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Counting food and exercise calories

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Mar 10th, 2014, 07:00 AM  
MandaBear
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Counting food and exercise calories

When you are tracking calories, do you only track what you eat or do you track what you eat plus what you burn through exercise? For example, if MyFitnessPal says that I need to eat 1300 calories a day to burn 2 pounds a week, should I "eat back" the calories that I burn from exercise? I keep a heart rate monitor on when I'm working out and sometimes, during long workouts, I can burn in excess of 1,000 calories. On those days, should I still only eat 1,300 calories or should I eat 1,300 plus the 1,000+ that I burned?
 
Mar 10th, 2014, 08:06 AM  
Stephen Reed
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It is very difficult to track energy expended through exercise, so I usually advise people to track intake only. That said, you build in the 'energy expended' part when you set up your daily calorie goals. Most of the online calcs will have an 'activity level' you need to select, which puts a multiplier into the basic daily requirements for body function.

I would take the HR monitor output with a pinch of salt, what do you do that burns 1000 calories, 90-120 mins of intense exercise? If so, you deffo don't need to be doing that much to lose weight in a controlled and sustainable fashion.

If you want to give me some stats, age, height, weight, target weight, weekly exercise schedule I can do some number crunching and get back to you?

Cheers

PS. IF you monitor and record weight once a week under the same conditions, and you are losing too much, then it is a signal to either increase calories or reduce exercise, or a combination of the two. Careful monitoring and evaluation is really the only way to find out the calories you need to be eating.
 
Mar 12th, 2014, 16:13 PM  
TwylaDee
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Because of my back injury, I can't do a lot of heavy exercise to burn calories so I mainly just keep tabs on calories that I intake. Some days are more than others but I feel as long as it averages out for the week, then I did pretty good.
 
Mar 14th, 2014, 21:14 PM  
MandaBear
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Quote:
Quote by Stephen Reed View Post
It is very difficult to track energy expended through exercise, so I usually advise people to track intake only. That said, you build in the 'energy expended' part when you set up your daily calorie goals. Most of the online calcs will have an 'activity level' you need to select, which puts a multiplier into the basic daily requirements for body function.

I would take the HR monitor output with a pinch of salt, what do you do that burns 1000 calories, 90-120 mins of intense exercise? If so, you deffo don't need to be doing that much to lose weight in a controlled and sustainable fashion.

If you want to give me some stats, age, height, weight, target weight, weekly exercise schedule I can do some number crunching and get back to you?

Cheers

PS. IF you monitor and record weight once a week under the same conditions, and you are losing too much, then it is a signal to either increase calories or reduce exercise, or a combination of the two. Careful monitoring and evaluation is really the only way to find out the calories you need to be eating.
To answer the first bolded section, yes, I'm doing roughly an hour and a half of exercise 4-5 days per week and according to the heart rate monitor, I'm burning between 1000 and 1300 calories each workout.

To answer the second bolded section, age is 25, height is 5'5'', weight is fluctuating but averaging about 235, and target weight is 175. Weekly exercise schedule is an hour and a half of cardio/toning on each of four to five different days. If you need to know about workouts more specifically, I can give you a list of the DVDs I do (all are by Cathe Friedrich).
 
Mar 15th, 2014, 02:04 AM  
nicole.young
 
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I guess it is best to record the calorie that you take in and take out of your body. A lot of gadgets are already capable of doing this. There are even some that you will just have to clip to your body, and the work is done. It is a little less hard for food but you can always trust the packaging for that.
 
Mar 15th, 2014, 09:13 AM  
Stephen Reed
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Hi there. Thanks for the info. So, Let's take the exercise thing and assume, that your heart rate monitor is right, and you are burning 1000 calories per session and let us say 4 times per week. So, for 4 hours of exercise, you are burning 4000 calories, so just over a pound of fat per week.

That is a shed load of work for not a lot of return on your investment.

I wrote a blog post about the poor return on cardio (or any exercise actually) for fat loss. I did not intend to post links here because I am not promoting myself, but I think you might get something from it.

http://www.leanerbydesign.com/2014/0...omes-fat-loss/

Before any of the mods ban me, let me know, or just take the link out if you are bothered by it, but it's all in the spirit of helping.

I am not sure of the intensity of the exercise you are doing, but too much exercise is definitely detrimental to fat loss, more is not better, cortisol can be chronically raised (might already be if you have poor sleep and are stressed) which can put the dampers on fat loss.

To put you in the picture about my position on all this. I'm not trying to lecture you, just trying to help.

I have seen you mention all the exercise, but what, and how many calories are you eating a day. How much protein? Are you hungry? Do you do well and then binge on a regular basis?

The old saying is that a 6 pack is made in the kitchen, not the gym, and although you may not want a 6 pack, you can get pretty much the body you want with zero exercise. Do I recommend that? Well, I believe exercise and movement is essential to our health, wellbeing, longevity, but to fat loss, not necessary.

If I were recommending something to you, I would say

Lift heavy weights 3 times a week to maintain muscle and build some strength

Walk for 45 mins twice a week or 3 times if you can

Set a moderate calorie deficit and aim to get your fat loss from that, any additional burn from exercise is a bonus.

Seriously, I would ignore trying to work out how many calories you are burning from exercise, it is a pointless (and highly inaccurate) exercise. If you set calories according to your BMR (basal metabolic rate) and then use the 'activity multiplier' that most online cals use, the exercise is factored in anyhow.

BTW, there is a much quicker and easier way to set daily calories.

For fat loss 10-12 cals per pound of bodyweight (or target bodyweight if you are very overweight. Whatever you set as a starting number, the number is arbitrary. You choose a number that is near enough, you ride with it for two weeks. If you have lost too much weight, you either increase calories or reduce exercise, and the opposite if you are not losing enough.

As a couple of examples. I am coaching my cousin who has struggles to lose weight all her life, she was 15 stone, she texted me the other day to say she had got into size 14 jeans for the first time in 10 years!!

Another client, who I am coaching for free because she has no money, spend last year exercising 10 hours a week for almost no fat loss. The last 7 weeks with me helping her, 23 pounds loss and ZERO exercise. Would I like her to exercise? Yes, but the mental and health benefits from the weight loss are more important at the moment.

So, how many calories do you eat a day, what do you set protein, fat and carbs at?

Would love to help you out if you want me to, on the forum, not as a client.

Best Wishes

Steve
 
Mar 17th, 2014, 22:48 PM  
MandaBear
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Thanks so much for all the info, Steve. To answer your question(s) about calories in, I am using MyFitnessPal to log and since they recommended tracking calories out, I've basically been eating 2,500 calories a day after burning 1,000, for a theoretical net of 1,500 calories a day. As for protein, fat, and carb ratios, I went with the default that MyFitnessPal promotes, which I believe is 50% carbs, 20% protein, 30% fat. I have lost some weight -- about 10-12 pounds since I started -- but it's coming off much slower than the 2 lbs/week I'd like to see.
 
Mar 18th, 2014, 09:29 AM  
Stephen Reed
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Well done on the weight loss so far. I don't know your stats like age, height ,weight, % body fat etc BUT

I am certain that eating 2500 calories a day is too much, probably way too much.

how are you burning 1000 calories EVERY day, that is like 1.5 to 2 hours of moderate running. If you are training that much then you have lots of other potential issues like overtraining, elevated cortisol levels, and also, no free time :-)

I really think that factoring in calories burned through exercise is very tricky, but there is a much simpler way to get things moving again IMHO

1. Stop doing so much exercise, train hard for 45 mins to an hour 3 times per week. On the other days walk, cycle, do nothing, whatever floats your boat, or a combination of those things.

2. Get the protein up, you are going to be losing a hell of a lot of your lean muscle with all that exercise and low protein. .8g -1g protein per pound of bodyweight, or per pound of target bodyweight if you are very overweight is a good place to be. Then set fat at moderate levels, and make the rest up with carbs.

I am a 45 year old, 6ft 2 male who trains 3 times per week with heavy weights for around an hour.

I eat under 2000 calories per day to lose a pound of fat a week.

I really don't know what sort of exercise you are doing, but 2500 cals is most likely way too much.

Try dropping it to 2000 for 2 weeks and see what happens. Or cut the exercise back (recommended) and reduce it further still.

Ultra low calorie is bad, but you do need a moderate deficit to see results

If you want to post some details, I am happy to give you the type of macro and calorie setup I would use with my clients. They are all consistently losing 2.3-3lbs per week when quite overweight. I reduce the loss as they get nearer to their target weight.

Good luck, you've done well, but dialling things in is probably what is needed.
 
 
Mar 19th, 2014, 12:03 PM  
Stephen Reed
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Quote:
Quote by MandaBear View Post
Quote:
Quote by Stephen Reed View Post
It is very difficult to track energy expended through exercise, so I usually advise people to track intake only. That said, you build in the 'energy expended' part when you set up your daily calorie goals. Most of the online calcs will have an 'activity level' you need to select, which puts a multiplier into the basic daily requirements for body function.

I would take the HR monitor output with a pinch of salt, what do you do that burns 1000 calories, 90-120 mins of intense exercise? If so, you deffo don't need to be doing that much to lose weight in a controlled and sustainable fashion.

If you want to give me some stats, age, height, weight, target weight, weekly exercise schedule I can do some number crunching and get back to you?

Cheers

PS. IF you monitor and record weight once a week under the same conditions, and you are losing too much, then it is a signal to either increase calories or reduce exercise, or a combination of the two. Careful monitoring and evaluation is really the only way to find out the calories you need to be eating.
To answer the first bolded section, yes, I'm doing roughly an hour and a half of exercise 4-5 days per week and according to the heart rate monitor, I'm burning between 1000 and 1300 calories each workout.

To answer the second bolded section, age is 25, height is 5'5'', weight is fluctuating but averaging about 235, and target weight is 175. Weekly exercise schedule is an hour and a half of cardio/toning on each of four to five different days. If you need to know about workouts more specifically, I can give you a list of the DVDs I do (all are by Cathe Friedrich).
The really simple way to get your calories dialled in is to aim for 10-12 cals per lb of bodyweight for weight loss, If you are quite overweight, then set it based on target bodyweight. So for you, 1750 cals per day would be the low end. If you genuinely like to exercise a fair bit, then up it to 12 cals so

175lb target bodyweight x 12cals = 2100 cals per day, so 400 less than you are currently eating.

I would set it in the middle, at 11 cals per pound bw = 1925, lets call it 1900 cals per day.

Monitor for two weeks, keep exercise consistent (45 mins per day 5 times per week would be plenty and that includes brisk walking), see how much weight you lose, then re-evaluate. If it is 2 lbs and you are happy with that, keep calories the same.

If the loss is not quite enough, drop calories a little. You have got plenty of scope to drop them. Most females of your size can do fine on 1200 per day providing they eat nutrient rich, calorie sparse foods and enough protein (read whole unprocessed food).

Set protein around .8g per pound target bodyweight so 140g per day

Set carbs at around 150g per day (you are exercising a lot)

Remainder of cals come from fat.

Fat is important for hormonal health and cellular repair, don't go low fat.

So, the math says this

Protein = 140g x 4 cals per g = 560 calories

Carbs = 150g x 4 cals per g = 600 calories

Lets say you go for 1900 per day for two weeks

1900 - 560-600 = 740 cals left

Fat = 9 cals per g.

740 / 9 = 82g approx.

So the day splits as

P = 140g
C = 150g
F=82g

Simple, and it should get the weight loss going.

See how that goes if you are happy to change things up, and report back in a week with the scale figures.

Anyone else who wants so ideas on setting calories and macros, let me know, or start a thread and I'll dish out some ideas.
 
 
Mar 20th, 2014, 20:32 PM  
MandaBear
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Thanks for all that info! I will definitely be putting this to good use. God knows I would love to see 2-3 pounds a week of weight loss, especially if it can come off at that rate consistently.
 
 
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