Weight Loss Support - Calories per day OR Net calories??

06-05-2013, 04:40 AM
Hi I have a question as I'm new to counting calories. Do you think I should be aiming to eat around 1,500 calories TOTAL OR 1,500 NET calories after exercise? Any opinions??

06-05-2013, 07:04 AM
I've always gone for total, because I don't see exercise as separate from the rest of my day. What about walking to the grocery store or taking the garbage out? Should I add that to my calorie intake? We're always using calories, whether we exercise formally or not. Also, when I exercise I tend to need more sleep, so I'm not using as many calories during the extra sleep hours as I would while awake.

Bottom line, I would only "eat my exercise calories" if I were training very long and hard and really needed the extra fuel. That said, as long as you're in an overall calorie deficit you'll lose weight over time.


06-05-2013, 07:13 AM
Total. Most people do not accurately count their exercise. I would say nearly all actually...!

06-05-2013, 10:30 AM
This is confusing for me too, because LoseIt automatically adds calories to my day when I exercise. I have an app called iSmoothRun and reviewers claim it to be extremely accurate since it uses GPS to calculate calories burned and it counts all the hills I go through too, which no pedometer has ever done before. It counts a higher calorie burn than any pedometer I've ever had which is frightenening in terms of eating.

06-05-2013, 10:37 AM
I don't make a point of eating back my exercise calories, but I do see it as extra insurance - I shoot for 1200 calories a day, so I don't sweat hitting 1500 or even 1600 if I've had a few hours of walking/running in there somewhere.

06-05-2013, 10:38 AM
I do net.

When I'm in weight loss mode, I track my calories and, when unsure of them, I overestimate. I also track workout sessions that aren't a regular part of my daily activities (i.e., I don't count most walks unless they're brisk and over 20 minutes; I do count every time I use an exercise dvd even if it's only for 10 minutes). With exercise, I always underestimate my calories burned, sometimes deliberately and substantially.

Then I keep those exercise calories in a bank, sort of like the way I understand WW to use flex points.

I aim to keep to about 1400 calories a day, but there are some days when I'm truly not that hungry, so I eat 100 or so fewer. Those go in the bank. Then there are some days when I'm hungrier or am doing something social that adds in calories. On those days, I use my "banked" calories.

This might sound kinda complicated and accountant-like :lol:, but it ends up happening pretty naturally. Using this system, when I look back over my week's calories, they end up being around 1400 net calories. They may be slightly less because of how I underestimate exercise and overestimate food.

Arctic Mama
06-05-2013, 08:43 PM
When I use Loseit I just don't add my exercise in, so it doesn't monkey with my calories. There is no way, in my weight reduced and metabolically altered (yay nursing! Yay ketosis!) state, that I could get ANY sort of accurate read on calories burned. Maybe not even with things like a Bodybugg, though that might be as close as I could come outside of a lab.

Total calories is the way to go. Just adjust as needed after a few weeks if your losses are generally lower than you want or you're finding yourself overly hungry. But give it plenty of time before adjusting factors, and don't change too many at once :)

06-05-2013, 09:19 PM
I suppose it doesn't matter so long as you're seeing results you're happy with. It's pretty difficult though to know what you're actually burning, though.

I haven't yet found an online calculator that accurately measured my calorie needs and calorie expenditures. To lose weight, I have to eat less and burn more than the calculators estimate. I could experiment to find out, but it's just a lot easier to pick a calorie range and see what happens, then adjust accordingly.

Severe hunger, fatigue, or weakness with large weight loss might be an indication that raising your calorie range is called for. If you gain or lose little to no weight, you might be overestimating your burned calories or underestimating your intake.

06-05-2013, 09:23 PM
I go by total calories... And I use a FitBit and I also sometimes wear a Nike FuelBand both of which estimate calories burned, but I don't pay much attention to those numbers... Although I have to say the FitBit seems to come up with a pretty accurate estimate of how many calories I've burned in total for the day, since I'm able to lose when I stick to the calorie limits it gives me...

But when I train... right now mostly running... I wear a HRM with GPS, so it's basing my calories burned on my actual HR and my age,wt,ht,& sex... So the calories burned from those workouts I consider to be fairly accurate and if I'm really hungry I might eat some of those back... But I do my best to not do that, because in order for me to lose I need all the calorie deficit I can get... Lol...:)

06-05-2013, 09:36 PM
Total. Most people do not accurately count their exercise. I would say nearly all actually...!

I agree with sacha, except to add that people do not accurately count their calories either. From what I have seen, most people undercount their food calories and then give themselves way too much credit for their exercise.

06-05-2013, 09:48 PM
Hmm, I'm not sure which I do. I eat around 1800 calories per day, give or take 100-200, but I also have a bodybugg and aim for at least 2750 burned each day. My BMR is around 1800, and I typically don't have a problem hitting 2750 burned. I only eat extra calories on a higher activity day, like 10+ mile runs.

06-05-2013, 09:54 PM
WOW nikel!! That's a lot of calories burned!! I only burn about 400-500 on a real tough day for me. If I did what you do, I'd be dead. :D

06-05-2013, 09:59 PM
Well that's all calories burned, not just exercise calories. But the day of my first half marathon? It was at Disney. There was 2 miles of walking to the corrals, the 13.65 miles (crowded course, lots of zig zagging), and then walking around Epcot and back to the hotel, and at 2:00 PM, I'd already burned a total of 4300 calories. I didn't put the bodybugg back on after my shower, but we went to the parks that night as well. And I'd already run a 5K the day before and spent 2 days in the parks. I ate off plan that night with zero guilt. ;) That's NOT typical for me though. (Sad confession - I'm already thinking about what I want for my post marathon dinner in December. LOL)