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Adjust calorie goal?

Hey guys, first time on here. Not sure if this is the best forum for my question but I'm trying to lose weight so thought this may be it.
My question is that I want to adjust the calories I get from exercise but it seems you can only turn it on or off in goal settings. I want to recognise (and consume) more calories on days I work out, but not ALL the calories. Because, after all I want to lose weight and I want to be conservative. For example, if my daily calorie goal is 1400 calories, and I do some exercise that burns 420 calories, I'd like to tell MyFitnessPal to add maybe 50% so that my adjust target is 1610 calories. I can only figure out how to either have 1400 or 1820.
Any help would be appreciated.
PS. I also use Garmin connect but same issue there it seems.

Replies

  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,066 Member
    Turning exercise adjustments on or off is a Premium feature. Useful for people that use other methods to estimate their TDEE (which would include planned exercise as an average for a same every day goal).

    If you are manually logging exercise you can overwrite the numbers suggested from the database here (e.g. I use the categories from the database but adjust with my own far more accurate numbers for cycling).
    No you can't set a percentage (the accuracy/inaccuracy for various exercises isn't going to be a uniform percentage). The eat 50% of exercise calories idea is an example of a pervasive group think that hasn't actually been well thought out! By luck it might work for some but has serious flaws as a methodology.

    BTW - eating back reasonable exercise estimates isn't incompatible with losing weight, the calorie goal given to you by MFP specifically excludes purposeful exercise. If you suspect exercise estimates are inflated (or under-estimated) then of course it makes sense to adjust as that's the skill of estimating but your food logging is a far more significant factor. Getting your 1400 close to reality has more impact than getting your 420 close to reality.

    Is your Garmin synced to allow adjustments or are you just using it to capture exercise sessions?
  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,238 Member
    You can also just keep the calories and not eat all of them. i.e. in your example, instead of eating 1820, just eat 1650. On days that you are more hungry, eat a bit more because you will have a small reserve. While it is fun to try to get as close as possible to your target goal, it isn't a necessity. Just pay attention to your results over time (at least a month) and see whether eating half the calories is making you lose more weight than expected or less.
  • toddjconklin
    toddjconklin Posts: 2 Member
    Thanks for the input. I'm using Garmin to track exercise, and whatever other metrics get synced across to MFP. I invested in a Garmin Fenix 5 Plus and track when I surf or run.
    Makes sense about avoiding 'eating back' exercise estimates, and I kind of arrived at that conclusion myself, but ultimately I am a guy who was very fit once upon a time (like 20 years ago), but now eat what and when I want which hasn't been great for my health. So I look at exercise as a kind of reward. "If I go for this run, I'll make a deal with myself and eat half the calories in junk food (or that extra serve of lasagne), and bank half for my health". It's both my compromise and motivation. But I also am keen to be honest with myself.
    I'm really interested in the comment about group think. Would love more info on that. My wife has started using Noom, and I also sighed up. I suspect that must be part of the group think referenced? What are the flaws? I'm trying both Noom and MFP but not a convert to either - I'm just really attracted to the beautiful simplicity of Calories in and calories out - allowing that neither can be accurately determined without a load of time I don't have...
  • rosebarnalice
    rosebarnalice Posts: 3,412 Member
    For a while, I only logged half of my exercise time for this reason.

    Now I log my full exercise time, and just mentally so the subtraction for my daily calorie goal.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 22,333 Member
    Thanks for the input. I'm using Garmin to track exercise, and whatever other metrics get synced across to MFP. I invested in a Garmin Fenix 5 Plus and track when I surf or run.
    Makes sense about avoiding 'eating back' exercise estimates, and I kind of arrived at that conclusion myself, but ultimately I am a guy who was very fit once upon a time (like 20 years ago), but now eat what and when I want which hasn't been great for my health. So I look at exercise as a kind of reward. "If I go for this run, I'll make a deal with myself and eat half the calories in junk food (or that extra serve of lasagne), and bank half for my health". It's both my compromise and motivation. But I also am keen to be honest with myself.
    I'm really interested in the comment about group think. Would love more info on that. My wife has started using Noom, and I also sighed up. I suspect that must be part of the group think referenced? What are the flaws? I'm trying both Noom and MFP but not a convert to either - I'm just really attracted to the beautiful simplicity of Calories in and calories out - allowing that neither can be accurately determined without a load of time I don't have...

    To the first bolded: What really matters is whether you're losing weight too quickly, or not; and I mean to be defining "too quickly" in terms of increasing/decreasing health risks. In MFP, we account for exercise calories separately, because they can be more widely variable . . . but they're really not special or different. More active people (exercise, work, chores, hobbies, whatever) need more calories, but it's all just one heap of calories in our bodies, in the end, not separate buckets for different purposes.

    Over a period of time (4-6 weeks), you can compare your weight loss results with your calories eaten and Garmin's estimate of your all-day calorie expenditure, and understand how good an overall estimator it is for your body, on average. (My Garmin dramatically *underestimates* my calorie needs, compared with almost 6 years of logging experience . . . not a possibility many eager weight-losers consider, and not common, but it can happen. If I ate what Garmin thinks I burn, I'd lose over a pound a week, sometimes 2 pounds, not a thing I want to be doing at BMI 20-point-something.)

    Also, if your exercise performance and results (including body composition) matter to you, you don't want to seriously underfuel your exercise.

    To the second bolded:

    I can't tell you what you should do, but speaking for myself, I don't want to look at it that way (and don't). For me, that would be foot on the slippery slope to a disordered relationship with eating and food. For me, exercise is about fitness, capability to live daily life to its fullest, and fun. It's not a currency I use explicitly to buy treats. Yes, it gives me a higher calorie intake level; and yes, appropriate food treats are IMO a part of a healthy, balanced way of looking at food and eating . . . but the quid pro quo seems iffy to me. If there's a reward in treats for exercising, is there a penalty for not not exercising? Health, to me, isn't about sin and expiation, it's about an overall balanced life.

    As an aside: It looks like you're male. 1400 calories is really low, for a typical male, as a pre-exercise weight loss calorie goal, and even 1820 (gross) seems pretty low. As a 5'5" woman, age 59-60, sedentary outside of intentional exercise (all of which calories I ate back), and at the time weighing in the 150s pounds, I lost pretty fast at 1400-1600 calories plus all carefully estimated exercise (so often 2000 or more gross intake). Even now, at 125 pounds, I'd lose slowly at 1820+exercise (2000-2500 gross). I admit I'm a mysteriously good li'l ol' calorie burner, but it does make me wonder how fast you're losing, or trying to lose, as a male who's probably younger, bigger.
  • mjglantz
    mjglantz Posts: 403 Member
    I don't eat back my calories regardless and mostly pay attention to the actual calories rather than net calories.
  • nxd10
    nxd10 Posts: 4,550 Member
    I find it easiest to adjust my calories and let my watch and MFP automatically adjust my daily alottment. I know that if I ate what MFP says I should I gain weight. So I tell it I want to lose half a pound a week and I maintain.
  • heybales
    heybales Posts: 19,325 Member
    Click on the workout that Garmin sent over - adjust the calories.

    Potentially not very smart as it may be a good estimate.

    Bigger deficit when doing more is just ###backwards.

    Besides - Garmin sent your daily burn over to MFP too, which contains guess what - that full workout.
    MFP does correct math and their Adjustment will just go up as workout goes down - same eating goal.

    Need to adjust the workout in Garmin. That adjusts the daily burn.
    Then because it already synced - adjust to match on MFP workout entry.
    (I have to do this on my rides, as my power meter info may be shown and known by Garmin, but Garmin used their own inflated burn for logging and syncing)

    ditto to rethinking this rather than accepting parrot's advice.