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TOPIC: Am I supposed to eat my 'exercise calories'

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March 4, 2010 2:20 AM
Hi,
I'm allocated 1200cal a day. Im exercising everyday and am wondering if im supposed to stick to 1200 calories or do I eat the extra calories that I have burnt????
March 4, 2010 2:23 AM
nope dont eat em!!
  692457
March 4, 2010 2:28 AM
And this is why I want to pull my hair out. Trisha, MFP gives you a deficit, by not eating the exercise calories you are increasing the deficit, which is not how MFP works. contrary to how it may seem expanding your deficit outside the normal range does NOT increase weight loss, and in many cases can actually slow it down.
March 4, 2010 2:32 AM
well i dont eat them and am loosing weight..... wats the point of loosing all those cals if ya gonna eat them up... besides u need a deficit in order to loose weight!
  692457
March 4, 2010 2:35 AM
QUOTE:

well i dont eat them and am loosing weight..... wats the point of loosing all those cals if ya gonna eat them up... besides u need a deficit in order to loose weight!


when you went through your goals, what did you choose for a goal? I don't think you understand MFP, MFP creates a deficit for you, eating your exercise calories KEEPS you at that deficit, it doesn't remove it.

NOT eating your exercise calories is a sure fire way to stop losing weight eventually. Please go to the main message boards section, click on the General topic, and read the sticky posts in there, they will explain everything.
March 4, 2010 2:40 AM
well i guess its whats works for u... am never hungry, but i am not gonna work my butt off just to eat up those calories again!
  692457
March 4, 2010 2:51 AM
gisii, I'm going to give you a link I think you should read, it's something I wrote a long time ago.

http://www.myfitnesspal.com/topics/show/10589-for-those-confused-or-questioning-eating-your-exercise-calo

I would respectfully suggest you read it. I realize that right now you are losing weight, and that's great, but as you progress, the ability to lose weight will directly correlate to your ability to understand HOW your body burns calories, if we don't understand how calories are burned, and how to eat correctly for the rest of our life we are doomed to live on the rollercoaster that is weight. Trust me, I know it very well.

I have studied this topic for a very long time, ask anyone who's been on MFP for a while and they will tell you that I'm not just another casual weight loss automaton. I enjoy helping, which is why I spent 3 months studying for my Personal Trainer's certification, not to become a career PT, but just to gain the knowledge I needed.

Essentially I'm saying that this journey starts with knowledge. It's not about losing pounds, it's about developing a healthy lifestyle that you can follow for life, losing weight is just a side benefit.
March 4, 2010 2:59 AM
alright thnz i will read it!!
  692457
March 4, 2010 3:18 AM
I have less energy if I don't eat my exercise calories, so usually eat at least half of them. I like the idea of having all the extra burned calories by not eating them (as gisii does!) but this doesn't work for me in practice...

Good luck with your weightloss everyone!
  138632
March 4, 2010 3:59 AM
I am like snorker - I don't eat all of them because to be honest I don't trust the calorie counts as my heart rate monitor is broken sad e.g. the gym machine says I burnt 310 calories on the cross trainer last night but MFP said I burnt 432 - now which one should i believe??? I know the gym machine doesn't take into account my weight - which could account for the discrepency but my thinking is better to be safe than sorry until I get my hrm back :) So at the moment I eat about half of them!

Good luck to every one
  570780
March 4, 2010 4:04 AM
Trisha,
If you look around you'll find this question many times on MFP (don't worry - we all ask it). You'll see that most of the people who have been successful in losing a large amount of weight and keeping it off... ate all or most of their exercise calories.

SHBoss is right - MFP already calculates a healthy deficit for you - it's important to make sure that you're giving your body enough fuel to continue to burn calories. The most wonderful thing about losing weight this way (the right way) is you never really have to be hungry. You never have to feel like you are depriving yourself. Eat healthy, exercise and watch the amazing results!
  175971
March 4, 2010 4:19 AM
When I started, I was eating 1200 a day and exercising. I didn't lose very fast at all. In fact, I only lost 2.5 pounds the whole first month. When I joined here, I began to eat my exercise cals. The weight just fell off of me. I don't always eat all of them, but I try to eat most of them.
  491131
March 4, 2010 7:04 AM
I eat all of my exercise calories! I am losing about 1 pound per week and know that I'm doing it the healthy way. My body is not deprived of basic nutrition, I'm burning calories, and I'm toning my muscles.

In high school and college, I often had the yo-yo diets going on because of unhealthy relationships with food, stemming from unhealthy relationships with persons who pressured me to be a certain weight. For the first time, I am confident that I am losing weight that I won't be gaining back.

I was tempted in my first week on MFP to ignore the "eating your exercise calories" bit, but after reading the science behind it all, I realized that the deficit MFP creates is just being maintained by eating the exercise calories. There are other ways to go about weight loss, but with MFP, it's safe, healthy, and pretty easy. Sometimes I work out in the morning and know that I have extra protein and calories to eat throughout the day. Other days, I go over my calories and hit the gym to get me back to the proper deficit for weight loss at a rate of about 1 pound per week.

More than 1 pound per week, for me, would not work in the long run. It's a slow, steady, and beautiful process. I love looking at the math. I need about 1700 calories per day, so MFP has me at 1200 for a 500 calorie deficit per day. 500 calories x 7 days in a week=3500 calories. 3500 calories equals a pound...and I lost about a pound per week, fluctuating slightly depending on my sodium, water, etc.

If the scale has gone up a little during a week, it doesn't even phase me anymore. I know that I'm logging everything on MFP, logging the calories my HRM gives me that I've burned, and math doesn't lie. A 500 calorie deficit per day, whether I'm exercising and eating those calories, or not exercising and sticking to the 1200 (rough though for me so I work out to eat more!), the math will add up to me losing about a pound per week in the long run. And working out will make my less fat body all the more toned and gorgeous.

Eat those calories, that's how MFP is set up :-)
  284310
March 4, 2010 8:17 AM
QUOTE:

I am like snorker - I don't eat all of them because to be honest I don't trust the calorie counts as my heart rate monitor is broken sad e.g. the gym machine says I burnt 310 calories on the cross trainer last night but MFP said I burnt 432 - now which one should i believe??? I know the gym machine doesn't take into account my weight - which could account for the discrepency but my thinking is better to be safe than sorry until I get my hrm back :) So at the moment I eat about half of them!

Good luck to every one


Smarter people please chime in if I've got this wrong, but this is what I do when I don't have an HRM available. I would look up the exercise on 3 different calculators, average the number, then reduce it by ten percent. Once I got my HRM working again, I found I was actually within a 40 calorie plus/minus on most of my workouts. If you're still not comfortable eating the exercise calories with that method, eat half of them. You gotta fuel the body to make it work.
  71297
March 4, 2010 8:36 AM
Sounds reasonable, mrsbeck. I try to leave a bit of a cushion (maybe 1/3) of the exercise calories uneaten in case of miscalcuations.
March 4, 2010 8:52 AM
Eat your exercise calories! =)
  213512
March 4, 2010 2:57 PM
Thank you! Its so good to hear that i'm allowed to eat them because I feel like i'm starving myself. Im starting to realise that its not about starving yourself and working out intensely to lose the weight quickly, its a lifestyle change to keep the weight off!
March 4, 2010 7:00 PM
Gosh! This was so helpful! Thanks because I have always been unsure about whether or not i should eat the excercise calories!

I work out at least 6-7 days a week with at least 3 -4 bonus routines during the evenings! I certainly plan on eating more after reading this post!

Steph
  86913
March 4, 2010 8:44 PM
What has been working for me is: sometimes I eat alot of them, sometimes I eat half, and sometimes I hardly eat any. I base how many I'm going to eat on how active I was that day and how hard my workout was. I'm suppose to be eating 1200 cal a day but I'm pretty consistant with 13-1400. So actually, I am eating the first hundred or two anyway. Its what is working for me so far! I will say, I did hit a platue when I was sticking with 1200 a day, so I just uped my daily intake. I also do the zig-zag approach sometimes just to mix it up and try to trick my metabolism!
  386819
March 5, 2010 3:19 AM
QUOTE:

What has been working for me is: sometimes I eat alot of them, sometimes I eat half, and sometimes I hardly eat any. I base how many I'm going to eat on how active I was that day and how hard my workout was. I'm suppose to be eating 1200 cal a day but I'm pretty consistant with 13-1400. So actually, I am eating the first hundred or two anyway. Its what is working for me so far! I will say, I did hit a platue when I was sticking with 1200 a day, so I just uped my daily intake. I also do the zig-zag approach sometimes just to mix it up and try to trick my metabolism!


this can work if you pay close attention to your body and realize that it's not so much about eating exercise calories as it is about eating enough calories to give your body the green light to continue burning fat. I submit that for you, 1200 was probably too low and that you just needed more to stay out of the range of starvation. Not a huge leap there, but for many maybe this will flip the light switch on. Again, this is probably a more difficult way of doing it rather than just changing your goals to reflect a smaller deficit, but it amounts to the same thing.

Zig zagging can work as long as your metabolism isn't already in starvation, this is an important concept to understand. If you're already below what you think you are, then your deficit isn't really the correct deficit.
March 5, 2010 6:08 AM
I've just joined this fantastic site, hello everyone.

Putting in my food diary and exercise for the last week (I run - well jog, 5.5mph) 3 times a week, then add-in a 'biggest loser wii' workout or workout dvd on odd days.

I can see that I'm spot on with calorie intake, but my carbs are lower, and sometimes protein.

Do I need to stick/eat to the carbs/protein levels as well as calories?

:-)
March 5, 2010 10:43 AM
You can adjust those, Susie. I have mine set to 40c/30p/30f.
March 8, 2010 12:49 PM
Thanks very much Stormieweather; I struggle to do the whole carb amount as I feel ill (palpitations, nausea) around 20mins after eating the main carb players (particularly bread, pasta or rice) so I don't eat them at all. Which means it's hard to get the carb levels up from veg etc! I will play around with the levels and see how I go!
March 8, 2010 1:31 PM
Fruit is a good way to increase carbs. All sugar is a carb, basically.
August 10, 2011 10:39 AM
I'm confused about this myself. If I put in my activity level, doesn't it already calcualte how low or high it should be? But I asked my doctor and she said that I was at least 300 calories under what they said I ahould be eating, so I don't take their mathnito account anymore.
  8235298

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