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Calorie counting and working out

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Old 04-23-2013, 01:32 PM   #1
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Default Calorie counting and working out

I'm brand-spanking new to this board, and just started counting calories on Sunday. I've done the cc once before, after my third child was born, and lost 20 lbs in a matter of a couple months, so I know it works well. But what I don't remember is this:

My calorie goals are 1200 for the day. Yesterday I did a workout that calculated I had burned 1600 calories (hiked, with lots of hills, for almost 3 hours). I stayed conservative and entered 1100 calories burned into MFP.

We had an event last night, so I let myself have dessert there, which went over my 1200 allotted calories by about 500, but how many extra calories should I consume on a big workout day like yesterday? Or should I consume any at all?
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Old 04-23-2013, 01:57 PM   #2
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I know everyone has different ideas about this... that is when it comes to eating back calories burned from exercise... but here is what I've been trying to do... I train with a HRM, so even though I wear an activity monitor all day as well... I go by the calories burned from my workouts that I do while wearing the HRM... I aim for at least 500 calories burned in those workouts... but I usually burn more since I run a lot... But I don't eat back any calories unless I've created a 500 calorie deficit with my food for the day... And at least a 500 calorie deficit from exercise for the day... Which theoretically should come out to a 2lb loss for the week... But I don't usually lose that much... Since I find the more running that I do the harder it is to keep my calorie deficit where it needs to be to lose at that rate... But I do lose... Just a lot slower than I would like...
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Old 04-23-2013, 01:58 PM   #3
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I eat back all of my exercise calories. I eat about 1500 to lose weight.. so if I burn 400 through working out, I will usually aim to eat 1800-1900.

In the event of burning 1100 calories though, I wouldn't force myself to eat them if I didn't want to, but I would try and eat at least an additional 500-700 more.
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Old 04-23-2013, 09:09 PM   #4
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Default I'd eat some back

If I burned that many calories I'd eat at least some of them back. It's not good for your body to be on negative calories, although I doubt it would hurt you for a day or two. The real thing to watch our for would be doing it consistently. I doubt you hike for 3 hours every day. But with 3 kids, you are probably pretty active. You know your body.
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Old 04-23-2013, 09:21 PM   #5
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It's not good for your body to be on negative calories, although I doubt it would hurt you for a day or two.
I respectfully disagree. "Negative calories," a.k.a. caloric deficit, is the whole point of the calorie-counting approach to weight loss. To lose weight, you need to be burning more calories than you're consuming. Your body makes up the difference by dipping into your fat stores for energy.

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Old 04-24-2013, 12:28 AM   #6
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I, too, started on Sunday but I've never CC before. If I was in your situation, I'd have 1800 calories for that day. I think having that extra dessert didn't do much good for your body because of the sugars etc in it, so maybe carbs would have been a better trade off.

How do you feel today in your energy levels? Before CC, did you feel weaker the next day after not catching up on the burned calories?
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Old 04-24-2013, 01:15 AM   #7
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If I am hungry and my body is sending signals it needs food (headache, bad attitude I can't shake) I eat back my exercise calories. If I'm just not hungry and have no signs I need them, I don't. My calorie goal for fat loss is 1700 a day. My workouts burn about 300. So, on workout days I typically do plan one extra snack that is high protein, but if I don't feel compelled, I don't eat it. I plan my calories the day before and change them if my plans change, but I find it a lot easier to stick to if I go ahead and put everything in MFP the day before.
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Old 04-24-2013, 01:29 AM   #8
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I use a Fitbit. I aim for a 750 calorie deficit a day (1 1/2 pounds a week). So if I am very active I can eat more than if it is a day where I am less active. However, I don't want to eat everything that I gained from exercise as otherwise I won't meet my 750 calorie deficit.

I live in a hilly area and when I walk for an hour my fitbit usually shows that I burn 300 to 350 calories. However, I am in my 50s so I don't burn as many calories and I don't walk that fast (about 2.75 miles per hour).
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:49 PM   #9
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How do you feel today in your energy levels? Before CC, did you feel weaker the next day after not catching up on the burned calories?
Good questions. Yesterday, the day after my big hike day, I was VERY hungry after dinner. It felt like I hadn't even eaten anything. Also, as Laura mentioned in her reply, I absolutely DID have a poor attitude that I couldn't figure out. I just seemed extra-irritated. Glad you pointed that out. I think I'll see what Sunday's weigh in looks like, and tentatively plan to eat back half my workout calories.

And Rhiko - we're in similar boats (weight-loss wise)! Congrats on starting. =)
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Old 04-25-2013, 06:27 AM   #10
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I would eat some if I was hungry. I would never eat them just because they're there. I'm a housecleaner by trade and often clean for 3-4 hours a day (many days more). Heavy cleaning. I asked here once if I should eat them back because some days I was negative. Someone wise said...if you weren't losing before and you worked like this and didn't diet, then don't eat them back. Your body adapts to activity. I would probably start with a big plate of veggies with some protein and see how I felt. By the way...that sounds like a killer hike!
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Old 04-25-2013, 06:56 AM   #11
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Good questions. Yesterday, the day after my big hike day, I was VERY hungry after dinner. It felt like I hadn't even eaten anything. Also, as Laura mentioned in her reply, I absolutely DID have a poor attitude that I couldn't figure out. I just seemed extra-irritated. Glad you pointed that out. I think I'll see what Sunday's weigh in looks like, and tentatively plan to eat back half my workout calories.
It's good to trust your body and to eat when your hungry or drink when you are thirsty. After starting my weight loss, I've realised that the body is highly underrated; it's perfect and doesn't need accessories or improvements, only that we take care of it. I, myself, need to listen to it more

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And Rhiko - we're in similar boats (weight-loss wise)! Congrats on starting. =)
Thank you. You too I'm aiming for a suitable weight so I can have my own children. It's the perfect motivation
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Old 04-25-2013, 11:15 AM   #12
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I don't eat back my exercise calories, but I aim for about 1700-1800 calories a day when I'm working out seriously. It is very hard to accurately judge how many calories you are burning, especially when you are doing lifestyle activities. If you count EVERYTHING you do and eat back those calories, you really should be working from your BMR as estimates that include an activity level already account for your lifestyle.
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Old 04-25-2013, 06:39 PM   #13
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After reading through the myfitnesspal forums quite a bit since starting using the site, it seems like a good idea to eat at least most of your calories back, particularly if you are aiming for a NET of 1200 per day. Eating 1200 calories per day is a pretty big deficit in and of itself...I would not want to deprive my body of the energy it needs by burning a huge amount of calories exercising and not eating. However, I doubt you'd need to eat ALL the calories you burn, as others have said, it's hard to know exactly how many calories you've burned in a workout (even w/ a heart rate monitor). Personally, I try to be very conservative when entering in my workout calories on MFP and I'll eat maybe 3/4 of them back (unless I'm just starving).
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Old 04-25-2013, 06:54 PM   #14
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Let me start by saying I don't know what the "right" answer to this question is. However, my daily calorie budget has been 1270 calories for months now. I usually eat back my exercise calories. Those extra calories absolutely provide the incentive I need to exercise. Like several other people have said, I am very conservative in estimating the calories burned in a workout.
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Old 04-25-2013, 06:54 PM   #15
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I know everyone has different ideas about this... that is when it comes to eating back calories burned from exercise... but here is what I've been trying to do... I train with a HRM, so even though I wear an activity monitor all day as well... I go by the calories burned from my workouts that I do while wearing the HRM... I aim for at least 500 calories burned in those workouts... but I usually burn more since I run a lot... But I don't eat back any calories unless I've created a 500 calorie deficit with my food for the day... And at least a 500 calorie deficit from exercise for the day... Which theoretically should come out to a 2lb loss for the week... But I don't usually lose that much... Since I find the more running that I do the harder it is to keep my calorie deficit where it needs to be to lose at that rate... But I do lose... Just a lot slower than I would like...
I have a fitbit that is quite small. It gives me a pretty good estimate how many calories I burn each day. So during my active day, I may burn upto 3000 cal, and heck yeah...bring on some dessert
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