# Am i calculating this right?

Posts: 54 Member
So my fitness pal has been so speratic with its estimation of how many calories i burn so i decided tto try and figure out the math so i can do it myself with my fitbitt info.

here is the equation.

goal calories to eat for the day - total calories eaten. then

the total calories i burned for the day according to fitbit + the calories i had left over if any

then i subtract that sum from my BMR according to my fitbit and get my deficit.

I'm hoping i'm doing that right. It just helps me mentally at this point so if i can get close to knowing my deficit then weekends like this weekend where i'll be camping with family and eating stuff i normally wouldn't, won't feel like such a fail on my part lol. I set my watch up to record my exercises during the day. It bugs me that fitbit records the calories i burn based off the same info myfitnesspal has so i figure its more accurate.

any feedback is welcome

## Replies

• Posts: 4,043 Member
- your total calorie burn as per Fitbit (total calories for the day, not just 'active calories' or whatever words fitbit might use)

That's your theoretic deficit, since fitbit is using population averages to estimate your calorie burn and you may or may not fit those averages. The true test is your actual weight trend: a 500 calorie deficit each day for a whole week is the equivalent of losing 1lb a week (but evaluate your weight trend over at least one month/menstrual cycle or preferably two.
• Posts: 19,636 Member
Your estimated BMR is what you burn at total rest and in a fasted state - that is nowhere near your calorie needs for the day and you don't take calories away from that to work out a deficit.

Deficit is taken from your TDEE (which includes BMR, daily activity, exercise and even the thermic effect of eating).
• Posts: 54 Member
sijomial wrote: »
Your estimated BMR is what you burn at total rest and in a fasted state - that is nowhere near your calorie needs for the day and you don't take calories away from that to work out a deficit.

Deficit is taken from your TDEE (which includes BMR, daily activity, exercise and even the thermic effect of eating).

I know. I take my bmr out of the daily totals so i don't include it.
• Posts: 6,449 Member
sijomial wrote: »
Your estimated BMR is what you burn at total rest and in a fasted state - that is nowhere near your calorie needs for the day and you don't take calories away from that to work out a deficit.

Deficit is taken from your TDEE (which includes BMR, daily activity, exercise and even the thermic effect of eating).

I know. I take my bmr out of the daily totals so i don't include it.

Only exclude your bmr if you're dead and, since you're presumably typing or dictating said posts...

• Posts: 1,189 Member
Lietchi wrote: »
- your total calorie burn as per Fitbit (total calories for the day, not just 'active calories' or whatever words fitbit might use)

That's your theoretic deficit, since fitbit is using population averages to estimate your calorie burn and you may or may not fit those averages. The true test is your actual weight trend: a 500 calorie deficit each day for a whole week is the equivalent of losing 1lb a week (but evaluate your weight trend over at least one month/menstrual cycle or preferably two.

This, no need to subtract your BMR
• Posts: 54 Member
glassyo wrote: »
sijomial wrote: »
Your estimated BMR is what you burn at total rest and in a fasted state - that is nowhere near your calorie needs for the day and you don't take calories away from that to work out a deficit.

Deficit is taken from your TDEE (which includes BMR, daily activity, exercise and even the thermic effect of eating).

I know. I take my bmr out of the daily totals so i don't include it.

Only exclude your bmr if you're dead and, since you're presumably typing or dictating said posts...
I didn't think people included bmr when figuring in their deficit?
• Posts: 19,636 Member
sijomial wrote: »
Your estimated BMR is what you burn at total rest and in a fasted state - that is nowhere near your calorie needs for the day and you don't take calories away from that to work out a deficit.

Deficit is taken from your TDEE (which includes BMR, daily activity, exercise and even the thermic effect of eating).

I know. I take my bmr out of the daily totals so i don't include it.

That makes no sense at all when you are trying to estimate your total needs and then take a deficit off that total.

e.g.
My TDEE on a day with no exercise is about 2500.
If I wanted to lose 1lb/week I would take off 500 cals - eating 2000.

If I took off my BMR of 1500 and then another 500 cals I would only be eating 500 cals and losing at 4lbs a week!!
• Posts: 6,449 Member
glassyo wrote: »
sijomial wrote: »
Your estimated BMR is what you burn at total rest and in a fasted state - that is nowhere near your calorie needs for the day and you don't take calories away from that to work out a deficit.

Deficit is taken from your TDEE (which includes BMR, daily activity, exercise and even the thermic effect of eating).

I know. I take my bmr out of the daily totals so i don't include it.

Only exclude your bmr if you're dead and, since you're presumably typing or dictating said posts...
I didn't think people included bmr when figuring in their deficit?

Well, it's like @Lietchi said. Your deficit is equal to total calories burned minus what you eat.

Total calories are made up of your bmr (coma calories...no extra movement), daily activity (getting out of bed, showering, cooking, taking care of your kids, working, walking to and from your car, etc) and exercising (walking, running, eliptical....not many count strength training tho )

Soooooooo let's say your fitbit says you burned 2000 calories in one day. You worked at a desk, you showered, you took a walk, you made dinner, you slept some, etc.

And according to your logging on mfp, you ate 1500 calories.

2000-500=1500.

Perfect world numbers, of course.:)

Figuring out your deficit is JUST THAT EASY.

Plus all the other stuff she said.
• Posts: 54 Member
sijomial wrote: »
sijomial wrote: »
Your estimated BMR is what you burn at total rest and in a fasted state - that is nowhere near your calorie needs for the day and you don't take calories away from that to work out a deficit.

Deficit is taken from your TDEE (which includes BMR, daily activity, exercise and even the thermic effect of eating).

I know. I take my bmr out of the daily totals so i don't include it.

That makes no sense at all when you are trying to estimate your total needs and then take a deficit off that total.

e.g.
My TDEE on a day with no exercise is about 2500.
If I wanted to lose 1lb/week I would take off 500 cals - eating 2000.

If I took off my BMR of 1500 and then another 500 cals I would only be eating 500 cals and losing at 4lbs a week!!

Ohhh i gotcha. I'm using fitbit to calculate what my bmr is based on what it says i burn doing nothing. My doctor said 1500 cal was a good goal too. I have pcos, its a different story for me.
• Posts: 24,845 Member
sijomial wrote: »
sijomial wrote: »
Your estimated BMR is what you burn at total rest and in a fasted state - that is nowhere near your calorie needs for the day and you don't take calories away from that to work out a deficit.

Deficit is taken from your TDEE (which includes BMR, daily activity, exercise and even the thermic effect of eating).

I know. I take my bmr out of the daily totals so i don't include it.

That makes no sense at all when you are trying to estimate your total needs and then take a deficit off that total.

e.g.
My TDEE on a day with no exercise is about 2500.
If I wanted to lose 1lb/week I would take off 500 cals - eating 2000.

If I took off my BMR of 1500 and then another 500 cals I would only be eating 500 cals and losing at 4lbs a week!!

Ohhh i gotcha. I'm using fitbit to calculate what my bmr is based on what it says i burn doing nothing. My doctor said 1500 cal was a good goal too. I have pcos, its a different story for me.

Why not believe your Fitbit's all day calorie burn estimate, take a deficit off that for weight loss, and test-drive the result for a month (full menstrual cycle, comparing weight at the same relative point in different cycles, if you're premenopausal)? Synching your Fitbit to MFP should achieve this.

If you lose as expected (or close) doing that, that's one of the simplest possible personalized approaches. If the loss rate isn't as expected, you can adjust your intake as needed to accomplish your goal (10% adjustment to what Fitbit says, 20%, or whatever).

I understand that you have PCOS, and that that can make a person's calorie needs different from average. (I don't have PCOS, but am severely hypothyroid/treated, so somewhat analogous situation). Still, the doctor-provided calorie goals and diet plans - unless based on a super-detailed individual analysis, like a registered dietitian might do - are likely to be "one size fits most" solutions, and we're all individuals.

Like some others who've posted in this thread before, I'm wondering whether there's a terminology issue here. Your BMR (per your Fitbit) is the amount it thinks you'd burn doing nothing at all, just lying in bed all day. Furthermore, that isn't something your Fitbit is measuring. It's still just an estimate, based on the data you put in your Fitbit profile. It can be wrong. And you're not lying in bed all day every day, anyway, yes?

We can best find out our personal, individualized calorie needs by believing sound estimates to start, test-driving them for that 4-6 weeks, then adjusting based on personal results. Your Fitbit's estimate is just a little more personalized estimate, so arguably a better starting point for the experiment.

I'm a big believer in keeping things simple as the first experiment, then making them more complicated only if they need to be more complicated to meet goals. That applies to those of us with some "metabolic issue", just as it does to someone who expects to be more average, based on health factors.
• Posts: 40,892 Member
glassyo wrote: »
sijomial wrote: »
Your estimated BMR is what you burn at total rest and in a fasted state - that is nowhere near your calorie needs for the day and you don't take calories away from that to work out a deficit.

Deficit is taken from your TDEE (which includes BMR, daily activity, exercise and even the thermic effect of eating).

I know. I take my bmr out of the daily totals so i don't include it.

Only exclude your bmr if you're dead and, since you're presumably typing or dictating said posts...
I didn't think people included bmr when figuring in their deficit?

Why wouldn't you, it's part of your total energy requirement. Your deficit is taken from your TDEE...ie I need around 2800 calories per day to maintain my weight...those are my total calorie needs including my BMR, my day to day stuff, and regular exercise. If I eat anything less than 2800 calories, I am in a calorie deficit.
• Posts: 54 Member
AnnPT77 wrote: »
sijomial wrote: »
sijomial wrote: »
Your estimated BMR is what you burn at total rest and in a fasted state - that is nowhere near your calorie needs for the day and you don't take calories away from that to work out a deficit.

Deficit is taken from your TDEE (which includes BMR, daily activity, exercise and even the thermic effect of eating).

I know. I take my bmr out of the daily totals so i don't include it.

That makes no sense at all when you are trying to estimate your total needs and then take a deficit off that total.

e.g.
My TDEE on a day with no exercise is about 2500.
If I wanted to lose 1lb/week I would take off 500 cals - eating 2000.

If I took off my BMR of 1500 and then another 500 cals I would only be eating 500 cals and losing at 4lbs a week!!

Ohhh i gotcha. I'm using fitbit to calculate what my bmr is based on what it says i burn doing nothing. My doctor said 1500 cal was a good goal too. I have pcos, its a different story for me.

Why not believe your Fitbit's all day calorie burn estimate, take a deficit off that for weight loss, and test-drive the result for a month (full menstrual cycle, comparing weight at the same relative point in different cycles, if you're premenopausal)? Synching your Fitbit to MFP should achieve this.

If you lose as expected (or close) doing that, that's one of the simplest possible personalized approaches. If the loss rate isn't as expected, you can adjust your intake as needed to accomplish your goal (10% adjustment to what Fitbit says, 20%, or whatever).

I understand that you have PCOS, and that that can make a person's calorie needs different from average. (I don't have PCOS, but am severely hypothyroid/treated, so somewhat analogous situation). Still, the doctor-provided calorie goals and diet plans - unless based on a super-detailed individual analysis, like a registered dietitian might do - are likely to be "one size fits most" solutions, and we're all individuals.

Like some others who've posted in this thread before, I'm wondering whether there's a terminology issue here. Your BMR (per your Fitbit) is the amount it thinks you'd burn doing nothing at all, just lying in bed all day. Furthermore, that isn't something your Fitbit is measuring. It's still just an estimate, based on the data you put in your Fitbit profile. It can be wrong. And you're not lying in bed all day every day, anyway, yes?

We can best find out our personal, individualized calorie needs by believing sound estimates to start, test-driving them for that 4-6 weeks, then adjusting based on personal results. Your Fitbit's estimate is just a little more personalized estimate, so arguably a better starting point for the experiment.

I'm a big believer in keeping things simple as the first experiment, then making them more complicated only if they need to be more complicated to meet goals. That applies to those of us with some "metabolic issue", just as it does to someone who expects to be more average, based on health factors.

fit bit says i burn 19.6 cal per 15 min i'm stationary. thats what i went off of, so i take my burned total and take that minus 1881 which is what the days projected stationary calorie burn. I'm not trying to make things overcomplicated, i just want to know what i burned for the day, its gratifying, because i'm not under eating, i'm exercising after every meal, i'm taking good care of myself and its like a mini reward.

I'm on seasonique right now so i'm not tracking my cycle, i got two kiddlins, i don't need another right now with everything going on lol.

where i am right now my gp is my only provider, anyone else is booked solid and believe me i tried. so in terms of a more personalized plan, i'm just kind of doing a trial and error run now. Found out what carbs cause me to bloat, i'm trying to aim for 10k steps a day one way or another. that and doing my weights every weekday, its giving me results. i just didn't know if i had the right idea on how to manually calculate my deficit, because my fitness pall drastically cuts my amounts down. \

Take yesterday for example, using the formula i mentioned in op, i got 1340 cal deficit for the day right? my fitness pal says i only burned 655cal. The reason i take out what fitbit says my resting burn is for the day is because mfp takes your goal, minus what you eat, add that to what you burn and get your total. which its not forward with the math when it comes down to it, so it shows steps for fitbit and one day i can get one readout for 7k and the next day get 7k steps and be way way under what it said previous. That drives me up a dang wall. I've kept my status as lightly active this whole time to be consistant, when i change it to active it decreases drastically. The estimation is so wonky it seemed to be a more logical idea to just do it myself. i'm working so hard, the app saying that i only burned 400 calories for everything i do in a day is bs. i can't trust that
• Posts: 54 Member
cwolfman13 wrote: »
glassyo wrote: »
sijomial wrote: »
Your estimated BMR is what you burn at total rest and in a fasted state - that is nowhere near your calorie needs for the day and you don't take calories away from that to work out a deficit.

Deficit is taken from your TDEE (which includes BMR, daily activity, exercise and even the thermic effect of eating).

I know. I take my bmr out of the daily totals so i don't include it.

Only exclude your bmr if you're dead and, since you're presumably typing or dictating said posts...
I didn't think people included bmr when figuring in their deficit?

Why wouldn't you, it's part of your total energy requirement. Your deficit is taken from your TDEE...ie I need around 2800 calories per day to maintain my weight...those are my total calorie needs including my BMR, my day to day stuff, and regular exercise. If I eat anything less than 2800 calories, I am in a calorie deficit.

because my fitness pal never shows those numbers in its calculations, but i'm mainly wanting to know what i burned extra in a day. makes me feel like i did a good job when the number is near or higher to my goal intake amount
• Posts: 24,845 Member
AnnPT77 wrote: »
sijomial wrote: »
sijomial wrote: »
Your estimated BMR is what you burn at total rest and in a fasted state - that is nowhere near your calorie needs for the day and you don't take calories away from that to work out a deficit.

Deficit is taken from your TDEE (which includes BMR, daily activity, exercise and even the thermic effect of eating).

I know. I take my bmr out of the daily totals so i don't include it.

That makes no sense at all when you are trying to estimate your total needs and then take a deficit off that total.

e.g.
My TDEE on a day with no exercise is about 2500.
If I wanted to lose 1lb/week I would take off 500 cals - eating 2000.

If I took off my BMR of 1500 and then another 500 cals I would only be eating 500 cals and losing at 4lbs a week!!

Ohhh i gotcha. I'm using fitbit to calculate what my bmr is based on what it says i burn doing nothing. My doctor said 1500 cal was a good goal too. I have pcos, its a different story for me.

Why not believe your Fitbit's all day calorie burn estimate, take a deficit off that for weight loss, and test-drive the result for a month (full menstrual cycle, comparing weight at the same relative point in different cycles, if you're premenopausal)? Synching your Fitbit to MFP should achieve this.

If you lose as expected (or close) doing that, that's one of the simplest possible personalized approaches. If the loss rate isn't as expected, you can adjust your intake as needed to accomplish your goal (10% adjustment to what Fitbit says, 20%, or whatever).

I understand that you have PCOS, and that that can make a person's calorie needs different from average. (I don't have PCOS, but am severely hypothyroid/treated, so somewhat analogous situation). Still, the doctor-provided calorie goals and diet plans - unless based on a super-detailed individual analysis, like a registered dietitian might do - are likely to be "one size fits most" solutions, and we're all individuals.

Like some others who've posted in this thread before, I'm wondering whether there's a terminology issue here. Your BMR (per your Fitbit) is the amount it thinks you'd burn doing nothing at all, just lying in bed all day. Furthermore, that isn't something your Fitbit is measuring. It's still just an estimate, based on the data you put in your Fitbit profile. It can be wrong. And you're not lying in bed all day every day, anyway, yes?

We can best find out our personal, individualized calorie needs by believing sound estimates to start, test-driving them for that 4-6 weeks, then adjusting based on personal results. Your Fitbit's estimate is just a little more personalized estimate, so arguably a better starting point for the experiment.

I'm a big believer in keeping things simple as the first experiment, then making them more complicated only if they need to be more complicated to meet goals. That applies to those of us with some "metabolic issue", just as it does to someone who expects to be more average, based on health factors.

fit bit says i burn 19.6 cal per 15 min i'm stationary. thats what i went off of, so i take my burned total and take that minus 1881 which is what the days projected stationary calorie burn. I'm not trying to make things overcomplicated, i just want to know what i burned for the day, its gratifying, because i'm not under eating, i'm exercising after every meal, i'm taking good care of myself and its like a mini reward.

I'm on seasonique right now so i'm not tracking my cycle, i got two kiddlins, i don't need another right now with everything going on lol.

where i am right now my gp is my only provider, anyone else is booked solid and believe me i tried. so in terms of a more personalized plan, i'm just kind of doing a trial and error run now. Found out what carbs cause me to bloat, i'm trying to aim for 10k steps a day one way or another. that and doing my weights every weekday, its giving me results. i just didn't know if i had the right idea on how to manually calculate my deficit, because my fitness pall drastically cuts my amounts down. \

Take yesterday for example, using the formula i mentioned in op, i got 1340 cal deficit for the day right? my fitness pal says i only burned 655cal. The reason i take out what fitbit says my resting burn is for the day is because mfp takes your goal, minus what you eat, add that to what you burn and get your total. which its not forward with the math when it comes down to it, so it shows steps for fitbit and one day i can get one readout for 7k and the next day get 7k steps and be way way under what it said previous. That drives me up a dang wall. I've kept my status as lightly active this whole time to be consistant, when i change it to active it decreases drastically. The estimation is so wonky it seemed to be a more logical idea to just do it myself. i'm working so hard, the app saying that i only burned 400 calories for everything i do in a day is bs. i can't trust that

If you literally ate 1341 calories fewer than you burned overall, that would be a very, very high deficit - high risk, high stress, unless you're under close medical supervision (like frequent blood tests), and starting from a point of being severely obese. (I'm not understanding clearly how you're calculating this, because you're doing something . . . unusual? . . . so maybe that's not what the 1341 is. Using standard terminology, consistently repeating a 1341 calorie deficit would be expected to result in a weight loss rate of well over 2.5 pounds a week, which is very aggressive.)

Fast weight loss is not a win, generally. Fast weight loss increases health risk, among other potential problems.

As far as the Fitbit to MFP adjustment, I'm concerned that you may be misunderstanding what it is: It's not directly related to steps. It's about the comparison of how many calories MFP expects you to burn based on all of your settings, including activity level; to the number of calories your Fitbit thinks you burned, including steps but also every other thing you did that day that involved movement, on top of your estimated BMR. Even fidgeting is movement above BMR, not to mention household chores, job, exercise, etc.

So, yes, on a day with the same number of steps, you may get a lower or higher calorie adjustment in MFP, depending on what else you did that day. It may be confusing, but that's how it's supposed to work.

Also, sure, if you reset your MFP activity level, the adjustment will be different. If you reset from lightly active to active on MFP, MFP expects you to burn more calories, so the adjustment of course decreases, because MFP compares its expectation to what your tracker actually estimated based on BMR plus all types of movement that it saw. If you tell MFP to expect you to burn more calories, it only makes sense that the adjustment vs. Fitbit would be smaller, y'know?

As far as a personalized plan: If you don't have monthly cycles, just go with a starting estimate/approach and log for 4-6 weeks, then compare the change in your bodyweight to the change you expected. You don't need your doctor to personalize for you, it's an experiment you can do yourself. I'd strongly suggest, especially with a health condition in the picture, that you not be trying to lose more than 0.5-1% of your bodyweight per week, on average over 4-6 weeks, and I'd be biased toward the lower end of that.
• Posts: 19,636 Member
<SNIP for clarity>

Take yesterday for example, using the formula i mentioned in op, i got 1340 cal deficit for the day right?
It's a flawed formula and would be a really excessive deficit if it were true.

my fitness pal says i only burned 655cal.
No it's not saying that at all. You aren't understanding how your Fitbit and MFP work together or where that number comes from.

Your Fitbit is estimating your variable daily TDEE and that number you see appear is an adjustment from Fitbit for both activity and exercise.
MFP without a tracker gives you a flat rate same every day average for your daily activity and expects you to log your variable exercise separately.
Your Fitbit is giving you a variable daily estimate for both activity and exercise.

If you like using your tracker then just trial the numbers it gives you and see what results you get over an extended period of time.

• Posts: 1,189 Member
You're using Fitbit wrongly.
Take the total number of calories it says you burned in a day - not the active/exercise calories but the total daily burn, don't subtract anything! - and then minus the calories you consumed. That's your deficit.