Message Boards » Food and Nutrition

TOPIC: If I eat 1200 calories a day, and work out which burns 300-4

 
Ic_disabled_photos
Topic has been inactive for 30 days or more and images have been disabled.
Display All Images
January 17, 2012 7:28 AM
I am so confused reading multiple websites about how much calories we burn in a day vs how much we eat vs how much we work out etc.

I know below 1200 calories is unsafe. When I record what I eat into myfitnesspal, it tells me that I am expected to eat the calories I just burned off. So when I eat 1200 calories, and then burn 300 calories, it wants me to eat 1500 calories so it evens out to 1200 calories. Am I still going to lose weight like this? Is it unsafe for me to just eat 1200 calories and work out within reason without eating more calories?
January 17, 2012 7:30 AM
id like to know the truth about this too...Ive been eating the calories I burn off and I have been losing weight so for now I will continue with that. If I see that I stop losing weight then I will look into it further.
  14068178
January 17, 2012 8:05 AM
Yes. MFP already puts you in a calorie defecit--which is what you need to lose weight--right off the bat. It's simple math once you get your head around it--I know it took me awhile! :)

I'll use myself as an example.

To overgeneralize, you basically need to take in 3500 LESS calories than you need to maintain, in a week, to lose a pound of fat.

That works out to about 500 calories a day.

My maintenance calories (what I would need to eat to neither gain nor lose weight) is about 2000. That means, if I don't exercise, I need to eat 1500 calories a day to lose a pound in a week.

So MFP sets my calorie intake goal at 1500. (Well, technically, I'm aiming for 1.5 lb per week, but this is easier :P) That means, if I don't exercise, and I only eat 1500 calories a day, I should be losing.

If I exercise, what I'm basically doing is upping my needed calories for the day--that 2000 number. So if I burn 300 calories, that means I'm 300 over "normal daily activities", and puts my maintenance at 2300. Since I still only need to be 500 calories under that number to lose a pound a week, that means I can eat 1800 calories and still lose.

So yes. Eat your exercise calories; I tend to think of them as "free" calories. Not that you can eat gross crud, you still want to be putting good things into your body, but that gives me an extra helping of mashed potatoes at dinner, or lets me have a bigger spoonful of pasta than I would otherwise allow myself.

I also feel it's better to eat them back than not to because it helps keep you out of an unhealthy mindset. When I first started, I thought of those exercise calories as "even more that will burn off the fat!" So I wouldn't eat them back, I figured it would help me lose weight even faster; instead of 1 pound a week, I could drop 2, even 2.5!

I came to realize that ther was a major design flaw with that mindset; it was very unhealthy. Because eventually I was going to reach my goal weight. And then, if I wanted to maintain both my fitness level and my weight, I was going to have to start eating almost DOUBLE the calories I currently was. That's a huge shift in lifestyle, and I realized that it was going to be very difficult to do if I was training myself to eat the least I could get away with. I likely wouldn't be able to hit 2400 calories a day, I was going to keep losing, and if I wasn't able to control it I would likely end up unhealthily UNDERweight, rather than over.

It's all about the long-term and the bigger picture. Try not to focus too much on the weight loss; instead, focus on becoming a healthier person. Eating back your exercise calories will help keep you on track.
Edited by tseecka On January 17, 2012 8:08 AM
  11894638
January 17, 2012 8:13 AM
My personal opinion... DO NOT EAT them if you are NOT hungry... Listen to your body only you know your body no matter who says what you are the one that is either hungry or satisfied. But do not just eat them for the hell of it. Losing weight is all about truly listening to your body and seeing if you need food or not. If you are extra hungry that day cause you burnt that X amount of calories eat them :)
January 23, 2013 8:36 AM
Thank you for explaining this in layman terms, it was very helpful and made sense!!!!
  32559249
January 23, 2013 8:40 AM
It's not that it's not SAFE to eat less than 1200 calories, but your body will not use calories efficiently if you are not giving it enough. You can still be fine only eating 800 to 1000 calories per day, but your body will go into shut-down mode where it stores everything you eat. That's when you get less weight loss. It is MUCH better to eat your 1200 calories AND your burned calories from exercise. Your body will burn calories more efficiently. :o)
January 23, 2013 8:44 AM
Please listen. If you eat 1200 calories a day then burn 300 calories, your NET calorie consumption is only at 900. Which is NOT GOOD. Eat back your exercise calories, if you're really going to only eat 1200 calories a day and burn 1/4 of them off, you need to eat that energy back.

It's a matter of net calories. You will still lose weight if you eat the calories back, probably more easily since your body won't be lacking in nutrition or go into starvation mode.

My personal experience: 1200 calories is way too little. I eat 1600 calories and I eat my exercise calories back. Eat a NET of 1200 this number is displayed on the MFP main page.
  14407721
January 23, 2013 8:55 AM
Thank you all for these posts...I was just asking someone about this and now I think I got it. I have not been eating enough....today I turn the corner!!!!
January 23, 2013 8:56 AM
Thank you all for these posts...I was just asking someone about this and now I think I got it. I have not been eating enough....today I turn the corner!!!!
January 23, 2013 9:02 AM
OK, you can do it either way. both will lead to weight loss. But, this is the way that I try and do it. Do Not eat less than 1200 calories per day. Next step exercise all you want but maintain your calories no lower than 1200. as you exercise more you will get hungrier and your body will want more calories. this is fine as long as you don't eat more than you burn in a day. But... now here is the real trick. it is better if you can figure out what your goal weight is, figure out how many calories you will need to maintain that weight and then make that your goal calories for the day. this way when you lose your 10, 15, 50, 100 or what ever pounds your MIND and Body will be used to eating what it needs to maintain that body weight. I know this really bothers people, but if you watch the Biggest Loser on TV and pay close attention you will sometimes hear them talk about how many calories they are to eat and how many calories they are to burn. The contestants on the show (let's talk women) range from the 300s to the 200s and ALL of them are expected to eat 1200 - 1500 calories a day and the men only get 1500 - 1800. they do adjust if an individual is a tall male or something like that (he gets the 1800 - 2000 calories) the method they use is to teach yourself to eat what you are going to eat when you reach your goal weight so when you get there you are already able to maintain it and you use the exercise to regulate how much you are burning. if you have a big goal in weight loss it might be easier if you break your goal weight into steps. 50lbs at first, then when you get close drop it again etc. make sense. the hardest part is getting used to eating what your new body requires (even though you don't have it yet)

so... to summarize. you can eat the calories back that you burn off OR you can not. either way eat the 1200 minimum! ALWAYS! if you do not your body will go into starvation mode and you will screw up your metabolism. this is very bad! Listen to your body. if you are eating 1200 and are still hungry this is NOT going to work in the long run for you. you need to find a way that you can feel comfortable with the number of calories you are eating each day because this is what you are going to eat for the rest of your life! if 1200 is too low then eat 1500. most of us can survive just fine on 1500 (even though we don't want to) exercise the rest away!

Good luck! I hope I didn't make it more confusing for you
January 23, 2013 9:35 AM
Thanks for asking this question I was curious myself over the past few days. :)
March 17, 2013 3:51 PM
I have a question everytime when I track my food my net number goes up , is the net number it is supposed to tell me that ,that's the current number im supposed to burn off?

please and thank you :) !
April 28, 2014 11:15 AM
I have been eating 1200 - 1300 calories a day which I actually find very hard to do. I'm not a huge eater! I have a fitness band that usually says I burn on average 500 calories a day, but I am not loosing. I don't think I can eat more calories without making bad choices in food. Any suggestions?
June 5, 2014 1:07 PM
I've read that the calorie intake matters more over the course of a week rather than a day. So if you eat 1200 one day and burn 300 calories the same day... it would be okay to save the extra 300 until another day in the same week (if you have an event coming up, this can be good). But keep in mind if you eat all the extra ones closer to your weight-in day, it might seem like you gained weight when really it's retained water or food... overall, it might be a good idea to eat the calories back though. I've read it's good to have some carbs after an exercise since it reduces the stiffness and helps your muscles heal. It's actually the healing process that makes your muscles stronger. But you have to "break them down" during exercise to get them to a state where they have to heal (and I don't mean injuries).

... I might be completely wrong though. That's just what I've read so I might not be the most useful person.
  67005889
June 18, 2014 1:24 PM
Hi
I am still confused
If I eat 1200 calories and burn 300 calories in gym why should I have to eat those?
As I m eating 1200 anyways but doing extra workout can help loosing more. .?
Please help
June 18, 2014 1:58 PM
QUOTE:

Hi
I am still confused
If I eat 1200 calories and burn 300 calories in gym why should I have to eat those?
As I m eating 1200 anyways but doing extra workout can help loosing more. .?
Please help


Yes you should eat more calories when you workout.

Losing weight isn't just about eating as little as possible. You have to take your health, body composition goals, and general sustainability into account, too.

MFP sets a calorie goal for you ignoring any planned workouts you tell it you want to do. Basically, it doesn't trust you to actually workout until after you've logged it. This calorie goal already has the deficit needed for weight loss built in. When you workout and burn even more calories you make that deficit larger, possibly larger than the body really wants to handle. So MFP adds more calories to your day to keep you healthy and safe while still allowing you to lose weight.

There's a catch, though. Gym machines and MFP estimates may be a bit optimistic in how many calories they think you burn doing certain activities. So a lot of people aim to eat only 50-75% of those extra earned calories just to be safe.

More info: http://www.myfitnesspal.com/topics/show/818082-exercise-calories-again-wtf
  23084342
June 18, 2014 2:12 PM
QUOTE:

I have been eating 1200 - 1300 calories a day which I actually find very hard to do. I'm not a huge eater! I have a fitness band that usually says I burn on average 500 calories a day, but I am not loosing. I don't think I can eat more calories without making bad choices in food. Any suggestions?


Calorie dense foods.......nuts, nut butters, olive oil, avocado. Cut back on "diet" foods. I eat regular wheat bread, eat light (not fat free) dressing, use 1% or 2% dairy.
June 18, 2014 3:24 PM
MFP may overestimate your calories burned for some activities, best way is to manually enter the 'calorie burn' showed in cardio machine.

The calories goal MFP gives you in food diary is what you should eat if you dont work out. Once you enter the calorie you burned, it automatically updates the calorie goal, and MFP expects that you will consume it, atleast half of it. Only thing is make sure you wont see the calorie remaining as 'o' or negative numbers. If you're full you dont HAVE to eat, but if you are hungry in the evening, dont starve your body after a good workout.

i was following a 1200cal meal plan which MFP suggested with an average calorie burn of 400-450cal.. i reduced 10lbs in 5 weeks... but when i stopped my exercise for 1 month i gained back all the weight i burned. what i understood is i was starving my body, so it is easy to gain back the weight i lost.. then i posted a query about in forum and got very good replies from MFP friends. as they suggested i changed my settings and now i follow 1400calorie plan. because of ligament inflamation im not able to exercise as earlier, but still i loose weight and im happy with it. there are some cheat days toowink

Your body needs fuel for metabolism, i will suggest you to change the settings and keep your calorie intake as 1400. flowerforyou:
Edited by lenarashminraj On June 18, 2014 3:26 PM
  53375659
June 19, 2014 3:59 AM
appreciate your help
Hope i will say soon that i have lost this much ..lol
all the best all of you
Lets rock ladies , summers are here , i wish to get bikni body
June 19, 2014 4:06 AM
Btw I am trying to lose weight and am doing pretty well on my diet. I have been exercising about 3-4 days a week, because that is all I have time for, but I have seen work out program that said you should work out every day except for maybe one day a week. Is that true, or should 3-4 days a week be enough?

I just want to lose weight.

If it helps, I am 5'4" and currently 176 lbs.
July 3, 2014 6:18 AM
eat only half of what mfp tell's you you have burned. just always eat only half of it back and that's if you need to. I have tried eating all and well, it doesnt work cuz caloric calculations are a bit off.
July 3, 2014 6:28 AM
QUOTE:

My personal opinion... DO NOT EAT them if you are NOT hungry... Listen to your body only you know your body no matter who says what you are the one that is either hungry or satisfied. But do not just eat them for the hell of it. Losing weight is all about truly listening to your body and seeing if you need food or not. If you are extra hungry that day cause you burnt that X amount of calories eat them :)


How well has listening to your body got you? Are you here to loose weight? Were you listening to your body when you overate and got fat?

Most people here are using MFP as a tool to understand their bodies. The math for most people puts it into perspective of what our bodies need...because we dont have a clue how to fuel it obviously- or we wouldnt have been overweight in the first place. This idea eat when your hungry is nice...but what kind of advice is that to someone who is trying to figure out their own body.

Honestly do the math. Figure out how much your burning dont eat over the calorie burns. The numbers dont lie. Until you know your body well enough to know what it needs for fuel listening to our bodies is only part of it. Example being: My body was telling me I wanted more food at dinner. I stopped eating after my meal was gone drank some water and in an hour realized my body was lieing...it was all in my head...I was not hungry anymore.... but listening to my body I would have over ate for sure. Obviously if in an hour your still hungry eat a healthy snack...but it takes time to reprogram our bodies for this healthy lifestyle...its used to overeating and sometimes plays tricks on us...

Do the math. Measure food. Eat half the calories of exercise...do the math fuel the body...put in the time and effort...weight will come off... promise.
  16532949
July 3, 2014 7:13 AM
So,

Say you're supposed to NET 1200 calories
Then say you work out and your REAL calorie burn is 300
1200 in -300out = 900. You're NET is only 900.
You need to feed yourself those other 300 calories to get to 1200

I personally only log 70% of the calories I get on my Heart Rate Monitor so that I can ensure I'm not over estimating (FYI, MFP has doubled my HRM count for certain activities, so I suggest a HRM as a first choice, followed by a machine, then MFP as a last resort). I also don't weigh my food all of the time, so I under-log my burns to compensate.

If you feel your calorie burned counts are over estimated, only log 70%, or just 50% of the burn the "reader" (HRM, machine, MFP) says.

Doctors say 1200/day just to be safe, but I feel like if you're AVERAGING 1200/day you're fine. If I was to take a day long hike, I could conceivably burn 1000 calories. Usually I get stuffed at ~1800 calories.
1800 in -1000 out=800 net. (400 below goal)
On high burn days, I'm usually hungry the following days, so I'd tack that extra 400 calories onto the next day or 300/100 OR 200/200 added on to the next two days.

(800+1600)/2=1200 per day
OR
(800+1500+1300)/3=1200 per day.

If you have trouble getting the calories in, go with full fat whole food options (whole milk is only like 50 calories more per cup), add some nut butters (good fats and protein), etc.
July 7, 2014 7:07 PM
Thank you so very much for this answer... i was asking everyone and no one could tell me..i do how ever have a problem.. i was allowed 1300 cals a day and did eat them but i was also burning off 1300 cals a day and did not lose a lb.. i was wondering why becz i did measure and weight my food so i wouldnt go over and swam an hour each day aswell as work out doing cardio anther hour.. i was working out two hours a day and eating the 1300 calories and not losing a lb.. can you tell me what i did wrong?
  68528376
July 7, 2014 9:40 PM
QUOTE:

It's not that it's not SAFE to eat less than 1200 calories, but your body will not use calories efficiently if you are not giving it enough. You can still be fine only eating 800 to 1000 calories per day, but your body will go into shut-down mode where it stores everything you eat. That's when you get less weight loss. It is MUCH better to eat your 1200 calories AND your burned calories from exercise. Your body will burn calories more efficiently. :o)


This is nonsense

Your body will not go into shut down mode and create less weight loss if you eat under 1200.
  35896585

Message Boards » Food and Nutrition

Posts by members, moderators and admins should not be considered medical advice and no guarantee is made against accuracy.