# NET calories or eaten calories???

Posts: 41 Member
What do you guys think about net calories vs eaten calories?? Should I go by NET calories? Will I still lose weight as if I had eating 1200 calories if I ate 1400 calories but burned an extra 200 calories?

Anyone have results of counting net calories with exercise vs just eaten calories without exercising and any difference in your weight loss? Thoughts? Advice? Thanks so much !

## Replies

• Posts: 129 Member
Well, to a certain extent... that depends.

Calories are a unit if measurement of energy. Your recommended "Goal" daily calories are based on 3 mathematical formulas to determine how much energy your body needs.

The first determines your BMR, or the amount of energy a body of your size with your type of hormones will need for just... basic life functions while in a coma.

The second formula determines your TDEE, based on your activity level and BMR, an estimated amount of energy (calories) people with similar bodies will burn *on average*.

These two formulas are what calculators use to know your "maintenance" calories. When you enter your stats and estimated activity level on MFP, it calculates this number.

Formula 3... When you set a goal on MFP to lose 2 lbs per week, or 0.5 lb per week, or whatever, it uses that goal to calculate your "Goal" for daily calorie intake, based on the first 2 calculations. 2 lbs per week is 1000 calories under your TDEE each day for a week. 1 lb per week is 500 calories under your TDEE each day, and so on.

If you set your activity level to "Not Very Active" then the calculations are not taking into account the energy you expend in your workouts. That would mean you need to eat your "Goal" calories PLUS the calories burned in your workout, to maintain your chosen rate of healthy weight loss.

If, instead, you went to select your activity level and thought, "I'm going to be working out 5 days a week, and I'm chasing 3 kids around all day, and I work hard!" and you chose "Very Active", then, to an extent, you've already accounted for your workouts.

The best thing to do is follow the estimates, either way, for several weeks, and then tweak your intake goals based on what's actually happening with your body, and *your* weight loss.
• Posts: 41 Member
Thank you for your response!!! I really appreciate you taking your time to write this and share it with me! Have a wonderful day
• Posts: 7,700 Member
Well yes, you should eat your exercise calories. You want to lose weight, but your body still needs energy to function properly. If you eat too little then you might get sick, lose your hair, lose muscles which you really don't want to lose. Thus running a too big deficit is not a good idea, and 1200 is already the lowest any woman should eat - and it's likely too little for most. If you exercise then your body needs more energy. So say you eat 1200 and additionally exercise for 200. That's the same as not exercising and only eating 1000. That's not healthy at all, and to be honest: could you do that?

Of course estimating the exercise calories is not easy, and MFP and many trackers tend to overestimate for many. Normally I'd say to eat back half to 3/4 of the exercise calories. But considering you're already so low maybe it's a good idea to eat those 1400 and see how it goes.

One more thing: if MPF gives you 1200 it usually means that your chosen calorie deficit is too big. Like I said, MFP will not give you less than 1200, even if your chosen deficit would get you below that. So there's any chance that you're not losing at the rate you've chosen anyway. Why not play with the settings a bit and figure out how many calories you get when choosing 2lbs, 1.5, 1, 0.5lbs loss per week. This might be quite eye-opening
• Posts: 351 Member
edited May 1
I never "eat" my walking calories back. Walking is my only exercise. It gives me like 200 - 300 calories per day for my walking, but I feel certain I'd have not lost weight eating those back. I eat 1250 per day (except the last 8 days which have been a train wreck for eating birthday treats). I would likely adjust my calories if I were doing more vigorous exercise. 53F, 124 lbs, 5' 2.5".
• Posts: 26,241 Member
I estimated my exercise calories carefully, then ate pretty much all of them back, all through weight loss from class 1 obese to a healthy weight (50+ pounds) in a bit under a year, and for 6+ years of maintaining a healthy weight since. If it matters - I think it doesn't, I was age 59 when I started (female and menopausal), and severely hypothyroid (but properly medicated for it).

Yes, eating to the right net calories can work.

As with any scenario, one needs reasonable base calorie needs estimates (i.e., adjust based on average results after a couple of months), reasonable exercise estimates (not as tough as some people will tell you), and reasonably adequate food-logging practices. Also, patience, and persistence, because losing any meaningful total amount of weight is going to take a while, so sustainability is important.

Losing too fast (more than 0.5% or so of current weight per week, loosely) is an iffy plan, on either the sustainability front or the health risk front. Whether not eating back exercise will result in "too fast" loss depends on how aggressive one's weight loss rate target is, how much exercise (or non-exercise activity) a person does, and all of that "reasonable accuracy" stuff.
• Posts: 26,241 Member
Well, to a certain extent... that depends.

Calories are a unit if measurement of energy. Your recommended "Goal" daily calories are based on 3 mathematical formulas to determine how much energy your body needs.

The first determines your BMR, or the amount of energy a body of your size with your type of hormones will need for just... basic life functions while in a coma.

The second formula determines your TDEE, based on your activity level and BMR, an estimated amount of energy (calories) people with similar bodies will burn *on average*.

These two formulas are what calculators use to know your "maintenance" calories. When you enter your stats and estimated activity level on MFP, it calculates this number.

Formula 3... When you set a goal on MFP to lose 2 lbs per week, or 0.5 lb per week, or whatever, it uses that goal to calculate your "Goal" for daily calorie intake, based on the first 2 calculations. 2 lbs per week is 1000 calories under your TDEE each day for a week. 1 lb per week is 500 calories under your TDEE each day, and so on.

If you set your activity level to "Not Very Active" then the calculations are not taking into account the energy you expend in your workouts. That would mean you need to eat your "Goal" calories PLUS the calories burned in your workout, to maintain your chosen rate of healthy weight loss.

If, instead, you went to select your activity level and thought, "I'm going to be working out 5 days a week, and I'm chasing 3 kids around all day, and I work hard!" and you chose "Very Active", then, to an extent, you've already accounted for your workouts.

The best thing to do is follow the estimates, either way, for several weeks, and then tweak your intake goals based on what's actually happening with your body, and *your* weight loss.

MFP doesn't actually intend to calculate TDEE. It intends us to set our activity level (in our profile) based on daily life activity, before exercise. (Sometimes people call this a "NEAT estimate", but it's really NEAT + BMR/RMR. For anyone who is actually doing intentional exercise, that number will be lower than TDEE.)

Most calorie calculators outside MFP are trying to calculate TDEE as a starting point, i.e., they intend a person to average exercise into the activity level setting. Either way, exercise is part of the final calorie goal - averaged in, with a TDEE calculator, or added on when exercise is done, via the MFP method.

If someone wants to use the actual TDEE method, they'd be better off getting a calorie goal from an outside TDEE calculator, such as this one:

https://www.sailrabbit.com/bmr/

Then, that person would set their MFP calorie goal manually, and follow the same goal daily (i.e., not add exercise).

Under the covers, MFP uses different activity assumptions, partly because of its design intention to estimate before-exercise calorie expenditure.

If someone synchs a fitness tracker to MFP, and enables negative adjustments, the adjustment they get will adjust for both exercise calories and daily life activity calories (chasing the kids, job, or whatever). Essentially, MFP and the tracker communicate, and assume that the tracker's estimate of activity is more accurate than MFP's. (Trackers will be close for most people, but a few people will be non-average, and need to adjust after getting a couple of months of personal experience data).
• Posts: 19,859 Member
Net calories.

e.g.

My maintenance level today for a day with no purposeful exercise is about 2500 so eating that level means I'm in calorie balance. If I wanted a 1/2lb a week weight loss I would be eating at 2250.

Yesterday my bike ride burned an accurate 1270 calories so I need to eat 3770 to be in balance or 3520 to lose at the same rate of 1/2lb a week.

To answer your other question - yes I have found success both losing and long term maintaining by eating net calories. I'm fortunate that my main exercise can be easily and accurately estimated BUT I was also successful using not very accurate estimating methods too despite the common myth that exercise calories have to be super accurate to be good enough for purpose.
• Posts: 25,955 Member
If you use MFP to set your calorie goal, exercise, but don't eat back any exercise calories, you are not using MFP the way it was designed.

https://support.myfitnesspal.com/hc/en-us/articles/360032625391-How-does-MyFitnessPal-calculate-my-initial-goals-

Unlike other sites which use TDEE calculators, MFP uses the NEAT method (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis), and as such this system is designed for exercise calories to be eaten back. However, many consider the burns given by MFP to be inflated for them and only eat a percentage, such as 50%, back. Others are able to lose weight while eating 100% of their exercise calories.
• Posts: 35 Member
Either is good as long as you have you input your activity level correctly. I made the mistake for the first while of choosing "lightly active" because of my planned exercise (different than calories burned from regular daily life). But then followed net carbs and ate back the calories from exercise. This is an error as I was essentially counting the exercise calories twice. So now I have set it to sedentary (which will not not include the planned exercise) and and in the exercise calories are only counted once.
• Posts: 7,700 Member
pcrozier99 wrote: »
Either is good as long as you have you input your activity level correctly. I made the mistake for the first while of choosing "lightly active" because of my planned exercise (different than calories burned from regular daily life). But then followed net carbs and ate back the calories from exercise. This is an error as I was essentially counting the exercise calories twice. So now I have set it to sedentary (which will not not include the planned exercise) and and in the exercise calories are only counted once.

That's exactly not how it works. The activity level is only for everyday activities without exercise. And how would you say your exercise is lightly or very active?
• Posts: 129 Member
AnnPT77 wrote: »

Most calorie calculators outside MFP are trying to calculate TDEE as a starting point, i.e., they intend a person to average exercise into the activity level setting. Either way, exercise is part of the final calorie goal - averaged in, with a TDEE calculator, or added on when exercise is done, via the MFP method.

If someone wants to use the actual TDEE method, they'd be better off getting a calorie goal from an outside TDEE calculator, such as this one:

https://www.sailrabbit.com/bmr/

Then, that person would set their MFP calorie goal manually, and follow the same goal daily (i.e., not add exercise).

Under the covers, MFP uses different activity assumptions, partly because of its design intention to estimate before-exercise calorie expenditure.

If someone synchs a fitness tracker to MFP, and enables negative adjustments, the adjustment they get will adjust for both exercise calories and daily life activity calories (chasing the kids, job, or whatever). Essentially, MFP and the tracker communicate, and assume that the tracker's estimate of activity is more accurate than MFP's. (Trackers will be close for most people, but a few people will be non-average, and need to adjust after getting a couple of months of personal experience data).

Thanks for the further clarification.

To clarify even more...

MFP doesn't aim to tell you your tdee, but the calculations used in conjunction with your activity and chosen rate of loss to determine your "goal" are rough equivalents of the same formulas used to determine TDEE.

The point was that if you choose a higher activity level based on your workouts, those workouts are already included in your intake goal.

That's the same with any calculator... including sailrabbit.

Your *actual* TDEE is more accurately calculated as TDEE=BMR+NEAT+TEF+TEA

(Though many calculators tend to exclude TEF and TEA)

Most calculators use NEAT=BMR×activity level, with that activity level being assigned anywhere from a 0.1 (coma patient) to a 0.9 (olympic athlete), depending on which options they've included for people to choose from.

Sailrabbit uses that calculation as a simplified TDEE=BMR×activity level, with the levels being assigned 1.1 to 1.9 respectively.

Don't get me wrong, I love sailrabbit. I recommend it all the time. It's the calculator I use when I'm not doing the math myself. It's typically more accurate because it includes all the formulas, rather than the relatively outdated original HB equation alone, which is what most of the calculators use.
But mostly, it's more accurate because it allows people to more easily and accurately select their activity level *modifiers*. Both because it offers more clarity as to what the choices mean, and because it offers more (but not all possible) options.

Regardless, selecting "lightly active" on sailrabbit (or any calculator, including the one built into this app) because you walk every day and work out 3-5 times per week, means that you've already accounted for those walks and workouts. Eating back the calories you burned while doing them means you're eating those calories twice.
If you chose "sedentary" then those walks and workouts haven't been taken into account until you log them. That's why you "eat back" those calories.

MFP is designed to *not* account for your activity in advance. So that you can eat back exercise calories. It uses lower modifiers and different ways of describing the activity level. It makes adjustments for reported calorie burn based on your selected activity level.

But allowing people to select an activity level without understanding what they're claiming with that selection has been known to cause issues in the past.

And not having a wider range of activity levels to choose from can cause issues. In my case, for example, where activity is well below sedentary, so my "goal" estimated by mfp is already way higher than what I should actually eat to achieve the results they're saying I should achieve.

It's nearly always best to choose a lower activity level and then eat back (properly estimated or synched) exercise calories, rather than relying on a "set it and forget it" activity level.

Unfortunately, that's the best some people can do. Many people (I hesitate to claim it's a majority, but at the very least the majority of people who I've spoken to with numbers that don't add up) overestimate their base activity level, and then try to "eat back" exercise calories which don't fall outside the scope of their actual activity level.

I hope that made sense... I am great at the math, but usually horrible at explaining my points in words in a logical coherent order lol.
• Posts: 26,241 Member
edited May 2

Your *actual* TDEE is more accurately calculated as TDEE=BMR+NEAT+TEF+TEA

(Though many calculators tend to exclude TEF and TEA)

NEAT = non-exercise activity thermogenesis.
TEA = thermic effect of activity.

A technical definition of TEA (bolded), with context:
Daily energy expenditure is composed of three major components: 1) resting metabolic rate (RMR); 2) the thermic effect of feeding (TEF); and 3) the thermic effect of activity (TEA). RMR constitutes 60 to 75% of daily energy expenditure and is the energy associated with the maintenance of major body functions. TEF is the cumulative increase in energy expenditure after several meals and constitutes approximately 10% of daily energy expenditure.
. . .
TEA is the most variable component of daily energy expenditure and can constitute 15 to 30% of 24-h energy expenditure. This component includes energy expenditure due to physical work, muscular activity, including shivering and fidgeting, as well as purposeful physical exercise.

That's from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2691813/ (as an arbitrary source: it's defined in lots of papers).

Some sources use the acronym EAT (exercise activity thermogenesis) to represent the exercise part of TDEE, so

TEA = NEAT + purposeful exercise,
or putting it entirely in acronyms,
TEA = NEAT + EAT.

MFP takes BMR/RMR and applies an activity factor that's designed to estimate NEAT. (Then it intends we estimate EAT when we exercise, and add it then.)

A TDEE calculator like Sailrabbit takes BMR/RMR and applies an activity factor that's designed to estimate NEAT + EAT = TEA. (The exercise is averaged in.)

In that sense, the calculators do include TEA, or a least its NEAT subcomponent. NEAT or TEA is the individually variable part of the formula, the part based on activity, the main thing the activity factor multiplier is aimed at estimating.

The BMR/RMR part is based on demographic things like age, weight, height; some formulas use body fat percent (BF%) as part of the BMR/RMR estimate, and of course that's also individual, not demographic in the usual sense.

I believe the activity multiplier is also intended (in both types of calculators) to include an allowance for TEF. TEF is typically relatively small, not easy to manipulate explicitly, so not discussed that much in how the calculators are explained.

(An aside: BMR (basal metabolic rate) and RMR (resting metabolic rate) are technically slightly different, but close numerically, and the two terms are used pretty interchangeably in casual discourse.)

The point was that if you choose a higher activity level based on your workouts, those workouts are already included in your intake goal.

That's the same with any calculator... including sailrabbit.

100%. Including exercise in activity level, then adding exercise separately, is double counting (but it should work out OK if someone synchs a tracker that accurately estimates them, and enables negative adjustments in MFP).

As an aside, using MFP to estimate TDEE, or a TDEE calculator to estimate TDEE excluding EAT . . . that's a little like using a pipe wrench to hammer in a nail, instead of using a hammer. It'll maybe work OK, but that's not what it's designed for.
• Posts: 393 Member
AnnPT77 wrote: »

Your *actual* TDEE is more accurately calculated as TDEE=BMR+NEAT+TEF+TEA

(Though many calculators tend to exclude TEF and TEA)

NEAT = non-exercise activity thermogenesis.
TEA = thermic effect of activity.

A technical definition of TEA (bolded), with context:
Daily energy expenditure is composed of three major components: 1) resting metabolic rate (RMR); 2) the thermic effect of feeding (TEF); and 3) the thermic effect of activity (TEA). RMR constitutes 60 to 75% of daily energy expenditure and is the energy associated with the maintenance of major body functions. TEF is the cumulative increase in energy expenditure after several meals and constitutes approximately 10% of daily energy expenditure.
. . .
TEA is the most variable component of daily energy expenditure and can constitute 15 to 30% of 24-h energy expenditure. This component includes energy expenditure due to physical work, muscular activity, including shivering and fidgeting, as well as purposeful physical exercise.

That's from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2691813/ (as an arbitrary source: it's defined in lots of papers).

Some sources use the acronym EAT (exercise activity thermogenesis) to represent the exercise part of TDEE, so

TEA = NEAT + purposeful exercise,
or putting it entirely in acronyms,
TEA = NEAT + EAT.

MFP takes BMR/RMR and applies an activity factor that's designed to estimate NEAT. (Then it intends we estimate EAT when we exercise, and add it then.)

A TDEE calculator like Sailrabbit takes BMR/RMR and applies an activity factor that's designed to estimate NEAT + EAT = TEA. (The exercise is averaged in.)

In that sense, the calculators do include TEA, or a least its NEAT subcomponent. NEAT or TEA is the individually variable part of the formula, the part based on activity, the main thing the activity factor multiplier is aimed at estimating.

The BMR/RMR part is based on demographic things like age, weight, height; some formulas use body fat percent (BF%) as part of the BMR/RMR estimate, and of course that's also individual, not demographic in the usual sense.

I believe the activity multiplier is also intended (in both types of calculators) to include an allowance for TEF. TEF is typically relatively small, not easy to manipulate explicitly, so not discussed that much in how the calculators are explained.

(An aside: BMR (basal metabolic rate) and RMR (resting metabolic rate) are technically slightly different, but close numerically, and the two terms are used pretty interchangeably in casual discourse.)

The point was that if you choose a higher activity level based on your workouts, those workouts are already included in your intake goal.

That's the same with any calculator... including sailrabbit.

100%. Including exercise in activity level, then adding exercise separately, is double counting (but it should work out OK if someone synchs a tracker that accurately estimates them, and enables negative adjustments in MFP).

As an aside, using MFP to estimate TDEE, or a TDEE calculator to estimate TDEE excluding EAT . . . that's a little like using a pipe wrench to hammer in a nail, instead of using a hammer. It'll maybe work OK, but that's not what it's designed for.

I did exactly that, manually set my calorie goal to match, and synched my tracker. The base number was several hundred calories higher than what MFP gave me for sedentary, maybe because I gave it an estimate of my body fat percentage? Based on the past two years, the math worked 🤷‍♀️
• Posts: 26,241 Member
AnnPT77 wrote: »

Your *actual* TDEE is more accurately calculated as TDEE=BMR+NEAT+TEF+TEA

(Though many calculators tend to exclude TEF and TEA)

NEAT = non-exercise activity thermogenesis.
TEA = thermic effect of activity.

A technical definition of TEA (bolded), with context:
Daily energy expenditure is composed of three major components: 1) resting metabolic rate (RMR); 2) the thermic effect of feeding (TEF); and 3) the thermic effect of activity (TEA). RMR constitutes 60 to 75% of daily energy expenditure and is the energy associated with the maintenance of major body functions. TEF is the cumulative increase in energy expenditure after several meals and constitutes approximately 10% of daily energy expenditure.
. . .
TEA is the most variable component of daily energy expenditure and can constitute 15 to 30% of 24-h energy expenditure. This component includes energy expenditure due to physical work, muscular activity, including shivering and fidgeting, as well as purposeful physical exercise.

That's from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2691813/ (as an arbitrary source: it's defined in lots of papers).

Some sources use the acronym EAT (exercise activity thermogenesis) to represent the exercise part of TDEE, so

TEA = NEAT + purposeful exercise,
or putting it entirely in acronyms,
TEA = NEAT + EAT.

MFP takes BMR/RMR and applies an activity factor that's designed to estimate NEAT. (Then it intends we estimate EAT when we exercise, and add it then.)

A TDEE calculator like Sailrabbit takes BMR/RMR and applies an activity factor that's designed to estimate NEAT + EAT = TEA. (The exercise is averaged in.)

In that sense, the calculators do include TEA, or a least its NEAT subcomponent. NEAT or TEA is the individually variable part of the formula, the part based on activity, the main thing the activity factor multiplier is aimed at estimating.

The BMR/RMR part is based on demographic things like age, weight, height; some formulas use body fat percent (BF%) as part of the BMR/RMR estimate, and of course that's also individual, not demographic in the usual sense.

I believe the activity multiplier is also intended (in both types of calculators) to include an allowance for TEF. TEF is typically relatively small, not easy to manipulate explicitly, so not discussed that much in how the calculators are explained.

(An aside: BMR (basal metabolic rate) and RMR (resting metabolic rate) are technically slightly different, but close numerically, and the two terms are used pretty interchangeably in casual discourse.)

The point was that if you choose a higher activity level based on your workouts, those workouts are already included in your intake goal.

That's the same with any calculator... including sailrabbit.

100%. Including exercise in activity level, then adding exercise separately, is double counting (but it should work out OK if someone synchs a tracker that accurately estimates them, and enables negative adjustments in MFP).

As an aside, using MFP to estimate TDEE, or a TDEE calculator to estimate TDEE excluding EAT . . . that's a little like using a pipe wrench to hammer in a nail, instead of using a hammer. It'll maybe work OK, but that's not what it's designed for.

I did exactly that, manually set my calorie goal to match, and synched my tracker. The base number was several hundred calories higher than what MFP gave me for sedentary, maybe because I gave it an estimate of my body fat percentage? Based on the past two years, the math worked 🤷‍♀️

And that's what actually counts, in the long run. Any calculator's just a starting point, then experience confirms the estimate, or suggests adjustment.

Lots of routes can work . . . but I think it helps to understand how each calculation method is intended to work, so one can adjust more insightfully if necessary.

Heck, I've hammered nails with things that weren't hammers, at times; it can work. I don't synch my tracker, because it's terribly, horribly, extremely wrong, for me. Same brand/model that works well for others - go figure. MFP's also wrong for me, same direction, approximately the same magnitude wrong, as the tracker. Once I had experience-based calorie needs estimates based on logging eating and watching weight loss rate, I set my calorie goal manually, logged exercise separately, and the result was plenty close enough to lose weigh predictably, then maintain predictably since.

If the tracker is reasonable accurate for a person, and negative adjustments are enabled on MFP, all that the activity level setting does is lead to a bigger or smaller adjustment, generally speaking.
• Posts: 129 Member
Welll.... @AnnPT77 every source I have ever seen has the actual equation for TDEE *is*

TDEE = BMR + NEAT +TEF +TEA

So if you define TEA as TEA = NEAT + EAT, or... NEAT + ...anything, really, you're accounting for NEAT twice...? Although I understand the terms, I am not really up to speed with my TEA/EAT research, lol

Most calculators I have found use TDEE = BMR + NEAT + TEF.

TEF = BMR ×0.1
NEAT = BMR × activity level (with that activity level ranging anywhere from .1 to .9)

This ends up staying in the range of 95% accuracy within +/- 201 which the Harris/Benedict revised equation holds for determining BMR.

(Although, the various calculators I have seen use different BMR equations... Idk why they can't standardize it a bit better lol)

I know sailrabbit uses 1+the standard activity level, and has a slightly different equation for it's calculation wherein activity levels range from 1.1 to 1.9, and is like...

TDEE = (BMR × modified activity level) + TEF, although the calculations come close, vut not exact... that could be the TEA coming into play, honestly.
As an aside, using MFP to estimate TDEE, or a TDEE calculator to estimate TDEE excluding EAT . . . that's a little like using a pipe wrench to hammer in a nail, instead of using a hammer. It'll maybe work OK, but that's not what it's designed for.

I'm confused as to what you're saying here.

You mentioned things like shivering and fidgeting which are already part of your activity level. I've never found a problem using either my own or sailrabbit's calculations for TDEE and then eating undrr that, and adding back exercise calories... kinda feel like we might be talking past each other, using two different but similar formulas, lol... and since my knowledge is several years old, I'm probably the less accurate, sigh.

Either way, the answer in the end is the same so 🤷

• Posts: 41,191 Member
What do you guys think about net calories vs eaten calories?? Should I go by NET calories? Will I still lose weight as if I had eating 1200 calories if I ate 1400 calories but burned an extra 200 calories?

Anyone have results of counting net calories with exercise vs just eaten calories without exercising and any difference in your weight loss? Thoughts? Advice? Thanks so much !

You should be accounting for exercise somewhere. With MFP it is net calories as exercise isn't included in your activity level. Other calculators use the TDEE method where exercise is accounted for in your activity level. Done correctly they are basically 6 of 1, half dozen of the other.

Here's the math. Using MFP I'll get a calorie goal of 200 calories to lose 1 Lb per week. This means MFP is assuming my maintenance calories WITHOUT any deliberate exercise is 2500 calories with a non exercise activity level of light active. Now lets say I exercise and burn 400 calories relatively consistently day to day. I can now eat 2400 calories to lose 1 Lb per week because my maintenance calories would have also increased to 2500+400=2900 calories per day. 2900-2400=500 calorie deficit still.

I personally use the TDEE method and the SailRabbit calculator. When I put in my stats and my activity level of moderately active, which in this case will INCLUDE exercise, I get a TDEE of around 2800-3000 calories depending on the formula methodology used...if I take the low end and deduct 500 calories per day I would consume 2300 calories per day...the high end would be 2500 calories per day to lose 1 Lb per week...basically the same as MFP when I add in exercise after the fact, give or take a mere 100 calories in either direction.
• Posts: 26,241 Member
edited May 3
Welll.... @AnnPT77 every source I have ever seen has the actual equation for TDEE *is*

TDEE = BMR + NEAT +TEF +TEA
Can you link one or more of those? That's inconsistent with what I've seen, which is what was in the link in my PP.
So if you define TEA as TEA = NEAT + EAT, or... NEAT + ...anything, really, you're accounting for NEAT twice...? Although I understand the terms, I am not really up to speed with my TEA/EAT research, lol
I think I wasn't clear.

TEA = NEAT + EAT.

In English, the total moving-around stuff we do (TEA) is a combination of the exercise stuff we do (EAT) and the non-exercise stuff we do like job and home chores and fidgeting and what-not (NEAT).

I'm not accounting for it twice. I'm breaking down TEA further, like MFP implicitly does, separating its NEAT subcomponent from its EAT subcomponent. Loosely, TDEE calculators assume we want to lump NEAT and EAT together, and MFP assumes we want to handle them separately.
Most calculators I have found use TDEE = BMR + NEAT + TEF.

TEF = BMR ×0.1
NEAT = BMR × activity level (with that activity level ranging anywhere from .1 to .9)
In the formula you cite just above, where is exercise? It's not in NEAT (which stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis).

Activity level (as estimated by activity level multiplier in a TDEE calculator), as I understand it, is not NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis), but rather activity level in those calculators is EAT (a combination of exercise activity thermogenesis (EAT) and non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT)).
This ends up staying in the range of 95% accuracy within +/- 201 which the Harris/Benedict revised equation holds for determining BMR.

(Although, the various calculators I have seen use different BMR equations... Idk why they can't standardize it a bit better lol)
Different research studies produces different "best fit" estimating equations for BMR. That's science for ya. Some calculators use older formulas, some calculator promoters prefer one research study over another, etc. They're all pretty close, and they're all estimates, anyway.
I know sailrabbit uses 1+the standard activity level, and has a slightly different equation for it's calculation wherein activity levels range from 1.1 to 1.9, and is like...

TDEE = (BMR × modified activity level) + TEF, although the calculations come close, vut not exact... that could be the TEA coming into play, honestly.
As an aside, using MFP to estimate TDEE, or a TDEE calculator to estimate TDEE excluding EAT . . . that's a little like using a pipe wrench to hammer in a nail, instead of using a hammer. It'll maybe work OK, but that's not what it's designed for.

I'm confused as to what you're saying here.

You mentioned things like shivering and fidgeting which are already part of your activity level. I've never found a problem using either my own or sailrabbit's calculations for TDEE and then eating undrr that, and adding back exercise calories... kinda feel like we might be talking past each other, using two different but similar formulas, lol... and since my knowledge is several years old, I'm probably the less accurate, sigh.

Either way, the answer in the end is the same so 🤷

Yes, the two alternate methods come out close. That's my point, in the hammer analogy. It can work fine to use a tool for something it wasn't exactly designed for, if it's close enough. It's still IMO helpful to understand what the tool was designed for - what assumptions are inherent in its design.

I think that if you want to continue this, we should take it to PMs. It's a digression from OP's question, and getting into minutia.
• Posts: 129 Member
AnnPT77 wrote: »
I think that if you want to continue this, we should take it to PMs. It's a digression from OP's question, and getting into minutia.

I would love to continue the convo, but you're right, it's...straying lol. I'll shoot you a quick hello message tonight so I remember to message you tomorrow when I can be at my computer and add links properly!