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Exercise calories - do I eat these? A video explanation.

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  • rileysownerrileysowner Posts: 7,851Member Member Posts: 7,851Member Member
    I guess I'm a bit confused on the "need" to eat those calories. Do you need to? Or i can? I don't usually because I figure this will help my weight loss even more if I'm burning even more calories and just leaving them burned.

    It depends on your initial built in deficit and how steep it is. You can choose to eat or not eat your calories back if not eating them back would not put you at a deficit greater than 35% or even lower if already lean (some use a loss of 1% of body weight per week as an upper limit, but I don't like it because it can result in a calorie budget that is quite low for some people) or if your extra exercise is something like relaxed yoga or a short stroll which don't burn that many calories. You need to eat back at least some of your exercise calories if not eating them puts you at a steep deficit or if you are not obese (morbidly obese people can handle a temporary steep deficit better and may need to do so if the risk of staying fat is greater than the risk of losing fast). If you are lean, a steep deficit will cause greater muscle loss and hormonal imbalances that may affect your hunger levels leading to binges, your period, your energy, your gallbladder, and if your chosen starting calorie budget is already low, your nutrients, plus a host of other problems like greater metabolic slowdown and the like.

    Now if you want to burn calories and leave them burned you could use the TDEE method. It's essentially the same as eating back exercise calories, except your account for your exercise in advance. Here is an example person whose sedentary (no exercise) maintenance calories are 2000 and wants to lose at a 500 daily deficit:

    MFP method:
    Sedentary maintenance is 2000
    2000 - 500 = 1500 that's the starting budget
    The person exercises for 250 calories, their budget becomes 1500 + 250 = 1750, so they need to eat back their calories to keep their deficit at 500.

    The TDEE method:
    The person exercises daily for 250 calories putting their maintenance at 2250
    to achieve a 500 calorie deficit that means 2250 - 500 = 1750.
    Since exercise is already accounted for in the budget, this person should not eat back their exercise calories.


    This was really helpful thanks. I guess I probably should be eating more in this case.. my calorie intake is 1,380 and honestly, I only usually get to 1,000 at the most a day. I assume that's probably bad.

    Long term most definitely it is. The thing that many don't realize is the negative effects will happen internally long before they start showing up in external things. Usually when a person starts getting very brittle nails, losing hair, and all the rest, they have stuff that has been happening inside for a long time already.
  • kevinstreet1kevinstreet1 Posts: 1Member Member Posts: 1Member Member
    Thank you! I was very confused about this, but I understand now.
  • highlightshadowhighlightshadow Posts: 116Member, Premium Member Posts: 116Member, Premium Member
    The website gives me a LOT more calories than MFP's goal.... I always get the feeling they don't scale properly (either) for big people..... that site suggests 2781 daily w/ 20% loss .... MFP gives me 2060 daily w/ 1kg/week loss... I am a desk-jockey and so on both set my activity level low.

  • PeteLincolnmfpPeteLincolnmfp Posts: 12Member Member Posts: 12Member Member
    I have my cals goal set to maintenance on here, try to eat around 300 under and use my exercise calories ONLY as a buffer if i am out at a family dinner/drinks with friends.
  • diannethegeekdiannethegeek Posts: 14,831Member Member Posts: 14,831Member Member
    Could use a bump.
  • lynwak2016lynwak2016 Posts: 5Member Member Posts: 5Member Member
    I stand on my feet a few days a week anywhere from 4 to 7.5 hours a day at work in a supermarket. So you work out how many calories that is and then add it to the exercise section of myfitnesspal?
  • malibu927malibu927 Posts: 17,648Member Member Posts: 17,648Member Member
    lynwak2016 wrote: »
    I stand on my feet a few days a week anywhere from 4 to 7.5 hours a day at work in a supermarket. So you work out how many calories that is and then add it to the exercise section of myfitnesspal?

    This is already part of your activity level so it shouldn’t be logged as exercise
  • diannethegeekdiannethegeek Posts: 14,831Member Member Posts: 14,831Member Member
    Giving this a bump for the season.
  • tinkerbellang83tinkerbellang83 Posts: 6,701Member Member Posts: 6,701Member Member
  • diannethegeekdiannethegeek Posts: 14,831Member Member Posts: 14,831Member Member
  • diannethegeekdiannethegeek Posts: 14,831Member Member Posts: 14,831Member Member
  • Enthusiast84Enthusiast84 Posts: 171Member Member Posts: 171Member Member
    The video is really helpful thanks for sharing. Just ordered my fit bit, can't wait to link it to mfp.
  • AprilNewYear18AprilNewYear18 Posts: 45Member Member Posts: 45Member Member
    Good video!
  • EelkovEelkov Posts: 88Member Member Posts: 88Member Member
    Thanks for a helpful video
  • Barrigon160Barrigon160 Posts: 5Member, Premium Member Posts: 5Member, Premium Member
    Thank you for the video. I'm pretty new here and admittedly haven't read through all the forums. I do have a question for you. When I was 44 years old I went on an extreme diet and started exercising. A lot. Marathons, triathlons, ironman training. I kept my weight down for over five years. Then, I had back to back surgeries and was unable to get back to that level of training. I also started eating more. Now, I've regained about 60 pounds of the 100 that I kept off for all those years. It just seems that the only way I can lose weight anymore is to eat a lot less than the recommended daily amounts and exercise 60-90 minutes a day. Any suggestions? Should I just not count the exercise calories at all?
  • cmriversidecmriverside Posts: 28,970Member Member Posts: 28,970Member Member
    Thank you for the video. I'm pretty new here and admittedly haven't read through all the forums. I do have a question for you. When I was 44 years old I went on an extreme diet and started exercising. A lot. Marathons, triathlons, ironman training. I kept my weight down for over five years. Then, I had back to back surgeries and was unable to get back to that level of training. I also started eating more. Now, I've regained about 60 pounds of the 100 that I kept off for all those years. It just seems that the only way I can lose weight anymore is to eat a lot less than the recommended daily amounts and exercise 60-90 minutes a day. Any suggestions? Should I just not count the exercise calories at all?

    You should really start your own thread for targeted advice if you don't get many answers. I mean, this thread is a "sticky" post because, yes, you should eat back the exercise calories if you are going to use Myfitnesspal's tool.

    Your problem could be due to many factors, but it's most likely your food logging accuracy and/or the length of time you've been logging accurately and the way you've set up your account. Tighten that up, use the numbers for a couple months and if you see no results, open up your food log and come back with a new thread and get some feedback. In the meantime, keep reading around the forums.
  • mwa2012mwa2012 Posts: 6Member, Premium Member Posts: 6Member, Premium Member
    My Fitness apps tell me I buy around 2000 calories a day on average. I am on a 1450 calorie diet, I weigh 5 feet 9 and 35 years old.Would it be fair to consume 25% of my workout calories, through protein sources?
  • malibu927malibu927 Posts: 17,648Member Member Posts: 17,648Member Member
    mwa2012 wrote: »
    My Fitness apps tell me I buy around 2000 calories a day on average. I am on a 1450 calorie diet, I weigh 5 feet 9 and 35 years old.Would it be fair to consume 25% of my workout calories, through protein sources?

    It depends on how you’re measuring your calories burned. But you should be aiming for 1500 minimum net calories after exercise.
  • pjshome15pjshome15 Posts: 14Member Member Posts: 14Member Member
    Thank you so much for explaining this, think I will eat 50% of my exercise calories as you suggested and go from there.
  • amfmmamaamfmmama Posts: 1,140Member Member Posts: 1,140Member Member
    Thank you! A perfect, easy to understand explanation.
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