Just realised I might be underestimating my activity level - is this a concern?

netitheyeti
netitheyeti Posts: 539 Member
edited October 2019 in Health and Weight Loss
I've just done the math for the past 2 months... I'm almost 14lbs down since the beginning of August, I'm a 5'2 29yo woman who (at least I thought so) is sedentary, and I currently weigh 139lbs... I've been eating what MFP says should be about net 1300kcal a day. But using the "roughly 3500kcal per 1lb" I've worked out that my deficit must have been closer to 800kcal vs my expected 300-400kcal a day.
I want to get to the low/mid 120s. If this is the trend over the past 2 months I'm guessing I could/should up my intake a bit? I was only really aiming for -0.5lb per week

Is it even possible to accidentally underestimate by 400kcal?

Replies

  • netitheyeti
    netitheyeti Posts: 539 Member
    elfin168 wrote: »
    if you are losing weight faster than you want to just increase your calorie intake

    yeah, I'm a bit concerned about where I could possibly be getting 300-400 extra kcal through activity though (I like to be consistent/precise)
  • LivingtheLeanDream
    LivingtheLeanDream Posts: 13,345 Member
    Eat back your exercise calories. Ideally when less than 20lbs to lose, 250 calorie deficit for 0.5lb loss per week is a healthy rate, and no more than 1lb per week maximum - the aim is not to lose too much muscle along with the fat.
  • MichelleWithMoxie
    MichelleWithMoxie Posts: 1,819 Member
    elfin168 wrote: »
    if you are losing weight faster than you want to just increase your calorie intake

    yeah, I'm a bit concerned about where I could possibly be getting 300-400 extra kcal through activity though (I like to be consistent/precise)

    It’s really not that serious. As long as you feel physically good, adjust it now and don’t worry about the past few months. Weight loss involves a ton of moving variables, and typically the opposite occurs, so consider yourself lucky and move on.
  • netitheyeti
    netitheyeti Posts: 539 Member
    MichSmish wrote: »
    elfin168 wrote: »
    if you are losing weight faster than you want to just increase your calorie intake

    yeah, I'm a bit concerned about where I could possibly be getting 300-400 extra kcal through activity though (I like to be consistent/precise)

    It’s really not that serious. As long as you feel physically good, adjust it now and don’t worry about the past few months. Weight loss involves a ton of moving variables, and typically the opposite occurs, so consider yourself lucky and move on.

    I haven't been feeling the greatest but I kinda put it down to personal issues/stress (had a lot of that past few months)... but thinking about it maybe I've been fidgeting/moving around more, and maybe walking a bit more than usual - just didn't think it would add up that much. I'll try and throw in a small snack and see how it goes over a few week. I'm definitely not in a rush to lose the last 15lbs
  • cmriverside
    cmriverside Posts: 33,937 Member
    elfin168 wrote: »
    if you are losing weight faster than you want to just increase your calorie intake

    yeah, I'm a bit concerned about where I could possibly be getting 300-400 extra kcal through activity though (I like to be consistent/precise)

    Well, all the calculators (and even FitBits) use average calculations for a wide swath of people, so you can't rely on some online or electronic calculation - it is just a starting point.

    I have to eat 400-500 more calories per day than any calculator I've ever found in order to get the results I want, too.

    We're just lucky. :)
  • WinoGelato
    WinoGelato Posts: 13,454 Member
    edited October 2019
    What is a typical day of activity/exercise like for you? A lot of people think just because they have a desk job that they are sedentary but did you know that the typical definition of sedentary is less than 4000 steps/day? I have a desk job but I also have a busy life, even with no purposeful exercise I get 4000 steps before lunch time usually.

    Also for what it’s worth I’m also 5’2 and thought I was sedentary too, until I got a FitBit and realized I was averaging 10ksteps or more. At my most active, I was averaging 14-15k steps a day. That means my TDEE was around 2300 at the highest so yeah, I was eating 1900 or more and still losing weight fairly easily.

    Don’t assume just because you are petite and have a desk job that you’re doomed to a low calorie target to lose and maintain weight.
  • WinoGelato
    WinoGelato Posts: 13,454 Member
    Also back to your original question of if this should be a concern... a wise rabbit on these boards used to say “the winner is the one who eats the most and still loses the weight”. I and many others have found that because we have a higher NEAT than our stats would suggest (and for many of us that’s through purposeful effort) it makes fitting in adequate nutrition, satiating foods, and treats really easy and makes the whole process feel like less of a struggle. Eating more to lose weight can help keep up your energy levels and becomes a self fulfilling prophecy of an active, healthy and enjoyable life, in my opinion.
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    I've just done the math for the past 2 months... I'm almost 14lbs down since the beginning of August, I'm a 5'2 29yo woman who (at least I thought so) is sedentary, and I currently weigh 139lbs... I've been eating what MFP says should be about net 1300kcal a day. But using the "roughly 3500kcal per 1lb" I've worked out that my deficit must have been closer to 800kcal vs my expected 300-400kcal a day.
    I want to get to the low/mid 120s. If this is the trend over the past 2 months I'm guessing I could/should up my intake a bit? I was only really aiming for -0.5lb per week

    Is it even possible to accidentally underestimate by 400kcal?

    Take your weight from around the end of week 2 and then check your progress. The first week or 2 can include water weight drop that inflates your loss numbers.

    Even if it turns out you are losing faster than expected I wouldn't be concerned over it since it has only been 2 months. I also would not consider it an accident. Everyone has to start somewhere.
  • netitheyeti
    netitheyeti Posts: 539 Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    I've just done the math for the past 2 months... I'm almost 14lbs down since the beginning of August, I'm a 5'2 29yo woman who (at least I thought so) is sedentary, and I currently weigh 139lbs... I've been eating what MFP says should be about net 1300kcal a day. But using the "roughly 3500kcal per 1lb" I've worked out that my deficit must have been closer to 800kcal vs my expected 300-400kcal a day.
    I want to get to the low/mid 120s. If this is the trend over the past 2 months I'm guessing I could/should up my intake a bit? I was only really aiming for -0.5lb per week

    Is it even possible to accidentally underestimate by 400kcal?

    Take your weight from around the end of week 2 and then check your progress. The first week or 2 can include water weight drop that inflates your loss numbers.

    Even if it turns out you are losing faster than expected I wouldn't be concerned over it since it has only been 2 months. I also would not consider it an accident. Everyone has to start somewhere.

    I went back to calorie counting back in late June, was just surprised when looking at my weight between early August (when I first weighed myself again) and today... Apparently I'm down almost 14lbs in just over 2 months

    About my activity level - in terms of steps it varies a lot. I just checked my phone and this past few weeks I've had days with literally anywhere between 1k and 16k steps per day (I think the average day is around 5k) - I did log the above average days as exercise, mind you

    I do light exercise about 3x a week and I've been eating back the MFP estimates for that

    I think walking a bit more than I used to and maybe just fidgeting more might explain it, I've been under a lot of stress past few months
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    I've just done the math for the past 2 months... I'm almost 14lbs down since the beginning of August, I'm a 5'2 29yo woman who (at least I thought so) is sedentary, and I currently weigh 139lbs... I've been eating what MFP says should be about net 1300kcal a day. But using the "roughly 3500kcal per 1lb" I've worked out that my deficit must have been closer to 800kcal vs my expected 300-400kcal a day.
    I want to get to the low/mid 120s. If this is the trend over the past 2 months I'm guessing I could/should up my intake a bit? I was only really aiming for -0.5lb per week

    Is it even possible to accidentally underestimate by 400kcal?

    Take your weight from around the end of week 2 and then check your progress. The first week or 2 can include water weight drop that inflates your loss numbers.

    Even if it turns out you are losing faster than expected I wouldn't be concerned over it since it has only been 2 months. I also would not consider it an accident. Everyone has to start somewhere.

    I went back to calorie counting back in late June, was just surprised when looking at my weight between early August (when I first weighed myself again) and today... Apparently I'm down almost 14lbs in just over 2 months

    About my activity level - in terms of steps it varies a lot. I just checked my phone and this past few weeks I've had days with literally anywhere between 1k and 16k steps per day (I think the average day is around 5k) - I did log the above average days as exercise, mind you

    I do light exercise about 3x a week and I've been eating back the MFP estimates for that

    I think walking a bit more than I used to and maybe just fidgeting more might explain it, I've been under a lot of stress past few months

    So there is a possibility you have been losing at this rate for longer and you are correct you need to be eating more food. You might also want to consider taking a diet/deficit break:

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10604863/of-refeeds-and-diet-breaks/p1


  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 31,975 Member
    edited October 2019
    elfin168 wrote: »
    if you are losing weight faster than you want to just increase your calorie intake

    yeah, I'm a bit concerned about where I could possibly be getting 300-400 extra kcal through activity though (I like to be consistent/precise)

    Well, all the calculators (and even FitBits) use average calculations for a wide swath of people, so you can't rely on some online or electronic calculation - it is just a starting point.

    I have to eat 400-500 more calories per day than any calculator I've ever found in order to get the results I want, too.

    We're just lucky. :)

    This. Your rate of weight loss tells you your deficit more accurately than any so-called calorie needs "calculator".
    Humans vary, not necessarily for any reason one can clearly determine.

    Like cmriverside, I need to eat a few hundred more calories daily than what MFP estimates, and for no really obvious reason. (This has been true for 1 year of loss, and nearly 4 years of maintenance since, during which I logged as meticulously as I could manage during year 1, and fairly tightly even since.) It's an unusual day when I get more than 6,000 steps, I am mostly sedentary outside of intentional exerices, and I eat back every exercise calorie.

    Oversimplifying only little, "calculators" give the average daily calorie need of the population that has your demographics. But the population is really distributed in a bell curve. It's possible that you're just a little further away from the average at the bell curve's middle, out on the high side. As long as you're healthy, it's no big deal.

    (My oncology PA even sent me for a full-torso scan after I lost weight at unexpectedly higher than normal calories, since I'm a long-term survivor of advanced-stage cancer so at higher risk. Everything was fine. :) ).

    My advice: As long as you're not experiencing health problems, just eat the extra calories and be happy about it. ;)