Added exercise calories to total calorie intake

How do y’all feel about when you exercise the apps takes into account how much calories you burned during your workout it and adds it to the total number of calories you consume for the day? Wouldn’t this defeat the purpose of weight loss?

Replies

  • Lietchi
    Lietchi Posts: 4,030 Member
    edited May 10
    It doesn't 'defeat the purpose of weight loss' if you selected your activity level NOT taking into account your exercise (which is how MFP is intended to be used). Eating back your exercise calories (or a sensible estimate of them, at least) should result in the same calorie deficit/weight loss rate you chose initially. And not eating them back will cause a larger calorie deficit than initially intended, which can be ill-advised or dangerous (losing too fast has risks).

    Caveats:
    - some of the estimates can be inflated (it will depend on the source and the type of exercise)
    - sometimes the base calorie goal is not correct because the person is not average (the formulas are based on population averages)
    -> if MFP's calorie goal is too high, some people use a strategy of not eating back exercise calories to compensate for that
    -> if MFP's calorie goal is too low, not eating back exercise calories risks causing an excessive calorie deficit (not a good idea)

    If you chose your activity level taking into account non-exercise AND exercise activity, then you shouldn't eat back your exercise calories.
  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,379 Member
    edited May 10
    I think it's great that MFP gives you credit for the exercise you do. It means that I am able to balance actual calories in-calories out so I don't undereat or overeat.

    The way MFP is set up, your deficit is built in to your net calorie goal. So if you need 2000 calories to maintain your weight and you want to lose one pound a week it will give you 1500 calories as a goal. If you exercise so that you burn 500 extra calories during the day, if you eat 500 extra calories, you will still lose a pound a week. If you don't eat back the calories that would give you a net of 1000 calories. That is too few to be healthy, especially for a male. Eating too few calories can lead to health problems, loss of hair and muscle, and increases the likelihood that you will not be able to last very long at your weight loss attempt.

    I'm a runner and walker, so some days I burn 300 extra calories and some days 1000. Knowing my burn allows me to adjust my eating so I am not starving on the days I do more or overeating on the days I do less. This has allowed me to lose 50+ lbs. and keep it off for several years.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,888 Member
    How do y’all feel about when you exercise the apps takes into account how much calories you burned during your workout it and adds it to the total number of calories you consume for the day? Wouldn’t this defeat the purpose of weight loss?

    No. You told MFP that your goal was to lose X Lbs per week. MFP calculated a calorie target WITHOUT purposeful exercise to accomplish that. You already have a deficit. Exercise is unaccounted for activity in your activity level setting if you're using MFP as designed. Common sense would dictate that exercise should be accounted for...why do you think MFP would give you additional calories if you weren't supposed to account for them?

    It's simple math. If MFP gives me 1900 calories per day to lose 1 Lb per week, that means MFP is estimating my non-exercise maintenance to be 2400 calories. Now I go for a 20 mile bike ride and burn 600 calories. If I didn't account for those it would be the same as me just eating 1,300 calories per day which would be extremely unhealthy for a male. I can eat those 600 calories and eat 2,500 calories and still maintain my 500 calorie deficit because my maintenance requirements will have also increased to 2400+600=3,000 calories. 3,000-2,500=500 calorie deficit still.
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,626 Member
    The goal isn't just weight loss but healthy weight loss.

    All sensible methods of calorie counting for weight loss take your exercise into account - it's just that with MyFitnessPal it's more obvious than TDEE calculators which roughly guess your average exercise expenditure up front.

    It's also good practice for weight maintenance when you must take all calorie expenditure into account.


  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,825 Member
    How do y’all feel about when you exercise the apps takes into account how much calories you burned during your workout it and adds it to the total number of calories you consume for the day? Wouldn’t this defeat the purpose of weight loss?

    Everyone else accurately answered the technical part of your question.

    I'm going to answer the literal question, "how do you feel"?

    * Healthy and energetic.
    * Adequately fueled to actually do the exercise I love, with energy and enthusiasm.
    * Better nourished than I would be at lower calories, because foods have not only calories but also nutrients.
    * Generally, like I'm winning.

    I also often argue that exercise calories taste the best, though that's subjective.

    I ate back my exercise calories all the way from class 1 obese to a healthy weight, and for 6+ years of maintaining a healthy weight since, after previous decades of obesity. I lost weight fine, maintain weight fine.

    The purpose of weight loss - for me - was to get healthier. Getting enough calories, having good exercise performance, and getting better nutrition all also contribute to getting healthier.

    So, no. Eating back exercise doesn't "defeat the purpose", it "supports the purpose".

    P.S. If you don't eat calories to include your exercise, how do you plan to maintain your weight in maintenance, after you reach goal weight? At that point, you have to eat back exercise calories, or you'll keep losing. Maybe it helps to learn to understand how much food one's exercise actually amounts to? (Most of us eventually will be forced to take breaks from exercising, after surgery or when sick or something. Those who don't understand the implications of exercise will tend to (re-)gain weight.)

    Or were you planning to stop exercising when you reach goal weight? Um, maybe not a great idea . . . for health, or for appearance: What's the purpose of losing weight, if not one of those?
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 7,353 Member
    I actually think the MFP method is a good one as you notice how exercise awards you compared to a TDEE calculator where you're given a calorie goal including exercise, regardless of whether you exercise on each day or not. Here you can learn healthier habits, and learn what the influence of exercise is. Some people are motivated by that. Also it's much easier if you don't do the same exercise every day, or sometimes not at all, followed by a super frantic week.
  • westrich20940
    westrich20940 Posts: 505 Member
    When MFP gives you a calorie goal for the day, it's a NET calorie goal that is already set at a deficit from your maintenance calories (if you chose 'lose weight' during set up). So it makes total sense that it would add those calorie back in, otherwise you'd be creating too much of a deficit and your NET caloric intake would be too low.