Changing Up Calories

I just had the random thought/question about if anyone changes their starting point of sedentary, lightly active, etc. ?
I'm sure people do, but my main question is when do you experiment or play around or know when to change things up?

I've been doing pretty well with logging and losing (besides the up and down water retention and etc) but when I originally started I was not working out and wanted to create a habit of just logging food. Now for the past two weeks (maybe a little longer) I have been using a stationary bike pretty often and starting to lift more often and other various exercises.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Replies

  • puffbrat
    puffbrat Posts: 2,806 Member
    The way this site works the activity setting is for non-exercise activity. So, the steps/activity you do as part of your job and daily life. Intentional exercise gets logged under the exercise tab and those calories will be added to your total calorie allotment for the day.
  • tinkerbellang83
    tinkerbellang83 Posts: 9,058 Member
    normally you want to give it 4-6 weeks before making any changes to see if something is working (for women of menstruating age this give you time to see how your cycle also affects weight fluctuations).

    Your activity level refers to your home/work/school life, not exercise, so unless you've changed you normal activity routine then that shouldn't be changing.

    In your case where you've started using the stationary bike, you'd start logging that. Most people will recommend starting with eating 50% of those calories back and then monitoring your weight for 4-6 weeks and seeing what it does vs what you're expecting it to do and adjust based on that.
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,735 Member
    When I retired (that's what I call a real lifestyle change....) I bumped my setting from Lightly Active to Active as I spend less time sitting and more time moving.

    Another reason to change settings is if your actual weight loss/gain/results didn't match expectations.

    But you aren't using the site as it's designed to be used - exercise and your activity setting are completely separate entities. You should really use a TDEE site to calculate your calorie goal as the BMR multipliers are different to MyFitnessPal.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,988 Member
    amberclem6 wrote: »
    I just had the random thought/question about if anyone changes their starting point of sedentary, lightly active, etc. ?
    I'm sure people do, but my main question is when do you experiment or play around or know when to change things up?

    I've been doing pretty well with logging and losing (besides the up and down water retention and etc) but when I originally started I was not working out and wanted to create a habit of just logging food. Now for the past two weeks (maybe a little longer) I have been using a stationary bike pretty often and starting to lift more often and other various exercises.

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    MFP doesn't count exercise in your activity level as you will note there is no mention of it in the descriptors. With MFP you log exercise after the fact and get additional calories to account for that activity. If you want to include exercise in your activity level (which many do), I would use a TDEE calculator to get your calorie target and customize here.

    The TDEE method works well so long as you are consistent in your exercise regimen and what you're doing remains fairly consistent. NEAT (MFP) works better if you are someone who is not as consistent or maybe gets on a roll and then gets off a roll or who has wildly variable activity.

    When I logged, I switched to the TDEE method eventually, but not until regular and consistent exercise was really a thing. I don't think a couple of weeks would have been long enough for me to tell myself I was really in it as for one, there's a honeymoon period just like anything else; and for two, it took me awhile to really dial in a routine that was sustainable long term and that I enjoyed. I tried lots of different exercise activities and routines before really finding what I love to do from a fitness standpoint.
  • amberclem6
    amberclem6 Posts: 12 Member

    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    amberclem6 wrote: »

    When I logged, I switched to the TDEE method eventually, but not until regular and consistent exercise was really a thing. I don't think a couple of weeks would have been long enough for me to tell myself I was really in it as for one, there's a honeymoon period just like anything else; and for two, it took me awhile to really dial in a routine that was sustainable long term and that I enjoyed. I tried lots of different exercise activities and routines before really finding what I love to do from a fitness standpoint.

    Thank you for the reply. Just for curiosity, what is it that you do now that you love to do as a fitness standpoint?
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 25,214 Member
    I changed mine from sedentary (which I actually am, outside of intentional exercise that I log separately) to active, because I needed to do that to get MFP's idea of my calorie needs even remotely in the ballpark of what my logging/tracking results were telling me was correct. For me, MFP underestimates by 25%+: This is not at all a common thing.

    Of course, if someone changes non-exercise activity level (more active job, say) they should change the MFP setting. If they don't want to log exercise separately, it would make more sense to use a TDEE calculator, because those average in expected exercise (and use different formulas to do it, as they should), then set the MFP calorie goal manually.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,690 Member
    puffbrat wrote: »
    The way this site works the activity setting is for non-exercise activity. So, the steps/activity you do as part of your job and daily life. Intentional exercise gets logged under the exercise tab and those calories will be added to your total calorie allotment for the day.

    To add a visual to this:

    bwyseib6a6m0.jpg
  • lemurcat2
    lemurcat2 Posts: 7,892 Member
    edited February 2020
    I found the definitions MFP gives for non exercise activity level to be potentially misleading.

    When I started I assumed "sedentary," since I do not spend a good part of the day on my feet -- I mostly sit for my job, I sit for 45 min if I take the L home, and I like to do things like read or otherwise sedentary things when not exercising at home. I do do normal housework, and necessary snow shovels and yardwork, and the like, but not more than normal (probably less than normal).

    However, even when I first started I consistently got 10K+ steps per day just from walking to and from the L, walking for other errands (like going to a meeting in another office, going shopping, walking to the gym or to meet a friend, to church, to the dentist, etc.). I assumed that still was sedentary (it's certainly not close to what I imagine I'd get if I spent all day on my feet), but it's at least lightly active and some say more. That difference affects cals quite a bit.

    Anyway, when I started it told me I could lose 1.8 lb max at 1200 (I was quite obese). After I was routinely losing as much as 3 lb/week (I was probably undereating too), I adjusted my cals to lightly active and also attached my Fitbit, and ended up with still more cals even before exercise.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,988 Member
    amberclem6 wrote: »
    Thank you for the reply. Just for curiosity, what is it that you do now that you love to do as a fitness standpoint?

    I mostly road ride or mountain bike and lift weights 2-3x per week. Right now it's winter, so I spend a few days in the weight room and do a couple of spin classes. Once it gets nicer out, I'll be able to spend more time on my roadie or mountain bike which is what I really love to do. I also enjoy hiking and do some rock climbing here and there. I like to be outside and active mostly.