If you’re just getting started, accurately tracking your weight loss journey can be quite overwhelming.
- Which foods should you eat?
- How many calories can you safely consume based on your activity levels?
- What ratios of protein, fat, and carbs should make up those calories?
If you’re not tracking these metrics, it’s easy to lose focus and get off track.
That’s why I created this simple weight loss tracking template in Excel to help you with your weight loss (or gain) goals.
Its purpose is to help you accurately calculate your macros and track caloric intake so you can start shedding those extra pounds with as little effort as possible.
Download the spreadsheet in .xls format or save it as a Google Sheet to get started. Follow the instructions below as you fill it out if you get stuck. `
If you’re only interested in calculating the amount of calories you need to lose weight and don’t need the tracking capabilities, I also built a free calorie target calculator that works right in your browser. Feel free to check that out as well.
If you’re in a rush, here’s a brief step-by-step overview of how to use the spreadsheet:
- Enter your weight, height, age, and target weight under metrics (B5, C5, D5, and C8).
- Make note of the multiplier that best aligns with your activity level, with 1.2 being the least active and 1.9 being the most active (use the activity levels section of this article as a reference).
- Select the calorie level that aligns with your multiplier, gain/loss goals, and gender from the tables above. For example, if you’re a male with an activity level multiplier of 1.55 and you want to lose weight, you would select the target calorie level in cell J7.
- Enter the calorie target from step 3, your desired ratio of protein per lb of bodyweight (i.e. 1), fat, and carb ratios (should add up to 1), your activity multiplier, and bodyweight for that day (columns L - Q). Your protein, fat, and carb targets will be calculated automatically.
- At the end of the day, input the amount of protein, fat, and carbs you consumed in grams in columns D, E, and F. Your calories consumed and net calories will be calculated automatically. You can adjust your BMR and body weight on a daily or weekly basis and your targets will be updated as such. Simply drag the columns downward to maintain the same targets day to day.
This section walks you through what each field means in further detail.
First, the template asks for your basic biometrics and age. Try to fill these out as accurately as possible in cells B5, C5, D5, and C8.
Your weight, height, and age are then used to calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).
Your BMR measures the number of calories required to keep your body functioning at rest (i.e. without taking into account calories burned by activity).
We all burn some calories throughout the day, even if we don’t work out at the gym.
The activity multiplier is how we determine your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure). To get an accurate TDEE figure, simply multiply your BMR by the relevant activity multiplier.
If you were to maintain this calorie level over time, your weight would remain neutral. So aim to consume 250-500 calories less than your TDEE per day to achieve weight loss and vice versa for weight gain.
Here are some guidelines to determine which multiplier is best for your activity levels:
- Sedentary = BMR x 1.2 (sedentary, little to no exercise at all)
- Lightly active = BMR x 1.375 (light exercise 1-3 days per week)
- Moderately active = BMR x 1.55 (moderate exercise 6-7 days per week)
- Very active = BMR x 1.725 (hard exercise every day, or multiple workouts per day)
- Extra active = BMR x 1.9 (hard exercise 2 or more times per day, or hours of moderate cardio)
You can also use a heart rate monitor if you want a more accurate determination of how many calories you’re burning throughout the day, but it’s not necessary.
Keep in mind, that the TDEE calculation is simply an estimate based on your perceived activity level. Feel free to adjust it as you go if you’re not seeing the results you want. I would keep it consistent for at least a week at a time and gauge the results from there.
The spreadsheet is formatted into tables so you can easily find the optimal TDEE calorie level right for you. Just make sure to use the correct table corresponding to your gender.
Now we get to the most important part: counting calories. I suggest either pairing this spreadsheet with an app like Chronometer so you can get accurate calorie counts for the foods you consume daily, or simply adding them to the spreadsheet based on the nutrition facts included on your food labels.
Every field with a bolded header is a variable input so it can change daily if necessary.
- Column L is where you’ll enter your TDEE calculation from above. It’s your target number of calories.
- Column M is the ratio of grams of protein consumed per pound of body weight. We calculate this first, then the remaining calories are allocated to fats and carbs.
- Columns N and O are your fat and carb ratios. This should add up to 1. I usually aim for 0.6 fats and 0.4 carbs for weight loss, while others may prefer a low-carb approach. I think moderate carb levels are more sustainable for long-term weight loss.
- Column P is your BMR multiplier. This doesn’t change anything dynamically, but I like to track it so I know my activity level estimate for the day. You can change this day-to-day if you want, but make sure to update your TDEE calorie target in Column L accordingly.
- Column Q is your body weight, which is used to calculate your protein intake and weight loss progress.
Once all of these are filled out for a single day, your target levels of protein, fat, and carb intake will be calculated automatically in Columns I, J, and K.
- Columns D, E, and F are where you input your daily protein, fat, and carb intake based on the foods you ate.
The number of calories you consumed and net +/- in calories based on your target are calculated automatically in Columns G and H, respectively.
Note: You can drag the bottom right corners of every cell down to bulk populate the next day’s metrics if they aren’t subject to change.
Download the Excel spreadsheet here in .xlsx format or make a copy on Google Sheets (File > Make a Copy).
If you have any questions about your weight loss goals, feel free to reach out. Just keep in mind that I’m not a doctor and the information in this article shouldn’t be construed as medical advice.