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Is it ok to eat back your "unused" calories all in 1 day?

weight3049weight3049 Member Posts: 66 Member Member Posts: 66 Member
I keep a spreadsheet of how many calories I consume everyday. Any calories I don't eat for my 1,500 daily limit throughout the week I add those into my "cheat meal" on Friday.

Is this ok to do or am I causing myself to be malnutritioned?

Replies

  • msalicia07msalicia07 Member Posts: 318 Member Member Posts: 318 Member
    Are you purposely banking calories? If so that can backfire. If you just had some extra calories here and there, then of course you can eat them in 1 day. Prepare for weight gain from water and food waste for 2-3 days after.
  • brianpperkins131brianpperkins131 Member Posts: 75 Member Member Posts: 75 Member
    Which weight loss per week setting did you use when setting up MFP? How many calories per day are you short of your 1500 goal? How accurate are you in your logging?

  • weight3049weight3049 Member Posts: 66 Member Member Posts: 66 Member
    Which weight loss per week setting did you use when setting up MFP? How many calories per day are you short of your 1500 goal? How accurate are you in your logging?

    2 lbs per week. I am close to my goal weight so I lose no where close to that anymore.

    Most days I am off by 100-200 because my sleep schedule is so messed up, I miss lunch almost every day.
  • brianpperkins131brianpperkins131 Member Posts: 75 Member Member Posts: 75 Member
    weight3049 wrote: »
    Which weight loss per week setting did you use when setting up MFP? How many calories per day are you short of your 1500 goal? How accurate are you in your logging?

    2 lbs per week. I am close to my goal weight so I lose no where close to that anymore.

    Most days I am off by 100-200 because my sleep schedule is so messed up, I miss lunch almost every day.

    There are a couple of potential ways this goes from what I see so far.

    First is that you realize that you're missing your daily caloric goal so you want to know if it's ok to have a cheat meal day to make up for the excesses in your deficit. I'd recommend trying to hit closer to your goal ... rework your intake plan if needed. 200 calories short on a 1500 goal is missing by over 13%. That amount below goal, especially at a 2 lb per week target needs to be made up.

    Then there is planning for a cheat meal. If you're close to goal weight, reassess your weekly loss target and caloric needs for that. Then be honest with yourself about the accuracy of your logging ... do you use the best option from the database, weigh solids rather than using volume based assessments, etc (all of those things that get mentioned first when the subject of logging food comes up here). If you're good with logging and your intake goals are reasonable, then by all means make plans for a moderate overage day with small adjustments the rest of the week. Six days a week at 50 calories below goal comes out to one day at 300 calories above ... but that requires very accurate logging and discipline.


  • msalicia07msalicia07 Member Posts: 318 Member Member Posts: 318 Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    weight3049 wrote: »
    Which weight loss per week setting did you use when setting up MFP? How many calories per day are you short of your 1500 goal? How accurate are you in your logging?

    2 lbs per week. I am close to my goal weight so I lose no where close to that anymore.

    Most days I am off by 100-200 because my sleep schedule is so messed up, I miss lunch almost every day.

    While banking is a perfectly valid strategy the concern is that at you are spending 6 days below your minimum intake.

    An average intake of 1500 is only appropriate for sedentary males so if you are exercising too or active at work you are eating too little.

    How fast are you losing now? Take your total loss over the last 6 weeks and divide by 6. If you are close to goal the MOST you should be losing is 1 pound per week. If you try to lose faster you may be burning muscle for energy and not fat.

    The other downside here is that you may be hurting your NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) this is the amount you move during the day that is not exercise. If you are sedentary but able to move more that should also be a priority. NEAT is an easy way to start that process. It also gives you more calories to eat.

    Please keep in mind that as you approach your goal that your true goal needs to be to keep the weight off for forever. You need to build habits that you can sustain for forever not just long enough to get the weight off.

    Exactly 😊
  • kshama2001kshama2001 Member Posts: 22,721 Member Member Posts: 22,721 Member
    weight3049 wrote: »
    Which weight loss per week setting did you use when setting up MFP? How many calories per day are you short of your 1500 goal? How accurate are you in your logging?

    2 lbs per week. I am close to my goal weight so I lose no where close to that anymore.

    Most days I am off by 100-200 because my sleep schedule is so messed up, I miss lunch almost every day.

    Is there a known cause for your messed up sleep schedule, like work? If not, you may be sleeping poorly because you are undereating as 2 pounds per week is way too aggressive when one is close to goal. I've seen lots of posts by people with too aggressive calorie deficits who have problems sleeping.

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  • b120in2021b120in2021 Member Posts: 14 Member Member Posts: 14 Member
    I don't "eat back" calories. I think it fosters an unhealthy attitude about exercise. I like exercise and I get that not everyone does. If you don't like exercise, just put it on your to do list with other necessary and un-fun things like brushing your teeth or whatever.

    What do you think?
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 5,919 Member Member Posts: 5,919 Member
    It depends on how you get your calorie goal. If you use a TDEE calculator to get a goal that already includes exercise, you should not eat it back. If you use MFP as intended or otherwise have a goal that does not include exercise (perhaps because it is inconsistent) and then log exercise when it's done, then you should eat back cals or run the risk of undereating unless your goal is a conservative one to start with.

    It has absolutely nothing to do with how much one enjoys exercise.
  • charmmethcharmmeth Member Posts: 636 Member Member Posts: 636 Member
    b120in2021 wrote: »
    I don't "eat back" calories. I think it fosters an unhealthy attitude about exercise. I like exercise and I get that not everyone does. If you don't like exercise, just put it on your to do list with other necessary and un-fun things like brushing your teeth or whatever.

    What do you think?

    I enjoy exercise but my unpredictable schedule means that I don't/can't exercise the same amount each day. I therefore set mfp to sedentary, log my exercise calories (when that bit of the website is working!) and eat the the calories used in exercise. If I did not do that I would be eating at an inappropriately high deficit on the days that I exercise, particularly on the days when I walk for <1 hour and/or row >7km. Other days I do no exercise or just 20 minutes or so, and on those days I eat less.
    edited November 21
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 17,084 Member Member, Premium Posts: 17,084 Member
    b120in2021 wrote: »
    I don't "eat back" calories. I think it fosters an unhealthy attitude about exercise. I like exercise and I get that not everyone does. If you don't like exercise, just put it on your to do list with other necessary and un-fun things like brushing your teeth or whatever.

    What do you think?

    I think it's another of those "personal style" things. Exercise ought to be accounted for somewhere in one's initial calorie goal, since it's just one subset of activity (calorie burn). There are various sensible ways to account for it:

    * The standard MFP method of getting a calorie goal (with deficit built in) based on non-exercise activity (NEAT), then carefully estimating it and eating it back;
    * Getting a calorie goal based on a decent TDEE calculator (that already includes exercise averaged in); or
    * Setting a calorie goal closer to pre-exercise maintenance calories, and letting a reasonable amount of exercise create most of the deficit (if the numbers involved don't cause too fast or unnecessarily slow loss).

    Any of those can work.

    When it comes to what's a "healthy attitude" toward exercise, I don't think the calorie part is *necessarily* inherently a factor in that (though it could be for some people). For sure, someone with fitness goals is going to want to fuel their exercise adequately, while still losing some weight if loss is needed. Underfueling exercise is a poor way to achieve fitness goals.

    Personally, I like the standard MFP method of logging exercise and eating it back when I do it. My main/favorite exercise is both weather-dependent and seasonal. Therefore, my exercise activity differs from week to week, and drops off (or at least changes) in Winter. After some logging experience during loss, I know how to manage my calorie intake to lose or maintain, with or without exercise (or with varying amounts/types of exercise).

    As far as a healthy attitude to exercise, I think it's relevant to my personal preferences that I didn't add exercise when I committed to losing weight. I'd been very active for around a dozen years, while still class 1 obese, including some formal training programs leading to competitions, going to sport-specific camps on vacations, and that sort of thing. I was that supposedly mythical sort-of-fit fat person: Low resting heart rate, decent (not elite) race pace, good endurance, and that sort of thing.

    I didn't change that exercise routine appreciably during weight loss, mostly just kept doing what I'd been doing for well over a decade and enjoying. (I did get a little bit more consistent about strength training during loss, trying to minimize risks of losing muscle while losing fat. Normally, I'm a bit on again, off again with strength training, though that's also been in my life for the longer time period. During loss, I made a bit extra effort to be in the "on again" state, more of the time.)

    I'd observe that once we reach goal weight, we need to account for exercise calories somehow (i.e., fuel them, either via TDEE, NEAT + exercise, intuitive eating, or whatever works) - they need to be eaten somehow, or we'll keep losing weight below goal weight. (I've been in maintenance for around 5 years now, though *ultra* slowly losing a few vanity pounds over the past year.)

    IMO, there's so much about successful weight loss (and long term weight management afterward), as well as about ongoing fitness, that benefits from a personalized approach. The same thing doesn't need to work for everyone, and I think we can help people by clearly explaining the sensible options, and talking about how we each see the pros/cons.

    P.S. to the OP more directly: Like others, I'm concerned that your base calorie goal may be too low/too aggressive, since 1500 is the MFP minimum for a male. No way to be sure, without knowing more about you, though. With a reasonable, non-extreme calorie goal, I think it's fine to eat 100-150 calories under goal most days of the week, and use that calorie cushion to eat a little more on the weekend, or something like that. I've been doing exactly that through most of 5 years of weight maintenance, and I'm pretty healthy as far as I know. The key is not to either severely underfuel our daily energy needs (which could happen with calorie banking if one's loss rate is too aggressive to start with) or short our daily nutritional needs by not having enough calories to "buy" the nutrients we truly need.
  • AlexiaC47AlexiaC47 Member, Premium Posts: 63 Member Member, Premium Posts: 63 Member
    That’s the WW method. You can bank exercise and also bonus points to use any day in a given week. I did that for years and it works.
  • weight3049weight3049 Member Posts: 66 Member Member Posts: 66 Member
    AlexiaC47 wrote: »
    That’s the WW method. You can bank exercise and also bonus points to use any day in a given week. I did that for years and it works.

    WW meaning Weight Watchers?
  • ElioraFRElioraFR Member Posts: 72 Member Member Posts: 72 Member
    charmmeth wrote: »
    b120in2021 wrote: »
    I don't "eat back" calories. I think it fosters an unhealthy attitude about exercise. I like exercise and I get that not everyone does. If you don't like exercise, just put it on your to do list with other necessary and un-fun things like brushing your teeth or whatever.

    What do you think?

    I enjoy exercise but my unpredictable schedule means that I don't/can't exercise the same amount each day. I therefore set mfp to sedentary, log my exercise calories (when that bit of the website is working!) and eat the the calories used in exercise. If I did not do that I would be eating at an inappropriately high deficit on the days that I exercise, particularly on the days when I walk for <1 hour and/or row >7km. Other days I do no exercise or just 20 minutes or so, and on those days I eat less.

    I loved this feature on MFP. I can excersize different ways each day or three walks a day and add them so they automatically show calories I have gained for the day. I’m very frustrated and disappointed now that this feature so inconsistently works at all anymore. I hope they get it fixed soon.🙁
  • lgfrielgfrie Member, Premium Posts: 1,243 Member Member, Premium Posts: 1,243 Member
    b120in2021 wrote: »
    I don't "eat back" calories. I think it fosters an unhealthy attitude about exercise. I like exercise and I get that not everyone does. If you don't like exercise, just put it on your to do list with other necessary and un-fun things like brushing your teeth or whatever.

    What do you think?

    I see you got a bunch of disagrees, but I agree with your point, to an extent. I too find that eating back calories pushes me into an unhealthy relationship with exercise, in that I start excessively exercising to "earn" more food. I do much better with a calorie target that assumes a flat 300 calories of exercise per day, and then it's up to me to do an hour or so of cardio, but I don't get "extra credit" for going over the hour. I get the same amount of food whether I exercise 200, 300, or 400 calories. In fact I get the same amount of food even on days when I don't work out. This has worked well for me for a long time.

    HOWEVER, I do add 300 calories of food to my NEAT, to accommodate the average 300 cals of exercise. My NEAT is 2350; I eat 1850 to lose 1 lb/week, but add 300 in to cover exercise - i.e. 2,150. I think it'd be quite bad to burn 300 calories exercising and not eat any of it back. One way or another, your body needs to be given adequate fuel to cover your physical activity.
  • charmmethcharmmeth Member Posts: 636 Member Member Posts: 636 Member
    ElioraFR wrote: »
    I loved this feature on MFP. I can excersize different ways each day or three walks a day and add them so they automatically show calories I have gained for the day. I’m very frustrated and disappointed now that this feature so inconsistently works at all anymore. I hope they get it fixed soon.🙁

    It's working again now, I am glad to say. :smiley:

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