Weight Loss Support - What is YOUR number?

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12-20-2011, 09:31 AM

Good morning all, I know we often discuss our daily calorie intake but I was hoping to start a thread on daily calorie BURNS! [I am slightly obsessed with my new fitbit]...does anyone track their calories out each day? If so, what's your number and do you do anything specific aside from workouts to boost that number?

Yesterday was a high burn - 3575 - to boost, I walked to and from work - 1.8 miles each way. Small no. on Saturday only about 1/2 this - so I'm hoping to maintain some high loss numbers with all these Christmas chocolatey work temptations...

January Snow
12-20-2011, 04:16 PM
I try not to focus too much on my burn number because most methods of estimating it are highly inaccurate, but I do have a rough idea.

For folks reading this who might not know where to start, first take your base metabolic rate (BMR). Your BMR is the number of calories your body needs to sustain basic functions based on your height, weight, gender and age. There are several limitations to a BMR estimate. A person's actual calorie burn is going to depend on their body composition and metabolism. Personally I shave a few calories off my BMR estimate to make it an even 1400.

After you have your BMR, you add in calories burn during your daily activities. To calculate an appropriate daily caloric burn for a sedentary (very little activity, no exercise) day, multiple your BMR by 1.2. To calculate your caloric burn for a day with more than just the basic activities you can either add the estimated calories for different activities to the sedentary total or use the multiplication factor for one of the other activity levels. Consider lifestyle factors when you put together your estimate. Someone living in surburbia probably burns few calories than someone in an urban area (less walking as part of day-to-day life). In general it's better to underestimate this number.

I estimate that a "lazy day" for me is around 1700 calories and a typical day is around 2200 calories. A good way to boost your caloric burn over time is to add more muscle to your body, as muscle burns more calories than fat. In addition to at least 30 minutes of cardio almost every day, I also do weight or resistance training every time I work out. I also look for ways to increase the amount of activity I get in daily life such as doing more yard work, walking more/farther, etc.

12-20-2011, 05:09 PM
People overestimate their burns easily.
For instance I do 20 miles of cycling per day, every day. and that only burns 400 calories a day extra.

I heard people claiming an hour of cycling burns 600-1000 calories which is absurd unless you have it on really hard incline.

The only thing you can trust is your muscle mass, your long term weight loss and your fat percentage. These things can only be acurately measured by x-rays, ultrasound, special scales etc, not at home and on sites.

Arctic Mama
12-20-2011, 07:00 PM
Sorry, I have no idea how much I burn, nor can I zero in on it easily. It's such a fluctuating thing and the guesses are generally overestimates. If I lose weight I can calculate my rate of loss and figure out my daily burn in hindsight, but that's the closest I can get.

12-21-2011, 09:23 AM
How do you calculate in hindsight Arctic Mama, I would like to try to figure it out other ways - here is my issue, I'm sort of stalled in weight loss, I've changed my workouts, tracked every calorie etc. Hence the fitbit, I figured it would be more accurate and make me more accountable i.e. walking to work for extra boosts etc. That's why I'm trying to figure out the best calorie burns & compare them to others who are losing weight, not losing weight to see how it stacks up and perhaps what more or less should be done.

12-21-2011, 12:09 PM
I do track my output but only as a rough estimate I use fitday and it overestimates the burn from certain activities and underestimates for others.

I wouldnt worry about what other peoples numbers are. Track your fitbit deficit for a few weeks. Compare to actual weight loss. That will tell you how accurate it is. Keep track over a long enough period of time and you will get a better feel.

12-23-2011, 08:25 AM
Really good article someone in the maintainers forum just posted about why we shouldn't focus on the number of "calories burned" during exercise (but why exercise is still very good for weight loss): http://www.drsharma.ca/is-exercise-more-about-calories-in-than-calories-out.html

loose seal
12-23-2011, 08:44 AM
I don't exercise for the calorie burn, I exercise because I like how it makes me feel, how it tones/tightens everything up, like how you can reshape your body ala exercise, and because I can. One day I may be too old or sick or have a disease that hinders my mobility. Right now I don't so I try to move around a lot. Calories burned from exercise are a fringe benefit, imo! lol What I eat - or rather what I don't eat - plays a much, much bigger part in losing/maintaining/gaining weight. At least for me.