UPDATE: This post was written prior to my discovery of a paleo type diet. My opinions on how to achieve optimal nutrition and wellness have changed.
Calorie counting is not an exact science, even with a great diet tracker like Spark People. I did not sit down to lunch yesterday over a cup of Del Monte Petite Cut Diced Tomatoes with a scoop of Lentils. It was home cooked lentil soup, and I was too lazy to to enter the grams of onions, carrots, spices, and bullion I used to make it. Sure, Spark People has several options for Lentil soup, but these are either canned products or chain restaurant versions of it. So my best bet for the lentil soup I made? A scoop of tomatoes and lentils. Done. As you can see below, I’m looking for a just rough idea on how close I am to my target each day.
Next is my calorie differential report. Spark people does not recommended using this as a diet tool because calorie intake vs burned in a healthy diet should be measured over the long haul and not day by day. But I do find this report useful at keeping the relationship between my diet and exercise in perspective. I’ve had many days where the calorie intake bar is far above the calories burned bar. Talk about putting it into perspective.