Day-to-day life is exercise?

I'm genuinely curious about a train of thought I see with some people on the forums that seems obviously wrong to me. I wonder what the logic is behind it and if the practitioners have had success achieving and maintaining their goals this way.

It is considering typical daily activities as exercise and logging it as such. That seems counter-productive to me and here is an example why I think it is flawed.

pre-MFP: person is 40 lbs. overweight. Mows yard, rakes leaves, washes car, cleans house. Still 40 lbs overweight.

joins MFP: person is 40 lbs overweight and thinks yardwork, housework, car washing etc. are cardio workouts or strength training and logs them.

Why? Is it to get exercise calories added on to the daily goal and eat more food with MFP's blessing? To keep track of physical activities? Or what? I honestly don't see how something someone has been doing all along is suddenly something that makes a difference. This doesn't affect my life one way or the other but I do wonder about it when I see it mentioned.
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Replies

  • ryry_
    ryry_ Posts: 4,966 Member
    I generally agree with you. I think most people who do its more because they set their activity level to sedentary and than log their activity.
  • Nuke_64
    Nuke_64 Posts: 406 Member
    I'll admit I've done it, but only when my chores took many hours (4 or more and I only take credit for half) and didn't allow me time to exercise. For me, I would expect for others, it allows the MFP calculation to add more calories to my daily allotment and I can eat more with the MFP approval.

    If one loses weight by doing this, I see no problem with it. I'll give you another scenario, mine.

    Pre MFP: Person is 75 lbs overweight, exercises 3 times a week for one hour at a time. Still 75 lbs overweight.
    joins MFP: person is 75 lbs overweight continue to works out and logs them and the food he eats, by logging is able to maintain a deficit, loses 50 lbs and on his way to 75.

    If you accurately log the ins and outs, despite the value of the outs, it will work.
  • LivingtheLeanDream
    LivingtheLeanDream Posts: 13,345 Member
    oh this is going to get some replies..!

    When I started MFP I have to admit to logging cleaning as my calories were so low I just felt I needed more calories so logged any sort of normal day to day activity - any wonder my weight loss was slow! doh!! I was kidding myself in reality.

    Then I started actually doing workouts, I walked, I did 30 day shred etc, logged them and then things started happening - not only did I lose weight but I also got fit.

    If people do have active jobs though then they should set their activity level to reflect that.

    In my opinion only 'proper' exercise should be logged.
  • lporter229
    lporter229 Posts: 4,907 Member
    I have a couple of thoughts on this. Generally, I would not log day to day activities as exercise unless I was certain that the calorie expenditure was in obvious access of my normal daily routine. But for some people, any exercise is just that. If you set your MFP account up using the sedentary setting, the calorie allowances are pretty low. In fact, I think some people are so aggressive with their goals, that MFP allows them hardly any calories and they end up using those activities as an excuse because they actually need to. But in the end, it really comes down to being honest with yourself. Lets face it...you KNOW when you have burned a lot of extra calories and it's not going to hurt you to eat a little more vs. when you are just making excuses to eat the foods you want and not feel guilty about it. To each his own...
  • dbanks80
    dbanks80 Posts: 3,685 Member
    Pre MFP people are taking in more calories regardless of daily activities.
    Joining MFP people are conscious of what they are eating and logging, measuring it to create a calorie deficit hence losing weight regardless of daily activity.

    I do log lawn mowing because it takes me 90 mins and I burn 1000 calories (per my HRM). Other than that daily activity for me is just that daily activity I do not log it.
  • pondee629
    pondee629 Posts: 2,469 Member
    But aren't you counting day to day life as exercise by listing your lifestyle as anything above sedentary?

    Which would be more accurate, setting you lifestyle as sedentary and counting your day to day activities or guessing at the level of your lifestyle being more active than sedentary?
  • Mouse_Potato
    Mouse_Potato Posts: 1,494 Member
    My MFP goal is based upon normal daily activity. I can't speak for everyone, but I don't mow the lawn every day. Nor do I clean every day (although maybe I should). If my Fitbit says I earned an extra 200-300 calories, I will take them. I used to go to the gym before I joined MFP, but I don't think having an account here has magically negated my workouts.
  • rankinsect
    rankinsect Posts: 2,238 Member
    Everything should be factored as either activity level or exercise, not both and not neither. As long as people do this consistently there shouldn't be a problem.

    And as long as you lose at a rate that is healthy and you are satisfied with, there is no problem.
  • bighamnegg2015
    bighamnegg2015 Posts: 17 Member
    edited December 2015
    Personally I don't use any of these kick back calories that you get from linking up your step counter to the mfp app. I stick with the original calorie allowance and just ignore the extras. If I was to use those extras I would never lose any weight . Stay true to the plan and the weight falls off.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,876 Member
    one of the reasons i always had my activity level as light active vs sedentary (even though I have a desk job) is to account for stuff like this...no, i don't mow every day or whatever...but pretty much being a home owner and having a 3 y.o. and 5 y.o. means I'm doing something at home most of the time...even without deliberate exercise, i'm in no way sedentary and most people aren't.

    IMO, most people would be better served to accurately (as possible) reflect their activity in their activity level rather than trying to nickle and dime their calories for every little thing they do...but that's just me.
  • juggernaut1974
    juggernaut1974 Posts: 6,212 Member
    pondee629 wrote: »
    Which would be more accurate, setting you lifestyle as sedentary and counting your day to day activities or guessing at the level of your lifestyle being more active than sedentary?

    The thing is, even "sedentary" accounts for some normal day-to-day activities. It' doesn't mean literally lying, unmoving all day. I may be wrong, but I think it accounts for the equivalent of approximately 5000 steps of movement per day.

    As far as accuracy - I think either way is merely an approximation, and that one should monitor results after a few months and adjust as necessary.
  • Larissa_NY
    Larissa_NY Posts: 495 Member
    Weight loss sites are populated, more or less by definition, largely by people who really, really, really like food and eating. Spend enough time on sites like the weight loss part of MFP and you'll see a whole lot of posts that boil down to "How can I game the system so that I don't actually have to eat less food?" It's like the bargaining stage of weight loss grief or something. "I never realized it before, but loading the washer is actually exercise! MOAR FOOD FOR ME!"

    That's not an assumption, either. People will be really explicit about wanting to log loading the washer because they want the extra calories.
  • jemhh
    jemhh Posts: 14,261 Member
    pondee629 wrote: »
    But aren't you counting day to day life as exercise by listing your lifestyle as anything above sedentary?

    No.

    Your calorie burn is not just made up of BMR and exercise calories. It also includes NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis), which is "the energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise."

    MFP includes NEAT calories in its calculations. It excludes exercise until you add it in. It all goes into the same formula but NEAT and exercise are two different things.
  • jkal1979
    jkal1979 Posts: 1,896 Member
    I wear a Fitbit so any activity that involves walking is added automatically. I've noticed that doing things like doing laundry, vacuuming, and other housework really doesn't add much to whatever else I'm doing for the day. I figure any arm movement or extra calories burned by carrying or pushing things is already accounted for in my calorie goal that MFP set for me so I would think logging that would be double dipping. I've never really understood why people log activities like vacuuming, grocery shopping, and food prep, but I do think that a lot of those people don't understand what MFP means by sedentary.

    Yardwork is the exception for me though. I average 10,000 steps while cutting the grass and I do eat some of those calories back.
  • AnvilHead
    AnvilHead Posts: 18,344 Member
    edited December 2015
    pondee629 wrote: »
    But aren't you counting day to day life as exercise by listing your lifestyle as anything above sedentary?...

    No. A construction worker will have a much different lifestyle/daily calorie burn than an office worker who sits at their desk all day. Exercise is factored in above and beyond the things you normally do on an everyday basis. An appropriate calorie intake for the officer worker would create a huge deficit for the construction worker, and an appropriate calorie intake for the construction worker would create a significant surplus for the office worker.

    Exercise would be above and beyond. Say the construction worker lifts weights for 45 minutes 3 times a week after work, and the office worker is a marathoner in training who runs 6-10 miles (or more) several times a week. Those are going to modify/offset their basic lifestyles accordingly. Maybe the office worker will even have a higher caloric need than the construction worker with the exercise factor taken into consideration.
  • bri170lb
    bri170lb Posts: 1,375 Member
    If it adds up to a calorie deficit at the end of the day, and it works for the individual, what difference does it make.

    I would think that a person who did what you described might be someone who has a lot of weight to lose and wouldn't normally do that kind of housework.

    I certainly did not wash my car, rake leaves or mow my lawn at my heaviest weight. I could just barely get through the grocery store.

    When i was morbidly obese those chores would have been a really good cardio workout and I can see why someone would log them.

    Fortunately for me I have minions to to that kind of stuff. One of the benefits of a house full of kids! :smile:



  • melmerritt33
    melmerritt33 Posts: 1,044 Member
    For me, an activity counts as exercise if it's something I don't normally do. My activity level is sedentary as I work in an office so sit all day and I don't exercise regularly. I don't clean absolutely everywhere every day or even every week so for me something like cleaning the bathroom is definitely not exercise because I do it regularly but moving furniture to clean around or under it is exercise because it's not something I do every time I clean so is out of my normal activity. I think if you regularly log these types of things but are not losing weight then you are probably overestimating your activity levels.
  • 100df
    100df Posts: 668 Member
    jkal1979 wrote: »
    I wear a Fitbit so any activity that involves walking is added automatically. I've noticed that doing things like doing laundry, vacuuming, and other housework really doesn't add much to whatever else I'm doing for the day. I figure any arm movement or extra calories burned by carrying or pushing things is already accounted for in my calorie goal that MFP set for me so I would think logging that would be double dipping. I've never really understood why people log activities like vacuuming, grocery shopping, and food prep, but I do think that a lot of those people don't understand what MFP means by sedentary.

    Yardwork is the exception for me though. I average 10,000 steps while cutting the grass and I do eat some of those calories back.

    I wear a Fitbit Zip. The only time I earn exercise calories cleaning is if I'm going at it for 2 hours or more. Then it's like 23 calories. I do my best not to let the house get into that shape so it doesn't happen often. I don't always eat the calories I earn and if I do it's only half. So I get a couple of sandwich stacker pickles for cleaning the house - big whoop!
  • pondee629
    pondee629 Posts: 2,469 Member
    edited December 2015
    "No. A construction worker will have a much different lifestyle/daily calorie burn than an office worker who sits at their desk all day. "

    BUT, the construction worker would have listed an active lifestyle and the office a sedentary or lightly active lifestyle. If the construction worker listed his/her lifestyle as sedentary and logged in his/her daily activity as exercise, shouldn't the two results approximate each other?

    Edited to pose this question:

    If the office worker, without changing his/her lifestyle status, worked the construction worker's job for a day, shouldn't the office worker count the added daily "activity" as exercise and get credit for the added calorie burn?
  • ModernRock
    ModernRock Posts: 372 Member
    edited December 2015
    pondee629 wrote: »
    But aren't you counting day to day life as exercise by listing your lifestyle as anything above sedentary?

    Substitute the word "activity" for "exercise" and you'd likely get no disagreement. Sure, the math works out the same, but the distinction between the two is not trivial.