listed. I refer to my "calorie book" often, as well as the internet when needed.

But as for tracking calories, I'm not an app girl and have a small notebook for jotting down my foods/cals each day. I have it broken down into four sections; "Food" "Cals", "Total Cals" "Cals Left". This way I'm adding as I go and also deducting, so I double check myself.

Missy Krissy
07-06-2013, 10:48 PM
This is my go-to database for nutritional info on foods that don't come with labels (eg apples, onions, chicken breast, etc):


07-07-2013, 07:12 AM
I use fatsecret as it helps me keep it accurate but i'm also concerned that i'm not learning how to eyeball stuff. Example i freaked out about the battery in my electric cooking scales died on me and sent my husband out to get replacements late at night. Bit worrying!! I'm going to try using some small bowls i have to put food in to learn how to guesstimate

07-07-2013, 09:40 AM
Krissy, Thank you for that link. I just signed up and will be using it. Great site for nutritional info!

07-12-2013, 05:03 PM
I track my calories using both MFP and paper. Its just easier for me to stay on track this way. :)

07-12-2013, 05:31 PM
I have always used a notebook and done it by hand. I use calorie king to get the content of items I don't know but for the most part I have a lot of things memorized and then of course I read labels.

My husband gets a kick out of it when i'm sitting there with my notebook and calculator, he says I'm crunching my numbers :)

I have a body media so it tracks all my burned calories and activity for the day, makes everything a lot easier.

07-12-2013, 05:44 PM
I love to crunch numbers :-), but I save that for other things and do all of my tracking in MFP.

I prefer the app for a couple of reasons (which may or may not apply to anyone else):

It's geeky--I like using my smart phone
Scanning is convenient for packaged foods
It's quick and easy
I can usually quickly find items (or close enough substitutes) easily and don't have to google search
I always have my phone with me, and if I did it on paper, I'd have to carry something else
It auto-figures the carbs, fat, protein, and fiber, which I watch
Because it's easy, I'm more likely to use it
It looks consistent (if I did it on paper and didn't have the exact same pen each time, it would drive me crazy)
It's geeky and gadgety (oh, I said that--but it's probably my favorite part)Others have said they aren't as aware of the calories when using an app, but I haven't found that to be the case. I have a pretty good sense of what the calories are for things I eat often.

This is another case where I really truly absolutely believe that the 'right answer' varies by person!

07-13-2013, 02:02 AM
caloriecount (dot) about (dot) com.

That was what I used when I was counting calories. They have released an iOs app as well.

Balanced Life
07-13-2013, 05:54 PM
I have used MFP and it has an excellent data base. I have also used an app called Lose It! Which is a bit more user- friendly. To track cals on paper I use Livestrong website and a Salter food scale. It is a lot of work to keep a journal and sometimes I take a break. I have noticed that I seem to gain a little when not tracking's a lifelong journey for sure!

07-15-2013, 03:30 PM
I use because it has helpful extras, like the nutrition graph, weight loss chart, calories eaten vs. calories burned, and tracks measurements. It makes it very easy to track my weight loss and to see where things may be going wrong.

07-18-2013, 08:11 AM
I tried using a couple of online sites like FitDay and also tried apps on my phone but they just didn't work for me. Instead, I made my own spreadsheet in Excel with each day of the week and broke it down to Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, & Snacks. As I add in foods and their calories it automatically totals them at the bottom. I make a new one each week and leave the file on my desktop.

07-20-2013, 03:47 PM
Thanks for all your input!!! Just got back from vacation and will check out your suggestions now.

07-20-2013, 10:36 PM
I use a little online program called WeightCommander. It isn't fancy but it adds up my daily calories and tracks my progress.

I tried using paper but I'm more successful when i track online. I'm not sure why. Maybe somewhere in the back of my mind I think that someone on the other side of my monitor is watching me. :dizzy: :D

07-23-2013, 10:05 AM
I've been using the LoseIt! app to keep track of my calories and like it so far. I haven't tried any other app yet, so I can't compare it to any other calorie counting program.

If I cant find a specific food on there I usually just google it on my phone and then create a new food, I do this as well with recipes or anything else. I like how there's a log of foods you have entered previously and can search through them when logging in meals, makes it a bit faster.

08-02-2013, 10:57 PM
I was using paper,pen, calorie king book, calculator on and off...which now I started fresh this month on typing on my notepad laptop..saving paper of many years to come of my lifestyle change efforts.

Good luck with your efforts! :)

08-03-2013, 08:12 AM
I still prefer paper and pen. I have Calorie King on my phone for when we are out or headed to a Restaurant.
Love Calorie King, and also have the latest book.

08-03-2013, 01:32 PM
I actually use neither. I keep a rough estimate in my head. Logging would drive me insane.

It's so interesting how different people are: It would drive me insane to keep track of calories in my head all day. It would make me feel as if I am constantly thinking about food (well, more than I already do!! :) ). Also, on the few occasions when I've tried keeping track in my head, I inevitably forget something. Tracking calories on my smartphone app allows me to put the food in soon after I eat it and then just forget about it. If I need a reminder of how many calories I have left, I just open my app and see---no need for recall. However, part of my preference is undoubtedly due to the fact that I have a weekly calorie goal rather than a daily one (it would be much too difficult to keep track of how many calories I eat in a week!).

To the OP, as per my comments above, I use an app on my smartphone ("Calorie Count" by FatSecret, which I prefer to MFP---I'm in the minority on this). Using an app has made a world of difference. Years ago, calorie counting seemed like such a chore--so tedious---when I did it on paper. Also, I like the other features of using an app. For instance, my app shows me my monthly average calories and the average number of calories I burned exercising (which I also enter). Also, even though I do not consciously keep up with macros, it is interesting to see at a glance how much protein, carbs, fat, etc. I get a day. It has made me more aware that I need to eat more protein. As for memorizing the calorie counts of food, I think a smartphone app would do the trick just as well as a written log (at least for me). Just as I would write down the calories in particular foods, I choose them from a list of foods in my smartphone, so I become accustomed to how many calories are in certain foods.

ReNew Me
08-03-2013, 01:57 PM
I have the Calorie King app. on my computer, bought it years ago, and I use a digital scale (I'm just a teensy bit OCD).

What I love about the app is that it's so intuitive and the database is constantly updated with new foods. I used to need a lot of custom foods since I'm gluten free but anymore I'm often surprised to find "my foods" coming up in the database. I like the fact you can do your weigh ins and keep track of nutrients all in one place. Plus the program allows you to log food for more than one person, particularly handy now that I finally have hubby willing to try to watch what he eats.

08-04-2013, 06:50 AM
I use the Jillian Michaels slim down app. It's easy to use and you cn lo log in the exercises you have done throughout the day and registers the calories burned based on your weight.

08-04-2013, 08:17 AM
This is my go-to database for nutritional info on foods that don't come with labels (eg apples, onions, chicken breast, etc):


I just bookmarked this, really good site!

And I use an app. I did paper & pen at first, but found it extremely tedious. So I moved to using the app method. I don't like MFP, though. I measure everything in grams, and found MFP was a little less user friendly for me in that area. So I use "Lose it" which I LOVE.

08-19-2013, 12:17 PM
I use MFP, I also have the BodyMedia armband and their calorie counter was okay but MFP is so much better as there is new food added to the site everyday with everyone else logging items and recipes. I also like that it syncs with my armband.