Lose Weight with Microsoft Excel!

I love Microsoft Excel. Excel is far and away my favorite application. It has recently helped me lose over 30 pounds.

Some History First

I first became acquainted with Excel on a Mac Classic in junior high school. It was an awkward time for us both. She appeared in grayscale and on a screen that was not adequate to display all that she could offer.  I was buying my jeans from the husky section and didn’t quite appreciate my nerdiness.

My love affair with this blockish beauty took off as I was preparing to leave the ranks of higher education. I needed a way to keep track of the big bucks that were soon to land square in my wallet. It was a good match. We had our awkward moments, particularly in the summer of 1999 when we took a hard drive and crashed. Data amnesia syndrome hit us hard and we lost all the history we had established. In the years since, Excel has proven a capable mistress at taming my financial tracking into a mundane, but well managed, afterthought. She has also expanded her role to keeping tabs on almost all other areas of my life. Just last year, she even started telling me when my car needs an oil change.

The Decline

While Excel has proven quite adept at keeping up with the monetary minutia of my existence, I’ll be honest and say that, as tends to happen in long relationships, the focus on maintaining myself as a presentable partner slowly eroded.

I’m an average sized gentleman. I’m 5′ 8″ and my drivers license shows I tip the scales at 170 lbs. That weight has not been accurate since I got my license at age 16. In the years that have passed since then, my girth has grown slowly, but steadily every year, with the exception of maybe one.

Now even at the aforementioned height-weight proportions, I realize that medically, according to BMI, I would still classify as “Overweight”. I’ve always been on the portly side. More recently, though I hide it well, however, my weight class could only be described as “Fatty McLardbutt”.

The literal tipping point came for me when I tipped the scales at a way-too-fat-206-pounds. On that day, I finally allowed Excel to step in and do what she does best. I had considered asking her to help in the past to stem the tide, stop the bleeding and help me fit into pants that were now more than a bit snug and get back to use some belt notches that hadn’t seen action in years.  I thought I could keep genetics and my healthy appetite under control, but time had proven to me that I was too much of a sucker for candy dishes at work, delicious pastries and general snackertainment when bored.


I was wrong, I needed Excel, my belle, to set the table. But instead of setting the table with tasty morsels of nearly raw steak and potatoes, I needed a bacon-wrapped spread of raw data, formulas and graphs.

In August of 2009, I started tracking my weight and food/beverage intake. Almost instantaneously, the pounds started coming off. My sheet featured some conditional formatting (gains in red, losses in green) to color code my weight change, a line graph that shows my weight over time and summarizes the progress made thus far.

It was instant accountability! Accountability  that I had never before existed for me. Ignorance of my eating was banished from my list of excuses. No longer could I wander my office and stop by one of the many candy dishes for a helping of 7 mini Kit Kats or 13 bite size Snickers. The times of eating 3 ice cream bars after dinner . . . GONE. Now if I followed the path of fat, I would have a Hansel & Gretel like trail showing me how I got there.

The Less Rotund Recap

I’m down to 175 lbs. My initial goal is to get back to 170.  Once I get there, I may try to make it to a range that according to BMI is no longer in the “Overweight” category, or I might just let myself go.

A few more items to note

  1. I don’t exercise with any regularity.
  2. I eat a lot of fast food.
  3. I don’t track calories. Just the food I ate and what I drank with the meal.
  4. Even with accountability, a lot of willpower is required to side step candy dishes and birthday celebrations to limit my intake. I usually drink a glass of ice water when temptation hits.
  5. Except for donuts from Heaven Scent donuts, I don’t eat anything at the office.

I mention those caveats only to shed more light on the secret of my success. And really, it is no secret at all. Track what you eat and lose weight.

Since it is a new year and losing weight is a popular resolution, I figured I’d share my grid with you all to help you.

Click here to download the excel sheet.

The sheet probably not fully tweaked as it is a standalone version of the one I use everyday. Feel free to comment if something is broken in it.

If you find this helpful and you drop a few pounds, by all means, please Support This Site!

Here’s to your own weight loss.

A tweaking option for Microsoft Excel

I hate the default color scheme that ships with Excel 2007. So I’ve customized it to create a better looking theme. The sheet available above will probably look funny under the default excel color theme.

You can see how to install a better color theme here.