Sep 09 AT 3:51 AM Angie Wimberly 22 Comments

Calorific — Fast, simple meal tracking that’s a cinch to stick with

Last Wednesday, the Android market welcomed Calorific, a calorie-tracking app by WorkSmart Labs, Inc.. We remembered them from CardioTrainer (a successful weight-loss app) so we were excited to give it a try.

For the past week I have been diligently using Calorific, and it is exactly what it promises to be. The types of food you eat throughout the day fall into one of three categories (Green, Yellow, or Red), and one of three portions (Small, Medium, or Large). The colors stand for how healthy the item being eaten is, and in case you aren’t sure, there are “?” blocks for each category that explain what types of food qualify. As you enter in items, a bar graph is populated at the bottom of the screen to display how much of each type of food you’ve had, and at what time of day. Time periods include breakfast, lunch and dinner with three snacks in between.

We believe that most people want to eat well, and just need a little extra push to think twice about their food decisions. Having a way to record your food makes you more accountable, and if it’s only three categories, it’s easy to stick with it. Traditional calorie trackers require lots of work to search for the correct food item, making it hard to stick with it…there are always dozens of versions of ketchup in these lists of food – how complicated should it be to select ketchup?Charlie SneathWorkSmart Labs, Inc.

As you enter in items, you receive a star rating for the day. Touch “History” to view each day that you’ve logged, and see the pie charts of your meal breakdown and compare its rating to the ideal food ratio chart at the bottom. This really makes it obvious as to where your food choices stand.

I’ve also liked how Calorific uses your clock to highlight the time of day you will most likely be logging in food once you bring the app up on your phone. This is small, but I find it is an effective way to show you a good schedule of eating too. I usually end up getting distracted by what I’m doing to where I lose track and probably don’t eat at a good pace, so it’s nice to have a sort of suggestion.

I haven’t used that many other calorie tracking apps or been on anything like Weight Watchers, so I don’t have the best frame of reference. What do others out there think in comparison to other methods you have tried before? As for my personal experience with this, I really like the simple groupings of food, and have wanted to track my food on a regular basis. I have been able to maintain practically my normal eating habits, but with the awareness of when and how much is really necessary to create a good balance. I was able to improve my pie chart slowly, despite a few slip-ups here and there. Overall, I have definitely been eating smaller portions more frequently, and I’ve been eating better quality food. I know the true test will be months later, but I don’t feel intimidated by trying to stick with this app.

Has anyone else been looking for something like this, or a better version of what you’ve already been using? Let us know if this could be an app for you.

 

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Angie is a designer and illustrator living in Austin, Texas. She's a graduate of the Communication Design program at Texas State and joined us full-time after a two-year run at a design firm here in Austin.

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  • http://Website David Ray

    Just what I needed!

  • http://zalzalaweb.com/jens anakin78z

    Cool. I set up a google spreadsheet a while back that had a similar approach. Can’t say it helped me all that much, but I’m gonna give this a shot.

  • http://Website Waffle

    Bern looking for something simple as this. Beautiful and thanks for posting this!!

  • http://Website Stella

    I’m going to give this a try. I really like the simple interface and colorful UI.

  • http://Website Jose

    I haven’t tried this one but by looking at the pictures it looks limited. Calorie Counter from fatsecret is a more versatile app. You can search the catalog by food item or restaurant/fast food chain. Additionally you can add food items to the catalog.

    • Angie Strickland

      In all fairness, being limited seems to be part of the strategy, but I do understand having different needs and/or wanting certain ways to track things. I guess it’s just a matter of what works for you.

  • http://Website Susan Korrel

    I love this app. I just can’t be bothered writing down every single mouthful I take during the day and then working out what the calories are. Most calorie tracking programmes I’ve used don’t have Australian foods, so it means painstakingly entering the nutritional data for just about everything I eat. Who has time?
    If my diet succeeds or fails based on 5, 10 or 50 calories, I’m possibly either being just too annal about things, or really the issue is most likely exercise not diet.
    I love the simplicity of this. It takes me 30 seconds to log a meal. And it shows me the real failings of my diet – 28% green, when it should be 50%, and conversely 57% yellow when it should be 35%.
    One of the things I love about the ap is I can very quickly see “Yep, I have ‘spare’ red tonight, so I can indulge in a little bit of chocolate.”
    It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s effective.

  • http://Website Christine

    I have a life-time of dieting experience, unfortunately. I’m using this app for the first time today. I think this is a great concept. Diets often fail when we beat ourselves up over numbers. We see the ugly number on the scale, panic and then fail again when we add up the calories at the end of the day. The concept used in this app really is about learning HOW to eat and when. I downloaded this after struggling with finding a balance between increased exercise and calorie count while trying to lose weight (again). After loading my settings I can see that maybe I was eating too little! That explains why after holding back all day to meet what I thought my calorie count should be, I was starving and blowing my diet on multiple trips to the fridge each evening. I’m curious to see how things turn out after the first week.

  • http://Website Michele

    I’m very excited to start using this, (Cardio Trainer is my favorite app)I can’t seem to track every little thing I eat, but putting foods into three categories is a brilliant idea to me it makes it so muck easier especially for kids to be able to decide what to eat. I would like a chart to put on my refrigerator that lists out green, yellow and red foods, to help my family, especially my daughter make healthier choices when choosing snacks. Has anyone seen something like this?

  • http://Website vincenzo

    This app is really helpful . i changed my mobile few days ago… i have a iphone . please tell me how to install it in IOS.. or please do Calorific for Iphone

  • http://Website Gabe

    In general it is a nice tool, but I just found really annoying that it keeps popping-out a message of “You haven’t logged any meal…”. The app shall let you disable such notification. Instead, this is really annoying, specially that it keeps popping out several times A DAY! My only option was to un-install it.

    • http://Website TheGP

      I haven’t had that problem. You can disable notifications. on the top left there is a button that looks like a cog/sprocket, you can check a button to disable it.

  • http://www.CustomBooksByKelly.com Kelly

    This is an amazingly simple and effective app. I find that I look forward to adding what I eat, and that in itself keeps me on track! Brilliant.

    * Would appreciate also being able to log online (computer) and add simple complex foods (like a custom entry) that we eat repeatedly.

    Love it! : )

  • http://Website Colbee

    I’ve been dieting for about 6 months, and I currently use fatsecret. However, I’m going to test out this app. along with Calorie Counter from Fatsecret. Both seem to have pros and cons.

    With Calorific, I get to see the proportions of what I eat, which is important for anyone trying to lose weight because, as my doctor says “you can’t lose weight on 1200 calories of candy bars.” You have to have the right foods, and calorific tells you which foods are the right foods.

    However, with Calorie Counter, you get to see the specifics of what you eat while also being able to track it with the web. I think I will be keeping these two together.

  • http://Website Joe Fred

    I Love this app, it has brought into light why i cant loose weight. One option i would as is the ability to change my activity level by the day instead of overall.

  • http://Website Jacqueline

    I have found this to be enlightening in terms of how many calories I consume in a day. I’ve recently lost about 18.5lbs since the new year and am amazed that I am consuming too about 350 calories more than I ought to be in order to lose the 1.2lbs per week necessary to reach my goal target weight by graduation. Despite the excess of calories that Calorific indicates I am consuming over the last few days, I have lost 1lb. I think that this is probably because the food categories are approximate and not exact of what is actually being consumed. Also, I’ve been drinking 2-3 cups of coffee daily to keep myself alert and working towards midterms and thesis work! In general, I really am glad to have this tool and look forward to showing it to my nutritionist when I visit her again this Weds!

  • http://Calorific Jamie

    Just wanting to know if this app was available on an iPhone.

    Thank you
    Jamie

  • http://Website Karen

    I love this app. I love every facet of it. I started using it in January and actually had to change my personal profile on it. I lost 12 pounds just learning to eat right and following my daily allotment of calories. I have had trouble losing weight in the past- This application really made it easy to see that I ate too much “garbage” food. I plan to continue using Calorific- My goal is to lose 35 lbs before a trip to Jamaica in November! :)

  • http://Website Love this App!!

    I absolutely love this app…I have lost 8.1 lbs. just paying attention to what i am consuming daily. I am also working out so I have been losing close to 3 lbs. a week. My goal is to be 72 more lbs. down by my 29th birthday. (Sept. 27th) My overrall goal is 136 lbs. but this is a great start. I was suprised at how easily I adjusted and how eager I am to log, even when I have bad days!!:)

  • Khandie

    How many calories do you need to burn to be moderatly active? I burn just over 2500 calories over a week and dont know if thats considered light active or moderatly active.

  • alex

    I lost weight with it. It really helps

  • REDA