Calorie Counter

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What do all of you do ...?



  • koalathebearkoalathebear Posts: 222Member Member Posts: 222Member Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    It's also possible that (#3) you simply burn slightly fewer calories than the number that "calculators" spit out, too, unfortunately, though I wouldn't leap to that assumption too quickly. Keep in mind that they give you an estimate of the population average for your demographics, more or less, but that in reality not everyone is exactly average. Same thing can happen with "fitness tracker" calorie estimates (mine is way wrong, as is MFP).

    Anecdotally (which is a big word for "I can't prove it" ;) ), some people seem more inclined to subtle activity down-regulation at reduced calories, so that maintenance calories can gradually be increased to find the beneficial level, i.e., increase will trigger up-regulation. Also, keep in mind that daily life activity matters (and is where some of the controllable side of activity up/down-regulation happens), so that there can be maintenance-calorie benefits by consciously trying to be more active in routine daily life.

    None of the above should be taken to be disputing the part I bolded in your post. I think that's 100% the right strategy.

    BTW, I'm a very uneven eater, consistent most days but quite indulge-y occasionally. I do calorie bank, but experience suggests that going way over my maintenance calories occasionally has less scale-weight impact (after the water/digestive-contents scale jump drops off) than I would've expected from the calorie intake. Perhaps there are absorption limits in a body that's not used to it? Dunno. This is not an approach I'd recommend, but you did ask what others do!

    If I start getting a little heavier than I'd like, regardless of how, I need to stick to my slight-deficit routine daily goal more often, and rein in the indulge-y days a bit, and weight will start creeping slowly down again. (I'm just about to start into year 5 of maintenance, BTW, BMI 22-point-something this morning).

    Thanks so much. I found your post very thought-provoking and helpful - I've been thinking about it a lot and wanting to respond properly.

    I've essentially been in maintenance around three months now - the last few months of weight loss, I had deliberately slowed things down a lot to try to make transition easier and in the last month I was essentially eating at maintenance...

    If there's one thing I'm 'struggling' with, it's the fact that during weight loss, I was really strict with myself and pretty much never went over my daily calorie budget on more than a handful of occasions... Now that I'm in maintenance, I have to really force myself not to sweat the occasional overs and actually even force myself to deliberately go over now and then so that it doesn't become a 'thing'. During weight loss, I'd plan things out - put exercise calories in the bank early in the day if I knew I was eating a lot that day... If I accidentally went over, I'd just go on a walk or do a small amount of zumba to put myself back within budget.

    When I first went into maintenance, I had the same very strong urge to always stay within budget so now I really have to force myself to let myself go over a little bit and say it will come out in the weekly total - which it always does. I don't want to feel like I have to remain within budget every single day.

    There is something deceptively precise (and comforting) about the calorie counting but when I think about it, it's still incredibly fuzzy no matter how diligent I try to be.

    For instance, this comment of yours made me think quite hard:

    Also, keep in mind that daily life activity matters (and is where some of the controllable side of activity up/down-regulation happens), so that there can be maintenance-calorie benefits by consciously trying to be more active in routine daily life.

    I log my food quite diligently and I log time activities fairly diligently, but there are a bunch of additional activities where the calories aren't logged:
    - I work on the third floor and always take the stairs these days - and might walk up an extra flight if I have time
    - I make sure when my garmin buzzes, I get up and make a cup of tea or coffee - but walk to the kitchen above or below my floor, just to move a bit more
    - sometimes if I get back to my desk after a timed activity and I forget to "turn off" my garmin, I'll look down and it's recorded for too long and so I write off a bunch of those calories burned because eg out of 60 minutes, only half was walking, the other half was me sitting at my desk having forgotten to turn off the timed activity.

    Anyway, sorry for rambling. The whole weight loss / fitness journey has been very ... eye-opening.
  • PAV8888PAV8888 Posts: 6,731Member Member Posts: 6,731Member Member
    but have to say that the endless work Christmas parties are proving a bit of a strain simply because I find it a little harder to log accurately at such events.

    I have to admit that the only time I weighed less on January 4-8 as compared to December 17-21 was the 12 months during which I created an average deficit of 695Cal a day.

    Every year, like clockwork, I tend to trend up, and then trend slowly down between January and April, usually fully catching up to where I was by the early March to late April time frame. And it is not surprising given the amount of social get togethers and events that tend to crowd into the time period serving as a delivery mechanism for novel and hyper-palatable food (and drinks if so inclined)!

    While the weight-trend increase is much smaller, the scale increase from minimum to maximum in the time frame seems to be just shy of 5lbs for me! And by the looks of it most of it real and reflected in my logging overages :wink:

    To a point you raised above, I definitely do find that if I have been consuming relatively more NET calories what Fitbit defines as my 'resting' heart rate elevates as compared to when my net calories are lower. Same applies to nails growing faster vs slower, and noticeably so for me, depending on relative net calories. Which to me clearly points out to change in the involuntary component of NEAT.
    edited December 2019
  • nxd10nxd10 Posts: 4,515Member, Premium Member Posts: 4,515Member, Premium Member
    I hit my weekly goal except for Thanksgiving and Christmas week (typically). I've been logging 6 years. I find I'm not hungry the next day if I'm more than a hundred calories over. So I listen to my body.
  • gallicinvasiongallicinvasion Posts: 778Member, Premium Member Posts: 778Member, Premium Member
    I have my calorie goal set slightly below my true maintenance. This gives me a general guideline to follow on most days, and it allows me to have a day or two each week where I indulge a bit without actively counterbalancing the overage. If I haven't had a reason to indulge and I get extra hungry, I know it's ok to have more. At this point I can feel intuitively when I need more or less calories. My weight fluctuates within about 3 lbs and has been for about six months now.

    This is exactly what I've been doing. I like the system a lot!

  • koalathebearkoalathebear Posts: 222Member Member Posts: 222Member Member
    The calorie banking thing has become a pretty motivating reason for me to do exercise in the morning before work.

    I do a fairly energetic hour or so of Zumba every morning - using youtube haha. Combined with my default calorie budget, it gives me a pretty decent budget and I enter my breakfast and lunch (if I already know what I'm having) and so I have pretty good idea of what I have left to play with for snacks and dinner. Plus if I can get in a short morning walk or lunch walk during the work day, that boosts the budget. I have sometimes (but do not enjoy), being in debt in the morning because I don't get to my exercise until the evening... My preference is definitely to have a good bank balance in the morning and then work from that.

    I have to say that I'm finding this month with all the Christmas treats/baking and extra meals with family and friends challenging. My weight has fluctuated in the last month between 54.6kg to 56kg. It doesn't go above 56 thankfully. I'm not being too hard on myself this month because I know that with all the family dinners and food etc, even though I'm tracking - I'm eating more than I usually do even though I'm offsetting with exercise. I'm just keeping an eye on things to make sure I don't go above 56 and then I guess post-Christmas I'll go back to eating less.
  • ahoy_m8ahoy_m8 Posts: 1,941Member Member Posts: 1,941Member Member
    So ... I managed to get back on track after the slight but entirely expected and predicted deviation in December during the holiday season...

    Alas, as many people would know, Australia's currently being devastated by horrific bushfires. I'm in Canberra and although (given that we are not in the firezone) what we are experiencing is in no way near as awful as the people who have lost their homes and indeed their lives - Canberra is getting the smoke.

    As an illustration, from being one of the loveliest, least polluted and cleanest cities around, we now have the worst air quality in the world:

    If you look at this this website, you'll see that with a hazard level of 5696 in some areas (200 being the point at which air quality is considered hazardous), many parts of Canberra are 28 times the hazard level ... :'(

    Government is recommending we all stay inside, problem is Aussie homes are frequently really badly insulated so inside is still very smoky - eg, our house (when unfiltered) had air quality levels of 500+ ... P2 masks are sort of helpful but not really if you read what the Government says here ...

    Exercise is a no-no because all the gyms are smoky, our houses are smoky, outside is smoky (no walking the dog)... I pretty much can't afford to do anything right now that will exert me ... So I have to stick within my calorie budget unboosted by exercise ... I'm not sure how long the smoke will last ... The bushfires will be with us for a long time... My fitness woes are nothing compared to the bigger problems out there - but they do present a challenge to maintenance for me.

    You have my complete sympathy and best wishes for a speedy improvement in air quality and danger abatement to you and your countrymen. Getting outside for exercise and fresh air is a dependable stress reducer, so it really is a double whammy to have that option off the table during a stressful time. Hang in there. Stay safe.
  • katshearekatsheare Posts: 1,087Member Member Posts: 1,087Member Member
    @koalathebear I lived in the SF Bay Area about a decade ago when there were fires, not with us but near enough that the skies were hazy and everything smelled smoky. You and your countrymen have my absolute sympathy!

    Stay safe, do what you need to do to stay well (physically and mentally), and please do report back regularly - want to be sure you're okay!!
  • koalathebearkoalathebear Posts: 222Member Member Posts: 222Member Member
    Bushfire season is done (for now) thankfully so the good air is back, so we can go back to exercising again like usual - which is a relief.

    I've switched myself on MFP back to weight loss mode though. I know a lot of people say that the "If every day were like today... You'd weigh x kg in 5 weeks" is useless but I have always found it quite helpful /early earning to tell me if a particular day was good or not. I still want to log my weight every week but the problem is maintenance mode seems to want to maintain you at whatever the current weight is in MFP even if it's not the weight you actually want to maintain eg my maintenance weight is around 54.6 kg. My weight has fluctuated since maintenance started going up to as high as 57kg over the holiday season and when I went to the coast with family and friends and ate more - and then popping back down again when I returned to normal habits, but if I am on maintenance mode in MFP, it will try to maintain me at 57kg, which isn't what I want.

    I've also learned that while exercise is really good at boosting my exercise calories so that I can maintain a deficit through exercise, it only works to a point. Ultimately my body is more inclined to drop weight from a calorie deficit through cutting food intake rather than exercising more. By way of example, if I eat over 2,000 calories a day, even if I do a tonne of exercise, I will still gain weight/not drop weight.

    Whereas even if I don't do exercise, but eat calories within the 1200 - 1400 range, then I will drop weight.
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