Hi, I'm new to the 12 week plan and I'm confused about logging calories. My target is 1400 a day but I'm not sure if you log exercise cals?

For example, if I ate 1700 cals in 1 day but I did exercise and burnt 300 cals would I log my daily calories as 1400 (net) or still as 1700? It seems a bit odd if say I ate 1400 but burnt half off exercising, a net amount of 700 cals wouldn't be very healthy! Thanks in advance!


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21 Replies

  • You can choose to eat or bank your calories, if you bank you will lose more weight roughly you need a 3500 calorie deficit to lose a pound of fat. If you ate 700 cals regularly you would probably be tired and fatigued, but working out when you are eating a balanced diet, doesn't mean you need to replace the calories you burn. 3-4 day a week I concentrate on eating during the day calories I burn from exercise, so today 4 mile walk to and from work, plus 1 hr spin is probably around 700cal burnt. Tea coffees low cal yogs jelly and (cube of flap jack one of those min things) oxo probably 4 to 500 cals. So I eat a large evening meal and unless it's 1600 calories I will be in deficit. Hope this helps

  • I use my fitness pal to log all calories and exercise. Im on 1500 a day if I do cleaning for 90 mins ot burns around 350 cals I makesure I dont go below 1200 as I dont want my body going into starvation mode so I makesure I eat my daily cal and bank the rest for meals with friends ect...

  • I never eat my exercise calories (Dr Michael Mosley says they're a bonus) so on my 500 calorie fasting days MyFitnessPal frequently shows a negative score. Your body won't go into starvation mode if you eat normally the next day. I was fasting two non-consecutive days a week when I was 'dieting' (I lost three stone in six months on 5:2) but now I maintain by fasting one day a week and have done so for over a year.

    Those who eat their exercise calories usually overcompensate, and wonder why they don't lose weight. :)

  • Like twinkle2s , I also use 'myfitnesspal '. It is really easy and quickly calculates the calorie value for every food brand you can think of, and all kinds of exercise, so you can add the benefit on each day or save it (bank it ) I am on week 4 on a basic 1200 cals and walked off around 200 cals per day, some days I thetefore eat my maximum (1500) and some days I hold them over for extra treats (like on sunday I had a cream tea then 2 glasses of wine later) . As long as the average over the week is ok, you will lose weight , yes fairly slowly but safely 1lb maybe 2lb per wk.

  • 700 calories or less wouldn't be a problem if it was on two non-consecutive days a week. Have a look at this YouTube video which explains the 5:2 Diet - otherwise known as the Fast Diet

  • Oops I can add up really !! BUT I typed that without my specs on, 1200 +200 should have read 1400 cals not 1500 lol

  • I agree that it is confusing, Could I ask you how you count calories. I have not found that at all easy and need maybe a book, or do you know of a good website that does it for you. At the moment I use Slimming World rules but not very successfully - weak willed, that's me!

    Yours struggling, S.

  • Hi, id definitely recommend myfitnesspal as its free and has a large database of food. I use it purely for logging though as it sets everyone at 1200 cals per day so ignore that! Some days my motivation is sky high and other days I just cannot be bothered! I'm weak willed and struggling too so you're definitely not alone! Good luck! X

  • thanks

  • If you want a simple one My Meal Mate is English and very simple without some of the rubbish that is talked on the American ones. If you just want use the calorie counter then the American ones are ok but their forums are full of strange and wacky theories that can easily put you off

  • I log my calories on the weightlossresources.co.uk website, it does cost to join but I've found its worth it you can log all your food and exercise and it works out all your calories for you. Its a great website with lots of helpful info and there are people on there who are low carbing, 5:2 and calorie counting. I found with Slimming World that it wasn't very portion conscious and it didn't really work for me or my sister. WLR has helped me and even though I sometimes struggle with motivation I've kept going and will get there in the end.

  • The only other time I have tried to lose weight I used weightlossresources and I did pay for that. At the time I was too ill to do any significant exercise. Now I use MyFitnessPal which is similar but free (WLR, at the time I used it was still essentially a consumer-inputted database, like MFP and I didn't use the forums) You can link it to Runkeeper which is probably more accurate about calories burned in exercise (at any rate it says I burn far less than MFP thinks!)

    I had MFP screaming that I wasn't eating enough yesterday but I have found it unhelpful to get to the end of the day and think I need to 'eat more' when it should be all about adjusting your body so it tells you... and it was right to tell me to eat less yesterday because I'd had pizza, red wine and cake the day before (I wasn't deliberately trying to eat less, just ate what I fancied)

  • I agree mfp over estimates how many calories you burn. It makes no allowance for what you are accustomed to either.

  • I guess you are using MyfitnessPal, since that has the set up to "eat back" the exercise calories. The reason for this is it sets calorie target based on doing only what is included in your setting for normal day-to-day activity level. If you then did more activity you would lose weight faster than the rate you put in - e.g. you set 1lb per week but would end up losing 2-3lb per week. I know faster sounds better, but losing too fast is not good because you will struggle with low energy levels and can end up seriously damaging yourself if it gets too extreme.

    I usually "eat back" exercise calories. But I only include things that are not counted as part of my basic activity level. So I would eat more calories on that day if I had gone for a run, but not because I went to the supermarket or walked to work. The MyfitnessPal database (and gym machines!) tend to over estimate calories burned through exercise, so you may want to only eat 50%-75% back.

    Give it a few weeks and see how your weight loss goes. If you are losing too fast start adding more calories and if you are losing very slowly try cutting back a bit. The app's calorie target is just based on an "average" person, so you will probably find you need to make some adjustment to keep losing at a steady sensible rate.

  • Thankyou, that is very useful , I have been adding ALL activity so I will revisit my original profile on myfitnesspal , cuz im not now sure what I originally put as my 'normal' activity. Thanks.

  • Excellent advice albionjem

  • Hi all, many thanks for all your replies. I do use myfitnesspal already so that's why I was confused. I do a lot of exercise so I'm choosing to eat back 'proper' cals burned (such as through a run or gym class, not walking to work) to make up the 1400 a day. I'll see how I get on! Thanks again! X

  • Although exercise helps if you do something regular it burns less calories than doing something new because your body is used to doing it, so if you work out the calories you should consume using the nhs choices bmi calculator it asks how active you are. This then allows for differing levels, I am disabled so my allowance is set to be lower than an able bodied person who has an active life. Unless you are doing 8 or 9 hours hard physical activity a day you will not need to log exercise, just use it as a way of getting healthier fitter more shapely than before. The trouble with exercise is it doesn't really speed weight loss but when you stop doing it, you gain weight! Just do exercise you enjoy that makes you feel good and think how much stronger your heart will be at the end of it.

  • My understanding is that exercise does have an impact on metabolic rate. I certainly notice the difference in weight loss if I am exercising more regularly/vigorously, with interval training most effective. What doesn't seem to work for weight loss is increasing activity without reducing intake, although the health risks of being overweight and active are less.

  • I agree that reducing intake is needed to lose weight and taking up more activity will not normally make you lose weight, Ihave found though that not just my weight loss but other womens' seems to be the same when they exercise or even slower because they aare more hungry, I think it's an exclusively female thing, men can speed weight loss with exercise, and my opinion is based on observation when I used to weigh people at weight watchers. Sadly ceasing exercise seems to add weight very quickly. Again how much of that is to do with eating patterns as well i dont know. The gym bunnies at WW always struggled to lose weight, maybe they got too hungry and ate too much, maybe it was over estimating their exercise or under estimating their consumption or maybe they had less fat to lose despite being heavier than is fashionable.

  • There's a difference between going to the gym and increasing exercise somehow...

    And WeightWatchers is a particular system rather than calorie counting so perhaps that was something to do with it?

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