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Do you eat back exercise calories?

FemmeAndiFemmeAndi Member Posts: 107 Member Member Posts: 107 Member
I stated that i was active from the drop down menu and choose to lose 1.0 lbs per week.
I am 138 at 5'7.

They calculated that I should have a total of 1430 calories per day.

If I exercise and burn 200 calories, does that mean I can eat 200 calories more?

Yesterday I tried staying at the 1430 goal but was starving come bedtime.

Thank you.

Replies

  • cwolfman13cwolfman13 Member Posts: 39,023 Member Member Posts: 39,023 Member
    Yes...in the sense that I use the TDEE method rather than MFP...so my estimated exercise and other activities are rolled up into my activity level and thus accounted for in that way. This means that I have a higher calorie target than I would get with MFP because with MFP as designed you don't roll up exercise into your activity level...you account for it after the fact by logging it and getting additional calories to account for that activity.

    The more your body moves, the more fuel (calories) it uses...just like a car that commutes 120 miles per day is going to burn through a lot more fuel than a car that just drives around the block to get groceries. By using MFP's methodology, your calorie deficit (which is built into your target) remains the same after you have logged your exercise and get additional calories...because you're theoretical maintenance calories would have also moved up by the same amount.

    If MFP gives me 2000 calories to lose 1 Lb per week with no exercise, that means MFP is estimating my maintenance without exercise to be around 2500 calories. If I then do exercise and burn 500 calories and eat 2500 calories (2000+500) I'm still at the same deficit because my maintenance would have also moved from 2500 calories to 3000...leaving me in a 500 calorie deficit still for the day.
  • judowolfjudowolf Member Posts: 70 Member Member Posts: 70 Member
    Andi, I tend to agree with Jane, if you are normally active and do additional workouts beyond your normal activity lifestyle, then I would log the exercise and eat half the calories back. I don't believe the activity tracker stats, so eating half back gives you some cushion (no pun intended ;) ). I also agree w Jane that 1lb per week may be too aggressive, maybe setting it to 1/2 lb might make more sense since you are so close to your goal. I think you'll do great either way, keep up the hard work!! Best of luck
  • goal06082021goal06082021 Member Posts: 816 Member Member Posts: 816 Member
    Seconding janejellyroll - you're already at a healthy weight for your height, so 1lb per week is probably too aggressive for you. Redo the guided setup for 0.5lb per week, and mark your activity based on how you spend the rest of your time outside of purposeful exercise. A person with a desk job who goes for a run every morning is Sedentary/Not Very Active, while a construction worker who never sets foot in a gym is Very Active.
  • FemmeAndiFemmeAndi Member Posts: 107 Member Member Posts: 107 Member
    When you told MFP you were "active," were you counting the exercise?

    MFP intends for you to set your activity level based on your lifestyle apart from exercise. You then log your exercise and eat those calories back. But if you use your exercise as part of your BASE activity level, you don't want to log it. That would be double-dipping.

    If you're an active person in your daily life AND you're exercising on top of that, you will want to eat those back.

    If that's you in your profile picture, it's possible that 1 pound a week is too aggressive of a goal for you. In that case, choosing a more reasonable goal like .5 pounds a week will give you more calories each day.



    Yes, the reason I choose active was because I figured if I am doing Shaun Ts MAx 30 5 times a week i would be considered activie. Apart from that, I have a sit down job at the office and run around pick up and drop off of my 3 young children.
  • sijomialsijomial Member, Premium Posts: 18,266 Member Member, Premium Posts: 18,266 Member
    FemmeAndi wrote: »
    When you told MFP you were "active," were you counting the exercise?

    MFP intends for you to set your activity level based on your lifestyle apart from exercise. You then log your exercise and eat those calories back. But if you use your exercise as part of your BASE activity level, you don't want to log it. That would be double-dipping.

    If you're an active person in your daily life AND you're exercising on top of that, you will want to eat those back.

    If that's you in your profile picture, it's possible that 1 pound a week is too aggressive of a goal for you. In that case, choosing a more reasonable goal like .5 pounds a week will give you more calories each day.



    Yes, the reason I choose active was because I figured if I am doing Shaun Ts MAx 30 5 times a week i would be considered activie. Apart from that, I have a sit down job at the office and run around pick up and drop off of my 3 young children.

    In that case you would be better served using a tool that is designed to be used that way as the multipliers applied to your estimated BMR will be different.
    Here's a good TDEE calculator - https://www.sailrabbit.com/bmr/
    You can then enter that goal manually into your goal setup here.

    My exercise routine is high volume, very erratic in terms of daily/weekly/monthly volume and so the MyFitnessPal method of separating exercise and having a variable goal works better for me. If you prefer a same every day eating goal and your exercise is fairly consistent then it sounds like the TDEE method would be a good fit for you.

    If however, you just prefer the MFP method I would suggest the Lightly Active setting and then log and eat back exercise. Both methods work, both methods have you taking your exercise into account and over time end up in roughly the same place.
  • susie4ordsusie4ord Member Posts: 3 Member Member Posts: 3 Member
    FemmeAndi wrote: »
    I stated that i was active from the drop down menu and choose to lose 1.0 lbs per week.
    I am 138 at 5'7.

    They calculated that I should have a total of 1430 calories per day.

    If I exercise and burn 200 calories, does that mean I can eat 200 calories more?

    Yesterday I tried staying at the 1430 goal but was starving come bedtime.

    Thank you.

  • susie4ordsusie4ord Member Posts: 3 Member Member Posts: 3 Member
    I was told not to eat back your burned calories if you are hoping to lose weight that day, but if you wanted to maintain the present weight and have a larger calorie day you could eat them without weight gain. Happy Trails.
  • wunderkindkingwunderkindking Member Posts: 360 Member Member Posts: 360 Member
    I use an overall TDEE method - in general.

    My daily LIFE is really consistent re: movement, but it'd also be really hard to track with MFP. Basically it's a lot of high energy dog and dog sports. It gives me 10-12 hours of motion a day, but that's walking, hiking, sometimes swimming, sometimes sprinting, sometimes throwing things, whatever, all split up.

    What I DO add and eat back is time I spend on purposeful exercise - I've taken up jogging for fun and I'm thisclose to fully vaccinated and joining a gym. Those I track separately and eat.

    Basically I decide based on 'is this the same level of 'integrated into my life as doing the dishes where it's just going to happen whether I am 'motivated' or not, or is it an 'activity I do, even regularly'. If it's integrated that hard, then I don't track it - tdee. If it's an Activity I Make Time For, even if it's 3 or more times a week, it's Exercise and I track it.
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member, Premium Posts: 25,263 Member Member, Premium Posts: 25,263 Member
    FemmeAndi wrote: »
    When you told MFP you were "active," were you counting the exercise?

    MFP intends for you to set your activity level based on your lifestyle apart from exercise. You then log your exercise and eat those calories back. But if you use your exercise as part of your BASE activity level, you don't want to log it. That would be double-dipping.

    If you're an active person in your daily life AND you're exercising on top of that, you will want to eat those back.

    If that's you in your profile picture, it's possible that 1 pound a week is too aggressive of a goal for you. In that case, choosing a more reasonable goal like .5 pounds a week will give you more calories each day.



    Yes, the reason I choose active was because I figured if I am doing Shaun Ts MAx 30 5 times a week i would be considered activie. Apart from that, I have a sit down job at the office and run around pick up and drop off of my 3 young children.

    Since you're already including your exercise in your activity level, you don't also want to log it and eat back the calories. That would be double counting it.

  • cwolfman13cwolfman13 Member Posts: 39,023 Member Member Posts: 39,023 Member
    FemmeAndi wrote: »
    When you told MFP you were "active," were you counting the exercise?

    MFP intends for you to set your activity level based on your lifestyle apart from exercise. You then log your exercise and eat those calories back. But if you use your exercise as part of your BASE activity level, you don't want to log it. That would be double-dipping.

    If you're an active person in your daily life AND you're exercising on top of that, you will want to eat those back.

    If that's you in your profile picture, it's possible that 1 pound a week is too aggressive of a goal for you. In that case, choosing a more reasonable goal like .5 pounds a week will give you more calories each day.



    Yes, the reason I choose active was because I figured if I am doing Shaun Ts MAx 30 5 times a week i would be considered activie. Apart from that, I have a sit down job at the office and run around pick up and drop off of my 3 young children.

    If you selected active because you're including your exercise in your activity level, you would be double dipping if you then logged that exercise and ate back more calories...those calories are already accounted for in your activity level.

    The only reason you eat back exercise calories with MFP is because, as designed, your activity level would NOT include deliberate exercise. This is why the descriptors make no mention of exercise...just your day to day hum drum. What you are describing is the TDEE method I mentioned up thread...probably not a huge issue, but you would be better served by using and actual TDEE calculator and manually customizing your calorie targets here vs using the MFP setup. This is because the multipliers used on this site are different than the multipliers used with a TDEE calculator in that MFP's setting of active is going to use multipliers related to being active, but that activity being pretty low level...ie being on your feet most of the day, etc. A TDEE calculator will take into account that your actual workouts that are making you active are more rigorous than just standing on your feet most of the day...it's probably not a huge deal like I said, but you may want to play around with a couple of calculators to see what the differences are.
  • rosebarnalicerosebarnalice Member Posts: 3,160 Member Member Posts: 3,160 Member
    On average, about half. Some days I eat them all back, other days I don't eat any back, and others, I eat some. It balances out to about half.
  • JruzerJruzer Member Posts: 3,473 Member Member Posts: 3,473 Member
    Eating exercise calories was THE KEY for my successful weight loss and subsequent maintenance.
  • freda78freda78 Member Posts: 303 Member Member Posts: 303 Member
    My exercise is part of my weight lose plan and the main motivation for doing it at this time and I never miss a day or even a minute of my routine, so I see no point in "eating the calories back". Defeats the whole object for me.

    But you do of course need to be eating enough, never going below 1200 calories for a women. Before anyone screams at me as someone is sure to do, I am just making the point and not saying I only eat 1200 calories when averaged over the week. I do 4:3 IF, so it is the average that matters in my case.

    Obviously (I think it is obvious anyway) when you maintain the idea is to keep your weight the same so the amount of activity needs to be balanced against calorie consumption.
    edited April 9
  • Beverly2HansenBeverly2Hansen Member Posts: 146 Member Member Posts: 146 Member
    I've tried eating them back and I plateau or lose .5 lbs a week vs the 2lbs I'd like. While you're trying to lose weight I wouldn't. Also the calories are not accurate on MFP they're over estimated.
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member, Premium Posts: 25,263 Member Member, Premium Posts: 25,263 Member
    I've tried eating them back and I plateau or lose .5 lbs a week vs the 2lbs I'd like. While you're trying to lose weight I wouldn't. Also the calories are not accurate on MFP they're over estimated.

    They're overestimated in some circumstances for some people. Others have found them to be accurate.

    If one is eating back exercise calories and finding that it keeps them from losing weight, that's a good indication that either exercise calories are being overestimated or that food intake is being underestimated and the exercise calories were providing the buffer to "disguise" that. The fact that happens doesn't mean it's a good general rule for people to ignore the impact of physical activity. Instead, it's a good indication that the best approach is to be sure to compare your actual results to expected results and adjust as necessary.
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