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Always set your activity level to "sedentary" when using an activity tracker?

DrEnalgDrEnalg Posts: 648Member Member Posts: 648Member Member
I just started doing this. I don't know why I hadn't before - I just sort of thought that since I get up and walk around reasonably frequently at my job, I should call myself "lightly active" and leave it at that. But then I realized, my FitBit counts *all* my movement.... right?

The downside is now I have less calories to work with, but it's probably more accurate this way, right? And the other way I'd probably be double-dipping a bit, it would seem.... correct?

Just double-checking my thinking here.

Replies

  • TavistockToadTavistockToad Posts: 26,380Member Member Posts: 26,380Member Member
    Sounds right to me
  • MeinProgressMeinProgress Posts: 77Member Member Posts: 77Member Member
    That is how I do it!
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Posts: 6,577Member Member Posts: 6,577Member Member
    There's a setting for "negative calories" which you should turn on. If you have this enabled, and use a tracker, it really doesn't matter what your activity level is because the system will adjust for you every day based on your actual activity.

    Negative calorie adjustments happen if you don't move as much as your activity level projects. So if you say you're very highly active, but you only walk a mile or two, it will adjust your calorie goal down. That's what you should turn on; you're already getting the other side of the coin from your tracker, if you say you're sedentary and walk 20 miles you'll get a big upward adjustment. Allowing the downward adjustment too when it's warranted means your stated activity level is unimportant, the system will work it out.
  • JenHuedyJenHuedy Posts: 605Member Member Posts: 605Member Member
    MyFitnessPal compares the estimated burn based on the MFP activity level you chose to the burn that FitBit has calculated based on the activity it has measured. If your actual activity, measured by FitBit, is higher than MFP's estimated activity, you get more calories. If your actual activity as measured by your FitBit is LOWER than your MFP estimate (and you have negative adjustments enabled), MFP will subtract calories from your goal.

    It's perfectly fine to set your MFP activity to whatever level you feel is appropriate, as long as you enable negative calorie adjustments so it will adjust if you don't meet the activity level you set. Many people use sedentary as their default so they don't have to worry about negative adjustments. But it's fine to set a higher activity level - you will only get additional calories if your Fitbit activity exceeds the activity level you've set - i.e. it won't "double dip."

    The Fitbit adjustment is really just a way of fine-tuning the activity level.
  • DrEnalgDrEnalg Posts: 648Member Member Posts: 648Member Member
    WinoGelato wrote: »
    I actually did the opposite. I was set at sedentary when I started MFP because I took literally the "desk job" indicator. I was probably not as active when I started, but about 6 months into it, I got a FitBit, and was averaging about 10K steps/day. I would get very large exercise adjustments, and got the good advice on these forums that averaging 10K steps isn't sedentary, more likely lightly active, so I changed my setting to that. My baseline calories went up, the adjustments got a little smaller, but I felt they were more representative of my actual "exercise" and not just the steps/movement I got from normal day to day activities.

    Now I average 15K steps/day and am set to active. I prefer it this way and a lot of people have trouble with those large exercise adjustments because they wait till the end of the day and try to figure out what to do with an extra 500 or so cals. I like having them built into my baseline target, and if I'm less active than normal, the negative calorie adjustments take my goal down accordingly.

    Huh, so maybe I should say I'm active. I tend to regularly clock over 10K steps per day, more or less. I also don't like the fact that I only really "see" my calorie surplus at the end of a given day.... it sounds like you've hit on a way to obviate that problem. I'll have to play around and see what works, here.
  • lauraesh0384lauraesh0384 Posts: 451Member Member Posts: 451Member Member
    I have mine set to active and I've not had any problems. Even with that activity level I usually end up with 300-400 calories logged under exercise. In my opinion, setting to sedentary when I'm far from it becomes too confusing.
  • phrunchphrunch Posts: 115Member Member Posts: 115Member Member
    I set my to sedentary and then eat back at least half the calories that I "earn" through exercise. It gives me a decent deficit and I haven't been hungry enough to kill someone even once!
  • Crushingit22Crushingit22 Posts: 64Member, Premium Member Posts: 64Member, Premium Member
    I just started using the app last week. I have mine at low activity and to lose 2 lbs a week. Giving me 1,500 calories per day which I have been under every day and not hungry either. That is the most surprising thing.

    I use the treadmill at highest incline at 3.8 miles per hour for 60 minutes. It says I am burning 760 calories but I don't buy it. I do that 5 times a week. I also do a rigorous weight training at an additional 4 times per week. I sweat just as much as the treadmill.
    (yes I have issues) I have been doing that for years.

    I am treating all that exercise as gravy. I am not using that to change my calorie numbers.

    So I am pushing along. My wife and I already see a difference. I am already tightening my belt by one more hole and my pants are looser. My girls said to me on Sunday, "you have a 6 pack?" If an 8 year old notices it must be real. The six pack was under a few extra pounds.

    My first weigh in after 1 week using the app is Thursday. Hope to see the results I think I have but either way, I feel a heck of a lot better. I am only looking to lose 15 pounds so I have a feeling I will be there in 6-8 weeks give/take.

    Wish me luck!
  • malibu927malibu927 Posts: 14,311Member Member Posts: 14,311Member Member
    Honestly with negative adjustments it doesn't matter. My level is set to lightly active and I surpass that nearly every day. You will NOT have steps double-counted...a certain number is already assumed in the activity level, and the calories burned you receive is what MFP has calculated that you will burn above maintenance based on your total calorie burn from Fitbit at the time of your last sync.
  • sueyoung132sueyoung132 Posts: 1Member Member Posts: 1Member Member
    Great to hear how much the app is helping everyone. I have a slightly different problem. I use a fitness tracker to record my activity and I walk about 12,000 steps a day. Even though my activity level is set to sedentary I always get a negative calorie adjustment. It ranges between 20 and a couple of hundred. I would love to be able to adjust the base calories, but MFP says there is no way to do this. Any thoughts?
  • kaylaatx512kaylaatx512 Posts: 1Member, Premium Member Posts: 1Member, Premium Member
    We're all different so here's what is working for me. I have recently turned off exercise calories so they don't calculate into my edible calories. I still manually log exercise but not steps or other activity. For me, I found that I was relying too heavily on mind games and kooky math to get to eat more, which was defeating the purpose and my goals. Also different apps were giving different values to exercise so I stopped trusting it. Now I work only with the calories allotted and I'm losing weight again. Again, we're all different but I'm happy with this method for me. Good luck, friends! Progress not perfection!
  • CyberToneCyberTone Posts: 6,742Member, Premium Member Posts: 6,742Member, Premium Member
    Great to hear how much the app is helping everyone. I have a slightly different problem. I use a fitness tracker to record my activity and I walk about 12,000 steps a day. Even though my activity level is set to sedentary I always get a negative calorie adjustment. It ranges between 20 and a couple of hundred. I would love to be able to adjust the base calories, but MFP says there is no way to do this. Any thoughts?

    Are you using the web version or the mobile app?

    On the web version home page dashboard, a positive Calorie adjustment from an activity tracker is subtracted from your daily Food Intake.
    Food - Exercise = Net.

    On the web version home page dashboard, a positive Calorie adjustment is added to your daily Goal.
    Goal - Food + Exercise = Remaining.

    Which are you looking at?
  • sgt1372sgt1372 Posts: 2,015Member Member Posts: 2,015Member Member
    I set my activity level as "Not Very Active" but it doesn't really matter because I also set my own macro and calorie goals.

    The activity level chosen only matters when you let MFP calculate the cal and macro goals based on your weight loss (or gain or maintenance) objective.
  • TacklewasherTacklewasher Posts: 4,494Member Member Posts: 4,494Member Member
    If you set it to sedentary, and are more active, you get bonus calories to eat.
    If you set it to active, but don't move your *puppy* some days, you get penalized with calories taken away.
    The net is about the same but, in my mind I'd rather see the reward than be punished. I understand it works out the same in the end, but it just doesn't "feel" the same.

    So I set mine to sedentary and relish all these extra calories I'm given for being a good boy.
  • weavernvweavernv Posts: 1,599Member Member Posts: 1,599Member Member
    We're all different so here's what is working for me. I have recently turned off exercise calories so they don't calculate into my edible calories. I still manually log exercise but not steps or other activity. For me, I found that I was relying too heavily on mind games and kooky math to get to eat more, which was defeating the purpose and my goals. Also different apps were giving different values to exercise so I stopped trusting it. Now I work only with the calories allotted and I'm losing weight again. Again, we're all different but I'm happy with this method for me. Good luck, friends! Progress not perfection!


    So how do you turn off exercise calories. I want to turn off my step calories, but be able to keep the calories from just the exercise that I do, but I don't seem to be able to do that. I use a garmin and it gives a ridiculous amount of calories for my steps.
    edited August 2
  • malibu927malibu927 Posts: 14,311Member Member Posts: 14,311Member Member
    weavernv wrote: »
    We're all different so here's what is working for me. I have recently turned off exercise calories so they don't calculate into my edible calories. I still manually log exercise but not steps or other activity. For me, I found that I was relying too heavily on mind games and kooky math to get to eat more, which was defeating the purpose and my goals. Also different apps were giving different values to exercise so I stopped trusting it. Now I work only with the calories allotted and I'm losing weight again. Again, we're all different but I'm happy with this method for me. Good luck, friends! Progress not perfection!


    So how do you turn off exercise calories. I want to turn off my step calories, but be able to keep the calories from just the exercise that I do, but I don't seem to be able to do that. I use a garmin and it gives a ridiculous amount of calories for my steps.

    You can only turn exercise calories off if you're a Premium subscriber, and it turns all of them off
  • seafire211seafire211 Posts: 3Member Member Posts: 3Member Member
    How do you enable the negative calorie adjustment? Is thatbjust on the premium?
  • TacklewasherTacklewasher Posts: 4,494Member Member Posts: 4,494Member Member
    seafire211 wrote: »
    How do you enable the negative calorie adjustment? Is thatbjust on the premium?

    No, there is a setting on the diary settings page for regular users.
  • Christine_72Christine_72 Posts: 15,641Member Member Posts: 15,641Member Member
    seafire211 wrote: »
    How do you enable the negative calorie adjustment? Is thatbjust on the premium?

    You can find it here: http://www.myfitnesspal.com/account/diary_settings
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