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TOPIC: Should I "eat" my exercise calories or not?

 
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January 30, 2012 11:41 AM
Hi

Just wondering does anyone know if I am allowed 1200 cals a day but I burn 500 cals a day should I go over my 1200 allowance? I seem to be eating 1200 and burning 500+ but not losing any weight?

Any info much appreciated ta x
January 30, 2012 11:46 AM
bedeapops - this question is asked several times a week. I'll give you a recap of the threads - less than 1200 NET calories a day is starvation mode. Your body will not let go of the weight if it's not getting enough fuel. You should make sure you get at least 1200 NET calories a day if not more.

One question for you to think about - when you complete your weight loss journey, how are you going to do maintenance? You absolutely have to eat back your exercise calories or you'll continue to lose. Or stop exercising, but hopefully you won't do that.

The jury is out on this, and you'll hear arguments from both sides, but there is consensus of making sure you maintain at least 1200 NET calories a day.

Good luck in your journey!!
  13951874
January 30, 2012 11:47 AM
I wondered the same thing. But like you, when I don't eat back some of my exercise calories my weight loss stalls. I guess our bodies thinks we are starving so it hold onto what ever it has. When I eat back at least half of my weight loss calories I do okay. But I try to eat them back in healthy food like fruits and vegetables.
January 30, 2012 11:48 AM
YES eat back your 500 calories PLUS the initial 1,200 that you were given. 1200 calories is for basic bodily function .... you need more calories if you are going to workout. Think of the 500 calories as FUEL. You want to burn fat during your workouts, and keep existing muscle.

Now if you think that calorie burn might be overstated (HRM is more accuarate than machines, or MFP) - then eat back a portion of your exercise calories and see how it goes.
January 30, 2012 11:50 AM
Yes eat the exercise calories back

BUT...

You've got to be precise for this to work.

Precision with food calories means weighing and measuring portions accurately, no guestimates.
Precision with exercise cals means buying a good heart rate monitor, not relying on what MFP or the machines at the gym say.
January 30, 2012 11:54 AM
Eat enough healthy foods so that you are rarely hungry, except just before a meal. This will likely mean eating your exercise calories back. You may lose faster if you eat less but you will likely be so hungry that it will lead to bingeing or giving up altogether.

I lost most of my weight before I joined this site or logged anything. I followed the rule above. When I started logging I found that I had indeed been eating my exercise calories. Your body needs fuel.
January 30, 2012 11:59 AM
Cheers guys guess I better increase my calorie intake love x
January 30, 2012 12:08 PM
it really is personal preference like the first person replied

i know with me i do not eat back the calories nor do i keep track of my excerise cause in my head i see the calories im burning it will make me wanna eat more
i am more curious to your 1200 calorie intake
like the pervious people have been saying it could throw you into starvation mode
but its more so about frequency of when you are eating
using me as an example again i am on a 1600 calorie diet which is just about on par for what this site thinks i should eat to lose weight
but i eat every two hours (8 meals/day) i could honestly do a 1200 calorie diet like you and lose weight pretty quickly as long as i could keep getting my macros in
February 3, 2012 3:44 AM
Hi Guys

I followed your advice - increased my calroie intake and ate about half my exercise calories each day ... I even had over a bottle of wine of Thursday night and still managed to lose 2lbs this week x Thanks for your advice :o) x
Edited by bedeapops On February 3, 2012 3:44 AM
February 3, 2012 3:49 AM
Yes. MFP already gives you a built in deficit. If you exercise you should really eat them back as too big a deficit is not good.

Also, 1200 NET is the minimum advised calorie intake.
  1283483
February 3, 2012 3:55 AM
Personally speaking, i find that alot of the time, regardless of how many calories i`ve `earned` from excersise, apart from having a large protein shake after training, i usually feel full anyway. I`d have to force myself to eat my `earned` calories most of the time and to me that kinda defeats the object.
  10959116
February 3, 2012 3:56 AM
QUOTE:

Hi

Just wondering does anyone know if I am allowed 1200 cals a day but I burn 500 cals a day should I go over my 1200 allowance? I seem to be eating 1200 and burning 500+ but not losing any weight?

Any info much appreciated ta x


Honestly, I would rather run something like this by the doctors who are overseeing my care. My Endocrinologist has approved my lowest is 1000 calories. There are days Im lucky to get that in simply due to my line of work. I get enough of a variety in with the meals I create (I used to work as a chef), and having the knowledge of what Im creating is always made in a balanced way (I currently work healthcare)....

Because you, yourself are different than anyone else... Talk with your doctor or one that might be collaborating with you on the weight-loss side of things... let them help guide you one what might be right for you.... the whole 1200 calorie mold is nothing something I rely on because I do think its just a standard that does NOT target the individual at all.
  11372560
February 3, 2012 3:59 AM
QUOTE:

Hi Guys

I followed your advice - increased my calroie intake and ate about half my exercise calories each day ... I even had over a bottle of wine of Thursday night and still managed to lose 2lbs this week x Thanks for your advice :o) x


WOW, congrats !!! I have had to give up almost all wine because I can't lose while drinking it.
I will eat some of my exercise calories but not all. I also have my calorie goal set 200 calories less then what I should be consuming. I do this in case I forget something I had to eat. This gives me some leeway.
  82619
February 3, 2012 4:00 AM
Great job. In about 3 weeks I've lost 4.2lbs. I play basketball, have practices, excercise at home, and I follow my calorie goal to lose weight.
  6067958
February 3, 2012 4:52 AM
It depends... there is NO ONE RIGHT answer.

To lose weight you need to be in a healthy caloric deficit. There are 2 ways to accomplish that:

Set your daily caloric intake at a deficit
This is what most people do, and is how MFP is designed to work. You figure out your daily caloric need (TDEE, or total daily energy expenditure), then set your calorie goal lower than that. For example.. if your TDEE is 1800, you might set your daily calorie goal to 1400. That puts you in a caloric deficit and you will start to lose weight*. When you exercise you burn additional calories. These burned calories are not accounted for in your TDEE or the calorie goal you set based on your TDEE. So exercising increases that caloric deficit. The thing to watch here is how big that deficit gets. Every body responds differently, but the larger the deficit the worse it is for your body (the assumption is that the larger the deficit gets the harder it is to properly fuel your body). And this is why people recommend eating back exercise calories.

Use exercise to create the deficit
With this method you set your daily caloric intake to equal your TDEE. Then you exercise and burn calories. Those burned calories are not accounted for when you set your daily goal equal to your TDEE, and thus you end up in a deficit. The size of that deficit is dependent on your workouts. You burn 75cals walking the dog and your deficit is 75 cals. You burn 500 cals running and the deficit is 500.



*This is VERY simiplified and makes A LOT of assumptions, but is good enough for this conversation.
Edited by jacksonpt On February 3, 2012 4:52 AM
February 3, 2012 5:31 AM
My question is if it takes 1200 calories a day for your basic life functions and you eat 1200 calories a day, then you do exercise and earn another 500 calories, but you eat those 500 calories also, then where does a deficit come in so that you begin to lose weight? Somewhere you have to come up with that 3500 calorie deficit to lose a pound? I'm confused...
  13926585
February 3, 2012 5:37 AM
QUOTE:

My question is if it takes 1200 calories a day for your basic life functions and you eat 1200 calories a day, then you do exercise and earn another 500 calories, but you eat those 500 calories also, then where does a deficit come in so that you begin to lose weight? Somewhere you have to come up with that 3500 calorie deficit to lose a pound? I'm confused...


The number of calories to fuel basic functions (breathing, heart beating, etc.) vary from person to person. It is referred to as the BMR and it is calculated based off your gender, height and weight. NOW this is not to be confused with TDEE (Total daily energy expenditure). It goes beyond just basic bodily functions and include everyday activity such as working, working out, eating, walking around, etc.

BMR = calories burn if you did nothing but laid still ALLLLLL day
TDEE= calories to maintain your current lifestyle

Your deficit is calculated from TDEE not BMR....for example...my TDEE is 2244 (I include exercise in my calculations)...to create a one lb loss per week. I take 2244-500 = 1744 calories per day to lose 1 lb per week.

I hope this makes senseflowerforyou

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