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TOPIC: Calorie deficit or eat back my workout?

 
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June 28, 2013 9:43 AM
When people say calorie deficit do they mean actual negative calories for the day or are they just saying NOT to eat back all of my workout and stay under my goal?

I was thinking I should maybe stop trying to eat back my calories from my workout since I am not working out THAT hard and possibly underestimating some calories, resulting in little progress...
  26181103
June 28, 2013 9:48 AM
There are probably several ways of looking at it, but the fact is that if you are too far in deficit for too long, your metabolism will slow, making weight loss even harder. Having said that, though, I am new and only 7+ lbs into my goal (coming from a very sedentary lifestyle), and I'm not eating most of my workout calories back. I have decided to do this for the next few weeks, then start to eat more of the calories back to just have a small workout deficit (perhaps 100-200 calories). I'm not an expert, and maybe this isn't the best thing to do, but so far, that is my plan.
  44684082
June 28, 2013 10:30 AM
I may be rethinking my previous response. Found this video on another thread, and it is VERY informative: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHHzie6XRGk&list=WL44342F1C4D7ECCCC
  44684082
June 28, 2013 11:21 AM
Thanks :) The video was a little long for my ADD tho...lol

I am almost wondering if I should up my caloric intake, but I just can't wrap my head around that idea...I think its more likely that I am actually consuming more than I realize and that is keeping the weight on, rather than the idea that I need to eat more...
  26181103
June 28, 2013 11:26 AM
I usually don't eat all of my calories back, but on my workouts I usually burn at least 400 calories. I will add a healthy protein rich recovery meal which does not usually exceed 200 calories. If I don't eat after my workout, I am less likely to gain muscle as my body repairs the damage from strength training. Worse yet, without sufficient protein, my muscles may weaken because the damaged sacromers are not replaced.
June 28, 2013 11:32 AM
If you have your calories automatically calculated through MFP then you want to eat back your exercise calories. MFP already has a built in calorie deficit depending on what you choose for desired weight loss(1/2lb, 1lb, etc). Your body needs fuel to operate efficiently and if you don't give it enough food you'll be hurting your metabolism in the long run

Now, if you have your calories calculated to include all of your activity(work, home and gym) then you don't eat back your exercise calories because they are already calculated into your daily calorie goal.
  31886218
June 28, 2013 11:41 AM
A calorie deficit is expending more than you consume. Period
Doesn't matter how it's achieved.
Energy from bodily function + energy from daily activity + energy from exercise
You can choose to eat above or below that.
June 28, 2013 11:56 AM
QUOTE:

Thanks :) The video was a little long for my ADD tho...lol

I am almost wondering if I should up my caloric intake, but I just can't wrap my head around that idea...I think its more likely that I am actually consuming more than I realize and that is keeping the weight on, rather than the idea that I need to eat more...


Do you use a food scale and measuring cups/spoons? Using them for everything I eat definitely made me realize that my portion sizes were way too big and I was eating more than I thought. I highly recommend them, and I also recommend using a Heart Rate Monitor for exercise. It's more accurate than the HRM on gym machines and MFP's calcs.

If you get your calorie count as accurate as possible with the above, you should be able to eat all of your exercise calories back and hit your goals. I just want to note that my weight loss was NOT linear. If I was set to lose 1lb per week, sometimes I would lose nothing for 3 weeks in a row, then lose 4 lbs during the last week of the month. It averaged out to exactly what MFP said it would over the 9 months I was losing.

Good luck!
  19336930
June 28, 2013 12:07 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

Thanks :) The video was a little long for my ADD tho...lol

I am almost wondering if I should up my caloric intake, but I just can't wrap my head around that idea...I think its more likely that I am actually consuming more than I realize and that is keeping the weight on, rather than the idea that I need to eat more...


Do you use a food scale and measuring cups/spoons? Using them for everything I eat definitely made me realize that my portion sizes were way too big and I was eating more than I thought. I highly recommend them, and I also recommend using a Heart Rate Monitor for exercise. It's more accurate than the HRM on gym machines and MFP's calcs.

If you get your calorie count as accurate as possible with the above, you should be able to eat all of your exercise calories back and hit your goals. I just want to note that my weight loss was NOT linear. If I was set to lose 1lb per week, sometimes I would lose nothing for 3 weeks in a row, then lose 4 lbs during the last week of the month. It averaged out to exactly what MFP said it would over the 9 months I was losing.

Good luck!


Thanks! And no, I don't have a scale....I already feel pretty crazy taking the bun off my Arby's roast beef, and counting chips out of the bag to eat with my guac...I'm not going to get a scale...but I will try to watch my portions more closely :)
  26181103
June 28, 2013 12:08 PM
PS- awesome progress!!!! I guess if a few more months of this doesn't work, I should def follow your example, you clearly know what your talking about!!
  26181103
June 28, 2013 12:21 PM
If you're following MFP the way it is set up to work, then you have a calorie deficit built into your goal. If you do no exercise, you are eatig at a calorie deficit. If you exercise, you are supposed to eat those calories back, to remain at the original calorie deficit. MFP gives you a lower goal than you would get from other online calculators, because it is on the assumption that you will eat exercise calories back. They're not "extras", they are part of your calorie goal.

If people don't eat their exercise calories back, it's generally for one of the following reasons:

1. They do not understand how MFP works

2. They do understand how MFP works, but wish to create a bigger calorie deficit than has been recommended. (Not a great idea imo, for lots of reasons)

3. They prefer to set their own calorie goal (you might read about the "TDEE method" - basically you calculate your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure, including any planned exercise, and take a reasonable cut from that, usually 10-20% depending on how much you have to lose. You customise your goal on MFP to reflect that, and don't eat exercise calories back (because exercise has already been included in the calculations - this is different from the MFP method)

4. A lot of people eat a portion of their exercise calories back, but not all, because they don't trust the estimated calorie burn given by the MFP database, so they leave some of those calories alone, to allow for error.

Ultimately, do what works for you, as long as you know why you're doing it!

Personally, I started on MFP in January 2012, and always ate all my exercise calories back (it honestly never occurred to me not to.) I never had a problem losing, and I still eat them all back, and have been maintaining my weight loss for 6 months. I use a heart rate monitor to calculate my calorie burns, and it's fairly similar to the MFP database, in fact MFP tends to underestimate my burn for some exercises. This is not true for everyone though.

ETA: And, no - never negative calories for the day - that is definitely not what you should be aiming for. On your homepage, where it says "Calories remaining", that should be somewhere around 0 at the end of the day.
Edited by JesterMFP On June 28, 2013 12:23 PM
  15417651

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