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Summary:

So Just a week ago my company started a “Biggest Loser” competition. Not realizing it was a weight thing, I entered figuring I was a shoe-in for first prize…But when I they pulled out the scale for a weigh in, it all came sharply into focus. […]

calorieking
So Just a week ago my company started a “Biggest Loser” competition. Not realizing it was a weight thing, I entered figuring I was a shoe-in for first prize…But when I they pulled out the scale for a weigh in, it all came sharply into focus. A day later I jumped (jumping rope, 12 calories per minute) at the chance to review Calorie King’s Nutrition and Exercise Manager.

In my experience, when the name is such a mouthful (I haven’t had a mouth full of anything in a week!) the program generally isn’t clear, concise, and well thought out. In the case of the Nutrition and Exercise Manager I couldn’t have been more incorrect. These are just my initial thoughts on this application, which I’ll follow-up with a more thorough review after I’ve used it for a few weeks.

When you start the program up initially (from here on out known as NEM because I’m not typing that name every time), it runs you through a profile setup to determine you Body Mass Index based on your age, sex, height, and weight. The results are obviously generalizations, as it can only average the information you’re giving it and it doesn’t know specifics about you. For example, I’m 5’11″ and around 205lbs. This translates to a BMI of 28 which says I’m at a medium health risk. What is doesn’t know is that while I do have some extra pounds to shed, a good deal of that weight is muscle (which weighs more than fat). It’s table-based generalizations suggest that to get to a healthy BMI of 20, I need to lose 60 pounds. While I hope to lose some weight, at 5’11″ I don’t think I’d be all that healthy at a mere 140lbs – plus I’d get killed on the hockey rink!

Generalizations aside, it’s still a good starting point. From there you tell it what your goal is: Maintain weight, lose weight, or gain weight. Checking the ‘Lose weight’ option it then creates a good set of guidelines to set your new diet against. It designates total calories per day, and within that load of calories, how much fat, protein, carbs, and so on you should consume on a daily basis. If you know more than the program does, you can optionally tweak your diet program too. So now there’s a plan to follow, let’s start using the program!

It took me only a minute or two to feel comfortable in NEM’s interface. The left side is a diary (or ‘food log’ if you have issues with keeping a diary) of your daily meals (breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, evening snack) and any exercise you get in. The right side provides access to Calorie King’s massive (seriously massive) database of foods and exercises that you may add to your daily diary entry. The amazing part about this database is the extent of the foods and information that it covers. From things as general as a banana, to a Stouffer’s lasagna, to a Double Double with Cheese from In-N-Out Burger, it’s there. And not only is it in there, but the stats are there too – fat, protein, carbs, sugars, sodium, cholesterol, fiber, and on and on – all configurable by the portion you consume.

For me, the database is the best part of the whole thing. I hate the idea of diets because how am I supposed to be accountable for knowing all the calories, good fats, bad fats, cholesterol and more that I’m eating every day?! I know it’s possible, but it’s not my style. But with Calorie King’s database available through NEM, I don’t have to know those details, I can just drag the ‘turkey sandwich with light mayo’ to my daily diary entry for lunch, and the calorie stats are automatically added for me. Being able to see how much of my daily allowance of calories (and other things) I’ve consumed and where I stand going into dinner and all that, seems to be making all the difference for me and my diet.

The database also includes just about any exercise you can think of. Drag and drop it to your diary and adjust the time that you spent sweating, and it totals that for you on your daily diary as well. If you have some personal recipe or funky exercise that’s not included in the database (I’ve only found one exercise missing), you can add it yourself. Of course you’ll want to know the details on the nutrition information for whatever it is you’re adding. You can mark items as favorite too, so they’re easier to find in a custom list next time. But the spotlight-like search seems to work awfully well for me.

Alright, so this isn’t the short first impression I thought it would be. But I haven’t even delved into the Check-ins or reporting capabilities of the program yet. Once I amass a couple week’s worth of data points, I’ll revisit those things especially, as well as the progress I’m making by keeping myself in check with the Nutrition and Exercise Manager.

At this point, I highly recommend going to CalorieKing.com and getting the 7 day free trial. It’s $45 for a license, but supports up to 5 profiles so you and your whole family (assuming there’s no more than 5 of you) can track your progress individually. The website is full of useful information, great healthy recipes, and informative tools as well, so take some time to look around there.

If you’re trying to lose some weight, or even just want to get in better shape, this program is a great step in the right direction. With a free trial, why not see if it works for you?

  1. So how much have you lost?

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  2. Just started using this about 2 weeks ago, it’s great and much better (and allot more Mac compatible) than the weight watchers site.

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  3. Julian -
    Well, I’m starting my 5th day today…so not much to expect just yet. In fact, NEM has a check-ins feature, that says not to do more than once per week.

    The benefit – regardless of what I’ve lost thus far – is that I’m VERY conscious of what I’m eating, and trying to stay within my daily plan. I don’t just eat those 5 cookies, or a packet of cheese slices everytime I feel hungry because I can’t ‘afford’ to, based on my daily meal plan. so that’s the most immediate benefit I’ve found.

    I’ll post results along with the follow up review, how about that? :)

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  4. [...] Finally, I’m planning to take a look at Calorie King and their programs. From what I’ve read, they seem to offer another good tool in the fight against obesity. If anyone reading this has tried it, I more than welcome your thoughts. Share and Enjoy:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

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  5. [...] I was actually putting in my body, so I wasn’t sure how I’d fair with this project. My immediate reaction was that Calorie King’s NEM was a huge help in the fight against too much food intake. Now [...]

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  6. Michael Rapa Monday, April 23, 2007

    Purchased both calorie king software and cookbook. This software has some real potential, that is if they can add some much needed functions to the cookbook and Calorie King Nutrition. Calorie King Nutrition is ok in itself,but needs to add a shopping list function, that combines duplicate items and sorts the list by category. However, Calorie King allows you to keep track of some pretty important areas, cholesterol, sodium, calories, fiber, carbs and fat. It also allows you to post your eating habits on the net. The exercise function is weak and needs some improvement, but works fine. Overall Calorie King beats out some other very popular programs. The closest thing to calorie king is Crosstrainer. However my opinion is the potential of the cookbook. This is where the key is, there are very few programs out there that can take a recipe and add it to your days consumption. Most software packages are hard to use and very inaccurate, in addition difficult to get one serving and then add that to some kind of shopping list. The biggest drawback to calorie king is the recipebook. It lacks the ability to add your favorite foods, the database is not updated or connected to the Calorie King database it appears to be separate. There is no shopping list in the RecipeBook and favorite foods and my foods are not added to the RecipeBook database. I’m sure there are more that needs to be improved but these appear the most noticeable that make this program leaving you with wanting more.

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  7. I just went through Calorie Balance Diet. It was comparable to Calorie King, but free. I think the interface is a little harder to get used too, but it has all the features that you would expect from calorie counting software. Worth looking at if you do not have $40 to spend.

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  8. Penny Bishop Sunday, March 2, 2008

    I’ve found too many errors in their database to have confidence in this software. I’m a Mac user and there are some features that don’t work. A month ago they promised an update that hasn’t yet arrived. Think twice before investing. The numbers you’re give may not be accurate.

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  9. The software is a 3.5 out of 5. see below. Not quite feature rich enough.

    1. The export feature is fairly lacking. There are several fields of data that the user can input however are not available during export. Such as, “Energy Intake” & “Sugar”. I look at the Reports->Nutrients then select what I want to see on the graph and I expect to be able to then hit “export” and be able to export that particular data. Instead I have to download everything, then manipulate the data doing a summation in Excel. the problem there however is that the summation takes into account the net from exercise, I don’t want the exercise deducted. I want to know the total Energy Intake.

    2. Searching for Foods – When I am in the diary and I type in words in the search screen I have to remember whether something is under “Foods”, “Custom Food” or “Saved Meals” because I have to retype the search for each field. That is inconvenient. I should be able to click any of the tabs without having to retype the search term each time…..

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