At Goal & Successfully Maintaining. So Why Am I Doing This All Over Again?



  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,761 Member
    New NSV for the BL:

    He quietly announced he’s going to look for smaller pants at the Living History event this weekend.

    I suppose I could offer to shrink his woolen britches in the wash but we know how that goes. They might end up toddler sized.

    He’s become very secretive about weighing in, but I’ve noticed even his new jeans are hanging on him, and anyone who hasn’t seen him in a while immediately comments on his weight loss. It makes him very uncomfortable.

    Very interesting to see someone else I know so intimately’s reaction to what we talk about here. Everyone is different. I was like downplay downplay, modesty, while secretly screaming WOOHOOO inside.

    Wash and put on wet could work, if he's willing . . . .
  • BarbaraHelen2013
    BarbaraHelen2013 Posts: 1,940 Member
    edited May 2022
  • springlering62
    springlering62 Posts: 7,853 Member

    Thank you! Now that’s useful! But still I’d like a freaking calculator -with no ads- for when I, oh, you know, balance the checkbook and do the budget? It’s just more sensible!
  • dralicephd
    dralicephd Posts: 401 Member
    Thanks again for the wise words @springlering62 .... and bonus points for the Lord of the Rings reference. :D
  • sargemarcori
    sargemarcori Posts: 301 Member
    Ha! I thought it was just coincidence. (I totally hear you on that misstep in the movies!)

    thank you for this thread. it really is helpful, and inspiring.
  • SavageMrsMoose
    SavageMrsMoose Posts: 631 Member
    Question for @springlering62 and @AnnPT77 and all others who have been successful at losing the weight they want to and are in maintenance. I hope its okay to post here.

    First, I find you so inspiring and your posts so helpful. I've been on MFP on and off for almost 10 years and have a number of times put myself in the high end of a normal BMI. Its too high still, but not terrible. Currently, I'm about 8 pounds above, meaning I'd really like to lose 28.

    I exercise A LOT. I've run 2 marathons so far this year. MFP is terrible at estimating my calories burned, as it often double-counts workouts that I'm tracking with other apps and grossly underestimates my pace on the treadmill and often the Peloton. So I tend to avoid eating back my exercise calories. However, I've come to the hard truth that I have to eat back some, or I get too hungry and say "screw it all" and stop logging (often about 4 pm).

    How do you handle eating your exercise calories? I'm far more like Anne when it comes to pre-logging, its a success for me to log dinner even if it isn't the best estimate. I eye-ball my measurements because at least its a start.

    Thank you in advance!
  • Lietchi
    Lietchi Posts: 6,294 Member
    Personally, I eat ALL of my exercise calories. And more, even. But that's because months and months of tracking have shown me that my Garmin underestimates my calorie burn, in general and for running specifically (but it overestimates for walking, which I do less frequently).

    I usually exercise before dinner, so I have dinner and my evening snack that I adjust accordingly. Heck, sometimes I'm an optimist (confident I'll exercise later) and already eat more at noon :mrgreen:

    It sounds like you might benefit from a rethink of what apps/devices you sync to MFP (to avoid double counting).

    If you want some fairly reliable calorie estimates for running and walking, I use this one:
    Use 'net' energy not 'gross' in the dropdown, to avoid double counting BMR calories.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,761 Member
    @savagemrsmoose, I eat all my exercise calories, did all through weight loss as well as maintenance.

    I don't synch my Garmin because (1) I got it after my logging practices were already established and working well, and (2) it didn't take long to realize that it (like MFP) dramatically underestimates my daily life calorie burn (even though the same brand/model is reasonably accurate for others).

    I use different methods of estimating exercise. All methods have limitations, and specific methods tend to be better at estimating some things, worse at estimating others.

    * For walking, I use the ExRx calculator Lietchi linked, set on "net".
    * My rowing machine and stationary bike give watts readouts, which is quite-accurate way of estimating cycling calories (it's a little more fraught for rowing, IMO, for reasons I won't belabor here) . . . but still probably the most accurate way I have to estimating machine rowing, and I think the flaws are likely to apply less to me than to some. What I've learned, though, is that my Garmin exercise calorie estimate (which I believe is gross calories) is reasonably close to the watts-estimated calories, for the range of intensities/durations that are normal for me. For convenience, I'll log the Garmin estimate.
    * Given some feel for the RPE (rate of perceived exertion) for the watts-based indoor bike/row, I feel like the Garmin estimate is probably not terrible for on-water rowing or outdoor biking that feels similar.
    * For strength training, I use the MFP database estimate, even with the theoretical flaw that MFP's research-based method has across the board, because heart rate estimates are pretty much guaranteed to be nonsense for strength training.

    I'm not the energetic exerciser that Spring is, so on an average day, my exercise calories probably make up around 10% +/- of my TDEE. Given the magnitude of that number in the context, being somewhat high or low in the exercise estimate isn't going to be a calorie-counting deal breaker. (The number of calories in the error are likely lost in the noise of the many estimates we use in calorie counting, to put it another way.)

    With some attention to avoiding insanely large exercise calorie estimates, plus avoiding things like double counting**, I think the accuracy of exercise calorie estimates shouldn't be a big freak-out factor for a person with an average-ish kind of exercise routine (5-8 hours a week, say). I do think it's useful to learn a bit, give some thought to what methods are reasonable for estimating their particular exercise types/paces.

    ** Commonest cause of double counting would probably be setting activity level with one's exercise included, then logging the exercise on top of that. (Tracker synch can still work if activity level is set too high, as long as negative adjustments are enabled, but it's somewhat dependent on the specific tracker's MFP integration, and details of how the user logs.)

    I feel like people here feel over-stressed about the exercise calorie estimates because they're so explicit and recurrent. Those who use a TDEE calculator also generally included exercise calories in their goal, but they're estimated as generic "exercise" and average daily time periods/frequencies, at most precise, then averaged into the overall calorie goal. That's unlikely to be more accurate than estimating once we know what we did, and for exactly how long.


    Every single thing is estimate. Base calorie needs (calculator gives you population average for people similar on a handful of data values), exercise calories, food (one apple is sweeter than the next, etc.), daily life (varies every single day, fidgetiness matters, more!). Any of them can be inaccurate, but we focus on the exercise estimate as A Big Deal.

    For most average people (though not every one), their biggest daily calorie burn is just being alive (BMR/RMR), not even doing anything. Second biggest is daily life (job, chores, etc.). Exercise is probably third. When you think about the actual numbers in that context, being quite a big percentage off on the exercise calories really doesn't matter hugely. For me, my pre-exercise TDEE is probably around 2000 or so. If the estimators are to be believed, 1300 or so of that is BMR/RMR (I suspect it's higher). That would make daily life around 700 calories (I suspect it's lower).

    If my exercise is 200-500 calories, and I'm off by 20%, and that "off" direction is "over" (because I could also underestimate), we're talking about 40-100 calories daily. I'll bet my other estimates are off by more than that, in total, daily. Some are high, some are low, they average out. Meh.

    Even if my exercise calories are 100% high, at that 500 calorie estimate, that means I only earned 250 calories, but claimed 500. At a pound a week deficit, a lose half a pound instead (if everything else is exact). If I note that, I can adjust my base calorie goal, or eat half my believed exercise calories, or any other adjustment to make my actual weight loss rate be about where I want it.
    I exercise A LOT. I've run 2 marathons so far this year. MFP is terrible at estimating my calories burned, as it often double-counts workouts that I'm tracking with other apps and grossly underestimates my pace on the treadmill and often the Peloton. So I tend to avoid eating back my exercise calories. However, I've come to the hard truth that I have to eat back some, or I get too hungry and say "screw it all" and stop logging (often about 4 pm).

    If there's double counting, do you have multiple sources linked to MFP? If so, maybe don't. If it's double-counting from a single source, maybe unlink everything, then reload/reset/relink?

    I'm not sure what you mean by "MFP . . . grossly underestimates my pace on the treadmill and . . . Peloton". MFP doesn't estimate pace?

    If there are underestimates of intensity somewhere, that implies an underestimate of calories. There's no risk to weight loss rate from estimating calories too low, except that you might lose dangerously fast. By eating back zero exercise calories, you're already risking even more dangerously fast.

    For someone who's exercising lots, not eating back exercise calories - whether averaged in via a TDEE calculator, synched via a tracker, logged manually - is guaranteed to be wrong, plus increases health risk, on top of the risk you're experiencing - eating randomly over goal because "too low" is unsustainable.

    If you at least commit to eat back a defined fraction of your estimated exercise calories regularly, even if not all, to the point where you can avoid "screw it all", you at least have a managed, metered situation, that you can adjust if it doesn't yield the results you want. "Screw it all and stop logging" randomly - that doesn't give you a basis for making rational adjustments to find your tolerable, successful intake.
  • wunderkindking
    wunderkindking Posts: 1,615 Member
    I... don't do exercise calories. Because my exercise is weird (hard to estimate, for me anyway, but consistent) I just loop it into my daily activity level. I'm not equally active every day but it averages out pretty well *for me*. Then accept the odd day I'm over or under due to variance. I do change my activity setting in the app seasonally (summer I am stupid active, winter less) or in case of injury or something meaning there's some grand variation in how much I'm moving. I haven't had any trouble with this but I've found 'roughly estimate' works pretty well for me both in loss and maintenance.

  • springlering62
    springlering62 Posts: 7,853 Member
    PS: it’s really really hard to increase calories when your mindset is “shave a few here, save a few there”. It takes work.
  • springlering62
    springlering62 Posts: 7,853 Member
    PPS check out the podcast Unfiltered Fitness by Sarah Bishop. She’s an MFP member. No idea what her user name is. Don’t care. That’s her business.

    I’m only five or six episodes in. Her podcast with the dietician who specializes in athletes kind of hit me over the head, regarding the above. I don’t consider myself an “athlete”, because I don’t compete at anything, yet I’m an athlete just on the basis of “doing”.

    I’m hoping the rest of her podcast episodes will be as useful to me as the first few.

    I also found her storyline of how she fell into anorexia very interesting and relatable. I think that it would be so easy for a data crazed /move ring motivated person like me to go that route.