I know it's been asked ad nauseam...

I know asking, "How many calories should I be eating?" is a question asked more than a little on this forum. I also basically have a grasp on things and as of this morning am down a total of about 8 pounds...which I'm very proud of (we all start somewhere!). My question is fairly simple...I think...:

I had been eating at 20% below TDEE since beginning here (which is obviously working). I spoke with a personal trainer yesterday and together we found that my BMR is a little over 1400. My eating at 20% below TDEE had me eating below that number (about 1350 calories per day with figuring in that I have a desk job). Should I decrease the percentage I eat below TDEE in order to make sure that what I'm eating at least is my BMR? Or is it fine to eat 50-60 calories below my BMR?

Also, if I'm now working out 5-6 days per week...should I have him factor that into the BMR equation even though the majority of my day is sedentary?

Just looking for some insight, didn't know if this would be an "eat more to lose more" type situation.
Thank you so much for your help. And yes, I know I should have asked this to the trainer yesterday but I'm starting to get sick and it didn't hit me until I looked at my goal calories this morning and thought, "Wait a second...that's below BMR..."

Edited to add: I wanted to also put in that currently when I exercise, if my calories eaten minus what was lost during my exercise puts me below the 1350 I have been doing my best to eat those calories back up to my 1350 goal. I don't like to eat them all back, generally, in order to leave some room for error. Is this a good way to be doing this?

Replies

  • Mokey41
    Mokey41 Posts: 5,769 Member
    Your BMR is the calories needed to survive in a coma. It doesn't change with your activity level because activity has nothing to do with it. You won't die eating slightly under your BMR but unless you are morbidly obese it probably isn't a good thing to do long term nor is it necessary to lose weight.
  • WalkingAlong
    WalkingAlong Posts: 4,926 Member
    Your BMR has nothing to do with today's intake. You're not hurting anything (except your fat stores). Though you probably could also lose at a little higher calorie level, like has been said. Good work so far!
  • I_Will_End_You
    I_Will_End_You Posts: 4,397 Member
    It sounds like you calculated your TDEE using sedentary as your activity level. If you're working out 5-6 times a week, you should recalculate to include that, imo.
  • Your BMR is the calories needed to survive in a coma. It doesn't change with your activity level because activity has nothing to do with it. You won't die eating slightly under your BMR but unless you are morbidly obese it probably isn't a good thing to do long term nor is it necessary to lose weight.
    Oh yea I know what BMR is ;), and I also know that I don't need to eating under BMR (nor do I want to) to lose weight. Just wondering if adding in those extra calories is going to possibly hinder weightloss. I'm more about being healthy, but I do have pounds I would like to lose as well along the way. I'm thinking I'm going to calculate things with it having me as more active and see what numbers come up. Eat that for two weeks and see what happens during that time :). Thank you for your help :)
    It sounds like you calculated your TDEE using sedentary as your activity level. If you're working out 5-6 times a week, you should recalculate to include that, imo.
    Yes that's what he did when helping me with this since I said I work a desk job. So since I do work out/run 5-6 times per week (habitually, not sporadically) I *should* have that calculated in...correct? I'll go and see what an online calculator puts me at with that activity level, at least until I can see the trainer again. I'm just now starting to work with him, just trying to get my head around all of this. :) Thank you for your help! EDIT: If I'm typically doing 30-45 minutes of running per day, plus usually 20-30 minutes of additional cardio or strength training (the type of exercise I do changes depending on how I'm feeling honestly) would you consider that "light" or "moderate" activity personally?
    Your BMR has nothing to do with today's intake. You're not hurting anything (except your fat stores). Though you probably could also lose at a little higher calorie level, like has been said. Good work so far!
    Thank you!
  • I_Will_End_You
    I_Will_End_You Posts: 4,397 Member
    Yes that's what he did when helping me with this since I said I work a desk job. So since I do work out/run 5-6 times per week (habitually, not sporadically) I *should* have that calculated in...correct? I'll go and see what an online calculator puts me at with that activity level, at least until I can see the trainer again. I'm just now starting to work with him, just trying to get my head around all of this. :) Thank you for your help!


    Remember that if you calculate your TDEE using moderately active (or whatever activity level you feel is appropriate for you) you do NOT eat back exercise calories. Your workout is already considered in your total.
  • JesterMFP
    JesterMFP Posts: 3,596 Member
    It sounds like you calculated your TDEE using sedentary as your activity level. If you're working out 5-6 times a week, you should recalculate to include that, imo.
    Yes that's what he did when helping me with this since I said I work a desk job. So since I do work out/run 5-6 times per week (habitually, not sporadically) I *should* have that calculated in...correct? I'll go and see what an online calculator puts me at with that activity level, at least until I can see the trainer again. I'm just now starting to work with him, just trying to get my head around all of this. :) Thank you for your help!

    Yes, either you do the TDEE method, where you include all your activity, workouts etc, and arrive at a total calorie goal for the day, regardless of whether or not you actually exercise that day. Or, you use MFP's method that only includes your normal daily activities, but not planned workouts (so, eg. sedentary) and you add in your workout burn calories, and eat those calories back. If you get your daily calorie goal based on being sedentary, and then don't eat back any exercise calories, you're not going to be eating enough to support all that exercise. Either method should give you a similar amount of calories to actually consume each day.

    How much do you actually have to lose? If you're not obese, then TDEE-20% might be too aggressive for you at this point.
  • Remember that if you calculate your TDEE using moderately active (or whatever activity level you feel is appropriate for you) you do NOT eat back exercise calories. Your workout is already considered in your total.
    Ah! Okay, that I didn't know. I wonder if that's why he originally calculated things with me having a desk job, because I told him I generally eat back half of my exercise calories? So this raises a question in my head:
    Would you personally consider it easier to keep calories in line and lose weight with a deficit by calculating as sedentary but eating back exercise calories, or upping your activity level to "light" or "moderate" if you work out a few days per week? Because in my head I keep thinking that it seems to make sense to do the former rather than the latter because it would be easier to keep track because instead of the math "assuming" you need "x" extra calories for exercise, you would know about what you burned and would be able to keep accurate track of what to eat back...?
    Does that make sense?
  • elyelyse
    elyelyse Posts: 1,477 Member
    Some prefer the TDEE- method because of its consistency, which I can totally understand. I prefer the MFP method because my exercise is admittedly sporadic...some weeks I get out there almost everyday, sometime I lose my momentum. The MFP method lets me take that into account more easily.
  • Yes, either you do the TDEE method, where you include all your activity, workouts etc, and arrive at a total calorie goal for the day, regardless of whether or not you actually exercise that day. Or, you use MFP's method that only includes your normal daily activities, but not planned workouts (so, eg. sedentary) and you add in your workout burn calories, and eat those calories back. If you get your daily calorie goal based on being sedentary, and then don't eat back any exercise calories, you're not going to be eating enough to support all that exercise. Either method should give you a similar amount of calories to actually consume each day.

    How much do you actually have to lose? If you're not obese, then TDEE-20% might be too aggressive for you at this point.

    First of all I want to thank you again for your willingness to help, I'm just trying to get my head around this :)

    To reach my short term goal I need to lose 22 more pounds, to reach my goal weight, 32 more.
    I had asked the other person a question, but I believe that you have actually answered it. I think, at least for myself, it will be easier on me (and my crap math skills haha) to use sedentary and eat back my exercise calories. Only because if there is a week that I'm unable to work out, for example I'm super sick as of this morning, it would mean me having to recalculate my calories to account for my lack of activity. Whereas with choosing sedentary and eating back...I will always know approximately what I burned and be able to know about what I should eat back without it just assuming how much I burned...if that makes sense?

    Sometimes when I talk about all of this I feel like a complete idiot >_<
  • Some prefer the TDEE- method because of its consistency, which I can totally understand. I prefer the MFP method because my exercise is admittedly sporadic...some weeks I get out there almost everyday, sometime I lose my momentum. The MFP method lets me take that into account more easily.
    I think I prefer the MFP method as well now that I'm really thinking about both of them. It means that if by some chance a week is hindered, for example this one while I'm sick, I can just eat my goal and be set. Whereas if I was using TDEE I feel like that would mean re-calculating to figure out how much to eat?
  • Mokey41
    Mokey41 Posts: 5,769 Member
    I prefer to use sedentary and then add exercise as I do it because my life is anything but predictable. I can plan anything I want but it rarely turns out that way so it's much safer for me to just add things as I go.
  • servilia
    servilia Posts: 3,453 Member
    Remember that if you calculate your TDEE using moderately active (or whatever activity level you feel is appropriate for you) you do NOT eat back exercise calories. Your workout is already considered in your total.
    Ah! Okay, that I didn't know. I wonder if that's why he originally calculated things with me having a desk job, because I told him I generally eat back half of my exercise calories? So this raises a question in my head:
    Would you personally consider it easier to keep calories in line and lose weight with a deficit by calculating as sedentary but eating back exercise calories, or upping your activity level to "light" or "moderate" if you work out a few days per week? Because in my head I keep thinking that it seems to make sense to do the former rather than the latter because it would be easier to keep track because instead of the math "assuming" you need "x" extra calories for exercise, you would know about what you burned and would be able to keep accurate track of what to eat back...?
    Does that make sense?

    I prefer to use sedentary and enter and eat my exercise cals separately. My workouts vary in intensity and caloric burn and I want to be as accurate as possible.
  • elyelyse
    elyelyse Posts: 1,477 Member
    Some prefer the TDEE- method because of its consistency, which I can totally understand. I prefer the MFP method because my exercise is admittedly sporadic...some weeks I get out there almost everyday, sometime I lose my momentum. The MFP method lets me take that into account more easily.
    I think I prefer the MFP method as well now that I'm really thinking about both of them. It means that if by some chance a week is hindered, for example this one while I'm sick, I can just eat my goal and be set. Whereas if I was using TDEE I feel like that would mean re-calculating to figure out how much to eat?

    Yup, you got it. And don't feel bad about asking questions...gotta learn somehow, right?
  • bekahlou75
    bekahlou75 Posts: 304 Member
    Remember that if you calculate your TDEE using moderately active (or whatever activity level you feel is appropriate for you) you do NOT eat back exercise calories. Your workout is already considered in your total.
    Ah! Okay, that I didn't know. I wonder if that's why he originally calculated things with me having a desk job, because I told him I generally eat back half of my exercise calories? So this raises a question in my head:
    Would you personally consider it easier to keep calories in line and lose weight with a deficit by calculating as sedentary but eating back exercise calories, or upping your activity level to "light" or "moderate" if you work out a few days per week? Because in my head I keep thinking that it seems to make sense to do the former rather than the latter because it would be easier to keep track because instead of the math "assuming" you need "x" extra calories for exercise, you would know about what you burned and would be able to keep accurate track of what to eat back...?
    Does that make sense?

    I prefer to use sedentary and enter and eat my exercise cals separately. My workouts vary in intensity and caloric burn and I want to be as accurate as possible.

    I have my TDEE set to sedentary also. I'm actually eating at my BMR because TDEE - 20% was below the BMR number. You enter and eat your exercise calories. I think I will do that also. My exercise is sporatic.
  • Great! Thanks again for the help everyone!