I'm confused with BMR and TDEE

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Hi all, I put my stats into one of those TDEE & BMR calculators and came up with an average BMR of 1348 with an average TDEE of 1618. I'm 5'3", 174.4 lbs., and would like to lose 1.5 lbs. per week. I set it to sedentary because, even though I'm on my feet all day at work, I'm really just standing there (I'm a cashier) and I don't really do any physical exercise beyond that. Anyway, I'm confused as to what I should be setting my caloric intake to. Should it be set to my TDEE or my BMR to lose the weight I would like to lose? Any help here is greatly appreciated.

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  • Gisel2015
    Gisel2015 Posts: 4,146 Member
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    your BMR is what your body would require if you were lying in a coma, just to sustain your body functions. as soon as you get up and move around, you need more energy. Your TDEE is the amount of calories your body needs to maintain, for the amount of activity you do. When you do purposeful exercise, you use more calories again.

    MFP goes by TDEE - if you input your stats, it'll give you a calorie goal for the rate of loss you select. When you exercise, you get extra calories on top of your calorie goal.

    I personally wouldn't eat under BMR to lose weight. you may need to reduce your expectations of loss to 1lb per week, or be more active through every day activity and planned exercise more to get more calories.

    MFP doesn't use TDEE that is why we are "suppose" to eat exercise calories. MFP Uses the NEAT method to calculate calories needed for weight lost.
  • lucerorojo
    lucerorojo Posts: 790 Member
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    I find that number pretty low for a TDEE at that weight, unless you are in your 90s. What does MFP say you should eat? If that TDEE is accurate, then you cannot lose 1.5 lbs. a week, as others have mentioned. It is also a bit less than 1% of your body weight. If I were you, and that is accurate, I would set the calorie intake to 1350-1400 calories and be very strict with weighing, logging and be content to lose .25-.5 lbs. per week. More like 1.5-2 lbs. per MONTH. You aren´t that much overweight (I´m a similar height, 5´3.5-5.4and my goal is 137) especially if you are over 30.

    Going below 1300 calories per day is difficult in my experience--but then I´m active. Even though sedentary, you do stand on your feet all day so you need more energy than someone sitting at a desk. Do you drive or walk/public transportation? That is another thing to consider, which may make you ´less´ sedentary than you think.
  • dwilliamca
    dwilliamca Posts: 325 Member
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    Let MFP calculate. Those numbers do not like right. Assuming the low BMR is correct since age isn't stated, 1348 x 1.25=1685. Therefore at a pound a week, 500 deficit, would put her below 1200 calories, therefore MFP will drop the deficit another 15 calories. Eating calories below BMR is sometimes a fact of weightloss life for those who are petite and older, of course adding on exercise calories does help.
  • spiro413x
    spiro413x Posts: 11 Member
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    Just to Echo what others are saying here your BMR is basically the calories needed to maintain organ function if your body was in a compleye coma your BMR is what you would burn your tdee however is what is required to account for physical activity. You need to eat 500 calories under your TDEE to lose 1 pound a week. Because one pound equals 3,500 calories. So eating a negative of 500 calories a day uder your tdee is 500 x 7 = 3,500 - so that is one pound lost per week.
  • Jigglypuff00
    Jigglypuff00 Posts: 267 Member
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    I started at 1200 which is what MFP gave me for a daily goal. I was constantly hungry, so I upped it to 1250. I'm now at 1350 and will probably increase it even more. My TDEE was 1748 at one site. I may go to 1400 next week. I don't exercise yet. Have to see a physical therapist before I start.
  • ptrcmcc6
    ptrcmcc6 Posts: 103 Member
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    Seems like a good attitude. Just keep in mind losing 0.5 pounds a week it will be a while, like 3 months, before you will for sure see that weight loss in the noise of random weight variations due to changes in water retention.

    What I mean is one month from now you could be heavier than you are now because despite having lost 2 pounds of fat you happen to be retaining 4 additional pounds of water so you weigh two pounds more. Don't let this discourage you. Over time the general trend of your weight should go down, might take a while to be able to see it is all I mean.[/quote]

    I actually started following MFP, seriously again, some time around 9/12/17. At that time, I was somewhere around 185 lbs., down from 193 on a previous weigh-in (forgot the date). I just recently bought one of those Wi-Fi scales but, on my old scale, I had made it down to 170 lbs a little over 2 weeks ago. I know our weight fluctuates throughout the day but when I see a number on the scale, I own that number.......lol. Anyway, when I finally hooked up the new scale, it read 173 lbs. so I decided to start again with that # being as this would be the only scale I would be weighing myself on from now on. Today, it read 174.4 but, with my birthday weekend being last weekend and Thanksgiving this week, I guess it could have been worse. I tend to follow a low carb way of eating so I'm sure those 11 lbs. I lost has a lot to do with water weight but I'm determined to keep trudging on...... :smile: .

  • ladyhusker39
    ladyhusker39 Posts: 1,406 Member
    edited November 2017
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    These are really great questions and I think your outlook is fantastic. If you stick with your plan for a couple of months you'll start to get a better picture of what you actually burn given your level of activity. I suspect it might be more than you think based on some of your comments. If that's so, you might see better progress than expected assuming you're nice and tight with your logging.

    Give yourself a little time to gather some real world data then reassess as needed. You'll probably want to add in some more physical activity at some point but even if you don't keeping realistic expectations will help you win in the long run.
  • livingleanlivingclean
    livingleanlivingclean Posts: 11,751 Member
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    your BMR is what your body would require if you were lying in a coma, just to sustain your body functions. as soon as you get up and move around, you need more energy. Your TDEE is the amount of calories your body needs to maintain, for the amount of activity you do. When you do purposeful exercise, you use more calories again.

    MFP goes by TDEE - if you input your stats, it'll give you a calorie goal for the rate of loss you select. When you exercise, you get extra calories on top of your calorie goal.

    I personally wouldn't eat under BMR to lose weight. you may need to reduce your expectations of loss to 1lb per week, or be more active through every day activity and planned exercise more to get more calories.

    Small correction. MFP uses NEAT. Which isn't quite TDEE. (You know everything I'm going to say, but I'm going to explain it for the OP).

    There's BMR, which is as you said, your basal metabolic rate lying in a coma.

    There's NEAT, (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) which is your BMR multiplied by an activity factor which represents what you do as you go about daily living. This includes things like job activity, playing with your kids, non exercise walking (like around the grocery store), keeping the house clean, and the energy cost of digesting food and so on.

    Then there's TDEE which includes BMR, NEAT, and purposeful exercise.

    My bad! (need less trying to type quickly when distracted!) Thanks @GottaBurnEmAll...
  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 13,878 Member
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    plug your weigh in numbers in a trending weight app especially if you're low carbing which introduces an extra level to water weight variation.

    As Aaron mentioned it is quite normal when losing at 0.5lbs a week to have weeks that are higher than the previous ones even a month later... yet when you look at your trend from a several month perspective you can see that you were steadily losing as predicted.

    It is a mind game since you have only have the zoomed in picture when you look at your scale.
  • ptrcmcc6
    ptrcmcc6 Posts: 103 Member
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    PAV8888 wrote: »
    plug your weigh in numbers in a trending weight app especially if you're low carbing which introduces an extra level to water weight variation

    I do have my scale linked to Trendweight and, I also get it with the Nokia dashboard which is the scale I have. I don't understand what you mean by the water weight variation though? Do you mean the up/down fluctuation?
  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 13,878 Member
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    ptrcmcc6 wrote: »
    I do have my scale linked to Trendweight and, I also get it with the Nokia dashboard which is the scale I have. I don't understand what you mean by the water weight variation though? Do you mean the up/down fluctuation?

    Sounds like you're as good to go as it is possible to be. And YES, to your question.
  • lynn_glenmont
    lynn_glenmont Posts: 10,009 Member
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    your BMR is what your body would require if you were lying in a coma, just to sustain your body functions. as soon as you get up and move around, you need more energy. Your TDEE is the amount of calories your body needs to maintain, for the amount of activity you do. When you do purposeful exercise, you use more calories again.

    MFP goes by TDEE - if you input your stats, it'll give you a calorie goal for the rate of loss you select. When you exercise, you get extra calories on top of your calorie goal.

    I personally wouldn't eat under BMR to lose weight. you may need to reduce your expectations of loss to 1lb per week, or be more active through every day activity and planned exercise more to get more calories.

    MFP does not go by TDEE, which includes calories burned from intentional exercise.

    OP, first, if you are on your feet all day, you are not sedentary, you are most likely lightly active. You can either use MFP as it is designed to be used, with the goal set by MFP and adding extra calories for intentional exercise, or you can recalculate your TDEE with the proper activity setting on a TDEE site, and subtract 250 calories for a half pound per week weight loss, and not add any calories for exercise.
  • evileen99
    evileen99 Posts: 1,564 Member
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    MFP does not go by TDEE, which includes calories burned from intentional exercise.

    OP, first, if you are on your feet all day, you are not sedentary, you are most likely lightly active. You can either use MFP as it is designed to be used, with the goal set by MFP and adding extra calories for intentional exercise, or you can recalculate your TDEE with the proper activity setting on a TDEE site, and subtract 250 calories for a half pound per week weight loss, and not add any calories for exercise.

    This. If you had a desk job and were sitting all day, you would be sedentary. Standing burns more calories than sitting, plus I know that you take a few steps here and there during your shift, so you're AT LEAST lightly active.