Hey, I understand your frustration. I kept looking for the basic number of calories I need, too. And I kept getting different numbers, too! But, from my experience...
I'd start with picking a number that seems reasonable, and going for it for a few weeks, and see what happens. Easy number? around 1,500 to 1,700. Pretty good reduction in calories! You should lose weight. Everybody is different, and no computer can give you a customized number. If you don't lose weight, adjust the number a little (like another smart reply said!) It takes a while to get it right. And you will have to keep adjusting the number as you lose weight, because your body will want to resist the change.
Exercise- yes, what people are saying is true- you will look and feel better, and your body will thank you. However, more importantly, learn to exercise now, because it is really the only way to MAINTAIN weight loss. People who have maintained their weight loss for over 20 years are people who still work out 4+ times a week. Technically, you really just need to eat less to lose weight. But, once you get to where you want to be, you will need to stay there, and exercise is the way to do it. So, if you start now, even if you just start walking and figure out what kind of exercise you like, then when you get to your weight, you will be ready to keep it off! Plus, once you get into exercise, it WILL help you lose faster.
Current favorite inspirational quote: Don't reward yourself with food; you're not a dog.
Hi, TRIXIE1221. I have also just joined the site. I can't help you with knowing how many calories you need. For myself, I have mainly focused on eating smaller portions and avoided high-calorie snacks and desserts.
However, in regards to why working out is important, I have a little input. When I first resolved to lose weight, I focused on reducing my calories as mentioned above, and exercised very little and only sporadically. I DID lose weight slowly, and even kept it off for a while. However, I ended up gaining some of it back when my eating habits slipped.
Towards the end of this past summer I finally started working out regularly with a friend. Not only have I started to lose weight again, but I'm seeing a lot of changes that did not happen before. I am sleeping better and waking up more refreshed. I have more energy, and my arms and legs are stronger and don't fatigue as easily. Not only are my arms smaller, but more toned. I continued working out over the holidays and gained NO weight, even with all the big meals and rich desserts. These are benefits that you just don't get without exercising.
It is very hard to get started working out if you've always been a couch potato like myself. But I can guarantee that it is worth it. Less than five months ago I was unable to jog a few yards without pain, but I am now able to jog a full mile without a break. If you set goals and stick to them, it really pays off sooner than you might think. Good luck with everything!
current weight: 131.6
Fitness Minutes: (360) Posts: 26 12/21/12 7:01 P
Welcome aboard. :) I'm going to answer your questions according to MY opinion on what I've learned, so don't quote me on any of this!
What I've learned: Don't eat below BMR. ~ Why? My reasoning is that every time I have tried, I've stalled out and I end up staying the same weight for weeks. I up my calories to a little over my BMR and BOOM a few days later I'm losing again. Also, I've read this happening for many other people as well. (Btw Bmr is Basil Matabolic Rate or however you spell it)
You exercise to get FIT and healthy. You could technically not work out, eat at a deficit and still lose weight. But you WILL feel BETTER and HEALTHIER if you put in some exercise. You can always start small, and add in later if needed. The reason why you want to put those exercise calories into your body is because you don't want TOO much of a deficit because losing more than 1 - 2 lbs a week is unhealthy. Your calories that you choose to eat at (bmr or a little higher) is already making you have a deficiet. (if that makes sense!) TDEE is your total daily calories you burn which is your "maintain weight" It's recommended you eat 20% less that.
In the end, your going to have to figure out what works best for you. Always try and give at least 2 or more weeks when trying something new so that you know if it's working or not..
Anyway, this is what I've learned, however, again, don't quote me on it! ^_^ Hope you can get it figured out!
December Minutes: 0
Fitness Minutes: (29,163) Posts: 54 12/18/12 12:57 P
I don't think so, but as you can see, there's some disagreement here. If you're still uncertain, there are some help forums (like http://www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/message board_topics.asp?imboard=5) where you can ask this question and get a response from some of the coaches, or you can email them directly (http://www.sparkpeople.com/community/help _support.asp) to make sure the answer is definitive.
December Minutes: 0
Fitness Minutes: (90) Posts: 9 12/18/12 10:21 A
okay so I just went back and reread each post and I'm just as lost as I was before. This is why I went and got a gym memebership and paid to have the fitness test and all that jazz done and i got CRAP!!! I've gotten nowhere which is why I'm trying to find a TRUSTWORTHY source to figure out how many calories I truly need and DO I EAT BACK what I have burned.
current weight: 136.0
Fitness Minutes: (90) Posts: 9 12/13/12 5:37 P
That's a good idea for anyone looking to lose weight. Whether the suggested intake would put a body in "starvation mode" would be better determined with the stats you suggest.
My major concern with making up calories lost in exercise is that, most of the time, I'd make up more calories than I burned that day. And it would be completely unnecessary if SparkPeople determined the two with the same algorithm, which I assume was made with both diet and exercise in mind.
December Minutes: 0
Fitness Minutes: (90) Posts: 9 12/13/12 5:21 P
But, I do think it's important that OP look into what their BMR, if not TDEE, is. A lot of times sparkpeople gives nutritional requirements under BMR - just putting the body into starvation mode, making weight loss stagnant
current weight: 137.0
Fitness Minutes: (29,163) Posts: 54 12/13/12 2:57 P
Plus, just dieting with no exercise doesn't improve your muscle tone, heart performance, or stamina. Even if it's just light exercise like walking and yoga, it's better for you than eating perfectly healthy and never moving off the couch!
December Minutes: 0
Fitness Minutes: (29,163) Posts: 54 12/13/12 2:55 P
I think SparkPeople makes those adjustments for you, so you should try to hit both goals and not adjust. As I see it, the calorie exercise goal is calculated to complement the calories eaten goal. So no, I don't think you should eat above your nutrition goal if you reach your calorie goal.
Previously, I was kind of questioning that myself, because my exercise calorie goal was SO low. So, I told SparkPeople that I expect to burn 1400 calories per week (which is about average for me) and it lowered my calorie nutrition goal by 500 calories. If it wanted me to compensate for calories lost in exercise, it would have had me increase my calories to eat.
The calories given to you should get you to your goal. Exercising promotes faster weight loss and a more toned look.
I believe, or at least this was how it was done when I did MFP, that you eat back the calories of the exercise you do that day. This is because you don't want your total intake to dip below 1200 (or whatever you BMR is... mine's 1500). This is counter productive, becuase it puts your body in starvation mode, where it hoards all the calories you intake.
Trixie, I'm not sure if this helps, but here is how I understand it:
Your body needs a certain number of calories to function-breathing, walking, to keep the heart pumping and the brain thinking. Once you go over that daily amount, the calories are stored as fat in case you need it later. Each pound of fat on your body is equal to 3500 calories. So, you either need to burn it off with exercise OR reduce it from the amount of calories you eat each day. It's EASIEST if you do both. Hope this helps a little!
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. -Arthur Ashe
current weight: 186.0
Fitness Minutes: (37,302) Posts: 5,239 12/8/12 3:52 P
Hey everyone I am new here and could really use some help. I have no clue what I am doing when it comes to counting calories and working out. I do not understand why if you are counting calories and hitting your "daily calorie intake" why you have to work out. or why when you work out you have to turn around and put those calories back in your body. Or am I just looking at it wrong. And knowing how many calories I need to eat. I've tried to figure it up several times and every website I go to tells me a different amount and I'm really starting to struggle with the weight I have put on. :( any help in understanding would be greatly appreciated.
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