# Help Calculating Daily Calories with BMR and TDEE and More Confused Than Ever

Posts: 128 Member
Okay, so there was a thread that just resurfaced that 'explained' BMR and TDEE, but I am more confused than ever. I don't know how many calories I need to be eating to lose 2 lb a week.

Sex: F
Age: 23
SW: 261 (on 9/20/16)
CW: 250
GW: 130
Body Fat %: 60.1% (as calculated from http://www.fat2fittools.com/tools/mbf/)

Job: Sedentary. I walk almost a mile each day to travel to my car (0.4 mile up to my building, and 0.4 back to the car). Otherwise I'm a front desk person and have to stay at the desk.

Exercise: I try going to the gym 6 days a week for about 30 min. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are 15-20 min strength training with 15 minutes of cardio. Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday are about 30-40 minutes of cardio. I can't say how much I burn on strength training, but the most recent 30-40 minute day was travelling 2.68 miles (on elliptical) in 38 minutes, burning 419 calories. My average amount of days going to the gym is more like 4. Some days I just can't make it in.

Now, my information plugged into the myfitnesspal settings puts me at 1350 calories a day. Now I'm reading up on this BMR and TDEE stuff, and I just don't know what to do anymore. ><

## Replies

• Posts: 14,261 Member
What has you confused?

You should log your exercise and then eat those calories. If, after 4 weeks, your results have been good, dont' change anything. If your weight loss is too slow, eat a bit less. If it is too fast, eat a bit more.

No matter the method, the numbers you get from any and all calculators are just starting points.
• Posts: 33,939 Member
edited September 2016
http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/931670/bmr-and-tdee-explained-for-those-needing-a-guide/p1

http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/819055/setting-your-calorie-and-macro-targets

...and exactly what jem said - It's your experiment to run. My suggestion would be to use the MFP numbers, eat back your exercise calories and profit. At your weight, loss should be steady if you track your food.

Keep good records of everything so you know what to tweak and when.
• Posts: 128 Member
@cmriverside

Yes I read those, but I'm a hands-on type learner. Reading all of that made me MORE confused
• Posts: 81 Member
You may want to start at an exercise lab getting a BMR analysis. That will let you zero in exactly on what it should be. Set your MFP to "sedentary" then exercise, and eat back 80% of those calories. Set a deficit of around 250-500 per day. Eat enough protein. Oh, and get on some strength training right away too. It'll take time but anything worth it takes time, and the results will be durable and not yo-yo.
• Posts: 1,900 Member
It wasn't until I'd lost over 80 pounds that I even started looking at my TDEE. I stuck with the NEAT formula here on MFP. I recommend you do the same for a bit if you're feeling confused. My fitness tracker with HRM is spot on for TDEE, and the online calculators vary quite a bit.
• Posts: 33,939 Member
@cmriverside

Yes I read those, but I'm a hands-on type learner. Reading all of that made me MORE confused

Yeah, I get that. At your weight, you will be able to lose very well by using MFP's numbers - just start. It's not hard at all to lose two pounds per week when you have lot to lose. You have months to tweak and think about it.

I think people really stress over getting exact numbers due to a perfectionist mindset. The exercise numbers used to baffle me, so I understand your questioning. I just used the MFP numbers. I ate every calorie given to me by exercise. It wasn't until I got much closer to my goal (like within 30 pounds) that it became important for me to buckle down on the numbers; both food numbers and exercise. I ended up just using a flat 300 calories per hour of moderate, planned, sustained exercise. I've used that for years and it works for me.
• Posts: 16,013 Member
jemhh wrote: »
What has you confused?

You should log your exercise and then eat those calories. If, after 4 weeks, your results have been good, dont' change anything. If your weight loss is too slow, eat a bit less. If it is too fast, eat a bit more.

No matter the method, the numbers you get from any and all calculators are just starting points.

OP, as this poster said, all the calculators are helping you make an educated guess, that's it. So pick one, run with it for a month, see what happens and adjust from there if you need to. Since you already plugged in your stats here and got a number, I say start with that. Log your exercise and eat back most of those calories on top of the 1350 and see where you are after a month. Good luck!
• Posts: 2,467 Member
Here's the thing with TDEE ... everything else being the same, the TDEE will go up or down based on how active you are ... it is not a static number. So take to heart what you have been advised.
• Posts: 147 Member
TDEE is great if you pretty much always have the same activity level, I rather it because then I dont feel like I have to workout to earn food back. However before I worked out on the reg I liked MFPs numbers because then I just added in my workouts when I did them. To get my TDEE I used six online calculators then found the average number, i ate that for a few weeks then saw I could actually eat a bit more and still lose my target number. Its totally up to you, like anything boils down to trail and error.
• Posts: 66 Member
I am eating right around 1200 calories a day and lost 3lbs in my first week!
• Posts: 30,886 Member
Okay, so there was a thread that just resurfaced that 'explained' BMR and TDEE, but I am more confused than ever. I don't know how many calories I need to be eating to lose 2 lb a week.

What's wrong with MFP's goal? That should work fine. The main difference between MFP and TDEE goals is that with MFP you eat back exercise (I'd eat back half to start, probably, and then adjust based on results). The other difference you will see if you have a 2 lb/week goal is that most TDEE goals are going to be for a smaller rate of loss.

When you have a lot to lose (and not a reliable BF estimate, which most aren't), the calculators can be off. To compare:

You said your MFP goal is 1350 (+ whatever exercise you log). That means MFP assumes that your maintenance is around 2350 when you aren't exercising, more when you are.

The TDEE calculators are all estimates, but I get the following:

Katch-McArdle (takes BF into consideration, so will be lower for someone with lots to lose): BMR of about 1350, TDEE if you are moderately active (which seems about right, as it is 3-5 hours of exercise per week): 2100. (Minus 1000 for 2 lb/week would be 1100, which is obviously too low, and unlikely to be necessary as the extra lbs tends to mean that you burn a bit more than expected and your BF number is just an estimate).

Harris-Benedict (I'd need a height, am picking 5'5): BMR=1935, TDEE with moderate activity=3000 [this is almost certainly off, though, because it presumes a lower body fat number and thus more muscle mass which would lead to a higher calorie burn].) Minus your 1000 for 2 lb/week, and you get 2000.

As you can see, the MFP number is in the middle and probably a good starting point, especially if you are conservative and log back just half of the exercise (you wouldn't log back any with TDEE).

After a month look at results.

Also, you've been losing, so it seems you are doing fine -- do you have concerns with what you've been doing?