Calorie Counters - MFP - Should I eat more with exercise?

11-19-2013, 11:49 PM
Hi all. I'm a newbie to calorie counting (switched this week after success with Weight Watchers followed by a seriously long plateau) and I'm hopeful that it's just what I need to see the numbers on my scale start to go down again. I just started using My Fitness Pal, which I'm loving. My question is should I be eating more on days that I work out? I just logged my 1 hour spin class and it gave me an additional 476 calories to the 1200 I have for the day. I've been logging every single thing that goes in my mouth for weeks and the scale has not budged, so I'm really hesitant to eat anything above 1200 for fear that I'll gain or stay the same again this week. Can anyone help? What works for you?

11-20-2013, 12:00 AM
If you are doing strength exercises, you'll need to add a little more protein and fat at the expense of carbs, simply to build muscle mass. Otherwise, you will get weak, and suffer more in the way of overuse injuries that wouldn't occur if your body had a bit more fuel. If you do high intensity cardio, you'll need a little bit of carb within an hour after work out. But not very much. Just enough to refuel cells that may have gone from aerobic to anaerobic during the exercising.

Exercise has been a critical part of the second half of my weight loss. It became very evident as I picked up the pace, that I needed more protein. I began to get fatigued, almost sleepy, before I made that change.

I did not add more calories (beyond may 50-100 tops), but I changed the balance. I ate more carbs before - complex carbs, but carbs for sure. Since I really needed to improve my strength (typical menopausal challenge), the protein was essential.

11-20-2013, 02:25 AM

The way MFP is set up you should always eat back your exercise calories. 1200 calories isn't a lot for someone as tall as you!! I've lost all my weight eating between 1600-1800 NET calories, so days I exercise I'd eat over 2000 no problem!

Also you probably set up MFP to lose 2 pounds a week which is why it gave you 1200 calories only. Losing 2 pounds a week isn't really safe for someone who's got such little to lose. It's only recommended for those who are really overweight and obese. I'm a teacher so I'm on my feet for quite a bit of the day so my maintenance calories is around 2100. If I eat more than that I'll gain, less I'll lose. I highly doubt you'll gain eating more than 1200!!

Check out this website, it's a great calculator to determine what your TDEE (maintenance) calories are.

I will put it out there, if you've eaten a low calorie diet for a long time your TDEE will most likely be lower than what it recommends. That along with the fact I love food is why I'd never eat 1200 calories a day!

Good luck.

11-20-2013, 03:28 AM
Thanks to both of you for the advice! I'm really trying to get off this plateau, so I appreciate your input.

11-20-2013, 05:05 PM
That would depend on how your diary is set up. Did you set it at sedetary? Or being active when you joined?

11-21-2013, 11:36 AM
How long have you been working out? I usually stall out or even gain a little bit when I start something new. After about 6-8 weeks, I start to see the scale change a little bit. I tend to see more definition in my body sooner than that.

11-21-2013, 12:01 PM
I do. I figure I was honest about all of my data that I enterd, and it gave me a daily calorie goal of 1290. When I exercise, it subtracts those calories from the amount of intake, so I eat more.

I do try to make sure what I do eat include a lot of produce and lean proteins and healthy fats. I'll add in more carbs (espacially shooting for whole grain ones) on days when I pan to run with my dogs, and I try not to drink too many of my calories (wine is my biggest downfall).

11-21-2013, 05:19 PM
I guess I sort of do, but indirectly. I record my calories in MFP, but it talks to my Fitbit. I have my Fitbit goal to be set up so that I have a calorie deficit that I want each day. So on days that I am more active then I can eat more and still meet the deficit goal. I don't feel that I have to eat more if I'm not hungry but it doesn't bother me if I eat more on those days. Basically, if I meet my deficit then I don't care if I eat more than 1200 calories I have set up in MFP. On the other hand, if I haven't met my deficit goal then I would not pay any attention to what MFP says I can eat.