Easy Count iPhone/iPod/iPad App
Calorie counting apps can be aggravating, forcing you to drill down into a food or exercise database, enter quantities, etc. I've used them. And then stopped using them. It's easier to just right everything down in a notebook, but that's still not easy enough to stick with.
Easy Count is the easiest and fastest calorie counting app on the planet. There is a catch: you are responsible for knowing the calories of what you eat, or what you burn in exercise. If you are experienced, or plan to become experienced, you will like it this way.
It also tells you exactly what you need to know. Keep your eye on the needle during the day - don't let it go too far in the wrong direction. A bathroom scale is inaccurate over the short term. It will wrongly discourage you by reading too high, or falsely encourage you by reading too low. Easy Count gives you a useful estimate of weight change to guide you and encourage you.
App Store link.
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Frequently asked questions:
- How am I supposed to know how many calories to enter?
- For the calorie-counting strategy to work, you have to do it every day basically forever. Soon enough, you'll get good at knowing or guessing the numbers. And you'll want an App that let's you enter the numbers as quickly as possible, and tells you very directly how you're doing. You can do this in two touches with Easy Count, and without ever leaving the main view.
- How's it figure metabolic calories?
- Easy Count comes set for 2000 calories (about 8000 kJ) per day, but you'll want to adjust it. That's for a day your energy balance is zero. Since your body will compensate to some extent depending on your energy balance, there's a compensation factor as well. After you've used Easy Count for a while, and you have a reasonably accurate actual weight change figure, you can adjust your base metabolism and the compensation factor. In other words, you can calibrate Easy Count with your actual experience. This will make Easy Count's weight change estimate more accurate.
During the day, Easy Count provides a running estimate of metabolic calories burned, figured on a day that begins at 5:00AM and ends at 9:00PM.
- What's the gage do?
- It tells you how you're doing during the day. Straight up means you're in balance. A negative or positive indication means weight loss or gain, respectively. When the needle points directly left or right, it means the imbalance is 500 calories or about 2000 kJ. During the day, metabolic calories is figured on a day that begins at 5:00AM and ends at 9:00PM.
- What happens if I miss a day?
- Well, you can always enter values for yesterday - that will take care of the most frequent situation. Beyond that, Easy Count will enter typical numbers automatically - your average daily entries. Just get back on the wagon, keep going, be happy. Well, if you happen to know you were not typical during those missing days, you can do a little arithmetic and put the corrections into "Yesterday's" entries.
- Why would I want to turn that switch off, the one that will omit exercise calories?
- Exercise may encourage you to eat more afterwards, when you might be exercising partly in order to lose weight. Not good. If you don't want Easy Count to encourage you to eat more, turn the switch to off - the effect of exercise will not appear in the Balance or Weight Change estimates for "Today". The effect will be pleasantly revealed to you tomorrow, in "Yesterday's" totals and all the others.
- Isn't "base metabolism" different, or more complicated than how Easy Count figures it?
- Yes. The setting you provide for metabolism should be thought of as everything involved in energy balance other than from food or exercise. It includes true base metabolism, plus what is consumed in your normal activities. It is also the adjustment for digestive efficiency, repair work after strenuous exercise, differences between fat burn and carbohydrate burn, etc. If you properly calibrate it to your actual weight change, it will be compensating for systematic under- or over-reporting of food or exercise.
- I'm having some trouble getting Easy Count to start up - what should I do?
- Easy Count tries to be smart, and not start up until it appears you really want to start. If it's confused, you can manually start by going to the settings area (tap the little "i" at lower right) and hitting the reset button.
- What's a good strategy for setting the metabolism sliders?
- If you have some idea from previous counting experience, you can set the base metabolism right away. Otherwise, wait a few weeks or a month, and then move the base slider until Easy Count's estimates match your actual weight change measurements. The 30-day figure is probably best, since it will probably best reflect your recent activity level, which can be seasonal.
If you are able to set the base metabolism accurately for a period during which you did not lose or gain much weight, than you are in a good position to set the Compensation Factor slider if you later lose weight. Any inaccuracies will be due to your body's tendency to resist weight loss by reducing metabolism - this is what the compensation factor takes into account. Keep in mind, however, that what really happens in a human body is very complex - this simple compensation method may or may not be useful - or just too difficult to set accurately.
In any case, the purpose of setting the metabolism sliders is to make the current weight change estimate accurate, so you know whether you're eating the right amount.