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Help me choose activity level

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  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 13,987 Member
    edited July 2019
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    DozerJK wrote: »
    Hello everyone, new to the forum, but not MFP. I’ve posted a hello post in the welcome forum, but have a question related to activity level settings. I didn’t think this warranted opening a new thread, but don’t want to hijack anything here either, so let me know if that would be better.

    I am a 56-year-old male, 6‘1“, and weighed 199.6 lbs. yesterday, with 12.3% body fat as measured by my Under Armor Healthbox inductive scale. I have lost 40 pounds over roughly the last two years or so, but about a year ago started gaining some of it back. I rebounded about 15 pounds, but I am now back down to my target weight. I have spent so long trying to lose weight, I’m not quite sure how to maintain it. I don’t want to lose anymore, as my girlfriend thinks I’m getting too skinny.

    I think my activity level normally might be described as sedentary or lightly active. I am a pastor, and spend a lot of time sitting behind a computer, writing. But about six months ago I started cycling and have become fairly serious about it. A normal week could see me putting 70 to 125 miles on the bike, and those miles will be at an average pace somewhere in the 14 to 15 mph range, so not pro cyclist speeds, but not an afternoon stroll either. The various training apps I’m using, including Runkeeper, Strava, or Under Armor‘s MapMyRide, usually show me burning about 2000 to 3000 cal per ride, In rough numbers. I’ll typically ride 2 to 3 days per week, so the length of the ride might vary from 30 to 50 miles each. In addition, I’m doing some strength training on the off days about 2 to 3 days per week, for about 30 minutes to an hour each session.

    So the question is, what activity level does that look like to the forum? Is it active, very active, or does the sedentary occupation bring the exercise level down to only a lightly active setting? Thanks advance for your input!

    Your bike rides and deliberate exercise should be logged as deliberate exercise and not as part of your general activity level. My impression of Strava when I used it a few years back was that it was more professional than the other two you mentioned.

    If you are truly spending all day behind a computer then you're probably sedentary. However my impression of people in your line of work is that they meet and interact with people throughout the day, walk back and forth, stand up for periods of time, stand up and pace when making a phone call or have walking meetings ;-), visit people in hospital or hospice, etc, etc. If, in general, you get to spend more than an hour or two performing non sitting and non lying down activities during your day, you would probably be safe to bump up to lightly active.

    But it is the interaction of your food intake logging, your activity logging, and your own results over time that matter. So plug your weigh ins into a weight trend app and aim to maintain within a relatively narrow window around your goal weight (I try to keep my trend to +/- 2 lbs, though I've gone as far as 2.5) Remember: this is weight trend change, not daily weight which could be even more variable.
  • Strudders67
    Strudders67 Posts: 984 Member
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    Kittyy, it's Total Daily Energy Expenditure - and is how many calories you burn a day. MFP gives you a calorie figure and expects you to add exercise to that and eat those calories on top. People who use a TDEE number already have their exercise included. The two concepts should end up pretty much the same. TDEEcalculator.net is the first thing that comes up when I Google TDEE.

    I don't go to the gym every day, I do a long walk most weekends but not every week and, depending on what time I finish work, I sometimes jump off the train at a different station and do a longer walk home. No week is ever the same so I prefer to use MFP's base figure and add to it with whatever exercise I did that day. However, plenty of people on here seem to use TDEE.


    DozerJK, my job is also sedentary but my exercise level is nothing like your's. I'm happy logging whatever I did do that day as exercise and eating however many calories that gives me. However, if you don't want to faff about, based on what you've described I'd select Active to start with and see what's happening with your weight in a month to 6 weeks. If you're gaining / losing weight, change the setting down / up to Lightly Active / Very Active to reduce / increase the calories allocated. And if you're still the same weight then you know your activity setting is right.