MFP vs TDEE

debrakgoogins
debrakgoogins Posts: 2,034 Member
edited April 2015 in Health and Weight Loss
I have been consistently losing about a pound a week since Christmas. Following a surgery, I gained weight and went above my original starting point. I started back up with MFP but didn't reset my starting weight - wish I had known that was an option but hindsight you know. In early March, I started working with a personal trainer four days a week. I am noticing a considerable change in my body composition, mobility and strength. My BMI (according to one of the handheld devices) has reduced by 4% although I understand that can be very inaccurate. I have lost 1.5 centimeters in my stomach and hips since March 1. The scale is still moving in the right direction but slightly slower than it was. My problem is that I am hungry, HANGRY. Before, I was able to manage my hunger by eating high protein, moderate fat snacks in the AM and afternoon but not now that I am working out harder and more often my stomach is constantly grumbling.

I did some research here and decided to calculate my Scooby TDEE. FYI - I am 5'9, currently 192 pounds. I work out 4 days a week for 60 minutes doing lifting and metabolic training. I work a desk job so my goals are based on the "sedentary" setting with 50% carb, 30% fat and 20% protein. I occasionally do cardio on my off days but it isn't consistent so I didn't take that into consideration. According to the Scooby calculation, I should be eating about 200 calories more per day than I currently eat on my days that include calories earned for my workouts. I am eating 500 calories less than the Scooby number on the days that I am not working out.

For those who have more experience than I do, should I change my calorie goals (or maybe just my protein percentage) or just suck it up and be hungry? I am not disappointed with my progress, just my constant hunger.
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Replies

  • who4fan
    who4fan Posts: 388 Member
    If you add those calories, you may find that you lose faster. Sometimes our bodies hold on to weight if it feels it's not getting enough food for our activity level.
  • MsMargie1116
    MsMargie1116 Posts: 323 Member
    edited April 2015
    I say, if you are working out hard, and you are hungry, that is your body's way of saying you need MORE CALORIES... :smile: Go ahead and eat something... test it out... I would bet if you AREN'T eating at least SOME of your exercise calories back, you will surprisingly see a weight drop when you do!!!
  • deksgrl
    deksgrl Posts: 7,237 Member
    edited April 2015
    When you set your TDEE, this includes exercise, so you should set it to at least lightly active, perhaps moderately active. If you are doing heavy lifting, then you need to fuel those workouts, and this is why you are hungry.

    MFP does not include exercise so you set your activity level based on normal activities NOT including purposeful exercise. (and this is why you eat more calories when you do exercise because it is not included in that calculation).

    Editing to add: A properly set TDEE - % calorie goal should be about in the same ballpark as a properly set MFP + exercise calories goal.
  • Hadabetter
    Hadabetter Posts: 941 Member
    You could experiment and see if you can reduce the hunger by increasing protein and/or increasing fiber. If that doesn't work for you, and you are tired of being hungry, then yeah eat a little more. Regardless of what MFP says, or what Scooby says about how much you "should" be eating, what you have been eating has produced your results, so eating a little more will mean that you slow your loss a little. For example, if you eat 200 calories more per day, your weight loss with go from a pound a week, to a pound every 11-12 days.
  • malibu927
    malibu927 Posts: 17,565 Member
    who4fan wrote: »
    If you add those calories, you may find that you lose faster. Sometimes our bodies hold on to weight if it feels it's not getting enough food for our activity level.

    ...no

    OP, I would stick with MFP if you aren't consistently working out.
  • debrakgoogins
    debrakgoogins Posts: 2,034 Member
    malibu927 wrote: »
    who4fan wrote: »
    If you add those calories, you may find that you lose faster. Sometimes our bodies hold on to weight if it feels it's not getting enough food for our activity level.

    ...no

    OP, I would stick with MFP if you aren't consistently working out.
    I work out 4 days a week for 60 minutes doing lifting and metabolic training.

  • malibu927
    malibu927 Posts: 17,565 Member
    malibu927 wrote: »
    who4fan wrote: »
    If you add those calories, you may find that you lose faster. Sometimes our bodies hold on to weight if it feels it's not getting enough food for our activity level.

    ...no

    OP, I would stick with MFP if you aren't consistently working out.

    I work out 4 days a week for 60 minutes doing lifting and metabolic training.

    Okay, sorry, I was misreading the post. As said before, TDEE should be comparable to your MFP+exercise calories goal. The only difference is you'll eat that amount every day, even when you aren't working out. Do whatever fits for you.
  • MoiAussi93
    MoiAussi93 Posts: 1,948 Member
    edited April 2015
    I would cut your carbs by 5-10% and add it to protein (you could also add some of it to fat if you prefer).

    When I increased my protein several months ago, I noticed immediately...like the same day...that I was less hungry. For me, fat and protein both have the effect of keeping me full for many hours. I later increased fat because i thought I might not be eating enough, and now I am just about never hungry.

    If you try that for a week or so, and you're still hungry, take your calories up a little. You are losing currently, so you may have room to do that.
  • deksgrl
    deksgrl Posts: 7,237 Member
    Again, if you set your TDEE to SEDENTARY, when you do indeed exercise, then it is not calculated properly.
    You need to include your exercise in TDEE, so choose a higher activity level.
  • debrakgoogins
    debrakgoogins Posts: 2,034 Member
    deksgrl wrote: »
    Again, if you set your TDEE to SEDENTARY, when you do indeed exercise, then it is not calculated properly.
    You need to include your exercise in TDEE, so choose a higher activity level.

    I understand that. My original post may have been confusing. When I stated I have my activity level as sedentary, I meant that is what I currently have in MFP - as a reference to show the difference between MFP and TDEE.

    I believe I correctly identified my exercise in the TDEE (indicating 3-5 days of moderate exercise - I didn't choose the next highest level because that was 5-6 days of strenuous which I don't always accomplish) and the MFP (sedentary because I have a desk job).
  • mirrim52
    mirrim52 Posts: 763 Member
    What do you have your weight loss goal set for in MFP, and what calorie deficit did you choose in Scooby?

    But yes, both methods should come out the same if the goals are the same and you are logging exercise properly. TDEE just averages the included exercise out over the week. The problem is, many people compare MFP set to 2 lb loss a week to TDEE with a 500-600 calorie deficit, which is comparing apples to oranges.
  • debrakgoogins
    debrakgoogins Posts: 2,034 Member
    mirrim52 wrote: »
    What do you have your weight loss goal set for in MFP, and what calorie deficit did you choose in Scooby?

    But yes, both methods should come out the same if the goals are the same and you are logging exercise properly. TDEE just averages the included exercise out over the week. The problem is, many people compare MFP set to 2 lb loss a week to TDEE with a 500-600 calorie deficit, which is comparing apples to oranges.

    I have MFP set at 1 pound per week. I set my TDEE goal at lose fat - 20% calorie reduction.

    MFP has me eating 1460 per day. My trainer assures me I safely burn about 260 calories during one of our sessions. That would make my goal on a work out day 1720. TDEE has my calorie goal as 1968. That seems like a considerable difference. Now, if I change my MFP to lightly active, my daily calories jump to 1700 which would be 1960 on exercise days.
  • SingRunTing
    SingRunTing Posts: 2,604 Member
    If your exercise routine is consistent, why not try the TDEE method?

    Just remember that its calculating TDEE based on population averages, so it might not be exact for you (combined with how accurate you are with your intake logging). So give it a try for a few weeks. Remember that when you up your calories, you might see some upward fluctuation on the scale for a few days. This is why I say give it a couple of weeks. If after a few weeks you aren't losing at the rate you want, adjust the calories up or down based on your own data.
  • ana3067
    ana3067 Posts: 5,624 Member
    deksgrl wrote: »
    When you set your TDEE, this includes exercise, so you should set it to at least lightly active, perhaps moderately active. If you are doing heavy lifting, then you need to fuel those workouts, and this is why you are hungry.

    MFP does not include exercise so you set your activity level based on normal activities NOT including purposeful exercise. (and this is why you eat more calories when you do exercise because it is not included in that calculation).

    Editing to add: A properly set TDEE - % calorie goal should be about in the same ballpark as a properly set MFP + exercise calories goal.

    this
  • mirrim52
    mirrim52 Posts: 763 Member
    Everything is an average. No method is perfect for everyone. If you are hungry, try upping your calories and see how it goes. Keep in mind, not many people are truly sedentary. We garden, do housework, go shopping, run after kids, walk dogs, etc.

    I used 3 different TDEE calculators, and they all gave me different numbers, but up to 300 calories. The best way to find your true TDEE is to look at your intake and loss. If you have been meticulous in logging, add up 4 weeks or so of intake. Add 3500 calories for every lb you lost in that time. Divide by 28 days (or how every many days you use). That is your personal TDEE. Subtract 20% from that number and make it your goal.
  • Mr_Knight
    Mr_Knight Posts: 9,532 Member
    edited April 2015
    Forget the calculators - they're all guesses.

    If you're losing too fast, then your deficit is to big. If you're losing to slow, then your deficit is too small. If you're losing as expected, then your deficit is just right.

    One caveat - if you are running anything but a small deficit while being very active (eg equivalent of running 10k 4 times a week (thats just an example)) then it is highly likely a big portion of the weight loss is lean body mass. Big deficits and high activity levels wreek havoc on the human body.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    mirrim52 wrote: »
    What do you have your weight loss goal set for in MFP, and what calorie deficit did you choose in Scooby?

    But yes, both methods should come out the same if the goals are the same and you are logging exercise properly. TDEE just averages the included exercise out over the week. The problem is, many people compare MFP set to 2 lb loss a week to TDEE with a 500-600 calorie deficit, which is comparing apples to oranges.

    I have MFP set at 1 pound per week. I set my TDEE goal at lose fat - 20% calorie reduction.

    MFP has me eating 1460 per day. My trainer assures me I safely burn about 260 calories during one of our sessions. That would make my goal on a work out day 1720. TDEE has my calorie goal as 1968. That seems like a considerable difference. Now, if I change my MFP to lightly active, my daily calories jump to 1700 which would be 1960 on exercise days.

    TDEE isn't really defined by the calculator, but what you burn (living and through exercise) over the week. So if you think you burn a particular amount more than the calculator is accounting for you'd include it. The only differences (as others have said) would be due to the difference in your goal--for many 20% of TDEE is a bit less than 1 lb/week, whereas the MFP goal is for more. MFP's calculator may also give a different number than some other calculator (it can't include BF%) and may be different than observed TDEE.

    MFP apparently has calculated that your maintenance if sedentary is 1960, and if lightly active (but no other exercise) is 2300. This means it thinks your BMR is about 1633. (I thought lightly active was a multiplier of 1.5, which would give 2450, but not sure about that.)

    TDEE has your maintenance (with activity) at about 2450, which gives you 1960 with a 20% cut (-490 or just under a lb). So whatever you told it about your exercise/activity caused it to estimate about 490 calories on average per day beyond just being sedentary (if all else is equal). This is consistent with the difference I get from Scooby between sedentary and assuming 3-5 hours/week of strenuous exercise.

    So the question seems to be if 490 calories every day is a good estimate of what you actually do on average (with the understanding that it's more some days and less others). If so, that's what you should be logging in MFP too, so it should even out. If not, then you might want to adjust the TDEE number if you go that way.

    It sounds as if you are questioning whether your actual workout burns are as high as Scooby is estimating. The Scooby activity entries are pretty imprecise (arguably this is appropriate, since you can't really know it and need to adjust anyway). Also, they probably add in some daily activity for people who say they are more active beyond the workouts, I don't know how their calculation for activity works. If you are concerned that the amount you burn in walking around plus exercise isn't so high, don't use the Scooby number.

    I'd say try it and adjust if your results aren't good, though.
  • debrakgoogins
    debrakgoogins Posts: 2,034 Member
    Mr_Knight wrote: »
    Forget the calculators - they're all guesses.

    If you're losing too fast, then your deficit is to big. If you're losing to slow, then your deficit is too small. If you're losing as expected, then your deficit is just right.

    Maybe I was unclear. I'm not disappointed with my rate of loss. I am hungrier now that I am consistently working with a trainer a few times a week.
  • debrakgoogins
    debrakgoogins Posts: 2,034 Member
    @lemurcat12 Thank you. Actually, thank you to everyone. My concern is that I am happy with my rate of loss...will changing my calories to that extreme drastically change my rate of loss? I don't want to be hungry but I also don't want to ruin my momentum.
  • tomatoey
    tomatoey Posts: 5,459 Member
    If you eat a bit more, you'll still lose, and you'll have more energy to fuel your workouts and it will help your muscles recover. Also it will feel easier, you won't feel as deprived. Also you won't have to stress about estimating your workout burns (as long as you work your butt off every time). I vote for TDEE pretty much always, it's just easier in so many ways.