Burn more calories than you eat?

I have seen this on a few of the posts here and I just don't understand it, If I go to the gym and I burn 500 calories, that's a pretty good work out. But that would mean eating under 500 calories that day? Obviously I wont be doing that... Please can someone explain this to me?


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14 Replies

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  • Hello ashortland ๐Ÿ˜Š

    To lose weight and create a calorie deficit you need to eat less than you burn, to find your own personal 'base' line go the NHS BMI checker. This takes account of any exercise, but is unlikely to be under 1400 calorie per day. Eating any less than this is not recommended.

    With regards to exercise, some people like to 'earn' extra calories by exercising but it's very difficult to accurately gauge how many you have earned, which is why we received the NHS site. ๐Ÿ˜Š

    I hope this answers your question? If not I'm sure someone will provide a much more comprehensive answer than me! ๐Ÿ˜Š


  • I am still confused because If I am eating 1400 calories a day, how am I expected to burn off 1400 calories of exercise? am I not understanding something?

  • I think it works something like this. You need - let's say - 1800 calories to maintain your weight, taking into account every bit of energy (i.e. Calories) your body needs to maintain itself, move around, sleep etc etc in a normal day. So, to lose weight you need to reduce that number to - say - 1300 calories and you should lose weight without any additional activity as you are consuming less energy than you need. If you increase your activity - by a gym workout, a walk, swimming etc you will lose weight faster because you are using up more energy - i.e. Calories - but only if you don't eat more to compensate!! Hope this helps!

  • This makes sense! Do you know on the NHS website if the calories it advises you to eat will be the amount in order to lose weight? :-)

  • If you are overweight with a bmi of more than 25, i think it tells you what your baseline is to lose weight. If you exercise, that baseline - in theory - could be increased but it's so difficult to get an accurate estimate of what any particular activity uses. I tend to stick to 1400 calories a day and try to fit in some exercise, that way I am 400 calories or so under my baseline and the 'exercise deficit' should be a bonus!!! Yoga tonight!!

  • Should have said '400 calories under my baseline to maintain weight'

  • Dear ashortland

    Even if you lay in bed all day you would burn calories to stay alive , your body needs fuel for your heart to beat and your brain to function and your lungs to breathe and your cells to renew.

    Have you checked your BMI and the recommended calorie intake to lose weight?

    Losing weight is 80% dependent on reducing calories and 20 % on increasing activity

    So you can see the calorie recommendation for an average person of your age and height based on average normal everyday activity in the BMI calculation

  • You won't burn it all off just by exercising in the gym. The function of keeping you alive ( digesting food breathing heart beating and moving around) burns up calories too. This is your BMR. The more muscle you have the more calories you burn just in your day to day living.

    Gym helps but it all starts with what you eat.

    Hope this helps

  • As I see it, if you are allowed 1400 cals and exercise burning 500 cals ,you can either just not worry about it and eat 1400 or use it by adding to cals you eat.So you eat 1900 cals burn 500cals gives you your target of 1400 per day.My target for my weight loss is 2000 cals to lose weight with the calories I burn off through exercise ,.normally 600 cals means I eat 2600 and be in deficit.

  • If you follow this link it will suggest a range of calories based upon your height, weight and lifestyle (i.e. Exercise )


    The range is calculated to allow you to lose weight ๐Ÿ˜Š

    However, it's just a guideline, so if you lose more than 1-2 lbs a week you aren't eating enough

  • seems like a silly question now haha.......

    thank you everyone for your help. I just want to ask how when you make home made meals how you count the calories? I have the myfitnesspal app already but do you just weigh everything? this seems very time consuming...

    Also, the NHS 12 week plan is that basically JUST calorie counting, so what would be the difference if I was to eat 500 cals in chocolate as apposed to 500 cals in veg? is it just the idea of being healthier in general....... or would the veg help you to lose weight faster?

  • That's the beauty of calorie counting - it's up to you how you 'spend' your calories. A little bit of the things you live is no bad thing. But it doesn't take long to discover for yourself that not all calories are equal.....500 Cals of chocolate won't fill you up for long. 500 cals of veg is an awful lot and would take half the day to munch through!!!

  • yes, I do weigh everything! but after a while you find that you cook the same meals over again so it does get easier - especially if your repertoire is as limited as mine!! But then you do need to keep a record - I have a spreadsheet (sad!!!) I cant answer your second question - I have asked myself the same several times and if left to my own devices I would go with the chocolate but I have a feeling that that might be the wrong answer!!!!

  • BTW, never a silly question - most of us still have them!!

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