How much of extra calories earned should I eat?

MazLB
MazLB Posts: 55 Member
edited March 26 in Health and Weight Loss
So historically when trying to lose weight I would not adjust food intake to take into account exercise. Now I am trying to change my relationship with food, to not use food as a stress reliever and to really understand healthy eating with weight loss being a very handy by-product of that. Added bonus that if I can retrain myself then I won’t pile pounds back on when something goes pear shaped.
My question - I have a calorie allowance of 1310. Usually hit high 1200 and very comfortable at that level on a working day when spent most of time sat at desk. But I’m a golfer, so when I go out and play golf I get an extra 800 plus calories, giving me a net of around 400 - 500. Did that yesterday ending up eating chocolate in the evening. Still had net calories of under 700. I can see reading up that I should have eaten extra to account for that deficit. How much extra? A proportion of it or do I need to get the net figure to a certain level?
Devil is in the detail isn’t it! 🤪

Replies

  • LifeChangz
    LifeChangz Posts: 457 Member
    edited March 26
    depends on your goals/comfort level... not sure there is a proper answer, some people do, others not. I never linked fitness trackers to my food trackers, and I don't generally adjust except on particularly active days or - if hungry - then i will add/increase a snack or meal a bit. I figure if my deficit for the day is within the range to lose 1 - 2 lbs a week, I don't generally eat those calories back - unless it's a matter of hunger. If the range widens, I increase food to keep the gap at 2 lbs a week or less. This will happen sometimes on weekends - after a morning workout followed by some spontaneous activity such as a daytrip down to the beach... definitely extra movement beyond my usual.... and an adjustment becomes reasonable for my body.
  • Ann262
    Ann262 Posts: 265 Member
    Hi! @MazLB , I love your healthy approach to the process.

    No one can give you an exact answer. Certainly, on a more active day, you need to eat more. I know may be sick of this fuzzy answer but, honestly, listen to your body. Learn the difference between true hunger and just wanting something. If you are truly hungry, you should eat.

    :)
  • cmriverside
    cmriverside Posts: 33,673 Member
    A round of golf...I would log that as 200-400 extra calories.

    How often are you golfing? If it's one time per week, it's not really going to matter whether you use 800 or 200...Pick one number - either the 800 or something less, but pick ONE amount you'll use for exercise per hour or per round of golf. Use that number for a month. See how your weight does. Log it. Adjust at the end of that month.

    The one thing you want to do is be consistent so you know where to adjust. You can log the 800...see how your weight changes over the next month using that number. If you continue to lose the weight on-schedule then you're close enough. If you don't, then lower that number.
  • herblovinmom
    herblovinmom Posts: 331 Member
    Hmmmm, I wouldn't eat just for the sake of eating back calories. Only eat extra on golf days if your hungry. I do eat more on days I exercise but that's because I get hungrier and I will try to only eat half back so I still have extra deficit from my extra effort. 😉 listen to your body. Your doing great. Learn to eat for life so you don't gain it back after you lose it. I love that saying. "Weight loss is a byproduct of good health". I find that to be so so true. 🤗
  • Retroguy2000
    Retroguy2000 Posts: 1,113 Member
    I don't understand how net calories went up after eating chocolate.

    Anyway, yes, you should generally eat back exercise calories, with the caveat that you're targeting a certain calorie goal by EOD. If your goal is 1300 and you've ingested 1300 with no exercise, great. If you've ingested 1300 and burned an additional 500 in exercise, then eat the 500. But... this assumes your exercise estimate is accurate. And that's why many people only eat back a portion of workout calories, because those estimates can easily be inflated. If you think you burned 500 and eat those back, but in reality you only burned 300, that could erase your planned deficit.

    It sounds like you're using a sync'd tracker, so maybe it's quite accurate and by EOD it all works out in the MFP app. If not, then you need to avoid double counting. e.g. say I burn around 100 per hour sitting around, and instead of that I sit on an exercise bike for an hour and it says I burned 600. That number, if accurate, would refer to total calories burned. Since MFP already includes an estimated 100 per hour for me, then I should only add 500, and in fact I may add less than that to MFP.
  • MazLB
    MazLB Posts: 55 Member
    edited March 27
    Brill feed back guys, thank you. Using Apple Watch for step count and ap for calculating the extra from playing golf. Totally agree that is an estimate so would not want to eat everything earned. But now the clocks have gone forward will be a minimum of 4 days a week (more with a bit of good planning) and the ap is giving me net calories of around 400 when I play. As I plan my food the day before I will use the ap to estimate net calories and plan in around 40-50% of that figure & see how that goes 😊
    Just in time to edit. I weigh on Tanita scales. Quite interesting that the day after I exercised and didn’t adjust intake weight stayed the same but body fat % up .6 and muscle mass dropped by 1.2lb. Next day I ate 50% of the additional calories earned and fat % dropped by 1.1 and muscle mass up 2.6lb. Weight also up slightly but I’m ok with that. Was more unhappy about the dip in muscle mass.
  • dwilliamca
    dwilliamca Posts: 325 Member
    I've been struggling trying to find my happy number as well. I have my calories set at lightly active which gives me 1310 per day, and then add my 2-3 yoga workouts on top of that which gives me another 150-200. I'm trying to keep my calorie intake around 1400, therefore only using half of the exercise calories. I'm a little frustrated because my weight loss has slowed down to a snail's pace since increasing my activity level from sedentary to lightly active and therefore increasing by base calories up from 1200 to 1310. I keep telling myself it is converting fat to muscle, but hope that is it. I'm 69 years old and much more active than I was a few years ago which is why I changed level. I'm trying to be patient and go for a slow, sustainable burn so the weight doesn't come back as it has before.
  • Retroguy2000
    Retroguy2000 Posts: 1,113 Member
    MazLB wrote: »
    Just in time to edit. I weigh on Tanita scales. Quite interesting that the day after I exercised and didn’t adjust intake weight stayed the same but body fat % up .6 and muscle mass dropped by 1.2lb. Next day I ate 50% of the additional calories earned and fat % dropped by 1.1 and muscle mass up 2.6lb. Weight also up slightly but I’m ok with that. Was more unhappy about the dip in muscle mass.
    Of the various fitness people I follow on YT, I've yet to hear a positive rec for scales estimating body far and muscle mass. At best, they might show you a trend over time. As your own data showed there, that's very wrong. You clearly did not add 2.6 pounds of muscle in a day, nor lose 1% of body fat in a day.
  • Jthanmyfitnesspal
    Jthanmyfitnesspal Posts: 3,467 Member
    I think the apple watch would do a reasonable job of estimating your calorie burn from something like Golf so long as you walk between shots. If your using a golf cart, you could be confusing it: any vibration may be taken as walking. @cmriverside is probably considering this in their low estimate. But, if you're walking, you're probably getting 4 or more miles in, and that burns real calories.

    I respond in two ways for a large calorie burn: eat back some now and some later. (My biggest one-day burns are usually hikes which can add 1000s of kcals.)

    For example, I ran for an hour on Sunday which Garmin estimated at 800kcals. (The fact that it is the same as your golf game gives me pause. Maybe I should take up golf. It sounds relaxing!) I had eaten a regular breakfast and lunch, which are lean right now as I'm cutting. I ate a reasonable dinner, but allowed for my post-dinner treat which is a small bowl of dried fruit, nuts, and dark chocolate, about 300kcals total (a cookie without the butter and flour). I was still 300kcals under for the day. That is the way I like it, as I will be able to eat 100-200kcals extra on a rest day this week.

    Best of luck!
  • Retroguy2000
    Retroguy2000 Posts: 1,113 Member
    Golf has a wide range of calorie burns:

    - Driving in a cart.
    - Walking with a caddy carrying your clubs.
    - Walking while pulling/pushing a cart with your clubs.
    - Walking while carrying your clubs.

    And although it may be spread over four hours, it's still only about 4-5 miles, which would be about 1.5 hours of walking plus about 80 swings, not counting low effort putts.

    @Jthanmyfitnesspal Your one hour run estimate and those four hour golf estimates may both be right. Remember to compare with four hours for yourself, i.e. one hour of running plus three hours of maybe sedentary, compared with four hours of golf.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 27,510 Member
    Hmmmm, I wouldn't eat just for the sake of eating back calories. Only eat extra on golf days if your hungry. I do eat more on days I exercise but that's because I get hungrier and I will try to only eat half back so I still have extra deficit from my extra effort. 😉 listen to your body. Your doing great. Learn to eat for life so you don't gain it back after you lose it. I love that saying. "Weight loss is a byproduct of good health". I find that to be so so true. 🤗

    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.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 30,241 Member
    MazLB wrote: »
    Just in time to edit. I weigh on Tanita scales. Quite interesting that the day after I exercised and didn’t adjust intake weight stayed the same but body fat % up .6 and muscle mass dropped by 1.2lb. Next day I ate 50% of the additional calories earned and fat % dropped by 1.1 and muscle mass up 2.6lb. Weight also up slightly but I’m ok with that. Was more unhappy about the dip in muscle mass.
    Of the various fitness people I follow on YT, I've yet to hear a positive rec for scales estimating body far and muscle mass. At best, they might show you a trend over time. As your own data showed there, that's very wrong. You clearly did not add 2.6 pounds of muscle in a day, nor lose 1% of body fat in a day.

    In just to endorse this ^^^: Those scales are not nearly accurate enough to trust in day to day changes, nor the absolute numbers. The direction of the trend over weeks may be meaningful, at best.

    We don't add muscle that fast, not even close. (I wish . . . !) Physiologically, it's not viable. Fat loss is typically going to be only a few ounces day, even when losing weight fast. Absent major life drama (like major surgery) most of a multi-pound scale fluctuation from one day to the next is changes in digestive contents on their way to becoming waste, or shifts in water retention. Our bodies can be up to 60%+ water, and holding/releasing quite large amounts of it is part of how healthy bodies stay healthy. Don't let it stress you.

    Remember to convert percents to pounds, at least mentally, too. If I add some water weight, so my scale weight goes up, the same number of pounds of muscle and fat will be a smaller percentage of the total, even though neither muscle nor fat volume actually changed.

    Mostly, look at the average trend in scale weight over a period of at least 4-6 weeks (whole menstrual periods if relevant). As long as a person doesn't do something inappropriate (like too-low calories), most of the change in trend over a few weeks will be about changes in body fat. Scale impact of muscle changes, absent a major health crisis, is more like months.

    But the main thing is that the scales are not that precise/accurate.
  • MazLB
    MazLB Posts: 55 Member
    Thanks guys - couple of comments on some of the feed back.
    I am a data freak. I weigh daily on the same tanita scales and you are all correct, it’s the trend that matters. I have a lovely spreadsheet with every day (almost) for the last two years recorded in detail. (Yes I am a geek)
    I want to ensure my muscle mass, regardless of how accurate the scale is, does not reduce drastically. And it hasn’t. So far. Just looking to make sure it stays that way.
    The interesting point of having this sort of data, I know that when the scale goes up a pound and this is also reflected in the muscle
    mass reading, it’s a temporary blip. (Or the other way round) Either tomorrow or the day after the weight will drop and so will the muscle mass.
    I know how a Chinese takeaway affects the scales, eating late, not drinking as much as
    normal etc etc. Really helps me not to get too wound up by minor blips. Would not suit everyone but works for me. 🤷‍♀️