# The "Olivia Method" - the cool new way to set up your MFP go

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I run 6 days a week, and do chaLean strength training videos 3 times a week. I log the ChaLean videos as circuit training, and for 30 minutes that gives me 300 - 400 calories. Running is a pretty standard measure (I DON'T use MFP's calculations). It's a standard figure based on weight and distance. For me (at 158 lbs) it's 108 calories per mile. I then subtract 1 calorie per minute of exercise (what I would've burned just sitting around). So if I run 8 miles, that's 864. Say it took me 80 minutes to run that - I would subtract 80 and get 784.

Can you tell I was almost a math major in school? haha

So when you calculate your running do you go by your speed as well or just milage and weight? What if a 190lb person runs 3.5 miles how do you figure that out?
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Just mileage and weight. Subtracting the amount of time it takes me takes care of my speed. If I run 5 miles at 50 minutes, I subtract 50. If I run 5 miles in 40 minutes, I would only subtract 40, so I get a few more calories.

My nutritionist told me (at 160 pounds) I burn around 110 calories a mile (whether running or walking). I've also heard that 100 calories a mile figure is based on a person weighing 150 pounds. So right now I'm 158, so I'm using 108. If I lose 2 more pounds, I'll multiply by 106. I'm not sure if this is accurate though. I would check a running website and test out some numbers. If you use my method, at 190 is 40 above 150, so 140 x mile. So you would burn 490 calories running 3.5 miles. That sounds about right actually. The heavier you are, the more calories you burn working out - one of the few benefits of having more to lose. Enjoy it while it lasts!
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sounds good :-)
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I run 6 days a week, and do chaLean strength training videos 3 times a week. I log the ChaLean videos as circuit training, and for 30 minutes that gives me 300 - 400 calories. Running is a pretty standard measure (I DON'T use MFP's calculations). It's a standard figure based on weight and distance. For me (at 158 lbs) it's 108 calories per mile. I then subtract 1 calorie per minute of exercise (what I would've burned just sitting around). So if I run 8 miles, that's 864. Say it took me 80 minutes to run that - I would subtract 80 and get 784.

Can you tell I was almost a math major in school? haha

So when you calculate your running do you go by your speed as well or just milage and weight? What if a 190lb person runs 3.5 miles how do you figure that out?

Just mileage and weight. Subtracting the amount of time it takes me takes care of my speed. If I run 5 miles at 50 minutes, I subtract 50. If I run 5 miles in 40 minutes, I would only subtract 40, so I get a few more calories.

My nutritionist told me (at 160 pounds) I burn around 110 calories a mile (whether running or walking). I've also heard that 100 calories a mile figure is based on a person weighing 150 pounds. So right now I'm 158, so I'm using 108. If I lose 2 more pounds, I'll multiply by 106. I'm not sure if this is accurate though. I would check a running website and test out some numbers. If you use my method, at 190 is 40 above 150, so 140 x mile. So you would burn 490 calories running 3.5 miles. That sounds about right actually. The heavier you are, the more calories you burn working out - one of the few benefits of having more to lose. Enjoy it while it lasts!
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Thank ya much
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bump, although I really don't know where to find it when I bump it. Someone please help me figure this out. Thanks.

In case someone else doesn't answer this...when you reply to a post, it puts it in your "My Topics" list which I think holds 25 threads. So you can find it easily by clicking on My Topics (look just above the posts at the blue links).
• Posts: 197
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I like this approach. I think I am going to stick with the regular MFP way for now as I am losing well on it and keep this in mind for when I get closer to my goal or get stuck in a plateau. Thanks for taking the time to write it out. I did think this version was a little more clear than the first one i read.
• Posts: 60 Member
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Olivia,
Forgive me if you have answered this already in either post as I've been reading back and forth in both....but I am curious how much you've lost since incorporating the "Olivia Method" (love the name btw) into your plan? I remember you mentioning something about losing well originally, then having a bumpy ride down throught the 160's, but wasn't sure on the rest of your story since then. I think you explained it really well! I've gotten my profile all set up and we'll see how it goes! Seems logical, motivating, and quite the healthy way to go. Once people have plugged the info into their settings it seems to be easy from there. You should (if you don't already) maybe think of having a weekly update post for all the people trying it, and they can log how well it's working for them...just a thought...thanks again...
Aspen
• Posts: 1,882 Member
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Ok..I love this and I want to try it...I'm HORRIBLE at math..so if you could create a little guidance for my situation. I'm a fitness instructor and this week I'll probably be burning over 1000 calories a day at the gym (crazy week). My maintenance according to this is 1911 calories. So If I burn 1100 calories today...how much could I eat and still create a 500 calorie deficit? Did I mention I SUCK at math? Thanks for your help!!
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I'll have to think about trying this. I'm starting to hit plateaus frequently so maybe I need to change things up.
• Posts: 263 Member
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Olivia,
Forgive me if you have answered this already in either post as I've been reading back and forth in both....but I am curious how much you've lost since incorporating the "Olivia Method" (love the name btw) into your plan? I remember you mentioning something about losing well originally, then having a bumpy ride down throught the 160's, but wasn't sure on the rest of your story since then. I think you explained it really well! I've gotten my profile all set up and we'll see how it goes! Seems logical, motivating, and quite the healthy way to go. Once people have plugged the info into their settings it seems to be easy from there. You should (if you don't already) maybe think of having a weekly update post for all the people trying it, and they can log how well it's working for them...just a thought...thanks again...
Aspen

Great Idea on the weekly logs. I like to weigh in Sundays so I can readjust my goal numbers based on my figures. I'll start a weekly Olivia Method thread on Sunday and people can log their success there. I've been doing this for 2 weeks now and have lost 4 pounds so far
• Posts: 60 Member
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Olivia,

One more thing...do you eat the extra exercise calories back even if your deficit or "remaining" isn't at 1000 yet? For example, my BMR is 1411, so that times 1.3 is 1834 which is what I set MFP calories at. I'm going to aim to eat around 1450 on days I don't exercise and 1500 (up to 1600) on days when I workout. Most days I burn about 500 calories (the number I figured in step 3 was 577 calories...1411+1000=2411 then subtract 1834). However...say I have a day when I burn 615 calories....when I plug in a "hypothetical day" into MFP I come up with the following: Consumed, 1505, Exercise 615, Remaining 944....so...I know this is getting a little technical, but I'm a type "A" person, so would you eat the an extra 50 (above my 577) or so calories back (a small serving of something) and just go with a deficit of just under 900, OR since I haven't yet reached a deficit of a full 1000 not worry about eating them back if I am not hungry>

Thanks!
• Posts: 263 Member
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Ok..I love this and I want to try it...I'm HORRIBLE at math..so if you could create a little guidance for my situation. I'm a fitness instructor and this week I'll probably be burning over 1000 calories a day at the gym (crazy week). My maintenance according to this is 1911 calories. So If I burn 1100 calories today...how much could I eat and still create a 500 calorie deficit? Did I mention I SUCK at math? Thanks for your help!!

What is your BMR? I can't do the full calculations without that.
• Posts: 68 Member
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Of the numerous diet and exercise books I have read I feel that the Olivia method might have some validity so here I am going to try it for a month. It makes a lot of sense. Thanks for sharing this with us.
• Posts: 725 Member
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Thanks for your post. Can you please explain the significance / source of the factor of 1.3 for "lightly active"? Where does that come from? Does it work for everyone, or is it not applicable for someone with a sedentary desk job? It seems the only element of your calculation that isn't at least somewhat deterministic.

Sure. BMR x 1.3 is how my nutritionist found my maintenance calories. MFP uses something similar - i think 1.2 for sedentary, 1.375 for lightly active, 1.5, 1.7 etc. It seemed the standard for her to use. You could just use MFP's activity setting and that would probably work out fine. I think you have to experiment and see what works for you. I lost a little more than I should've last week (not that i'm complaining), according to my average deficit. Might have something to do with my activity level - but we'll see how it goes as the weeks progress.

Thanks! I appreciate the extra info.
• Posts: 263 Member
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Olivia,

One more thing...do you eat the extra exercise calories back even if your deficit or "remaining" isn't at 1000 yet? For example, my BMR is 1411, so that times 1.3 is 1834 which is what I set MFP calories at. I'm going to aim to eat around 1450 on days I don't exercise and 1500 (up to 1600) on days when I workout. Most days I burn about 500 calories (the number I figured in step 3 was 577 calories...1411+1000=2411 then subtract 1834). However...say I have a day when I burn 615 calories....when I plug in a "hypothetical day" into MFP I come up with the following: Consumed, 1505, Exercise 615, Remaining 944....so...I know this is getting a little technical, but I'm a type "A" person, so would you eat the an extra 50 (above my 577) or so calories back (a small serving of something) and just go with a deficit of just under 900, OR since I haven't yet reached a deficit of a full 1000 not worry about eating them back if I am not hungry>

Thanks!

As long as the deficit is under 1000 you're in the clear. When in doubt, listen to your body. If you're hungry, eat a small snack with some carbs and protein and see how you feel after that. If you're not hungry, and your deficit is under 1000 I'd say you're good with not eating those extra 50 calories. From my personal experience, if I spend too many days at a very large deficit (900 - 1000) I start to feel it in my legs during my runs. I just don't have enough energy. If i then have a day where I have a smaller deficit (say 500), I can then go back to the larger deficits and I'll have more energy.

People who like to zig zag their calories would do well setting things up like this, because you can zig zag your deficit very easily with this method. But again, your body is your best guide. If you're not losing, one of your calculations is off or you're not logging food properly. If you're hungry or lacking in energy, you probably need to eat more.
• Posts: 359 Member
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This is very confusing!!

I am 5'3", 38 years old, female and am currently 165lbs. My goal is 140lbs so only 25lbs to lose. MFP says my daily goal is 1500 to lose 0.5lb per week. I have been doing this for 30 days and so far have only lost 1lb so I need some more help. I exercise about 4 or 5 times per week burning 400-500 cals per workout. Sometimes I eat them and sometimes I dont. This last week my average net has been 1360 (highest being 1634 and lowest being 1063).

Step 1 - My BMR says 1398
Step 2 - 1.3. x 1398 = 1817 - is this maintenance?? MFP says my maintenance is 1750
Step 3 - 1398 + 1000 -1817 = 581 - what is this figure representing? Is this the amount I should burn off each day in exercise calories?
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I havent tried this yet but I can see the benefits if you are near to goal and close to maintaining weight. I'm going to try for a few weeks after this weeks weigh in. Thanks Olivia, you have really started something here!
• Posts: 263 Member
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This is very confusing!!

I am 5'3", 38 years old, female and am currently 165lbs. My goal is 140lbs so only 25lbs to lose. MFP says my daily goal is 1500 to lose 0.5lb per week. I have been doing this for 30 days and so far have only lost 1lb so I need some more help. I exercise about 4 or 5 times per week burning 400-500 cals per workout. Sometimes I eat them and sometimes I dont. This last week my average net has been 1360 (highest being 1634 and lowest being 1063).

Step 1 - My BMR says 1398
Step 2 - 1.3. x 1398 = 1817 - is this maintenance?? MFP says my maintenance is 1750
Step 3 - 1398 + 1000 -1817 = 581 - what is this figure representing? Is this the amount I should burn off each day in exercise calories?

Ok, so 1.3 is a calculation to represent a bit of light activity in your daily life (not including exercise). I think MFP uses a slightly lower number for sedentary setting (1.25) and slightly higher for lightly active (1.375). I use 1.3 because that's what my nutritionist used for me - it seemed to be the standard calculation for her to use, so that's what I've been going off of. In the end, you know how active you are, so you'd be the best judge. If you think you're very sedentary, go with the 1750 figure, if you think that's a little low, go with lightly active. I like 1.3 because it's in the middle : )

so if you stick with 1.3 - you'd set calories to 1817, try to stick to around 1400 calories per day - not under. And if you want to create a 1000 calorie deficit, you'd need to burn 581 calories and not eat above 1400. Then if you burn anything above 581, you would eat the extra calories back to keep that 1000 calorie deficit. Make sense? And again, the easiest way is to just look at that green number (calories remaining). It shows you your deficit right there, so if the number is over 1000, eat until it gets to 1000 or under.