Calorie Intake vs. Use

3.7 based on 7 ratings

Updated on Aug 20, 2013

Many people struggle their entire lives with weight control. There are many different diets that people attempt in order to reach their target weight, and different people are able to find success through different types of dieting strategies. In general, a person will gain weight if the amount of calories they eat is greater than the amount they burn off. Though it is difficult to track the exact intake and output of calories, it is possible to get a general idea of a person’s eating and activity level and whether that will cause weight gain, loss or stability in the future. An awareness of this can help a person monitor and alter their eating habits as needed to reach their target weight.


Is your daily calorie intake is different than the amount of calories you burn?


  • A calorie reference guide (there are a number available on the internet)
  • A food journal
  • An activity journal


  1. Record your weight and height. You will need this information in terms of kilograms and centimeters, so if you measure in pounds and inches, make sure you do the proper conversions. You can convert the numerical data using the internet.
  2. Find out approximately how many calories you burn in a day (without engaging in any activity) using one of the following formulas: if you are a boy use this formula: 66 + (13.7 X weight in kilograms) + (5 X height in centimeters) - (6.8 X age in years); if you are a girl use this formula: 655 + (9.6 X weight in kilograms) + (1.8 X height in centimeters) - (4.7 X age in years).
  3. Keep a daily log of everything you eat and drink, using a chart such as the one below. Remember that many drinks have calories in them, so don’t forget to include these on your chart.
  4. Use a reference book, an internet guide, or the nutritional information on the food label in order to find out how many calories are in each food or drink you eat.
  5. It may be necessary to break up a meal into its components in order to find out how many calories there are. For example, if you eat a salad with tomatoes, lettuce, croutons, cheese and ranch dressing, you will need to gather information about each of the ingredients.
  6. Keep a daily log of all the activities you do in a day, including walking, running, playing sports and playing on the playground. You’ll need to keep track of how long you engage in each of these actives. Record the results on a chart such as the one below.
  7. Use a reference book or an internet guide to find out how many calories are burned by each activity. Record this information on the chart.
  8. Continue keeping a record of what you consume and what activities you engage in for a week.
  9. At the end of the week, total up how many calories you consumed and how many you burned to find out if there is a difference.
  10. An extreme difference between what you eat and what you burn may be an indication that it’s time for a diet modification, but do not attempt to do this without talking it over with your parents and a doctor. Changing diet can lead to vitamin deficiencies and can make a person sick if they do not know what types of changes are healthy.

Food Log

Type of Food or Drink

Amount Eaten


Low-fat milk

1 cup


Breakfast Cereal

1 cup


Orange Juice

1 cup



2 pieces

Peanut Butter

3 Tablespoons

Activity Log

Type of Activity

How Long

Calories Burned

Baseline (calories burned by being alive)


*your answer from #2 above

Walking to school

30 minutes

4 square

20 minutes


20 minutes

Soccer practice

1 hour

Writer and educator Crystal Beran is rarely seen without a pen. Her adventures have brought her to four continents and her quest for answers has led her to discover more questions than she could fill all the pages with. She currently resides in Northern California, where she can be found sipping tea and writing books.

How likely are you to recommend to your friends and colleagues?

Not at all likely
Extremely likely