Has anyone had success with eating half of their calories back?

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I always thought "eat less, excercise more" so that's what I did. I tried to eat around 1200 calories a day and never ate any of my calories burned. It doesn't seem to be working for me though. I've seen a lot of people recommend to eat half of your excercise calories back and I'm going to start trying this. I've reset my calorie intake according to MFP at 1320. Can anyone tell me about their success with eating back excercise calories?
BTW I'm 24, 5'3 and 255 pounds.
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  • debtay123
    debtay123 Posts: 1,327 Member
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    MFP takes into account your exercise- so you should at least eat a portion of your calories back- most people start with half of the calories(in case it over estimates) then they move up or down based on whether or not you are losing- but do eat back some calories- so you will get enough nutrients in your food.
  • fbchick51
    fbchick51 Posts: 240 Member
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    Down 17lbs and eat back about half each day... sometimes more if I'm hungry
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,868 Member
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    When I used the MFP method I ate back almost all of them...but I had a pretty good handle on the accuracy of my expenditure.

    Your MFP calorie target does not account for exercise in your activity level...common sense would dictate that additional unaccounted for activity should be accounted for somewhere...the more you move, the higher your energy (calorie) requirements are.
  • TeaBea
    TeaBea Posts: 14,517 Member
    edited March 2017
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    Eating 100% of exercise calories back (and losing weight) is the way My Fitness Pal is designed, because you got your calorie deficit before exercise.

    However calorie burns are guesstimates so many people start by eating back 50%. Then as weight loss progresses - slower or faster than expected - users increase or decrease this 50%.

    The problem people encounter with not losing weight is that everything is an estimate. So if 1200 is "not working" for you (if you mean little or no weight loss) eating more calories is not the answer.

    Do you weigh all solids and semi-solids using a digital food scale, do you measure liquids using a measuring cup? Have you double checked your database entry selections....some of them are inaccurate. Do you put your recipes in MFP? Do you log every bite, every taste, every lick?

    Your activity level is a range.....but MFP has selected one number as a starting point. Exercise (if you are logging it) should not be included in your activity level or you will be double counting.
  • shadow2soul
    shadow2soul Posts: 7,692 Member
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    I eat most (if not all)of mine. However instead of doing the Neat method, I use TDEE which averages my exercise calories out over the week. It's essentially the same thing though.

    I tried not eating them once. I was miserable, hangry, and lethargic. My workouts suffered.
  • TheCupcakeCounter
    TheCupcakeCounter Posts: 606 Member
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    I eat back between 25-50% of my exercise calories. That gives me a cushion in case the actual burn isn't as high as my Fitbit + MFP calculate. I have lost 20 lbs in about 2 1/2 months so it works.
    1200 is minimum calorie intake for a female and usually the more you weigh the more calories you burn during exercise. If you are relatively new to calorie restriction going from 2500 or so a day to 1200-1300 a day is going to be extremely hard and the harder it is to maintain long term the easier it is to quit. I have mine set to 1200 but I have an aggressive target and know the right foods to eat to get 1200 really good, nutritious calories and can maintain that for an extended period of time until I get to my goal.
    I would put your info into MFP and set your weight loss goal for .5 lbs/week and see what they come up with as your suggested caloric intake. Do that for a week or two and then adjust it to 1 lb a week once you are finding it fairly easy to hit that and not feel overly deprived. If you want to get more aggressive after 4 weeks of success then set it to a higher loss per week.
  • Afura
    Afura Posts: 2,054 Member
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    debtay123 wrote: »
    MFP takes into account your exercise- so you should at least eat a portion of your calories back- most people start with half of the calories(in case it over estimates) then they move up or down based on whether or not you are losing- but do eat back some calories- so you will get enough nutrients in your food.

    MFP does not take into account your exercise (not sure if that's what you meant). The NEAT method MFP uses is Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.

    If you're not using a really good accurate band or strap that calculates your burn, the 50% is to be safe in the margin of calories as MFP (and other exercise websites) are just an estimate and cannot take into account things like hills when walking, increased or decreased activity during cardio.
  • earlnabby
    earlnabby Posts: 8,171 Member
    edited March 2017
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    I always thought "eat less, excercise more" so that's what I did. I tried to eat around 1200 calories a day and never ate any of my calories burned. It doesn't seem to be working for me though. I've seen a lot of people recommend to eat half of your excercise calories back and I'm going to start trying this. I've reset my calorie intake according to MFP at 1320. Can anyone tell me about their success with eating back excercise calories?
    BTW I'm 24, 5'3 and 255 pounds.

    I eat back 50% of MFP calories given and closer to 75% of what my fitness tracker gives me. My average loss has been on target.

    I started out eating back 50% of everything and was losing too fast so I started eating back more. YMMV
  • Machka9
    Machka9 Posts: 25,099 Member
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    Has anyone had success with eating half of their calories back?


    Absolutely! 50 lbs lost.
  • TavistockToad
    TavistockToad Posts: 35,719 Member
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    I've had success eating all of them back!
  • RuNaRoUnDaFiEld
    RuNaRoUnDaFiEld Posts: 5,864 Member
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    What do you mean by 1200 isn't working for you?
  • tinkerbellang83
    tinkerbellang83 Posts: 9,069 Member
    edited April 2017
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    I eat all of mine back (Garmin HR watch) and losing as expected. 22lb off so far
  • mlinci
    mlinci Posts: 403 Member
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    I have had success with eating about 80-90% of my (Fitbit synced) calories back.

    What concerns me is that you are saying 1,200 calories isn't working for you. You have to be more specific than that.

    Is it not working for you because you are losing weight but you are massively hungry all the time? Yes, eat some/most/all of you exercise calories back, that's exactly what you should be doing.

    However, if you by any chance meant that 1,200 calories wasn't working for you because you were not losing any weight, then we need more information before we can give you any useful advice, but the most likely starting point would be to take a careful look at your calorie counting and logging. At 255 pounds you should be losing significant amounts of weight at 1,200 calories, and you could almost certainly still be losing while eating significantly more.
  • shadow2soul
    shadow2soul Posts: 7,692 Member
    edited April 2017
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    What do you mean by 1200 isn't working for you?
    @RuNaRoUnDaFiEld & @mlinci
    If I remember correctly from her other thread, she is struggling to stick to 1200. Usually binge eating at the end of the day.
    People suggested that she eat back some exervise calories and that maybe a goal of 1200 was creating to large of a deficit for her.
  • JeromeBarry1
    JeromeBarry1 Posts: 10,182 Member
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    In the past week, and for the first time in my 14+ month fitness journey, I've been eating back half my exercise calories. Additionally, I've been doing cardio exercises in the evening on most of those days. Monday, eat back half and no evening cardio led to Tuesday morning gain. Tuesday-Friday eat back half and yes evening cardio leads to following day loss. My 7-day chart shows a loss of 2.0 lb from beginning, 7 days ago, to end, today. I call this a successful combination of eating back half my exercise calories and doing cardio exercising in the evening.
  • imgr8stmom
    imgr8stmom Posts: 30 Member
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    Hi there! I put the information you provided into a TDEE calculator as Sendentary- just to maintain your weight, you should be eating 2842 calories. To lose weight, subtract 250-500 calories from that number, and you should start seeing a loss. As you lose weight that number will go down, and you might want to re-evaluate every 10 lbs or so. If you earn excersize calories, you can eat some back and I agree, I usually eat about 1/2. Just give this a shot- try it for a few weeks and if you don't see a change, then change back- but I promise that you will. I'm 47, 5'5" and started at 215.6- im now 291 eating between 1800-2200 calories a day! I walk about 10k step a day and workout a 1/2 hr. with weights 4 days a week. Add me as your friend !!!!!!
  • Theo166
    Theo166 Posts: 2,564 Member
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    Eating half back implies you are in deficit.
    Why do you imagine this wouldn't work for everyone taking that route?
  • mitch16
    mitch16 Posts: 2,113 Member
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    If you're not losing by sticking to 1200 calories a day and NOT eating your exercise calories back, either you are eating way more than you think you are or you have a very messed up metabolism.

    Did mfp give you 1200 calories, or did you override the setting? Even set at sedentary, given your current weight and age you should be able to lose weight on upwards of 1700 calories a day. Looking at your diary, you have some days where you've only partially tracked--what's going on on those days? Also--your calories burned coming from your fitbit seem rather huge--I definitely wouldn't eat back 100% of those--check your settings and make sure that what is coming into mfp as exercise calories is what is above and beyond your BMR.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 27,988 Member
    edited April 2017
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    What do you mean by 1200 isn't working for you?
    @RuNaRoUnDaFiEld & @mlinci
    If I remember correctly from her other thread, she is struggling to stick to 1200. Usually binge eating at the end of the day.
    People suggested that she eat back some exervise calories and that maybe a goal of 1200 was creating to large of a deficit for her.

    Thank you very much for this context.

    @gabriellax92 - undereating can definitely lead to binging. MFP is designed for exercise calories to be eaten back. Do eat at least 50% of them back. I can eat closer to 75%-100% and still lose weight.
  • gabriellax92
    gabriellax92 Posts: 65 Member
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    When I was eating around 1200 calories a day I wasn't seeing any weight loss. No I wasn't binging. And yes, some days I don't always complete my diary. I'm not perfect. Here's what I was doing.
    My calories were set around 1200, I ate at or around, most of the time I went over 1200 by a couple hundred calories. According to MFP synced with my Fitbit, I was burning between 800-1000 calories a day. I was not eating anything of those burned calories back. This week I have upped my calorie intake according to MFP recommendation (as I did override it before). I am going to start eating back at least 50% or my calories burned. I am also going to start logging more accurately with my food scale(as I was a bit lazy before). I've lost about a pound within the past week, even having a bad day food wise so I'm starting to see improvement just increasing my calories. Thanks for all of your feedback :)