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Day 34: Estimating Calories

Today, I woke up and weighed myself. Weight is: 83.3Kg. Yesterday I consumed 944 calories below my BMR and did 897 calories of exercise above my BMR. Total deficit is 944 calories.


The fasting day helps again.


The other day I had some pizza and obviously I underestimated the calories in each slice because my weight went up by .7Kg over two days when I thought I had a calorie deficit. There can be many reasons why you don’t know the exact calorie value of what you are eating. Many restaurants do not publish the nutritional details of their dishes. Many multi-ingredient meals are not captured very well in the health tracking applications. Everyone makes their dishes slightly different. And finally, you have very little control over the serving sizes. Those are just four ways to introduce error into your calorie counting when eating from a restaurant.


How do you accurately estimate calories in that situation? There are two methods. The first is to break each dish down into its constituent parts and enter each in separately. The second is to search and find a dish in your app that comes as close as possible to what you are eating. You may still need to break some parts of the meal away and estimate with the first method. Both methods will require you to estimate serving sizes as well.


To estimate serving sizes, think of it this way:

  • Meat ⇒ One serving is 3 ounces, and about the size of a bar of soap

  • Hamburger Patty ⇒ One serving is about the size of a hockey puck

  • Fish ⇒ One serving is just a tad bigger than 2 business cards laid end to end

  • Vegetables ⇒ One serving is the size of a baseball

  • Fruit ⇒ One serving is the size of a tennis ball

  • Cheese ⇒ one serving is 4 cubes the size of a die

  • Dairy ⇒ One cup is one serving of milk

  • Pasta ⇒ Two servings are the size of a baseball

  • Bread ⇒ One serving is the size of a CD case

  • Pancakes/Waffles ⇒ One serving is the size of a CD

Then, you need to add in some error and add in the sauces by adding in another 20% of what you estimate. Your meal plan is better off with an estimate that is too high than an estimate that is too low.


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