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How do I count fitness activities?
horseygirl777 posted:
Hi, everyone! I'm new here on this site and I've started keeping track of food intake and exercise with the Food and Fitness Planner. It's really easy to use, but I'm a little confused about what to include in the list of things I do to burn calories. Do I list every activity in a 24hr period, including sleep time and sitting at my desk at the office? Those two activities combined is almost 1000 calories burned, according to the calculations. Then if I record my walks and gardening and cooking and housecleaning, etc. it looks like I'm burning twice as many calories as I consume, but if I was really doing that I would be losing a lot of weight. What are the activities that count for "fitness" calories burned? Any suggestions would be appreciated!
Rich Weil, MEd, CDE responded:
Hi horseygirl,
Put all of your activities in there so it can add them up. What you want to know is the total number of calories you burned in one day. This is called the "24-hour energy expenditure", or 24-hrEE. It could be well over 2000-2500 calories if you are active. Once you know that then you can estimate how many calories you have to consume to lose weight. The problem is that all of these things are just estimates, and so the most accurate measurement of your calorie intake and calorie output is what the scale says. If you're not losing then you know you're not burning more than you consume, no matter how much you think you might be. You can be off by as much as 40% when estimating calorie intake.

I hope that helps.
horseygirl777 replied to Rich Weil, MEd, CDE's response:
Thank you for responding! It was confusing to me because when I calculated my weight loss plan (which was the split 50/50 eating less and exercising more) the daily calorie burn was 984. Well, I burn that just sleeping and sitting at my desk at the office! So I assume that number is supposed to be over and above my normal activity. It would be more helpful if the number would have been total calories in 24 hr. because it's difficult to know what a "normal" day is for me.

The fitness calorie countdown on this site is a weekly one based on the 984 daily recommendation. If I record everything I do in 24 hours I would hit that 7000 mark in three days not doing any extra exercise at all, so really it's not the most helpful feature of this website. If you have access to the powers that be you might mention that.

Thanks so much for your help. The food log is really helping me be more aware of my intake. I've lost 4 pounds since I started ten days ago! I don't always stay under the daily limit (that glass of wine puts me over!) but I'm eating less than I was before. It's amazing how those little things add up. I had no idea how much I was really consuming, and I eat very healthy food, just more than I needed to.

Have a wonderful day!
Rich Weil, MEd, CDE replied to horseygirl777's response:
You're welcome. I'm I could help. Keeping track and counting calories is one of the most effective tools for weight loss. It's nice when the information and your effort pays off. So many people are surprised when they honestly count calories. I'm glad to hear you used the information to motivate you. That's good work. Good for you.

Feel free to post back anytime. And keep up the good work! Rich

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