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Changing Activity Level

bradswifeybradswifey Member, Premium Posts: 1 Member Member, Premium Posts: 1 Member
I have used MFP for a really long time. I lost 100 pounds and have kept it off. My struggle right now is that I have kicked up my running mileage and I'm not trying to lose weight. However, I have lost some weight and I eat my exercise calories back. But I am still hungry a lot of times. I am a stay at home mom and I work from home. I have been hitting 25,000 steps regularly (this includes my running). I do track my calories burned through exercise. Some days I feel like I am going all the time. Some days, I don't do as much. I am wondering if I should bump up my activity level to "active" from "lightly active"? I don't want to gain weight, just maintain it. I eat well and do indulge in ice cream regularly (it is amazing at helping me start off my morning runs! And I keep my servings moderate.) but I am still within my calorie goals. I rarely go over my calories but sometimes when I do, I feel better. I just don't like seeing the red numbers. I am afraid to change anything for fear of gaining. Has anyone else struggled with this?

Replies

  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 19,518 Member Member, Premium Posts: 19,518 Member
    Not really: If I get a mix of red and green numbers, I just pretend it's Christmas (and keep watching my bodyweight scale). But I'm in year 5+ of maintenance, pretty confident in the process at this point.

    I'm not sure how bumping up your activity level is different from manually setting your calorie level a little higher than currently, or using your weekly average (of gross calories that include exercise) as the eating goal, de-emphasizing the daily part? Different things will work better for different people, partly depending on whether you prefer to eat the same number of calories daily vs. more on exercise days, whether you have a fitness tracker synched, etc.

    If you aren't gaining now, but feel better when you eat more, that's probably a sign that it would be good to experiment with eating a bit more. One option would be to bump up your base calorie goal by (say) 100, then monitor for maybe a couple of weeks so you're confident of the result, then bump up another bit, etc.

    Has your recent routine, with the extra running, caused any weight loss?
  • PAV8888PAV8888 Member Posts: 7,820 Member Member Posts: 7,820 Member
    errr..... 25,000 steps?

    Just about 15-16000 is at the limit of the MFP VERY ACTIVE activity level for people who track close to the population average.... just saying.
  • cmriversidecmriverside Member Posts: 31,150 Member Member Posts: 31,150 Member
    lolololol

    Not laughing AT you. I just can't remember the last time I didn't have red numbers.

    I purposely set my calories lower than I need in part to counter that emotional reaction to the stoopid programming thing of red numbers.

    Red is pretty.



    But seriously, if you're actually hungry - Eat! Listen to your body. You can trust it to a certain degree if you continue to monitor your weight. Usually even a couple hundred calories a day when done consistently can make a big difference.

    Just like losing, maintenance is an experiment. I lost 80 pounds over a decade ago and have kept it off. My calories are way higher than MFP suggests, and way WAY higher than they were when I hit maintenance. Don't ask me how or why that is, but they are. It is a tightrope to walk, though. You have to continuously adjust. :)
    edited March 31
  • PAV8888PAV8888 Member Posts: 7,820 Member Member Posts: 7,820 Member
    lolololol
    I purposely set my calories lower than I need in part to counter that emotional reaction to the stoopid programming thing of red numbers.

    Me too! mainly because I'm a rebel without a clue; but, I was also getting annoyed that a meaningless (and badly programmed) color choice was acquiring more power for my brain hamsters than meaningful numbers!

    Why is there no ability to define a green and yellow zone? Since when is accuracy down to anything more precise than a zone or band? Why is red only for going over as opposed to also being there for going under?

    So, when I was still logging on MFP, I was aiming for about -2 to -300, and to maintain I was always in the red! :wink:
  • westrich20940westrich20940 Member Posts: 110 Member Member Posts: 110 Member
    I am in the exact same boat. I have my TDEE (with my activity level set to sedentary bc other than running, walking, hiking - I sit at work and sit/lay down at home). I log my exercise cals and eat them back --- but I find that there are days that I just do not have the appetite to eat all I should for the day. I had a day recently where I didn't eat enough over the course of a few days and I had an issue with my sugar one morning and almost passed out....and I lost 5-8lbs that I didn't really intend on losing -- so maybe I'm in a slightly different boat, lol. I do have some days where I'm noticeably hungry and I just eat and don't worry about being over bc I know if I actually feel hungry it's bc I have to eat more. I'm more worried about the days where I'm not hungry but know I have like.... 800 cals left I have to eat.

    So I had been thinking about changing my activity level to 'lightly' or 'moderately' active (I run ~15-20 miles/week + any walks/hikes I do)..... and jus eating a bit more in general every day instead of eating more on the days I run. Maybe that would give me some more consistency?
    edited March 31
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 19,518 Member Member, Premium Posts: 19,518 Member
    I am in the exact same boat. I have my TDEE (with my activity level set to sedentary bc other than running, walking, hiking - I sit at work and sit/lay down at home). I log my exercise cals and eat them back --- but I find that there are days that I just do not have the appetite to eat all I should for the day. I had a day recently where I didn't eat enough over the course of a few days and I had an issue with my sugar one morning and almost passed out....and I lost 5-8lbs that I didn't really intend on losing -- so maybe I'm in a slightly different boat, lol. I do have some days where I'm noticeably hungry and I just eat and don't worry about being over bc I know if I actually feel hungry it's bc I have to eat more. I'm more worried about the days where I'm not hungry but know I have like.... 800 cals left I have to eat.

    So I had been thinking about changing my activity level to 'lightly' or 'moderately' active (I run ~15-20 miles/week + any walks/hikes I do)..... and jus eating a bit more in general every day instead of eating more on the days I run. Maybe that would give me some more consistency?

    If you want to pretty close to never log/eat back exercise (your usual exercise, I mean) at the same time you do it, it might be better to use a decent TDEE calculator to get an estimate, and set your MFP goal manually rather than by guided setup, then not log that exercise. (The assumptions in the underlying models are a little different.) There's https://www.sailrabbit.com/bmr/, or (even better) our fellow MFP-er @heybales' "Just TDEE Please" spreadsheet, here:

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1G7FgNzPq3v5WMjDtH0n93LXSMRY_hjmzNTMJb3aZSxM/edit?usp=sharing

    Another option would be to look at your calorie budget weekly, rather than daily, even if you let MFP set your goal and prefer to log exercise when you do it. That would give you some guardrails around eating more on hungry days, less on days when less hungry even if you exercised. Your call, though.
  • westrich20940westrich20940 Member Posts: 110 Member Member Posts: 110 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I am in the exact same boat. I have my TDEE (with my activity level set to sedentary bc other than running, walking, hiking - I sit at work and sit/lay down at home). I log my exercise cals and eat them back --- but I find that there are days that I just do not have the appetite to eat all I should for the day. I had a day recently where I didn't eat enough over the course of a few days and I had an issue with my sugar one morning and almost passed out....and I lost 5-8lbs that I didn't really intend on losing -- so maybe I'm in a slightly different boat, lol. I do have some days where I'm noticeably hungry and I just eat and don't worry about being over bc I know if I actually feel hungry it's bc I have to eat more. I'm more worried about the days where I'm not hungry but know I have like.... 800 cals left I have to eat.

    So I had been thinking about changing my activity level to 'lightly' or 'moderately' active (I run ~15-20 miles/week + any walks/hikes I do)..... and jus eating a bit more in general every day instead of eating more on the days I run. Maybe that would give me some more consistency?

    If you want to pretty close to never log/eat back exercise (your usual exercise, I mean) at the same time you do it, it might be better to use a decent TDEE calculator to get an estimate, and set your MFP goal manually rather than by guided setup, then not log that exercise. (The assumptions in the underlying models are a little different.) There's https://www.sailrabbit.com/bmr/, or (even better) our fellow MFP-er @heybales' "Just TDEE Please" spreadsheet, here:

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1G7FgNzPq3v5WMjDtH0n93LXSMRY_hjmzNTMJb3aZSxM/edit?usp=sharing

    Another option would be to look at your calorie budget weekly, rather than daily, even if you let MFP set your goal and prefer to log exercise when you do it. That would give you some guardrails around eating more on hungry days, less on days when less hungry even if you exercised. Your call, though.


    Thanks --- I used that calculator in the link you sent (I've just used whatever comes up on Google when I calculated my TDEE) and I think I'm in the ballpark at least. I do not use MFP to set my calorie limit....I put in my TDEE I got from the calculator --- so currently it's set at 1600. I redid the calculation based on 'lightly active' too and it gave me an average of 1700. I might just bump up my calorie goal manually and see how that goes and take a look at the week vs. days more and see what's going on. I have stopped losing weight at least. I had gotten to my 'goal' and then stayed steady for like...a month or so and then dropped all of a sudden with no change in my diet or exercise.

    I'll see how this goes. Thanks for the links.

  • spiriteagle99spiriteagle99 Member Posts: 3,056 Member Member Posts: 3,056 Member
    I have been maintaining a 55 lb. loss for several years. My basic activity level is sedentary, but I get moderate to strenuous exercise for at least an hour a day on 5-6 days a week. I'm a runner, but also walk and bike. When I continued to lose weight in maintenance, I increased my base calories by 200 (from 1400 to 1600). When I'm hungry at the end of the day, I eat, even if it means going over. If I go over on my rest days, I don't worry about it. I am under on some days, but rarely by a lot. I have found, looking at my weekly reports, that I average an extra 1000 calories a week over goal. Yet my weight has been absolutely stable (between 120-123). I could add 150 calories to my day but I would rather not since my exercise can vary and the extra burn may not always be possible. I have learned that I can pay attention to hunger cues.
  • penguinmama87penguinmama87 Member, Premium Posts: 275 Member Member, Premium Posts: 275 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I am in the exact same boat. I have my TDEE (with my activity level set to sedentary bc other than running, walking, hiking - I sit at work and sit/lay down at home). I log my exercise cals and eat them back --- but I find that there are days that I just do not have the appetite to eat all I should for the day. I had a day recently where I didn't eat enough over the course of a few days and I had an issue with my sugar one morning and almost passed out....and I lost 5-8lbs that I didn't really intend on losing -- so maybe I'm in a slightly different boat, lol. I do have some days where I'm noticeably hungry and I just eat and don't worry about being over bc I know if I actually feel hungry it's bc I have to eat more. I'm more worried about the days where I'm not hungry but know I have like.... 800 cals left I have to eat.

    So I had been thinking about changing my activity level to 'lightly' or 'moderately' active (I run ~15-20 miles/week + any walks/hikes I do)..... and jus eating a bit more in general every day instead of eating more on the days I run. Maybe that would give me some more consistency?

    If you want to pretty close to never log/eat back exercise (your usual exercise, I mean) at the same time you do it, it might be better to use a decent TDEE calculator to get an estimate, and set your MFP goal manually rather than by guided setup, then not log that exercise. (The assumptions in the underlying models are a little different.) There's https://www.sailrabbit.com/bmr/, or (even better) our fellow MFP-er @heybales' "Just TDEE Please" spreadsheet, here:

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1G7FgNzPq3v5WMjDtH0n93LXSMRY_hjmzNTMJb3aZSxM/edit?usp=sharing

    Another option would be to look at your calorie budget weekly, rather than daily, even if you let MFP set your goal and prefer to log exercise when you do it. That would give you some guardrails around eating more on hungry days, less on days when less hungry even if you exercised. Your call, though.

    Whoa. I just used the spreadsheet and it gave me a TDEE of 3800. :o That might explain my larger than anticipated weight losses (on the one hand, hooray, on the other, I've been very grouchy and hungry the past few days in particular.) But even eating exercise calories back I'm maxing out at 2100-2200, which is about 500 too few per the minimum spreadsheet guidelines. I really didn't think I was undereating, but uh....maybe I am.

    I was thinking about doing a diet break since next week is the Easter octave and I've been kinda moody anyway. But maybe I'll just bump up my calories by a few hundred and see what happens.
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,671 Member Member Posts: 18,671 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I am in the exact same boat. I have my TDEE (with my activity level set to sedentary bc other than running, walking, hiking - I sit at work and sit/lay down at home). I log my exercise cals and eat them back --- but I find that there are days that I just do not have the appetite to eat all I should for the day. I had a day recently where I didn't eat enough over the course of a few days and I had an issue with my sugar one morning and almost passed out....and I lost 5-8lbs that I didn't really intend on losing -- so maybe I'm in a slightly different boat, lol. I do have some days where I'm noticeably hungry and I just eat and don't worry about being over bc I know if I actually feel hungry it's bc I have to eat more. I'm more worried about the days where I'm not hungry but know I have like.... 800 cals left I have to eat.

    So I had been thinking about changing my activity level to 'lightly' or 'moderately' active (I run ~15-20 miles/week + any walks/hikes I do)..... and jus eating a bit more in general every day instead of eating more on the days I run. Maybe that would give me some more consistency?

    If you want to pretty close to never log/eat back exercise (your usual exercise, I mean) at the same time you do it, it might be better to use a decent TDEE calculator to get an estimate, and set your MFP goal manually rather than by guided setup, then not log that exercise. (The assumptions in the underlying models are a little different.) There's https://www.sailrabbit.com/bmr/, or (even better) our fellow MFP-er @heybales' "Just TDEE Please" spreadsheet, here:

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1G7FgNzPq3v5WMjDtH0n93LXSMRY_hjmzNTMJb3aZSxM/edit?usp=sharing

    Another option would be to look at your calorie budget weekly, rather than daily, even if you let MFP set your goal and prefer to log exercise when you do it. That would give you some guardrails around eating more on hungry days, less on days when less hungry even if you exercised. Your call, though.

    Whoa. I just used the spreadsheet and it gave me a TDEE of 3800. :o That might explain my larger than anticipated weight losses (on the one hand, hooray, on the other, I've been very grouchy and hungry the past few days in particular.) But even eating exercise calories back I'm maxing out at 2100-2200, which is about 500 too few per the minimum spreadsheet guidelines. I really didn't think I was undereating, but uh....maybe I am.

    I was thinking about doing a diet break since next week is the Easter octave and I've been kinda moody anyway. But maybe I'll just bump up my calories by a few hundred and see what happens.

    While I have seen high figures - just confirm you didn't check more than 1 box under daily activity level.
    If you have non-water weight losses to use against decent estimates of eating amounts for a time of consistent activity - section near bottom for math on that apparent TDEE.
  • SummerSkierSummerSkier Member, Premium Posts: 2,337 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,337 Member
    bradswifey wrote: »
    I have used MFP for a really long time. I lost 100 pounds and have kept it off. My struggle right now is that I have kicked up my running mileage and I'm not trying to lose weight. However, I have lost some weight and I eat my exercise calories back. But I am still hungry a lot of times. I am a stay at home mom and I work from home. I have been hitting 25,000 steps regularly (this includes my running). I do track my calories burned through exercise. Some days I feel like I am going all the time. Some days, I don't do as much. I am wondering if I should bump up my activity level to "active" from "lightly active"? I don't want to gain weight, just maintain it. I eat well and do indulge in ice cream regularly (it is amazing at helping me start off my morning runs! And I keep my servings moderate.) but I am still within my calorie goals. I rarely go over my calories but sometimes when I do, I feel better. I just don't like seeing the red numbers. I am afraid to change anything for fear of gaining. Has anyone else struggled with this?

    as a runner I find that eating at a set TDEE is more than helpful. I bounce it off my Apple Watch TDEE on about a monthly basis. When I first started maintaining I was around 1850 using the TDEE spreadsheet at the time for a couple months of data. But over the years I gradually seem to be able to increase. I just bumped my monthly cals up another 50 for April. My mileage is up but I find my energy is also up. One thing that appears to also be changing is that my runs are better if instead of running fasted *like after coffee in the am* if I run after breakfast a couple hrs I seem to be stronger.

    Anyway, trying to "eat back" exercise cals or set activity levels in MFP for a runner putting in a lot of miles can be a fruitless effort. Esp in maintenance. Personally if I were you I would throw that out and set my cals to about 100 over what you have been averaging the past month. Then collect data for another month and go from there.

    The only issue with eating to TDEE in maintenance is if something happens where you are going to have down time for several weeks (injury, etc). Then you need to make the adjustment during that time frame down.

    Summer
  • penguinmama87penguinmama87 Member, Premium Posts: 275 Member Member, Premium Posts: 275 Member
    heybales wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I am in the exact same boat. I have my TDEE (with my activity level set to sedentary bc other than running, walking, hiking - I sit at work and sit/lay down at home). I log my exercise cals and eat them back --- but I find that there are days that I just do not have the appetite to eat all I should for the day. I had a day recently where I didn't eat enough over the course of a few days and I had an issue with my sugar one morning and almost passed out....and I lost 5-8lbs that I didn't really intend on losing -- so maybe I'm in a slightly different boat, lol. I do have some days where I'm noticeably hungry and I just eat and don't worry about being over bc I know if I actually feel hungry it's bc I have to eat more. I'm more worried about the days where I'm not hungry but know I have like.... 800 cals left I have to eat.

    So I had been thinking about changing my activity level to 'lightly' or 'moderately' active (I run ~15-20 miles/week + any walks/hikes I do)..... and jus eating a bit more in general every day instead of eating more on the days I run. Maybe that would give me some more consistency?

    If you want to pretty close to never log/eat back exercise (your usual exercise, I mean) at the same time you do it, it might be better to use a decent TDEE calculator to get an estimate, and set your MFP goal manually rather than by guided setup, then not log that exercise. (The assumptions in the underlying models are a little different.) There's https://www.sailrabbit.com/bmr/, or (even better) our fellow MFP-er @heybales' "Just TDEE Please" spreadsheet, here:

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1G7FgNzPq3v5WMjDtH0n93LXSMRY_hjmzNTMJb3aZSxM/edit?usp=sharing

    Another option would be to look at your calorie budget weekly, rather than daily, even if you let MFP set your goal and prefer to log exercise when you do it. That would give you some guardrails around eating more on hungry days, less on days when less hungry even if you exercised. Your call, though.

    Whoa. I just used the spreadsheet and it gave me a TDEE of 3800. :o That might explain my larger than anticipated weight losses (on the one hand, hooray, on the other, I've been very grouchy and hungry the past few days in particular.) But even eating exercise calories back I'm maxing out at 2100-2200, which is about 500 too few per the minimum spreadsheet guidelines. I really didn't think I was undereating, but uh....maybe I am.

    I was thinking about doing a diet break since next week is the Easter octave and I've been kinda moody anyway. But maybe I'll just bump up my calories by a few hundred and see what happens.

    While I have seen high figures - just confirm you didn't check more than 1 box under daily activity level.
    If you have non-water weight losses to use against decent estimates of eating amounts for a time of consistent activity - section near bottom for math on that apparent TDEE.

    Thank you! I did have only one box checked for activity level, but I hadn't touched the bottom section at all. I figured that out and it did revise TDEE down to 3100, so my 2100-2200 is probably not too bad, if I wasn't breastfeeding. I wouldn't expect your calculator to take that into account, but even if it's not by as much as I might have thought at first, I probably am undereating. It looks like bumping up intake is probably the right call, at least for a little to see how things go.

    I'm a big fan of spreadsheets. This is really, really cool that you built this. Thank you!
  • PAV8888PAV8888 Member Posts: 7,820 Member Member Posts: 7,820 Member
    breastfeeding per most sources is approximately ~20 to 22 Cal per oz.... so generally speaking a 300 to 500 Cal activity depending on amount
    edited April 2
  • penguinmama87penguinmama87 Member, Premium Posts: 275 Member Member, Premium Posts: 275 Member
    Yeah, the rule of thumb I've seen is 500 for exclusive breastfeeding and 250 for an older baby who consumes a decent amount of solids.

    I have a suspicion I am on the higher end because I typically overproduce - for the first seven months I was donating a good portion to a friend who adopted a baby, too. My supply has dropped a little since I tightened up logging but not badly. I want to make sure I keep it that way.

    It's one of those things that can be very difficult to measure, especially since I don't use bottles except for the excess, so I make a stab at it and hope for the best! If I get the math to work I must not be too far off!
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