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Angela Potticary

Losing Weight with Wolfram|Alpha

February 6, 2012 —
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Remember that New Year’s resolution you made to lose weight this year? If you’re one of the many people around the world who pledged to get healthy and finally lose that weight, Wolfram|Alpha is here to help! Even with January behind us, there is still plenty of time to get back on track in 2012.

Studies throughout the decades have shown that regular diet and exercise is the number-one way to get healthy. Wolfram|Alpha can offer you a variety of different ways to start, track, and maintain your new healthy lifestyle.

Query how to lose weight, and Wolfram|Alpha will bring up a formula where you can enter all the information needed, including your intended physical activity level, to figure out how many calories you should be eating every day in order to reach your target body weight:

How to lose weight

Once you’ve filled out all your information, you’ll be able to see all sorts of different data. You’ll come across a “weight loss regimen duration pod”, which will show you how long it should take you to meet your goal if you stick to the plan. A little further down the page is information on what your caloric intake should be in order to maintain your weight once you’ve reached your goal. Wolfram|Alpha also shows you what your ideal body weight should be based on the information you entered into the formula.

Now, everyone is different, and the ideal body weight for all people of the same age, same gender, and same height is definitely not the same across the board, so don’t worry if your personal target differs from the “ideal body weight.” You know your body and goals best!

Other pods on the page will show you comparison charts; if you want to lose your weight in four months or in half a year, Wolfram|Alpha shows you the different caloric intakes necessary for each frame of time. If you aren’t able to be moderately active or if you plan on being extremely active, we’ll show you how your daily required caloric intake will change. Play around with the formula, figure out what regimen works best for you, and start your new healthy lifestyle right away!

Comparisons for regimen durations

Now that you’ve got your caloric intake numbers set, you can use Wolfram|Alpha to figure out how many calories are in the food that you’re eating! You can either query a food directly or you can use one of the many widgets that other Wolfram|Alpha users have created for a quick answer. With all the options we’ve got, you’ll be able to find accurate calorie counts for all the foods you’re eating every dayβ€”even the ones you’d pick up at some fast food restaurants:

Calories in 4 ounces of cooked chicken

The next step is to get a better idea of how many calories you’re burning when you exercise. Typically, you need to burn 500 more calories than you eat every day in order to lose one pound per week. This handy widget will help you to accurately figure out not only your caloric burn, but also what other activities are equivalent to the specific activity you’ve just queried. Awesome, right?

As we stated before, possible results will vary from person to person. Make sure to consult a medical professional before starting any new weight-loss regimen.

It can be really hard to make the necessary changes required for losing weight and getting healthy. We all know it. But we at Wolfram|Alpha also know how integral the right tools can be in securing a victory and long-term success. So get yourself a food journal (or make yourself a spreadsheet using Mathematica) and start tracking your caloric intake and caloric burn with our data and widgets. Let Wolfram|Alpha help you to reach your goal this year of becoming a healthier person!


“intake 1133 Cal/day for -25 days to lose -6 lb with a sedentary activity level”

Could this be adapted for compatibility with weight gain programs as well?

Posted by Kim Reece February 6, 2012 at 3:23 pm

It would be handy to have this tool calculate what it would take to gain weight too. I’m sure the algorithm wouln’t need to much modification.

Posted by Peter February 7, 2012 at 11:39 am

Just need to enter your target weight… it will figure for you

Posted by James February 8, 2012 at 12:50 am

What about diets based not on calories but carbohydrates or fat reduction? Would it work in the same way?

Posted by Hector February 8, 2012 at 7:20 am

What a fascinating utility!

I think it would be a fascinating idea if it were estimate approximate fat percentages if key areas (usually around one’s upper arm, middle torso and the fat around the femur, if I recall correctly) are also measured and inputted. Mind you, it would require a tape measurement from the user, but it would be more helpful to me personally if I knew the percentage of fat I have within a range of 3% accurate.

Also, as an aside, the image for this blog post shows what appears to be a solid red Rhombic Hexecontahedron upon a conventional scale. (With an approximate mass of 35.8 g? oz? Whatever it may be, it’s adorable and I am geeky enough that I would happily purchase one for proud display upon my desk if I knew where it were sold.

Posted by Daniel February 8, 2012 at 4:25 pm

I think the biggest problem is that people are eating way to many useless calories. This is particularly the case in the US where I am seeing tremendous results by simply changing a couple of small things in the diet on some of my clients. Hint: removing calories that are useless can change your life! : – )

Great post.

Kind regards,

Posted by Alex June 21, 2012 at 4:41 am

Hi Angela.

I just wanted to thank you for this post as it has brought me to this amazing calculator/widget. It is really useful and my readers love it.

Thank you once again,


Posted by Earlene Blosser July 3, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Wow Angela, this looks like an really awesome resource that will help everybody with their weight loss efforts!!!! Will definitely share this with my readers!!!

Great tool once again.

Kind Regards,

Posted by Christine Derrel August 7, 2013 at 2:13 pm

This is awesome stuff, thanks for sharing these tips for lose weight. I will keep them in mind and come back and bookmark your post.

Posted by John Buze March 13, 2014 at 11:46 pm

Nice tool, this application will help everybody to reach their weight loss goal. Definitely a recommended tool

Posted by Anni Hart April 21, 2014 at 2:44 am

This tool really blew my mind Angela πŸ™‚ It is the most complete weight loss tool that I found on the internet. I like the part of food intake calculation. I will share it with my readers also. Thank you.


Posted by Sophia Webb May 3, 2014 at 6:31 am

I just want to thank you Angela for sharing this useful tool that will help my site’s visitors on their journey to lose unwanted weight so they have some insight on the real problem not just reading some advices or techniques.

Posted by Najib Dahech May 16, 2014 at 11:40 am

Definitely a recommended tool, thanks for sharing these tips for lose weight. I will keep them in mind.

Posted by John Barban May 29, 2014 at 4:51 am

What an excellent tool. I’ve found, through years of coaching people how to lose weight and remove toxins and impurities from their body that having access to data and being able to track, record and monitor that data / progress is one of the key factors when it comes to success (or lack of it) in losing weight (and keeping it off) I’m really keen to give this a try.

Posted by Lara Darlington June 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm

I didn’t know before that with this Wolframalpha we could also calculate how many calories we need for our body everyday.. great idea.. surely I will review and test it my self.. πŸ™‚

Posted by Kenchan Shiro June 11, 2014 at 7:30 pm

This is one of the easiest to use weight loss calculators and tracking tools I’ve seen. We are always looking for ways to track the results of our clients while they are following a diet / weight loss program and will be looking further in to Wolfram|Alpha to see if it could help us/our clients – thanks for this.

Posted by Sarah Andrews August 4, 2014 at 11:53 pm

I love this article because it shows the math behind weight loss, something people can easily forget or be fooled by. Well-written and extremely helpful. I will be sharing this! Thanks again πŸ™‚

Posted by Jeanie Joan September 4, 2014 at 2:44 pm

This is great. So many diet fads claim that people can lose 20 pounds in a week or something crazy like that, and this proves those claims are all just so false. Giving people false hope like that will totally discourage them from being happy with reasonable and EXPECTED results of up to 2 pounds a week.

Love this, sharing!

Posted by Jan September 6, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Now these are the kind of widgets I like! I had a client a few months ago storm out of my office angrily because she had “only” lost 10 pounds in a month. Now, that was incredible! 2.5 pounds a week, ABOVE the average. But she just didn’t understand the concept. She’d been buying into myths for too long. We forget that it’s a slow and steady race. Great great article. I’ll have to send her this one via email!

Posted by Samantha Hall September 9, 2014 at 12:16 pm

This post should go viral! A friend of mine shared it with me. Extremely helpful and accurate info on how to lose weight. Takes away all the complications – awesome share! Cheers!

Posted by Jennifer Marie September 12, 2014 at 9:09 pm

Great article here. Especially after a summer full of treats and cold drinks, it’s about time to buckle down and shed some weight before the holidays. Thanks for providing a clear cut guide to how to lose weight scientifically.

Posted by Cloe Jones September 17, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Very interesting that searching for how to lose weight on Wolfram give me so much detail information.

Posted by Alexi October 11, 2014 at 1:29 am

Nice tool to set a goal and calculate the weight loss aim. Definitely I will use.Let s see.

Posted by Jordan November 6, 2014 at 3:13 am

Hey Angela,

Great article and highly informative. I am a personal trainer and nutritional specialist and have been looking for a tool exactly like this for some of my clients! The hardest thing I have found when it comes to losing weight is the ability to stay disciplined as well as have a clear plan of action. Little tools like this in ones arsenal are pure gold!



Posted by Danny Power November 13, 2014 at 10:58 am

Wow – great little tool! Can see a lot of people using this come January 1st!

Posted by Brad Russell November 27, 2014 at 6:13 pm

I have tried this tool and it is helpful; I think a lot of people try to avoid the reality that counting calories (watching what you eat) and exercising is the only “quick fix” for weight loss. It is obviously not so quick! I will share your link with my group. Thank you for diagramming it out.

Posted by LC December 6, 2014 at 1:37 pm

Nice gadget, but you should definitely adapt it to accept other units of energy than “cal”, this sorry child of simplified science has no place here- just kidding, simply allow to input other, more correct units such as kcal and kj. Keep up the good work! K

Posted by KAzi January 4, 2015 at 12:30 pm

Being in the weight loss industry and with people that are suffering obesity, it can be hard trying to find what works or what guides you down the path of working and this program seems to be a step in the right direction for combating wehjt loss. Couple this together with a weight loss program and I think we may just have an optimal program for losing weight. Well done on this ingenious little idea. Can’t wait to see the public’s reaction when it is out in the open

Posted by Peter Karpouzas January 6, 2015 at 1:47 am

Hi Angela,

This is a really great tool. As they say, you’ve got to ‘know your numbers’. This little tool gives you all the information you need to take the guess work out of losing weight.

Posted by Sarah January 8, 2015 at 4:14 am

You guys never cease to amaze! That’s a great tool for losing weight. Thanks for continuing to show us the full power of WolframAlpha.

Posted by Bruce February 11, 2015 at 9:00 pm

Thanks a lot Angela for sharing this tool. It is quite a cool handy gadget that those who are looking to lose weight will find very helpful.

Posted by Didi February 20, 2015 at 3:35 pm

Hey Angela,

Been gaining a tonne of resource from Wolframalpha!

This little tool is a great addition to any nutrition plan. I am a personal trainer and have been looking for something exactly like this to help my clients.

Thanks for sharing this with us!


Posted by Carly Wilson February 24, 2015 at 7:49 pm

Alright, so it turns out I have WAY too much calorie intake. Nice article and insight. Although it may not have been what I wanted to hear, it’s nice to know where I stand (or sit usually in my case).

Posted by Megan March 19, 2015 at 11:28 pm

The tool is great to use but could stand a few improvements like what I’ve seen done on other sites such as when querying a specifc food, you can actually see the picture of it. Among other improvements.

Posted by Kimberly Esparza March 21, 2015 at 11:22 pm

It is a very cool and handy tool. I guess losing weight will become a bit easy with this calculator.

Posted by Daniel Anderson March 25, 2015 at 5:21 am

Thanks Angela, terrific tool. Thanks for putting it together.

Posted by Brad Mathers April 19, 2015 at 4:50 am

Hi Angela, thanks for sharing this tool with us. I am a personal trainer have been using this for a while now and it works wonders.

Keep up the good work πŸ™‚

Posted by Dan Carter May 11, 2015 at 8:49 pm

Hi Angela,

I run a number of weight loss sites and this tool is fantastic!

I am going to link to back to this article for my readers!


Posted by Steven Price October 19, 2015 at 5:03 pm