How to count :life: calories

Ok - so I work full time and am the mom of 5 active kids. Since I'm a teacher I'm home right now and a little more busy than usual (as a science teacher though i don't ever get to sit down or stop moving).... Today I did 3 loads of laundry (up and down steps), cleaned the house, 2 loads of dishes, grocery shopped, mowed the lawn, set up the slip and slide .... those sorts of things. I'm exhausted by 3 but still go to the gym every night and do an hour to hour and half - sometimes circuit sometimes a class like spinning. I decided to see if any of my life activities counted and found that mowing the law is considered cardio. My overall question is - does anyone really count these as burned calories? This is just my life - I'm this busy every day so it's just my normal ... not me moving extra to burn calories. Thoughts????

**Anyone w/ a similar life ??? Friend me!!! Hard to find others who understand my chaos!!!**
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Replies

  • usmcmp
    usmcmp Posts: 21,220 Member
    "Life" calories is your basic activity level which you should have set in the beginning. Anything above and beyond your normal activities is "exercise" calories.
  • DelilahCat0212
    DelilahCat0212 Posts: 282 Member
    Get a fitbit or a bodybugg. It is eye opening!
  • JesterMFP
    JesterMFP Posts: 3,596 Member
    I wouldn't log those kinds of things - it sounds like they are part of your normal life. I would adjust your activity level setting to reflect your normal daily activity, and then log the additional planned exercise where you go to the gym and workout. That way, you can maintain a reasonable calorie deficit while giving your body enough fuel. If your ticker is correct that you only have 20 lbs to lose, you would probably benefit from having quite a small calorie deficit.
  • mzmarple
    mzmarple Posts: 12
    I don't count "life" calories, only exercise calories. If your non-exercise activity level stays the same, and you count the calories you burn, you could be overeating to compensate for those calories burned.

    Unless you wear a fitness monitor, and know exactly how many calories you burn each day, I would only count exercise calories.
  • meggonkgonk
    meggonkgonk Posts: 2,066 Member
    "Life" calories is your basic activity level which you should have set in the beginning. Anything above and beyond your normal activities is "exercise" calories.

    ^^ This. This is exactly what that activity level is intended for.
  • sjtreely
    sjtreely Posts: 1,014 Member
    I have counted the calories I've burned mowing my lawn before. I don't do it all the time, but I was curious as to how many calories I burned, so I wore my HRM. I don't remember exactly how many, but it was over 300. That's a couple beers to me. :smile:

    I don't count for general cleaning. I I get down on my knees and mop the floor correctly it can take me 90 minutes, so there have been times I've worn my HRM for that activity, too.

    Mostly, though, I only count calories where I have intentional exercise ... i.e. - put my running shoes on and walk out the door to get my run on.
  • voddy67
    voddy67 Posts: 10
    :sad: wht is a fit bit.>? IS NEWBIE
  • my "LIFE" calories vary so i count them and consider myself sedentary.
  • Linda_Darlene
    Linda_Darlene Posts: 453 Member
    I wouldn't log those kinds of things - it sounds like they are part of your normal life. I would adjust your activity level setting to reflect your normal daily activity, and then log the additional planned exercise where you go to the gym and workout. That way, you can maintain a reasonable calorie deficit while giving your body enough fuel. If your ticker is correct that you only have 20 lbs to lose, you would probably benefit from having quite a small calorie deficit.

    This.

    But if I'm breaking a sweat, I'm gonna log it!
  • twonkieone
    twonkieone Posts: 132
    I put the activity level at the next to top one -- because that made it seem like i'm running marathons every day (which i'm not --- ever!) Maybe I need to change it to the highest one? I get up at 5:45 and don't stop moving until 10:00 pm --- every single day of the week. I'm super active but it's not always in an aerobic way -- ie being outside for 3 hours w the kids and walking around but not moving super fast
  • Linda_Darlene
    Linda_Darlene Posts: 453 Member
    :sad: wht is a fit bit.>? IS NEWBIE

    It is a high tech pedometer that can interface with your computer.
  • twonkieone
    twonkieone Posts: 132
    so if i take my dog for a walk every day then i shouldn't really count that because it's just part of my "normal" - but if i go for a walk w/o dog which would be longer/more aerobic/faster then i could?
  • so if i take my dog for a walk every day then i shouldn't really count that because it's just part of my "normal" - but if i go for a walk w/o dog which would be longer/more aerobic/faster then i could?

    I'd say yes--but it sounds like your activity level should certainly be light at the minimum and moderate to high if days like today were normal.
  • sjtreely
    sjtreely Posts: 1,014 Member
    I think you need to remember your goal. Always keep that in mind.

    Your profile is to get the sexy back - or something like that. Keeping track of every single calorie burned would become tedious and for what benefit?

    If you plan to eat all of your exercise calories back then you might want to be more diligent, but if you're looking to become sexier (an admirable goal) then be real with yourself. Walking the dog does burn calories, but certainly not like going for an intentional aerobic activity such as power walking.

    Focus on the activities that tone your body (which is how I tend to define sexy). Walking up and down stairs will help tone your body. Is it necessary to calculate exactly how many calories are being burned? Probably not.

    However, if you decide, daaaang ... I like how the stairs help bring definition to my glutes, etc, then by all means add more stair laps and count them.

    Point being, there's no right or wrong answer. It all goes back to what your goal is. Focus on that and you'll figure it out.
  • JesterMFP
    JesterMFP Posts: 3,596 Member
    so if i take my dog for a walk every day then i shouldn't really count that because it's just part of my "normal" - but if i go for a walk w/o dog which would be longer/more aerobic/faster then i could?
    The main thing is to count all your exercise/activity, but only count it once. So, if you go for a walk every day, it should either be counted as part of your activity level, or logged as additional exercise. Logging each activity as additional exercise (particularly using a heart rate monitor) would give you a more accurate picture of how many calories you're burning. On the other hand, counting it all in your activity level/TDEE, and not logging anything extra would be easier. People sometimes look down on logging things like cleaning, as if it's "cheating" somehow. To me, that's kind of missing the point. The point is to get an accurate estimate of your daily calorie burn so that you can create the appropriate calorie deficit.
    I put the activity level at the next to top one -- because that made it seem like i'm running marathons every day (which i'm not --- ever!) Maybe I need to change it to the highest one?
    How is it working out for you right now? Are you feeling tired, or like you don't have enough energy to exercise? Are you losing at the rate predicted by MFP, and/or the rate you want to lose at? (Bearing in mind, with only 20 lbs to lose you should probably be aiming for about 0.5 lb a week - but that's up to you.) If you're not having problems with your energy or weight loss, then maybe you don't need to change anything.
  • I put the activity level at the next to top one -- because that made it seem like i'm running marathons every day (which i'm not --- ever!) Maybe I need to change it to the highest one? I get up at 5:45 and don't stop moving until 10:00 pm --- every single day of the week. I'm super active but it's not always in an aerobic way -- ie being outside for 3 hours w the kids and walking around but not moving super fast

    The highest activity level still doesn't take into account marathon running--you'd be adding that in regardless. It's your daily life activities outside of exercise if I understand correctly.
  • Capt_Apollo
    Capt_Apollo Posts: 9,026 Member
    http://www.quickbmr.com/what-is-tdee.html

    go here to find out your tdee (total daily energy expenditure) and that'll help you find your BMR (basal metobolic rate). BMR is what you would need to consume, at MINIMUM, if your body were just laying in bed all day.

    you should be eating in between you TDEE and BMR. unfortunatly some people get confused and eat below their BMR, which causes their weight lose to suffer.
  • This is what the activity level adjustment is for.
  • http://www.quickbmr.com/what-is-tdee.html

    go here to find out your tdee (total daily energy expenditure) and that'll help you find your BMR (basal metobolic rate). BMR is what you would need to consume, at MINIMUM, if your body were just laying in bed all day.

    you should be eating in between you TDEE and BMR. unfortunatly some people get confused and eat below their BMR, which causes their weight lose to suffer.

    even eating AT one's BMR is likely too low if they are doing anything at all in their daily life. Usually most people burn at minimum 200-300 calories above their BMR without purposeful exercise. Now with being a mom doing multiple loads of laundry, lots of cleaning, walking the dog, etc you're going to burn a considerable amount over your BMR.
  • twonkieone
    twonkieone Posts: 132
    thanks all -- i've been this active for forever it seemed - but it's also been equally as long since i've been able to lose any weight. since i joined 10 days ago i've lost 5 pounds -- only thing i've changed is paying better attention to the food part! just wanted to keep an accurate record/goal/calories as possible and not be so active and not eat what i should-- but not add in calories by counting my normal life as :exercise: and going over.

    feeling good about it!!! appreciate everyone's support, advice and effort to clarify!!! :love: