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Eating back calories burned?????

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Old 10-13-2009, 09:02 PM   #1
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Question Eating back calories burned?????

I've been pondering on this all day...its driving me crazy and I need an answer!!

Am I supposed to eat back the calories I burn?? That sounds weird, but here is an example: I am supposed to eat around 1,300 calories in order to lose about 2lbs per week. If I burn about 300 calories during a workout ( making my net calories 1,000), am I supposed to eat an extra 300 calories to stay at my 1,300 cal/per day diet???

I'm so confused with this I want to make sure I'm eating the calories my body needs, but I don't want to have to force myself to eat when I don't feel hungry just to make up the calories. I think my body would tell me if I needed more calories (i.e. feeling hungry)....which when it does, I eat.

If I am supposed to "eat back" the calories I burn during a workout, how the heck to I REALLY know how many calories I've burned? I know there are tools/calculators on the internet, but I've heard that sometimes those things are WAY off....and that each person burns calories differently. And if we are talking about JUST losing weight (not toning or building muscle), if you just eat back the calories you burn, what in the world is the point of exercising?? (not intending to stop exercising--just curious! )

Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 10-13-2009, 09:36 PM   #2
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I do not know what the "correct" way is but FOR ME, I eat an average of 1350 calories a day, I work out 90 minutes 5 days a week and I do not add food for calories on the days I workout. Again, this is just what I do.
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Old 10-13-2009, 09:54 PM   #3
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Here's how I figure it!

The most you should try to lose a week to sustain weight is 2lbs.
1 lb of fat is roughly equivalent to 3500 calories.
Therefore, to lose 1lbs of fat, you need to create a deficit of 3500 cals a week. To lose 2, you need a 7000 cal deficit.
That means each day, on average, you need to burn 1000 cals (including those burned by just living) more than you consume.

For me, my BMR is calculated to be around 1450 cals per day. Using the Harris Benedict equation, I times that by 1.2 ('Sedentary') to see how many calories I burn just by living plus incidental movement (i.e. walking to bathroom etc). That is about 1740 calories.

So, to lose two pounds a week, I need to average a net intake of 1740 - 1000 = 740 calories.

Obviously, eating 740 is neither enjoyable nor healthy.
So, I eat around 1200 calories a day, which means I need to burn 460 additional calories through exercise to ensure I have a 1000 cal deficit.
I can eat more, but then I need to exercise more.

So, for me the point of exercising is so that I can eat more. If I didn't exercise, there's no way I could keep to the calorie intake required to lose 2lbs a week.

(In fact, as it is, a deficit of 1000 a day is probably too much for me as I am not that overweight so I don't have a high BMR. I am actually aiming for 1 lb a week - a 500 cal deficit a day).

Hope that helps!
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Old 10-13-2009, 09:56 PM   #4
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I typically try to eat half the calories that I burn working out. Makes me feel like the workout is helping me lose weight and also letting me eat a bit more at the same time.

Good luck with your weight loss.
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Old 10-13-2009, 10:52 PM   #5
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kiakaha--your explanation made a lot of sense. I think I get it now. Thanks!
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Old 10-13-2009, 11:29 PM   #6
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She explained it fairly well. Some people eat partial back some don't eat any of them... there is no right answer.

I also focus on a deficit, and I exercise a lot so while I try to not eat exercise calories back... on the days I have heavier workouts or I feel I need them I don't worry too much about going a few hundred over my target calorie intake for the day, because I'm still running a good deficit.
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