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TOPIC: Should I eat my burned calories?

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May 23, 2012 10:38 AM
I know that MFP says that I 'earn' calories by working out.
But it seems silly to me to eat what you burned. What's the point in working calories off if you just eat them back?
Do I have to eat them back?
Maybe this is a silly question (and it's probably been asked before), but I'm genuinely curious, because I don't usually eat them back, but I wonder if I should . :)
May 23, 2012 10:39 AM
I don't. I don't record the exercise as calories burned either. I just treat it like a food diary.
May 23, 2012 10:40 AM
NO you do not have to eat them back and there are several reasons you should not.

Reason one NOT to eat back those calories - aren't you working out to get a caloric benefit, in addition to building muscle? Because if you eat back the calories you eliminate the benefit

Reason two NOT to eat back those calories - MFP wildly overestimates how many calories you burned working out. So, if you eat back all of them, you may end up eating back more than you really burned.

If you must eat back calories, eat back only 30% or 50%, or whatever you want, but don't eat them all back!
May 23, 2012 10:41 AM
If you search this topic, it's been answered many times.

If you have read through how MFP is set up when you started your account, you would have noticed that MFP already creates a deficit for you, regardless of exercise. Which means that even if you don't exercise you will lose weight. When you exercise, you further increase that deficit, possibly to an unhealthy level. This is why MFP tells you to eat your exercise calories back. Think of food as fuel. Your body needs fuel.
  12837362
May 23, 2012 10:42 AM
If you don't want to eat "burned" calories, then use a tool such as the Katch McArdle formula to calculate your tdee, then subtract 10-20% and eat this everyday and don't worry about what you burn with exercise. just make sure you are consistently as active as you estimate.
  121643
May 23, 2012 10:42 AM
I don't. I do log the exercise tho. I feel the same as you. Why eat back what you just burned??
May 23, 2012 10:43 AM
QUOTE:

NO you do not have to eat them back and there are several reasons you should not.

Reason one NOT to eat back those calories - aren't you working out to get a caloric benefit, in addition to building muscle? Because if you eat back the calories you eliminate the benefit

Reason two NOT to eat back those calories - MFP wildly overestimates how many calories you burned working out. So, if you eat back all of them, you may end up eating back more than you really burned.

If you must eat back calories, eat back only 30% or 50%, or whatever you want, but don't eat them all back!


Reason 1 - Exercise to get a caloric benefit. That doesn't makes sense because you're already getting a deficit with MFP. When you eat back exercise cals, you're still in a deficit!

Reason 2 - You're assuming that she doesn't have a HRM, Fitbit, etc.
  12837362
May 23, 2012 10:44 AM
I definitely eat more when i work out but it seems that the MFP database is generous on the calories you 'earn' by working out. Try to use another online tool to estimate how many net calories you earn from working out and then don't feel bad about replenishing after a good workout.
May 23, 2012 10:45 AM
QUOTE:

If you search this topic, it's been answered many times.

If you have read through how MFP is set up when you started your account, you would have noticed that MFP already creates a deficit for you, regardless of exercise. Which means that even if you don't exercise you will lose weight. When you exercise, you further increase that deficit, possibly to an unhealthy level. This is why MFP tells you to eat your exercise calories back. Think of food as fuel. Your body needs fuel.


^^^^^^^^^^THIS! You can lose weight by JUST sticking to your allotted calories...Look at your NET calories for the day....Let's say you eat 1200 calories and burn 600 exercising...Your body is only getting the 600 you didn't burn off...that is NOT ENOUGH. Please Please watch your NET calorie intake for that is the important number.
May 23, 2012 10:45 AM
They have me set at 1200 calories only! I am 5'2 and weigh 147. I want to get down to atleast 120. I eat back most of my calories BECAUSE my calorie set is already low. If I burn 500 calories that day by working out and I didn't eat most of them back, that would mean that I actually only took in 700 calories! If my calorie intake was set at 1500, I probably wouldn't eat them back. 1200 calories is not much to work with though lol. MFP is very generous with what it thinks you burned during a workout. I bought a HRM and I love it! It tells me exactly how many calories my body burned during a workout. Which is usually a little lower than what MFP says.
Edited by chris1529 On May 23, 2012 10:50 AM
May 23, 2012 10:46 AM
QUOTE:

I definitely eat more when i work out but it seems that the MFP database is generous on the calories you 'earn' by working out. Try to use another online tool to estimate how many net calories you earn from working out and then don't feel bad about replenishing after a good workout.


Get a HRM with a chest strap. I did (finally-and LOVE it!) This is the best way to be sure of what you are burning in your workout. * So you can eat what you earn!
Edited by JBott84 On May 23, 2012 10:47 AM
May 23, 2012 10:48 AM
QUOTE:

I don't. I do log the exercise tho. I feel the same as you. Why eat back what you just burned??


Wow, does anyone actually look at the way MFP is set up??? You are already in a deficit without exercise!! You need to fuel your body and make sure you don't go into an unhealthy deficit, that's why you need to eat back what you burned.
  12837362
May 23, 2012 10:48 AM
Agree with jessepants, if you have to eat back your calories use a different database or a fitbit, something like that to figure out calories burned. MFP once told me I burned over 600 calories mowing my lawn..... thats insane, and way overestimated!

After I workout I refuel with a protein shake, but its always within my calories. I've only been carefully logging calories for around three weeks but I have not had any problems doing this.

Your mileage may vary; obviously a lot of people eat them back and still lose weight, too.
May 23, 2012 10:48 AM
Way back when I was your age we never even THOUGHT about eating back exercise calories. We lost weight. We didn't starve to death and we didn't die horribly malnourished. Sometimes I think everything has to be so over thought. Eat less. Exercise. Lose weight. Pretty simple.
May 23, 2012 10:48 AM
I don't think it's the worst thing to eat back some of the calories burned. Granted, I try not to eat them all back, but sometimes I feel like it's okay to eat a slightly higher cal meal if I worked my butt off in the gym.

The way I see it is that we're already eating less calories than I usually would've without MFP and so you're automatically in a deficit. The only question is, how much of a deficit do you want to be in? Eating back some of your burned calories will lessen that deficit, but if you don't eat them all back regularly, you've really got nothing to worry about. (You could also always look at the big picture of your weekly goals rather than daily?)
  22434966
May 23, 2012 10:50 AM
QUOTE:

Way back when I was your age we never even THOUGHT about eating back exercise calories. We lost weight. We didn't starve to death and we didn't die horribly malnourished. Sometimes I think everything has to be so over thought. Eat less. Exercise. Lose weight. Pretty simple.


Not sure if this was directed at me.

If that's how you feel, then might I ask why you're even using this site?
  12837362
May 23, 2012 10:50 AM
Yes....end thread.
  14621695
May 23, 2012 10:50 AM
QUOTE:

I know that MFP says that I 'earn' calories by working out.
But it seems silly to me to eat what you burned. What's the point in working calories off if you just eat them back?
Do I have to eat them back?
Maybe this is a silly question (and it's probably been asked before), but I'm genuinely curious, because I don't usually eat them back, but I wonder if I should . :)


YES, eat at least some of them back! I use a heart rate monitor (for accurate counts) & eat back ALL my exercise calories.

MFP assumes you do not exercise, and some people won't/can't exercise. These people still lose weight. The deficit is already built in. By not eating back exercise calories, your are increasing the deficit. If this deficit is too large you will burn valuable muscle mass along with fat. I just want to burn fat.
May 23, 2012 10:50 AM
I recoup my exercise calories through osmosis. I try to stand next to bigger folks on the subway so they benefit from the burn a bit.

I don't do that after 7PM though, because those calories transmogrify into fat directly bypassing Go and everything.
May 23, 2012 10:51 AM
I used to eat my calories back but my weight loss has been stagnant since joining MFP. Before I never ate back my exercise calories and had been steadily losing weight. So, basically I have now resolved to not eat more than 1/2 of my exercise calories for the time being and see where that gets me. If I find that it's still not working then I'll try not eating any of them. It's really a personal preference. If you eat them and still lose weight, GREAT! If you don't eat them and lose weight, GREAT! But if you eat them and don't lose weight... don't eat them I guess!
  18661524
May 23, 2012 10:52 AM
QUOTE:

I don't. I don't record the exercise as calories burned either. I just treat it like a food diary.


^^^^This^^^^
May 23, 2012 10:54 AM
No. It wasn't directed at you. It was directed to the poster. Everyone will do what they want. End of story.
May 23, 2012 10:54 AM
QUOTE:

NO you do not have to eat them back and there are several reasons you should not.

Reason one NOT to eat back those calories - aren't you working out to get a caloric benefit, in addition to building muscle? Because if you eat back the calories you eliminate the benefit



OP please do NOT listen to this!^

You already have a "caloric benifit" that MFP set up for you regardless of exercise. When you eat those calories back you still have the benefit MFP created. See the above post about fuel.
  11877635
May 23, 2012 10:56 AM
Because your body is like a car, the further the car drives the more fuel it needs. The more you workout the more food you need. Your body burns way more calories on days you workout so in turn you should eat back at least half of those calories. You should always have a NET of 1200 minimum.
May 23, 2012 10:56 AM
Controversial question. Actually, controversial answers.

Here is another thread on this topic:
http://www.myfitnesspal.com/topics/show/606798-eating-back-exercise-calories

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