Calorie Counter

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KaiteemarieKaiteemarie Posts: 3Member Member Posts: 3Member Member
Hey guys. This is like the 6th time I've had to try to write this but it keeps getting erased i. the middle of typing so hopefully this makes sense.

I'm not new to fitness but I did fall off the wagon. I've always just ate and worked out and not worried about tracking and ive had results. I'm not too worried about calories (like purposely trying to restrict) but I'm recording everything anyways. So anyways I'm having a few issues. I need input, advice, or explanations that can help me.

1. I work at a kids salon and I am constantly walking around the salon all day and lifting up kids 20+ibs all day and putting them back down. When I get home, most days I rarely sit down longer than 30 mins at a time as I have a child and I'm constantly following her and cleaning etc. Despite this, I dont do anything crazy so I put lightly active excluding work outs. I'm hoping that's correct. I'd rather under estimate than over estimate.
Which brings me to 2.

2. I want to lose weight. I picked 1ib a week at 500 cal defecit to be safe. It calculated a daily caloric allowance before exercise as 1,300- something (can't remember the exact number at this moment)
2a. I am having issues meeting this. I am scanning and inputting everything I eat and most days I come up 200-600 cal short of my goal, without exercise. I'm just not hungry. I feel full between meals and Energized etc. The only time I hit or go over is when I eat fast food or junk food which is getting rarer. Is it ok to eat at an even lower deficit than calculated or will it hurt me? It's hard to eat when I'm not hungry and I don't have many cravings etc.

2b. I'm obviously having a hard time meeting my goal before exercise. Now I dont track ALL of my exercise. This is because I'd rather UNDERESTIMATE cal burned, rather than over estimate. Many of my strength and cardio training exercises aren't on the list and i dont want to record wrong. So. Basically, I know I'm burning more cals than I'm reporting simply because I'd rather under estimate
That being said, the things I do record obviously add cal back to the counter. I'm having a hard time hitting zero or even going over cal, especially when exercise is calculated. I find I'm not really hungry after working out. Though I'm sure its because of doing a protein shake. However it's the only time I do a protein shake is right after workouts and I do minimum dose of it, and if I workout multiple times a day, I only do a protein shake ONCE, usually after the first workout or the most intense workout. Why am I not hungry?

How can I better accurately track things? Have I messed up on setting up my MFP profile? Is a bigger caloric defecit a problem if I feel great and full/energized etc?
Tips, input, explanation or advice anyone?


  • apullumapullum Posts: 4,246Member Member Posts: 4,246Member Member
    1. It's hard to know exactly what you should select. Go with that, see how your weight responds over the next month, and then adjust as needed.
    2. You need to eat the full number of calories MFP gives you, including exercise. Going under by a little bit occasionally is fine. Consistently going under by several hundred calories may mean you risk undereating. However, are you weighing ALL of your food? Most people who don't use a food scale are actually eating more than they think they are. If you are weighing everything you eat and still not hitting your calorie goal, add low volume/calorie dense foods like oil, butter, nut butters.
  • DanpDanp Posts: 1,244Member Member Posts: 1,244Member Member

    1. Activity level is just a ballpark indication based on population averages so are a good place to start. Pick what you think is right and see how you go. If after a few weeks/months it doesn't seem right then you can adjust it at any time.
    2. Your calorie target is given to you based on your statistics (height, weight, etc) combined with your activity level and again is probably a good starting place from which to make adjustments
    a. Weight is gained from a sustained, long term calorie surplus. So if you've got some weight to lose then you've been able to eat excess calories until now so it's definitely not a matter of being 'unable' to eat enough calories. Often I've found this comes from people being so hyped and gung-ho when they start that they go to extremes and avoid anything that might be even slightly calorie dense or that they judge to be "unhealthy" or "junk". A handful of nuts, a peanut butter sandwich or even allowing your self a couple of 'treats' will easily increase your calorie intake to your goal.
    b. If your goal is 1300s and you're under eating by 200-600 calories then you are almost guaranteed to be doing yourself harm. This would mean you're eating fewer calories than your organs required to function. Adding exercise calories to such a severe deficit and you're compounding the problem and given the conservative approach you've taken to assessing your activity level and tracking exercise calories burned the impact is tripled. Then account for the 'erring on the safe side' approach to counting your calorie intake all adds up to a very concerning situation.

    MFP is a tool that has worked very well for lots of us here. I'd suggest perhaps using the tool as it's intended.
    1. Put your details in and chose an appropriate weekly weight loss goal (This you seem to have done)
    2. Track your food by weight to accurately determine your actual calorie intake. No eyeballing, no guessing. If you eat it, it gets weighed and logged. Eat foods you LOVE without trying to moralise them as 'good' or 'bad'.
    3. Log your exercise, even if it's not 100% accurate as the only guaranteed wrong amount is zero. Start by eating 50% of your exercise calories back.
    4. This is most important bit. Track your progress for at least 3-4 weeks and make any adjustments needed. If you're losing at the predicted rate then everything is golden and you can keep doing what you're doing. If you're losing slower than predicted you might want to look at scaling back the % of exercise calories you're eating or revisit your activity level. If you're losing faster than predicted you can afford to fuel yourself more so think about adjusting your activity level or eating a larger % of your exercise calories.

    edited September 23
  • kyle0404kyle0404 Posts: 8Member Member Posts: 8Member Member
    It's extremely difficult to come up with an exact number of calories that you need to eat daily, on any given day your body's needs can change. Also keep in mind a calorie eaten is not always a calorie absorbed. Apps like this one are a big help for people who are way off in their daily food intake, and cannot maintain or control their weight on their own. The fact is you're going to have to hone it in on your own. There is an option to manually enter your daily calorie goal as well as what macros you aim for. First I would recommend eating what you feel is right, ie eat when you're hungry and keep your energy levels up, record everything, including daily weigh ins. After 2 or 3 weeks you should have established a solid trend. Take your average daily calories and macros, compare them to the weigh ins. If your weight maintained then those are your maintenance calories and macros. If it went up or down measure how much, and calculate 3500 Cal per pound to gauge what maintenance would be. As far as losing weight goes, if you are very comfortable eating maintenance calories and no stranger to working out then keep eating maintenance and increase calorie burn through exercise to create a deficit. Likewise if you're already working out consistently then you might find it easier to create a deficit through diet. Aaaaaaaaaand another option is to adjust macros to create a macro deficit while eating maintenance calories to change body composition without losing muscle, but that might be more complicated then what you're looking for lol.
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