How Do MacroFactor's Coaching Algorithms Deal with Partially Logged Days?

To get the best coaching adjustments and an accurate expenditure calculation, try to avoid partial logging

MacroFactor’s algorithms are remarkably durable, and can handle almost anything you throw at them. They work their best when you log your nutrition and weight consistently and accurately, but they do a great job of rolling with the punches, and accommodating less-than-perfect tracking. We believe that you shouldn’t need to be a robot to get the most out of MacroFactor.

However, our algorithms have one major Achilles heel: partial food logging.

For example, if you log your breakfast and lunch one day, but not your dinner, the app will have no way of knowing that you simply forgot to log your dinner, and that your actual calorie intake was 30-40% higher than what you logged. That will feed into our daily energy expenditure calculation, which will then feed into our calorie and macro recommendations moving forward. Partial logging (especially if done consistently) is really the only way to wind up with very inappropriate calorie recommendations. Of note, partial logging (not logging entire meals or large snacks) is distinct from consistently not logging some low-calorie items.

So, if you find yourself in a situation where you’ve logged some food for a day, but you either can’t or don’t want to log anything else for the rest of the day, you have a few options (arranged from good to great):

  1. Delete what you’ve already logged. Our algorithms do a good job of dealing with missing data. Though, estimating your intake (instead of leaving the day blank) is strongly recommended if your total energy intake from the day differs substantially from your usual intake.

  2. Simply “quick edit” the day with an estimate of your total calorie intake. Don’t stress about your estimate too much; it doesn’t need to be perfect. As long as your estimate is in the right general ballpark – within about 30% of what you actually consumed – it’ll all work out. For instance, if your total calorie intake for the day was 3000 calories, any estimate between 2100 and 3900 calories would be fine. Try to be as accurate as you can, obviously, but most people with a little food logging experience can estimate their daily intake accurately enough for the purposes of the algorithms.

  3. Our recommendation: Use the quick add feature to estimate the total caloric content in your unlogged meal(s). Again, anything in the right ballpark is totally fine; if you think you ate 1000 calories, but you actually ate 1500 calories, that’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things (it would work out to an error of ~25kcal/day over the time span that’s relevant for our algorithms – a pretty inconsequential error). This is similar to using quick edit to estimate your calorie intake for the entire day (option 2), but most people can more accurately estimate their intake for a single missing meal than for an entire day.

If you created many partially logged entries and want the expenditure calculation to forget them, you can change your expenditure start date. This will begin expenditure learning from scratch starting from the date of your choice.

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