Eating estimated calories burned

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katemcd495
katemcd495 Posts: 36 Member
edited July 2022 in Food and Nutrition
I'm sure this topic has been discussed ad nauseum, but I poked around searching and couldn't find what I wanted.

I have always ignored any estimated "calories burned" from machines, MFP, and my Fitbit. I just assume they are probably wrong, especially since I am hypothyroid and my metabolism is a bit sluggish.

That said, I'm doing the 75 Hard challenge and my fitbit is claiming I'm burning 1000 calories a day.

I'm still breastfeeding so I set my activity level as lightly active (when not breastfeeding I put it on sedentary) and have just ignored my stash of exercise calories.

I don't want to stress out my body or mess around with milk supply, though that seems to be okay for now. It looks like I will have lost about 3 lbs this week and it probably isn't all water weight, at least I don't think it is.

39, 5'9, 1700 calories per day, averaging 20,000 steps right now.

ETA: How accurate are Fibits? Should I wait and see each week and then adjust my calorie goal to keep weight loss between 1-2 pounds a week? What is the best option for health and long term weight loss? I don't want to yo-yo.

Thank you in advance!

Replies

  • SuzySunshine99
    SuzySunshine99 Posts: 2,987 Member
    edited July 2022
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    If your calorie goal is from MFP, then you are meant to eat back at least some of those exercise calories. Yes, the exact number might not be accurate, but the one number you KNOW is incorrect is zero.

    If you are averaging 20,000 steps a day, your activity level should be set to very active. In no way, shape, or form are you sedentary or lightly active.

    I don't have experience with breastfeeding, but instead of factoring that in with your activity level, I have read that you can log it as about a 300 calorie per day adjustment. Not totally sure about that one, just basing it on what other mothers in these forums have said.

    You mention losing 3 pounds this week. That's an aggressive total. Is this your first week starting this routine? What is your current weight and how much do you want to lose?
  • SuzySunshine99
    SuzySunshine99 Posts: 2,987 Member
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    katemcd495 wrote: »
    Should I wait and see each week and then adjust my calorie goal to keep weight loss between 1-2 pounds a week? What is the best option for health and long term weight loss? I don't want to yo-yo.

    For this question...a healthy and sustainable rate of loss depends on your starting point and how much you have to lose. The more weight you have to lose, the more aggressive you can be in your weekly goal. If you don't have a lot to lose, then as low as a half pound a week may be appropriate.
  • Lietchi
    Lietchi Posts: 6,285 Member
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    There is one piece of the puzzle that is missing: how much do you weight?

    1700 calories sounds low for someone who is 5ft9, breastfeeding, taking 20k steps a day and doing 2 workouts (if I'm not mistaken, the 75 Hard challange stipulates two workouts a day?).

    I'm 5ft5, same age as you, not breastfeeding, quite active but not as active as you and I lost all of my weight (from 208 to 130-135lbs) eating at least 1700 calories (quite often more).

    1000 exercise/active calories might be inflated, possibly. But 0 is certainly wrong.
    The best thing is to choose a strategy (for example: eat back 50% of active/exercise calories) and then monitor your weight for one month/menstrual cycle to see if your actual weight loss rate matches your intended weight loss rate, and then adjust from there. Depending on your current weight, a different weight loss rate will be appropriate. Generaly speaking, 0.5-max 1% of your bodyweight per week is recommended. However, breastfeeding is a factor where I would err on the side of a slower rate of loss.
  • katemcd495
    katemcd495 Posts: 36 Member
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    All good feedback!

    I've lost baby weight several times, but I've never done a challenge like this before, so I've always planned as if I'm not getting exercise at all.

    Since I'm just walking twice a day I assumed it wouldn't make that much of a difference!

    Currently 170
    10 pounds until back in healthy BMI range.
    20(ish) to get back to pre-baby weight.
    25-30 to get to ideal weight.

    I think I have "lazy, not athletic, uncoordinated" deeply ingrained or something. Telling MFP I'm "active" feels like a lie? How weird is that?
  • katemcd495
    katemcd495 Posts: 36 Member
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    The TDEE calculator said my cutting calories would be until 1400 so I added 300 to account for the breastfeeding. That's where I came up with the numbers.

    But yeah, I was assuming sedentary/lightly active.
  • katemcd495
    katemcd495 Posts: 36 Member
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    Lietchi wrote: »
    1700 calories sounds low for someone who is 5ft9, breastfeeding, taking 20k steps a day and doing 2 workouts (if I'm not mistaken, the 75 Hard challange stipulates two workouts a day?).

    My workouts are literally just taking two long brisk walks a day.
  • SuzySunshine99
    SuzySunshine99 Posts: 2,987 Member
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    If your "just walking" was a stroll around the block a few times a day, then I'd agree with you that it wouldn't make much of a difference. Walking is not a super-efficient calorie burner for someone close to a healthy weight. However, 20,000 steps a day is a very significant distance for anyone, and definitely puts you in the very active category. Activity levels have nothing to do with athletic ability or coordination...it's just a measure of how much time you are not sitting still.

    With a maximum goal of 30 pounds to lose, I'd be less aggressive in your goal. Somewhere between a half pound and one pound per week. You won't necessarily lose a set amount every week, but that should be the average.

    Also bear in mind that if you just started this exercise program, you could be retaining water/fluid for a while. Adjust your activity level, eat all your calories, plus at least a portion of your exercise calories, and see where you are in 4-6 weeks. If you find you are losing too fast or not at all, you can adjust from there.
  • Lietchi
    Lietchi Posts: 6,285 Member
    edited July 2022
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    katemcd495 wrote: »

    I think I have "lazy, not athletic, uncoordinated" deeply ingrained or something. Telling MFP I'm "active" feels like a lie? How weird is that?

    Not so weird :smile: I feel like I have a split personality sometimes. Pre-weightloss I was a couch potato. Now I run 30km per week and do strength training. It still feels weird to call myself a runner, despite the fact that I've been running regularly for nearly 3 years now :smiley:

    If your walks are your two workouts, that does mitigate my concerns about those 1700 calories. But still, it's the equivalent of eating 1400 calories and not breastfeeding, which still sounds just a bit low. I agree that 1000 calories sounds high though for those 20k steps (Fitbit seems particularly prone to overestimation, for some people - might be linked to having a higher than average heart rate for example?).

    Just FYI, but your activity level setting on MFP won't actually change your calorie goal after adjustment, if your Fitbit is synced with MFP: your base calorie goal will be higher, but your adjustment will be lower, ending up with the same end number.
  • Chef_Barbell
    Chef_Barbell Posts: 6,644 Member
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    I would be eating my left arm with calories that low, plus Bfing, plus being active. Exercise calories are meant to be eaten. They are tasty. This is not a race.
  • katemcd495
    katemcd495 Posts: 36 Member
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    Okay. I readjusted for higher base calories and will eat at least 50% of my exercise calories. Then I'll see where I'm at in a few weeks and make changes as needed.

    Thanks so much!
  • Chef_Barbell
    Chef_Barbell Posts: 6,644 Member
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    katemcd495 wrote: »
    Okay. I readjusted for higher base calories and will eat at least 50% of my exercise calories. Then I'll see where I'm at in a few weeks and make changes as needed.

    Thanks so much!

    Great plan... you got this 👍
  • Chef_Barbell
    Chef_Barbell Posts: 6,644 Member
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    btente wrote: »
    Formulas for calculating BMR are horribly inaccurate and fluctuate wildy on an individual basis. Formulas for calculating calories burned during exercise even more so. Both also ignore the body's response to changing diet and activity.

    I would also urge strong caution for any caloric restriction during breastfeeding. Things like saturated fat and cholesterol are vital for early development you need in your breastmilk. Do focus on eating healthier and being active. Eggs and full fat diary. Greens and fruits. Usual replacements to processed foods and sugar.

    I highly suspect you know very little about what a breastfeeding woman needs. This isn't it.
  • Chef_Barbell
    Chef_Barbell Posts: 6,644 Member
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    btente wrote: »
    I highly suspect you know very little about what a breastfeeding woman needs. This isn't it.

    As a diet and nutrition author and father to three kids I do. My youngest are twins and their mom a vegan. She also had trouble producing and had to use formula.
    I did a lot of research into formulas too.

    As valuable as "ha ha you're wrong is" please do elaborate what's wrong?

    And as a woman who has successfully breastfed 6 kids, plenty of women have cut calories successfully while breastfeeding. And in addition,
    eating eggs and full fat dairy has little to no baring on breastfeeding or weight loss.
  • Chef_Barbell
    Chef_Barbell Posts: 6,644 Member
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    Thanks for the mansplaining. But you're still wrong. 🤷‍♀️