Should I eat my step calories while trying to lose weight?

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Replies

  • pence429
    pence429 Posts: 28 Member
    Hunger is a physiological state. Anxious is a feeling. Many people confuse their emotions with hunger. The most simplistic explanation being that eating gives instant gratification. This is maladaptive coping. It can be unlearned; babies instinctively understand to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. I worked with a professional dietician to understand what actual hunger and satiety feel like vs. boredom, anxiety, sadness, loneliness etc. Because I do shift work where my meal breaks are scheduled, I also had to learn to distinguish if I am truly hungry vs. reaching for food because "it's time to eat" or "everyone else is eating now". Just like the poster above, this is an ongoing thing for me; I still take a mindful moment before reaching for food to decide if I am hungry or if I am responding to an emotional need with thoughts of food.




  • toshjohn30
    toshjohn30 Posts: 7 Member
    In response to the OP: I would not intentionally eat the added activity calories. My reasons are these. I am in a similar activity situation as you. I am mildly active on off days, but tally 12-15K steps a day on workdays. I work in the hospital. If you are like me, the steps are not continuous. You're walking to rooms, doing some work, sitting to chart, and walking some more. In my opinion, the value that MFP estimates for my activity is overestimated for my actual calorie burn. When it asks for minutes of activity, I only put in half a shift or 360 minutes of a 12 hour shift.
    My second reason is that a calorie deficit is part of losing weight. Deficits force your body to burn what it already has to produce the needed energy for the additional activity level. If you are going to eat more calories, make sure that your choices are healthy and not sabotaging your efforts.

    Best wishes on your journey :smile:
  • heybales
    heybales Posts: 18,843 Member
    toshjohn30 wrote: »
    In response to the OP: I would not intentionally eat the added activity calories. My reasons are these. I am in a similar activity situation as you. I am mildly active on off days, but tally 12-15K steps a day on workdays. I work in the hospital. If you are like me, the steps are not continuous. You're walking to rooms, doing some work, sitting to chart, and walking some more. In my opinion, the value that MFP estimates for my activity is overestimated for my actual calorie burn. When it asks for minutes of activity, I only put in half a shift or 360 minutes of a 12 hour shift.
    My second reason is that a calorie deficit is part of losing weight. Deficits force your body to burn what it already has to produce the needed energy for the additional activity level. If you are going to eat more calories, make sure that your choices are healthy and not sabotaging your efforts.

    Best wishes on your journey :smile:

    The huge difference with the OP is they are describing their activity tracker counting steps, getting a distance, and getting a very accurate calorie burn from that (the formula for mass & distance for walking/running calorie burn has been researched for decades).

    But you are just saying you got a distance/time and taking the calorie burn from a manual entry it sounds like.
    Yes - that would be bad idea.

    That's why MFP asks for a non-exercise daily activity level to start with. If no activity tracker for MFP to correct itself to, you need to select honestly.

    For instance is that 4 x 12 hr days?
    Weekly avg would be at least Active daily level. If you know you get around 12-15K on work days, add up all the days and get daily average. Consider Sedentary stops about 4K steps (depending on distance and calories), Lightly active ends it seems 7-8K, Active up to 11-12K, and Very-Active above that.

    Then you'd only add intentional exercise workouts to that.

    And since MFP would be accounting for each hour of your day to be a pretty decent calorie burn, compared to sedentary or nothing, those exercise calories for sure would need to be knocked down to 1/2 what MFP suggested.
    I'm guessing walking isn't the workout ;-)

    And then to thinking the exercise is what causes the calorie deficit - you need to read the topic responses to learn how MFP works.
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    toshjohn30 wrote: »
    In response to the OP: I would not intentionally eat the added activity calories. My reasons are these. I am in a similar activity situation as you. I am mildly active on off days, but tally 12-15K steps a day on workdays. I work in the hospital. If you are like me, the steps are not continuous. You're walking to rooms, doing some work, sitting to chart, and walking some more. In my opinion, the value that MFP estimates for my activity is overestimated for my actual calorie burn. When it asks for minutes of activity, I only put in half a shift or 360 minutes of a 12 hour shift.
    My second reason is that a calorie deficit is part of losing weight. Deficits force your body to burn what it already has to produce the needed energy for the additional activity level. If you are going to eat more calories, make sure that your choices are healthy and not sabotaging your efforts.

    Best wishes on your journey :smile:

    You should not base your weight management on opinions but on facts. You can determine your average daily energy expenditure as soon as you have enough data. Until then estimations are a good place to begin.

    I am not sure how a person can sabotage their efforts eating whatever you think unhealthy calories are. Weight loss is determined by an energy equation. If you eat less than you burn you will used stored energy which results in weight loss. Once your basic nutrition is met you do not get any extra health points for eating more nutrient dense food.
  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,878 Member
    pence429 wrote: »
    Hunger is a physiological state. Anxious is a feeling. Many people confuse their emotions with hunger. The most simplistic explanation being that eating gives instant gratification. This is maladaptive coping. It can be unlearned; babies instinctively understand to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. I worked with a professional dietician to understand what actual hunger and satiety feel like vs. boredom, anxiety, sadness, loneliness etc. Because I do shift work where my meal breaks are scheduled, I also had to learn to distinguish if I am truly hungry vs. reaching for food because "it's time to eat" or "everyone else is eating now". Just like the poster above, this is an ongoing thing for me; I still take a mindful moment before reaching for food to decide if I am hungry or if I am responding to an emotional need with thoughts of food.




    I think working to avoid emotional eating is a valuable process, but while people are working through this process we're still left with the fact that their hunger cues aren't necessarily going to be the primary guide of whether or not they could eat more.