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Is the not so exact science of calorie tracking/logging driving you bonkers? Any Type As or ISTJs?

RCKT82 Posts: 409 Member
edited April 2017 in Debate Club
I'm a very strong Type A personality or ISTJ for those who follow MBTI. Many times I'm over analyzing my numbers and I know I am stressing myself out. I'm a true ISTJ, so I like to track everything and facts are the law. I'm driving myself bonkers by trying to make an exact science out of the not so exact science of calorie and macro-nutrient management. I know it can be exact, but unless you have a host of lab equipment, you are most likely doing the guesstimate game of using:
  • Activity trackers - Daily calorie burns based on age, gender, weight, height, and heart-rate.
  • HRMs - Exercise burns
  • Body analysis equipment - for measuring % body fat, % muscle mass, and resting metabolism.
  • *Food scales - Measuring calories and macronutrients. I struggle with the accuracy when not all cuts of meat are the same and water content can vary quite a bit (weight), all of which are not good for calorie and macro-nutrient precision.

I know they're all good tools (not perfect) for giving you a better understanding of what you're putting in your body and how your body is basically responding. I will continue to use these tools because the only other choice is flying completely dark. I know that trial and error is the best rule of thumb for getting the results you want. Even though I have a pretty good idea of how my body is responding to my goals, the lack of fidelity drives me up the wall!!!

For the most part, I deal with it the best that I can and try to take it for what it is. It's just tools to help and not exact. I just can't stop myself from adjusting my goals daily because that just how I am. I track and analyze everything. I know I'm probably wasting my time since the adjustments are so small compared to the overall picture. Even so, I just can't leave it alone. I'm always adjusting my daily calorie goals based on the days calorie burns from basic activities and adjusting my exercise burn of my HRM by subtracting what my smart watch is telling me what I burn an hour. Plus there's the debate of how much of a deficit to run and whether or not to apply that deficit to exercise/activity burns.

Does this bother anyone else? Are you also driving yourself crazy? If so, how are you coping? Are you just ignoring it since fretting over it is just wasted energy?

Please tell me I'm not the only crazy person doing this?


  • T0M_K
    T0M_K Posts: 7,526 Member
    you could buy a scale and weigh everything you consume to be more accurate. that should give you more accurate numbers. i didn't see you said you used a scale. thats the only way to know what your consuming. labels are crap. fyi.
  • CSARdiver
    CSARdiver Posts: 6,257 Member
    INTJ here, but years of experience in an athletic profession and later working in a biological discipline has taught me that the degree of accuracy is relative and unnecessary for most people. The demand for accuracy will increase as you attempt a higher level of physical performance.

    Understanding that the food industry is working with a 20% margin of error, so <20% error is my target goal.
  • YellowApple666
    YellowApple666 Posts: 35 Member
    Same here. When I started to feel crazy, I made a conscious effort to detach myself from the numbers for a while.

    I tried to stop logging and eating intuitively a few times, with mixed results. Now I'm logging my food and I try to be as accurate as I can, and I admit that eating out is still a major stress for me because I know I won't be accurate. Definitely not happy about it, it's something I'll have to deal with sooner or later. But now I am more relaxed about a number of other things and I think that's progress.
    For example, I stopped weighing myself everyday a few months ago. I weigh in once a week and that's fine.
    Last month I lost my Fitbit and I think it's the best thing that could happen to me right now. It was a useful tool to get my a** off the couch and get a good estimate of my TDEE, but I was getting too obsessed with all of the data instead of focusing on building lifelong habits.
  • zyxst
    zyxst Posts: 9,131 Member
    I'm anal, but not that anal. Bad enough weighing my food and keeping a food diary is considered part and parcel with ED.
  • __TMac__
    __TMac__ Posts: 1,665 Member
    Also ISTJ. Just remember that the concept of "significant digits" applies. The system of CI=CO just isn't that accurate, so the best you can do is work off your results. And that takes time and iteration. Churn isn't a good use of time.

    I do, however, get all anal about my training schedule. I can control that. So I do. :)
  • kommodevaran
    kommodevaran Posts: 17,890 Member
    Being exact isn't necessary for nutrition and weight management. Being in the ballpark, and being there over time, creates the necessary precision.
  • crazyycatlady1
    crazyycatlady1 Posts: 292 Member
    edited April 2017
    During my weight loss phase I was pretty 'loosey-goosey' and still lost 50lbs no problem. I only tracked calorie intake (on a piece of paper), and didn't track/pay attention to macros at all (still don't). Now I'm a few years into maintenance and I still keep things pretty casual, and I still have no issues with accuracy. I spot check a day here and there on MFP, but for the most part still track my calorie intake on paper (or in my head). I've been at this whole thing long enough to know what I need to do to manage my weight and I also recognize seasonal trends etc.
  • inertiastrength
    inertiastrength Posts: 2,344 Member
    ENFP and I still get really into my data. I constantly weigh my Fitbit data against my own and am very precise with my weighing but I don't stress the gains cause I have enough data collected to see my trends. Weird fro an ENFP I know, but when we're into something we're really into something lol
  • EHollander89
    EHollander89 Posts: 169 Member
    I'm very much Type A and also an ISTJ. My laid-back boyfriend is the one who suggested I use MFP and MMF, and a few weeks after I started logging, he said he had created a monster. I log daily and try to be as accurate as possible. I have not missed a day since I joined. I enjoy using a food scale, too. I like to join the workout challenges in MMF, and the You Vs. The Year running challenge has really pushed me in a good way. I like to analyze the data from my runs. I love to look at the details and track what I'm doing, but I also know that none of it is 100% accurate. Maybe it is weird to some, but I get satisfaction out of tracking. With all that in mind, I will not let it get in the way of enjoying food/fitness/life in general.
  • JetJaguar
    JetJaguar Posts: 801 Member
    INTJ aerospace engineer, but I understand that every measurement has a tolerance. I try to be accurate in my own measurements in an attempt to minimize variables, but I don't worry about it too much because the numbers have an imprecise basis themselves. As long as the end result is as expected, I'm happy.
  • Nikion901
    Nikion901 Posts: 2,467 Member
    I'm pretty much a data freak ... give me some numbers and I'll work up a spreadsheet instead of watching TV, reading, interacting with other people, cooking, cleaning, sleeping ... if it comes to all that before I have my fill of numbers or pass out from mental exhaustion! Well ... maybe I'm not quite as bad as all that.

    I do, however, spend a lot of my time logging my food entries to be as exact as I can possibly make them, and I even track how long I fast from the last meal of day 1 to the first meal of day 2, how many cups of water I drank, etc. ad nauseum. Plus, because I cannot run the statistics I want from the data in MFP, I end up posting to my spreadsheet every day as well. Once I week I run the averages of all my numbers. Ditto for monthly, quarterly, and Year To Date. ... Got started doing this because I'm old, and flabby, and very imobile so I didn't 'trust' any of the online calculators for what would be the optimum input for me.

    And guess what ... at the end of 2016, my calculations showed that my TDEE was 1935 calories a day. When I input my info into MFP for goal setting and selected 'maintain my weight' it told me 1970 calories a day would do that ... now, whad-da-ya-no-bout-dat! I'm much more relaxed about it all now and just let MFP do the calculations and I do the input of what I ate. It all averages out in the end.

  • Packerjohn
    Packerjohn Posts: 4,855 Member
    I have a belt and I fasten that belt at a specific hole. If it starts to get to the point the belt is close to not fitting that hole. I eat less/move more.
  • KateTii
    KateTii Posts: 886 Member
    I love data and I love accuracy. It (slightly)annoys me when I know I can't be as accurate as I want to- such as if I ate dinner I didn't prepare.

    That being said, even with the mysterious side of calorie counting that makes it not 100% accurate, it's still more accurate than if I just guessed what I needed to eat to lose weight/maintain/gain.

    You just have to remember that yes, it is not 100%, but it's damn closer than pretty much any thing else you can do.
  • trigden1991
    trigden1991 Posts: 4,659 Member
    As an engineer I love to have the facts, logic and data however the body is not a perfect system and life is way too short to fret about calculating exacts (because you can't).

    Being consistent and tracking your intake is as close as you can get without sitting in a lab 24/7.