To Eat or Not to Eat Exercise Calories

:indifferent: I can see a small difference in the inches lost but I have not lost one pound. This BMR, BMI, etc has me totally confused. I exercise 4-5 times a week, ie: Zumba, Trekking, and other classes. I'm staying in the range of 1400-1600 calories per day. Another question is, I have a desk job but with the exercise I do weekly am I still considered to be sedentary? Please someone HELP!! Thanks.
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Replies

  • Captain_Tightpants
    Captain_Tightpants Posts: 2,215 Member
    What's your height, weight and age?
  • Discoveri
    Discoveri Posts: 493
    I actually just asked the activity level question and few days ago and this is what I was told: If you log your exercise but have a desk job, keep your level as sedentary. If you go to lightly active or higher and still log/eat back your exercise calories it is like double dipping. Personally I eat back some of my exercise calories every day and have been losing pretty consistently. I also don't feel deprived. Good luck!
  • adam1885282
    adam1885282 Posts: 135 Member
    First, why are you staying in the "range of 1400-1600" calories? That's a huge range. What are your "goal" settings and what does MFP tell you to eat?
    BMR is how many calories you burn at rest, and I mean really at rest, like laying still in a bed. BMI is the percentage of your body that is fat. If you have a deak job I'd recommend setting your goal as sedentary and eating back your exercise calories based on the weight-loss goal you picked (eg. 1/2 pound a week, 1 pound a week). Do that for a few weeks and see how it's going.
  • Jacwhite22
    Jacwhite22 Posts: 7,015 Member
    First, why are you staying in the "range of 1400-1600" calories? That's a huge range.

    really......it's not.
  • The way I understand it is this, if you set your daily life at sedentary (I am a graphics/web designer so I spent most my day in a chair) then your "goal" will account for the calories that your body uses/burns at that lifestyle setting...anything that added to the burning of calories you want to eat back so that you are feeding your "extra" calorie loss, but doing it at a deficit will make sure you are still losing weight...

    I am not a nutritionist nor do I always stick to my goals like I should...but that's the basic concept as I understand it
  • melsinct
    melsinct Posts: 3,512 Member
    The numbers MFP provides are not exact and you have to do some experimenting on your own. At different times in my weight loss I at the exercise calories and at other times I did not, currently I am maintaining and eat some but not all. As I got closer to my goal, I had to eat most of them in order to keep losing. Everyone is different, just make sure you are getting enough nutrition if you are doing huge calorie burns (like Zumba for an hour).
  • lizziebeth1028
    lizziebeth1028 Posts: 3,602 Member
    I don't eat my calories back. However, on occasion, I eat other people's calories back.

    :laugh:
  • lizziebeth1028
    lizziebeth1028 Posts: 3,602 Member
    I eat 80 to 100 percent of my exercise calories back. I like to leave a little wiggle room for miscalculation.
  • Dot1971
    Dot1971 Posts: 3
    1400 - 1600 Calorie diet is too much, you should change to fewer calories. Personally I am on a 1200 calorie diet, exercise 3 - 4 times a week. I usually eat back half of what I burn at the gym. The classes are fine to do but most gyms have trainers there and you can always ask one of them tips to lose weight more.
  • supplemama
    supplemama Posts: 1,964 Member
    I eat some of my exercise calories back but not all, maybe 3-500 out of 1,000. I eat really well, you can check my diary (just ignore yesterday LOL). Some things to consider if you are not dropping pounds:

    Are you drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day, every day?
    Are you getting enough sleep? 7-8 solid hours a night?
    What are you eating?

    the last is very important because some will argue that a calorie is a calorie so it doesn't matter what you eat, but that is not true for me. If I eat 1400 calories of snicker bars and taco bell in a day, my body responds quite differently than if I eat 1400 calories of lean meat, fresh veggies, fruit, grains. You know, the good stuff. I don't lose weight if I eat lots of junk, period.

    Oh! Another thing, try exercising every day. Like on your off days from the gym, maybe just fast walk 2-5 miles on those days. I find my body just loves fat and is very resistant to the idea of me liberating it, so I MUST exercise daily.
  • Jugie12
    Jugie12 Posts: 289
    I do not eat mine back. I tried that and didn't like it, it was no help at all.
  • KatKatatrophic
    KatKatatrophic Posts: 448 Member
    I don't eat mine back.
    I find it pointless TBH. Why burn them if you're just going to eat them back? That's my opinion. Key word: opinion. Don't bash on me. I don't find a reason to eat them back. What was the point of working out? Sometimes I'll work out if I know I'll be having a calorie-filled meal. Oh, hey, that rhymed.
    Anyways, that's my opinion.
  • deksgrl
    deksgrl Posts: 7,237 Member
    1400 - 1600 Calorie diet is too much, you should change to fewer calories. Personally I am on a 1200 calorie diet, exercise 3 - 4 times a week. I usually eat back half of what I burn at the gym. The classes are fine to do but most gyms have trainers there and you can always ask one of them tips to lose weight more.

    This depends on her height, weight, age. She may need that many calories, she may even need more than that. 1200 is not a blanket number for everyone to be able to lose weight in a healthy fashion.
  • Spanaval
    Spanaval Posts: 1,200 Member
    1400 - 1600 Calorie diet is too much, you should change to fewer calories.

    There is no real way to tell, unless you're the OP. Unless you're older, small and female with a small weight loss goal (like me), you could probably eat more than 1200 cals/day.

    OP: I eat back some of my calories, not all. The wiggle room accounts for underestimating calories in food, and subtracting BMR for the time I workout.
  • nikinyx6
    nikinyx6 Posts: 772 Member
    1400 - 1600 Calorie diet is too much, you should change to fewer calories. Personally I am on a 1200 calorie diet, exercise 3 - 4 times a week. I usually eat back half of what I burn at the gym. The classes are fine to do but most gyms have trainers there and you can always ask one of them tips to lose weight more.

    I don't think we have enough info about the OP to say she's eating too many calories...everyone is different :)

    Edit ^^ above poster beat me to it!
  • deksgrl
    deksgrl Posts: 7,237 Member
    I don't eat mine back.
    I find it pointless TBH. Why burn them if you're just going to eat them back? That's my opinion. Key word: opinion. Don't bash on me. I don't find a reason to eat them back. What was the point of working out? Sometimes I'll work out if I know I'll be having a calorie-filled meal. Oh, hey, that rhymed.
    Anyways, that's my opinion.

    The reason people eat them back is because the MFP system is set up so that you will lose weight just by calorie reduction. When you also exercise, then that often creates too much of a calorie reduction, i.e. you need extra fuel for your workouts.

    If you instead took your total calorie needs for all of your activity including workouts, then figured out your calorie reduction from that, then you would not need to eat back more calories to fuel your workout.
  • Captain_Tightpants
    Captain_Tightpants Posts: 2,215 Member
    1400 - 1600 Calorie diet is too much, you should change to fewer calories. Personally I am on a 1200 calorie diet, exercise 3 - 4 times a week. I usually eat back half of what I burn at the gym. The classes are fine to do but most gyms have trainers there and you can always ask one of them tips to lose weight more.

    Without knowing the OP's height, weight, age and goals this statement is utterly ridiculous. You really ought to be careful about dishing out such meaningless generic advice. Someone might take it to heart and hurt themselves.
  • cibilbee
    cibilbee Posts: 47 Member
    I was always told to go with what you do the majority of your day. For me I sit at a desk 7.5 hours a day and sleep for at least 6 hrs. I worked out between 60 and 90 minutes a day 5 to 6 times a week. I found my best results come when I set to a sedentary life style, track my exercise, and eat my exercise calories back. I neet 1400 calories a day and am slowly bumping up to 1600(my bmr) because I found if I do net at least 1400 I have dizzy spells so I think the 1400 - 1600 can be a great range. It's still well under maintenance so you'll still lose.
  • coombsy87
    coombsy87 Posts: 50 Member
    1400 - 1600 Calorie diet is too much, you should change to fewer calories.




    That's a silly thing to say. MFP has calculated for me
    To lose 2lbs per week I have 1500 cals. If the op is larger they will need much more than 1200. Everyone is different and needs different calorie levels.


    I personall eat back most of exercise calories, you need to fuel your body!!! I am losing just fine.
  • myfitnessnmhoy
    myfitnessnmhoy Posts: 2,105 Member
    Another question is, I have a desk job but with the exercise I do weekly am I still considered to be sedentary?

    Normally, yes. You'd set your activity level to sedentary, log your exercise, and feed that exercise by eating back those calories. MFP has you set up with a deficit that allows you to lose weight at the pace you set, undereating will just make you feel bad and less able to handle the workouts you need to maintain health (weight is not the only factor in overall health).

    If you want, you certainly can choose a lifestyle that accommodates your workouts, as long as you are committed to doing those workouts. At that point, those workouts are part of your expected lifestyle and you would not log them.

    However, if you are currently not losing weight but feeling good, MFP may be overestimating your calorie burn from your workouts. Try either adjusting the calories down by 1/3 or so and eating those reduced calories back, or simply eating back only part of the exercise calories. Watch your workout performance carefully - if it starts to suffer you've gone too far and you may want to experiment with actually eating MORE to see if you can keep workout performance high (which will burn more calories).

    Don't do huge shifts to this, maybe adjust by 200 calories or so, and give each adjustment at least a couple of weeks to a month to "settle in" before you make an assessment as to what is and is not working. The only real exception to this is if you start feeling tired, fatigued, or just unable to or suddenly uninterested in working out. That's a sign that you need more food.

    And any increase or decrease in calories should be in balanced amounts so as to get your fat, carbs, and protein goals all met by about the same percentage. Don't ever eat 400 calories of empty nonsense just to meet a calorie goal for the day. The point is to nourish your body to support awesome workouts, not to make a number reach zero.

    EDIT: I may regret adding this, but...

    As to eating back exercise calories, I need to. Otherwise my workout performance suffers and I stop losing weight. I also feel hungry and deprived, and that's not the point - you are not paying penance for some sort of sin, you don't need to suffer.

    My goal is twofold:

    First and foremost, I want to be able to perform well at my workouts and be motivated to do them. Workouts help me maintain muscle mass as I lose weight, and body fat percentage is FAR more important than body weight.

    Second, I want to lose weight.

    By following the plan MFP has laid out for me, I'm accomplishing BOTH goals, and not feeling like I'm constantly hungry or deprived. My overall health is improving, I'm enjoying my food, and I'm losing weight at a pace I'm happy with.

    Contrast this with my previous approach to fitness and weight loss, where I'd just eat as little as I could manage with and work out as much as I could, resulting in miserable workouts, miserable meals, and a miserable me, and not much more sustained weight loss than I'm getting now.... I'll stick with what I'm doing now, thanks.