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TDEE vs NEAT

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  • mimieonmimieon Member, Premium Posts: 182 Member Member, Premium Posts: 182 Member
    Does it really matter what we call it? I could call it the Sparkling Unicorn Method as long as I'm at a deficit and losing weight. I understand that some people might be confused but don't you think it is more confusing to throw another term out there? Technically I guess I use the NEAT method, but when I needed to calculate my TDEE (at a sedentary level) I searched for a TDEE calculator. If you search for a NEAT calculator, all you get is a landscaping website and State Farm Insurance.

    As long at it is clearly explained, it shouldn't confuse people. What happens if you can't keep your activity level up for a while? You're method of eat the same amount of calories every day no matter what will fail. With the NEAT method (or as I will now refer to as the Sparkling Unicorn Method or SUM) you can be sure you're eating at a deficit everyday no matter what you do.

    ETA: I'm not saying either way is right or wrong. Some things work better for some people and the SUM works better for me so that's what I'm going to do.

    What I think is fun is that when you do the NEAT method and don't exercise, then you are also using the TDEE method.

    No you are not...TDEE method states in it ....energy expended doing sports like activity ie exercise

    Fine. If you do not exercise at all, your TDEE and NEAT are the same - however, what is indeed most important, is how you calculated your deficit in the first place and then name your 'method' based on that.
  • Goal179Goal179 Member Posts: 315 Member Member Posts: 315 Member
    Great post. Thanks for that. I finally got off my lazy bum and calculated my own TDEE based on my weight loss and food tracking for two months. It gave me a much more accurate number BUT it was still only about 50 calories off of what I got from Scooby's website. So I would agree that those calculators are pretty accurate but we have to use the information from them correctly or else it is all in vain. =0)
  • richiechownsrichiechowns Member Posts: 155 Member Member Posts: 155 Member
    I've used tdeecalculator.net and Scooby to calculate my TDEE.

    Both are roughly the same at maintenance of 2559 cals based on being 152lbs, 5 foot 11, 40yrs old and around 14%BF (ordered calipers today). Then comes the macros...

    It was my understanding that you can still gain muscle mass in a recomp with 0.8xLBM for Protein. I'm vegan and so I get around 125g protein daily, my fat % is usually busted by less than 10g and my carbs a bit under. Does this matter? I've just adjusted my targets on MFP to 60,20,20 (carbs,fat, protein).

    Scooby default is as I've adjusted, tdeecalc suggests 35,35,30 split with 30% protein at moderate carbs, which is 192g, seems high to me?
  • ZodiacsmomZodiacsmom Member, Premium Posts: 105 Member Member, Premium Posts: 105 Member
    I don't know what any of this means, I eat under my calories every day, if I exercise and am still hungry on those days I will eat some extra, but always have a deficit. I call that the "I have been consistent and am losing weight" method... Do I need to make an acronym for my way for it to be okay? I am kidding...kind of... seriously is this something I need to research?
  • LietchiLietchi Member Posts: 2,223 Member Member Posts: 2,223 Member
    Edit: never mind, wrong thread :hushed:
    edited June 2020
  • ZodiacsmomZodiacsmom Member, Premium Posts: 105 Member Member, Premium Posts: 105 Member
    Zodiacsmom wrote: »
    I don't know what any of this means, I eat under my calories every day, if I exercise and am still hungry on those days I will eat some extra, but always have a deficit. I call that the "I have been consistent and am losing weight" method... Do I need to make an acronym for my way for it to be okay? I am kidding...kind of... seriously is this something I need to research?

    Do you need to know this to lose weight? Absolutely not.

    Does knowing some of these things help you while you lose weight? Maybe

    Learning my TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) AKA my maintenance calories helped me a lot. My TDEE/maintenance is about 2400 calories per day. I was shooting for about 1800 calories per day. Before I learned my TDEE, I would freak out and think I screwed up if I ate 2000 or 2200 calories per day, going over my 1800 calorie goal. Now I don't freak out, because I know I'm still in deficit at 2000 or 2200 calories, just a smaller deficit.

    NEAT - Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis - is just your activity level basically. I'm sure you realize if you are more active, you will lose weight faster - or you can eat more food and continue to lose weight.

    Thank you! :smile:
  • richiechownsrichiechowns Member Posts: 155 Member Member Posts: 155 Member
    heybales wrote: »
    I've used tdeecalculator.net and Scooby to calculate my TDEE.

    Both are roughly the same at maintenance of 2559 cals based on being 152lbs, 5 foot 11, 40yrs old and around 14%BF (ordered calipers today). Then comes the macros...

    It was my understanding that you can still gain muscle mass in a recomp with 0.8xLBM for Protein. I'm vegan and so I get around 125g protein daily, my fat % is usually busted by less than 10g and my carbs a bit under. Does this matter? I've just adjusted my targets on MFP to 60,20,20 (carbs,fat, protein).

    Scooby default is as I've adjusted, tdeecalc suggests 35,35,30 split with 30% protein at moderate carbs, which is 192g, seems high to me?

    The 2 sites are both using the TDEE calc developed from the Harris 1919 study that lead to BMR calc also. One with Harris BMR, one with Mifflin - hence the slight difference.
    Much much more recent and better sites available now. Some sites allow starting with BF% and using Katch BMR, but same tired formula for the 5 levels. So a little more difference possible there.
    For maro's some use studies, some use popular faddish levels.

    For TDEE calc levels:
    Is 5 hrs of walking a week really the same as 5 hrs of running?
    Is a mail carrier walking 30 hrs a week and doing 3 hrs of lifting a week, really have the same TDEE level as a desk jockey and gamer doing same 3 hrs of lifting?

    Those old TDEE calc's would have it so. No inclusion of daily activity that MFP uses now, and no specificity on workouts.

    I figure if you are going to take the time to estimate - might as well hone in finer and deal with progress and real numbers faster.

    Just TDEE Please spreadsheet - better than rough 5 level TDEE charts from 1919 study.
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1G7FgNzPq3v5WMjDtH0n93LXSMRY_hjmzNTMJb3aZSxM/edit?usp=sharing

    And to this ancient 2014 topic - it still is good info to know the difference because many don't use MFP as it was designed (NEAT) and that's fine - but don't report your method (TDEE) of using it (don't eat exercise) as if that is the way others may easily be using it as designed (do eat back).
    People are already confused because every other site out there does TDEE method.
    Then when they don't do their workouts they wonder why no weight or slow weight loss.

    Hi @heybales thanks for this, a very useful resource. I'm now happy with my weight, so am looking for recomp. I'm set at 2500 cals, which is slightly above the 2403 TDEE on the sheet, but then I'll just monitor things as the weeks progress, see if there are any changes.

    I'm not going to eat back exercise cals, just eat 2500 a day and try and stick to the ratio of (adjusted again) 30/35/35 (protein/fat/carbs) which is fairly close to what is in the sheet you've provided. My main question was around these ratios, as being vegan, it is a bit more tricky to get the 156g protein a day and if that were overkill then I'd change the macros, although I've been told that I'd need slightly higher protein intake to account for non-animal based protein??

    Just got to start lifting more as I go now, as my exercise is mostly circuit based with some weight, but I've a plan to get more into calisthenics and use my 152lb frame for some resistance training!

    Also I should note that I'm probably prone to overthinking this, but I was worse trying to break 3hrs for the marathon.... :D
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,880 Member Member Posts: 18,880 Member
    Ahh - you could tell whose sample data I used in there!
    I guessed at the hours of your workouts though, couldn't recall exactly. So that parts not correct possibly.

    0.91 g/lb/day of protein is about what studies show would be useful unless some special circumstances.
    https://mennohenselmans.com/the-myth-of-1glb-optimal-protein-intake-for-bodybuilders/
    https://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-protein

    So 138 g in your case. That's if you can mix and match correctly through the day to end up with complete protein.
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1oq787uzgk1paqMPRwfIr8Hl4gT62odM7IyD3sHEiBlQ/edit#gid=0


  • PAV8888PAV8888 Member Posts: 8,168 Member Member Posts: 8,168 Member
    also @richiechowns , not sure why you and @heybales are using estimates IF YOU HAVE YOUR OWN 3+ weeks of data.

    You could just pluck in Calories taken in + weight TREND change in Calories = estimate of actual TDEE + a percentage if your previous period was a deficit. Then continue to refine as the weeks roll on.

    REGARDLESS of the "nomenclature" of the method used, it remains important to adjust up or down for any increase or decrease in exercise OR activity calories. i.e. you should capture any changes to your base level of Calories, regardless of provenance and regardless of what was originally included.

    If you forgot to add petting the cat in your original totals... then it would be legit to add petting the cat Calories. And if you included petting the dog; but didn't perform your dog petting duties, then you should subtract your petting the dog calories to maintain the desired balance! :lol:
    edited June 2020
  • richiechownsrichiechowns Member Posts: 155 Member Member Posts: 155 Member
    PAV8888 wrote: »
    also @richiechowns , not sure why you and @heybales are using estimates IF YOU HAVE YOUR OWN 3+ weeks of data.

    You could just pluck in Calories taken in + weight TREND change in Calories = estimate of actual TDEE + a percentage if your previous period was a deficit. Then continue to refine as the weeks roll on.

    REGARDLESS of the "nomenclature" of the method used, it remains important to adjust up or down for any increase or decrease in exercise OR activity calories. i.e. you should capture any changes to your base level of Calories, regardless of provenance and regardless of what was originally included.

    If you forgot to add petting the cat in your original totals... then it would be legit to add petting the cat Calories. And if you included petting the dog; but didn't perform your dog petting duties, then you should subtract your petting the dog calories to maintain the desired balance! :lol:

    That's actually funnier than you'll realise as my son was pretending to be a cat yesterday, so I was petting a cat of sorts!

    I'll have a bash at working through my data shortly over the last 3 weeks or so.
  • paperpuddingpaperpudding Member Posts: 6,713 Member Member Posts: 6,713 Member
    This all seems very complicated to me.

    I would start by putting my stats in to MFP and accurately eat the given amount for 1 month.

    At the end of 1 month look at whether you have lost at expected pace.

    If so, continue.
    If not adjust your calories up or down accordingly.

    which I think is what Pav was getting at too, albeit in more jargony language than me.

    ( He's probably been eating too many cucumbers ;) )
  • richiechownsrichiechowns Member Posts: 155 Member Member Posts: 155 Member
    This all seems very complicated to me.

    I would start by putting my stats in to MFP and accurately eat the given amount for 1 month.

    At the end of 1 month look at whether you have lost at expected pace.

    If so, continue.
    If not adjust your calories up or down accordingly.

    which I think is what Pav was getting at too, albeit in more jargony language than me.

    ( He's probably been eating too many cucumbers ;) )

    I'm looking to recomp, maintenance cals or a slight surplus, so not losing weight. Also I get big adjustments on exercise through Garmin, so the eat back exercise calories I don't think would work for me.

    Seems easier to calculate TDEE based on my average weeks exercise and then eat the same cals each day regardless?
  • ahoy_m8ahoy_m8 Member Posts: 2,377 Member Member Posts: 2,377 Member
    Good post. I do think accurate terminology makes a difference to those trying to understand. There is a lot of misinformation out there. Imprecise terminology only further confuses matters.

    FWIW, I'm a long time maintainer, my intentional exercise is extremely consistent week to week, and I also use the TDEE method based on my own data (which is also very close to online calculators). In other words, my weekly exercise is averaged into my daily calorie allowance (which is the same every day).
  • ahoy_m8ahoy_m8 Member Posts: 2,377 Member Member Posts: 2,377 Member
    I posted before realizing this is a zombie thread. Just thought (hoped?) SezxyStef was back.
    edited June 2020
  • PAV8888PAV8888 Member Posts: 8,168 Member Member Posts: 8,168 Member
    One option is to discount your watch data and ignore it.

    The other option is to evaluate how accurate it is.

    I've gone through this exercise several times in the past starting from when I was losing rapidly, then slowly, then while maintaining, I found my Fitbit to be quite accurate over sufficient time (my off road walking/hiking primary exercise is fairly friendly to step counters, less than flat paved roads but more than other)

    So in the past I've had errors or unexplained calories not exceeding 5% of TDEE during any rolling 60+ day period tested (frankly only once during a 30 day time period). Mostly less than 3%. Even though 3% is almost 100 Cal, I can certainly work with that!

    Yesterday i repeated the exercise for the 90 days between March 7 and June 5 during which I applied an apparent ~6.17% of TDEE deficit of ~167 Cal a day, dropping 4.3 very real trending weight lbs.

    The error for me bracketed between a 1.65% overstatement of TDEE and a 2% understatement.

    Unless you have reason, or interest, for such levels of detail, a rough estimate of how wrong your Garmin might be based on past results, plus being guided by your actual hunger signals should be more than enough, assuming you continue to weigh yourself and observe your weight trend, in order to push on a small slow surplus.

    While I no longer regularly engage in such detailed calculations I was somewhat curious as to how close the numbers would align given that I believe my loss at this time to be pretty much 1:1 fat to non fat mass and that I've observed an approximately 5 to 10 BPM drop in Fitbit calculated resting heart rate scaling with size of deficit while, in general, due to COVID my activity level is a bit lower than in the past

    Of interest to me was a drop of about 170 to 270 calories of TDEE with a 30-40 minute reduction in average walking activity (M, 54y, 172.25cm, 150-155lbs).

    Of equal interest was that hunger scaled fairly well with the drop as long as I wasn't buying take out and oh Henry bars in quantity :lol:
  • kshama2001kshama2001 Member Posts: 24,054 Member Member Posts: 24,054 Member
    This all seems very complicated to me.

    I would start by putting my stats in to MFP and accurately eat the given amount for 1 month.

    At the end of 1 month look at whether you have lost at expected pace.

    If so, continue.
    If not adjust your calories up or down accordingly.


    which I think is what Pav was getting at too, albeit in more jargony language than me.

    ( He's probably been eating too many cucumbers ;) )

    Yes, especially for people who are new and confused. You're here at MFP. Let MFP do the calculations. Follow for a month and then adjust as needed.
  • PAV8888PAV8888 Member Posts: 8,168 Member Member Posts: 8,168 Member
    I blame the cucumbers! Nice to see @SezxyStef lurking: even if an EXTRA year late... boy oh boy the cucumbers that could be consumed in a year! :lol:
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