Calories in, calories out

Hi, I probably sound stupid, but I never mind! I always thought to lose a few pounds one must eat fewer calories (bad calories) and exercise more. Why, when I input my food intake and exercise, does My Fitness Pal day I need to still eat X amount of calories for the day?
Thanks!
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Replies

  • shadow2soul
    shadow2soul Posts: 7,693 Member
    Because your body burns calories even at rest. In fact the majority of your daily calorie burn comms from your Basal Metabolic Rate (calories burned at rest). Daily activity and exercise add too that.

    MyFitnessPal bases your calorie goal on what you burn before exercise (so just BMR and daily activity). It then subtracts the deficit required to lose at the rate you wanted. If you exercise your daily burn has now increased and to maintain the same rate of loss your calories have to increase.
  • French_Peasant
    French_Peasant Posts: 1,638 Member
    edited January 2018
    MFP is designed for you to eat back at least a portion of your exercise calories. You need to eat a minimal amount amount of calories for your health (so your body doesn't start cannibalizing your hair, nails, heart muscles, etc.)--but if you've done a lot of exercise and are shy by 100 calories or so, it's not a big deal--but just eating 500 calories a day is a VERY big deal. Plus you can "bank" them for later in the week if you would like. Your goal should be a slow and steady weight loss. A lot of people come here, freaking out and wanting to lose 10 lbs a week and frantically doing hours of cardio every day, but the tool helps them to learn eating habits sustainable for the long term.

    Also, it's not really helpful to think of foods as bad. If you are under by 100 calories and have eaten nutritionally dense foods all day, two oreos are not going to hurt you, and in fact might be helpful for providing an energy boost for working out.

    Edit: spelling
  • shadow2soul
    shadow2soul Posts: 7,693 Member
    Example:
    MFP estimates my BMR to be 1371.
    For Sedentary activity level I should burn about 1710 a day.
    To lose 1 lb per week -500.
    Goal without exercise to lose 1 lb per week 1210.

    Let's say I burn 300 through exercise.

    1710+300 = 2010
    2010-500 = 1510
    With an exercise burn of 300, I should eat 1510 to lose 1 lb per week.
  • toxikon
    toxikon Posts: 2,384 Member
    A good minimum calorie goal for women is 1200. For men, 1500.

    Basically, your body needs a certain amount of calories and nutrition to stay healthy. Your muscles, hair and nails need protein to be healthy. Your brain and organs need enough dietary fat to be healthy.

    And if you don't eat enough calories, you can become dizzy and faint from lack of energy. And your body will start eating your muscles for sustenance.
  • kimny72
    kimny72 Posts: 16,027 Member
    Hi, I probably sound stupid, but I never mind! I always thought to lose a few pounds one must eat fewer calories (bad calories) and exercise more. Why, when I input my food intake and exercise, does My Fitness Pal day I need to still eat X amount of calories for the day?
    Thanks!

    Your body needs a certain amount of calories to function. Calories are fuel. So you put in your stats and you tell MFP you want to lose (let's say) 1 lb per week. The calorie goal MFP gives you is how much you need to eat, to fuel your body adequately but still be in a calorie deficit so you lose 1 lb per week. If you eat less, you will lose quicker (maybe too quick) and underfuel your body. If you exercise and don't eat additional calories, again you will lose weight quicker (maybe too quick) and underfuel your body and your workout.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,282 Member
    Hi, I probably sound stupid, but I never mind! I always thought to lose a few pounds one must eat fewer calories (bad calories) and exercise more. Why, when I input my food intake and exercise, does My Fitness Pal day I need to still eat X amount of calories for the day?
    Thanks!

    You need to eat fewer than maintenance calories...this calculator calculates your calorie target based on your stats and stated weight loss goals...your calorie target isn't maintenance...it's your diet calories.

    Calories are a unit of energy...your body needs energy to exist. You burn calories 24/7...I burn around 1800 calories merely existing and doing nothing else...I burn more calories going about my day to day...I burn more calories with exercise, etc.
  • LivingtheLeanDream
    LivingtheLeanDream Posts: 13,345 Member
    Eater fewer calories yes to lose but not under the recommended calories given by MFP, aim to meet those.
  • shadow2soul
    shadow2soul Posts: 7,693 Member
    For the record, I've always eaten 100% of the calories from exercise, from day one.

    I lost exactly at the rate predicted.

    The only way to know is to keep good records and adjust over TIME based on results and energy levels.

    Exactly.
  • GymTennis
    GymTennis Posts: 133 Member
    If you set mfp to determine the amount of calories for your goals (which is losing a little bit in your case) AND you log in your activities, then yes, you eat back your calories.

    If however you set your own calorie goal that you wish to hit every day (where all your activity is accounted for) and don't log your activity, then no. Which is my approach btw, cause after a few years of doing this, I know exactly how many calories I need to bulk, cut or maintain. And it's less complicated for me and less work
  • Charliegirl1974
    Charliegirl1974 Posts: 28 Member
    Hi, I probably sound stupid, but I never mind! I always thought to lose a few pounds one must eat fewer calories (bad calories) and exercise more. Why, when I input my food intake and exercise, does My Fitness Pal day I need to still eat X amount of calories for the day?
    Thanks!
    Hi, I probably sound stupid, but I never mind! I always thought to lose a few pounds one must eat fewer calories (bad calories) and exercise more. Why, when I input my food intake and exercise, does My Fitness Pal day I need to still eat X amount of calories for the day?
    Thanks!
    Because eating too few calories is unhealthy. This site does not support very low calorie diets.

  • Charliegirl1974
    Charliegirl1974 Posts: 28 Member
    Argh, I maybe didn’t make myself clear!
    I usually eat about 1800-2000 calories a day, (by bad calories I just meant crap!) and of course I know it’s fuel. I want to just streamline, get a bit trimmer, and that’s why I thought I’d use MFP to keep account. I have a mega healthy veggie diet but like everyone I am prone to a little ‘sin’, mine being the odd glass of wine.
    I did my BMR and it calculated I needed to take away 500 to set my calorie goal, so I’m looking at 1500. To be honest, I know I just need to cut out the wine, (and the cheese in such quantities!) and maybe do more squats! But MFP is great to keep you on track!
    I just wondered if I need to eat more once the exercise is done to shift the odd pound or two...
  • TavistockToad
    TavistockToad Posts: 35,731 Member
    Argh, I maybe didn’t make myself clear!
    I usually eat about 1800-2000 calories a day, (by bad calories I just meant crap!) and of course I know it’s fuel. I want to just streamline, get a bit trimmer, and that’s why I thought I’d use MFP to keep account. I have a mega healthy veggie diet but like everyone I am prone to a little ‘sin’, mine being the odd glass of wine.
    I did my BMR and it calculated I needed to take away 500 to set my calorie goal, so I’m looking at 1500. To be honest, I know I just need to cut out the wine, (and the cheese in such quantities!) and maybe do more squats! But MFP is great to keep you on track!
    I just wondered if I need to eat more once the exercise is done to shift the odd pound or two...

    You take calories from your TDEE not BMR