How spreadsheets can be your greatest weight-loss tool


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At first they may seem a bit intimidating — they may even resemble the paperwork your accountant uses for your taxes — but rest assured: Weight-loss tracking spreadsheets are easy to use and can be your most valuable asset in your quest to lose weight.

Tracking your weight on a daily basis is a highly effective way of holding yourself accountable. After all, only you can make the change you want to see become a reality. Seeing that change laid out in front of you in the form of a simple spreadsheet gives you the power to change what works and what doesn’t work in your weight-loss plan. Plus, it allows you to customize your workout and diet to meet your specific needs. That’s a very powerful thing!

What makes up a typical weight-loss tracking spreadsheet?

The best types of spreadsheets keep it simple with just the date, current weight and change in weight. By entering your current weight, your change in weight will be calculated automatically. Click here for a template.

If you would like to get more specific and track your workouts, there are spreadsheets that track your calories burned, max rep per workout if you’re weight training, and distance and time if you’re doing cardio. Here’s an example.

This spreadsheet is a no-frills condensed version that includes your weight; exercise performed; and an area to record measurements of your chest, waist, thighs and arms.

Go, baby go!

Man in gym with clipboardWeight-loss tracking spreadsheets are great motivators, especially when you start seeing actual progress in the cold, hard numbers. When see your progress, that’s an indicator that you should keep up with the plan you have in place.

That’s where routine comes into play.

Using spreadsheets to track your weight (and physical activity and diet in some cases) forces you to settle into a routine, which is so important for weight-loss success. This consistency in your fitness and diet plans, especially when you’re trying to lose weight, is the best way to ensure you will lose weight and be healthy.

Get your friends, family and co-workers involved and create a team weight-loss tracking spreadsheet, like this one, for even more motivation and accountability (plus a little bit of competition).

Don’t be discouraged if your progress plateaus. That’s just your body adapting to your current diet plan and level of workout intensity. It’s a signal that it’s time to do some tweaking to your current routine. Try talking to a fitness expert — whether it’s a gym class instructor, personal trainer or doctor — to help point you in the right direction.

Create your own spreadsheet

weight-loss tracking spreadsheetSearch Google Docs for a variety of spreadsheet templates you can customize. If you are not happy with them, try creating your own.

Another metric to consider adding to your spreadsheet, according to fitness trainer Bonnie Pfiester, is your caloric intake:

"Consider adding your caloric intake to your spreadsheet. It is valuable to compare how your food and exercise choices affect your weight loss. The comparison may give you ideas for other ways to trim your diet."