# Quick TDEE Question

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Posts: 3,985 Member
When eating at maintenance using the TDEE calorie goal (mine is about 2000), do you ever eat back any exercise calories? I manually log calories over 500 active (as reported by my Apple Watch) into MFP. I've never had less than 500 active calories in a day.

I'm assuming there are about 500 calories baked into the formula based on choosing "moderate eXercise 3-5 times per week". So if I burn, 750, I'll eat back 250. It seems to be working, but it hasn't been that long, and I'd like to know if I have that right. Thanks!

## Replies

• Posts: 16,013 Member
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If you use a TDEE calculator, it includes your exercise in the calculation, so no, you shouldn't log your exercise and eat back additional calories. Calculators are just an estimate, so if you are eating what a calculator says is your TDEE but you are losing weight, then you should slowly add in cals until you find your true TDEE, where you maintain your weight.

If you use the calorie goal MFP gives you, it does not include exercise, so you should log your exercise and eat back some of those calories.

Basically, your MFP goal + exrcise = TDEE.
• Posts: 15,532 Member
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Do you have about 6 weeks of data? Using your own data (calories eaten in conjunction with weight change during that time), would give you a more accurate number than using a TDEE calculator.
• Posts: 3,985 Member
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I have a year of data related to losing, but have been all over the map trying to figure out maintenance. I prefer using a fixed TDEE so I can plan and pack my meals for the week versus having to "earn back" calories. I'm not super rigid, If something changes, I can roll with it. My base exercise is very consistent with a minimum of 500 cals per day. Just wondering what -- if anything-- I do on days when I'm way over 500 cals burned. The answer I'd love to hear is "eat it back", but I don't believe TDEE works that way.

Is there a chart somewhere that correlates the TDEE activity levels to a specific daily burn? Ie. Moderately Active =500 cals per day; lightly active = 250 cals per day, sedentary = 0 calories per day. Maybe my real question should be, based on what I do in the overall context of the week, which activity level should I pick?
• Posts: 16,013 Member
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How long have you been in maintenance, and what has your weight been doing in that period?

Generally, you should stick with a calorie level for 6-8 weeks, if your weight stays within a 5-10 lb maintenance range during that time, stay there. If you are gaining or losing, adjust your calories up or down in small increments, giving it another several weeks for your weight to stabilize each time before changing anything.
• Posts: 15,532 Member
edited December 2016
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I'll explain better. If you look at your weekly intake for the previous six weeks and then add in 3500 calories per each pound lost during that time, then divide by the total number of days during that period, it will give you a daily target that will include exercise and compensate for weight changes. Does that make more sense?

ETA: Full disclosure, I'm not actually in maintenance, but this is what I plan to do when I get there. This will be my starting point, and I will adjust up or down depending on results.
• Posts: 32,506 Member
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nutmegoreo wrote: »
I'll explain better. If you look at your weekly intake for the previous six weeks and then add in 3500 calories per each pound lost during that time, then divide by the total number of days during that period, it will give you a daily target that will include exercise and compensate for weight changes. Does that make more sense?

ETA: Full disclosure, I'm not actually in maintenance, but this is what I plan to do when I get there. This will be my starting point, and I will adjust up or down depending on results.

ITYMTS "If you sum up your weekly intakes . . ."?
• Posts: 15,532 Member
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AnnPT77 wrote: »
nutmegoreo wrote: »
I'll explain better. If you look at your weekly intake for the previous six weeks and then add in 3500 calories per each pound lost during that time, then divide by the total number of days during that period, it will give you a daily target that will include exercise and compensate for weight changes. Does that make more sense?

ETA: Full disclosure, I'm not actually in maintenance, but this is what I plan to do when I get there. This will be my starting point, and I will adjust up or down depending on results.

ITYMTS "If you sum up your weekly intakes . . ."?

Yup, that's the sum of it
• Posts: 4,658 Member
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TDEE = Total calories consumed + (Total weight loss (lbs) * 3500)/ Total time period (days)
• Posts: 13,342 Member
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If you use the TDEE method, that figures in your daily activity. If you figured out your TDEE without much exercise, i.e you told the TDEE calculators you were sedentary, then that would be a different matter.
• Posts: 19,811 Member
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That's an unusual take on the TDEE method, including some of your activity/exercise calories but not all of them - it's really at odds with the "Total" in TDEE. A hybrid of the TDEE and MyFitnessPal methods I suppose.
But if it works for you to take account of variability of your days then stay with it.

It would take a long time for the extra 250 cals in your example to add up to anything significant if you wanted to stick to the simplicity of same every day TDEE method but then you would also have what I see as the biggest restriction of TDEE, having to eat the same level daily.
• Posts: 3,985 Member
edited December 2016
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Thanks everyone for taking time to reply. It sounds like I need to settle on a method and stick with, then adjust accordingly over time if my weight shifts. Of course, I knew that, just needed to hear it!
If you use the TDEE method, that figures in your daily activity. If you figured out your TDEE without much exercise, i.e you told the TDEE calculators you were sedentary, then that would be a different matter.

This was really the essence of my question. I told the TDEE calculators (they all came out about the same) that I do "moderate exercise, 3x5 times a week). But I don't know THEIR formula for calorie burn. So at moderate, are they figuring in I burn 250, 500, 750 per day? And if I do more, should I compensate by eating more? For now, I'll just see what happens.
sijomial wrote: »
That's an unusual take on the TDEE method, including some of your activity/exercise calories but not all of them - it's really at odds with the "Total" in TDEE. A hybrid of the TDEE and MyFitnessPal methods I suppose.
But if it works for you to take account of variability of your days then stay with it.

It would take a long time for the extra 250 cals in your example to add up to anything significant if you wanted to stick to the simplicity of same every day TDEE method but then you would also have what I see as the biggest restriction of TDEE, having to eat the same level daily.

It may be odd, but I'm actually pretty good at sticking to the same activity level daily, but I do go over a few days a week. And I have a mix of menus that get me to +/- calories for the day, but right on target over the course of a week.

Happy Holidays!!

• Posts: 3,985 Member
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Found this online. Def applies to me:

"If all this number crunching sounds complicated, it is only because you are making it unnecessarily so in you own mind. This is a very, very simple concept: Use the calorie formulas once to establish a baseline for where you are now, then adjust your calories and your activity according to results, week by week".
• Posts: 10,968 Member
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nowine4me wrote: »
I told the TDEE calculators (they all came out about the same) that I do "moderate exercise, 3x5 times a week). But I don't know THEIR formula for calorie burn. So at moderate, are they figuring in I burn 250, 500, 750 per day? And if I do more, should I compensate by eating more? For now, I'll just see what happens.

That's one reason (among many) that TDEE doesn't make sense. You have no idea what it includes, what "moderate exercise" actually means in the formula and numbers. It's just a way to get a vague and fuzzy estimate.