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Exercise Showing Up And Reducing Available Calories monkeve15 — Jan 18, 2017 11:18AM PST

Why would my logged exercise reduce the number of calories I have available for the day? I have yet to enter any food but have tracked steps through my FitBit. I started with 1,300 calories available for the day and it is saying that for the 1,200 steps tracked I have -67 calories so the net calories calculation is showing 1,300 (goal) - 0 (food) - 67 (exercise) = 1,233. Shouldn't exercise ADD to the net calories available?

1 Community Answers

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Maximiliano MyFitnessPal Agent Jan 18, 2017 11:28AM PST


Our apologies for any confusion. It sounds as if you have elected to have a negative calorie option when using an integrated all day tracker app with our program. When you elect the negative calorie option, you are choosing to have the program deduct calories from what we have initially provided for you, if you end up not actually burning those calories based upon the information provided from your tracker. This deduction will actually look like an addition in your account, since those calories were not actually earned but already provided, we essentially add them back into your account to make up for this difference.

The way an all day activity tracker works is that it provides you with your “exact” calories burned for the day. This is then compared against the “average” you have already been provided by our program. If you actually earn more calories than we initially gave you, then the program will provide you with a positive adjustment. If you do not earn as many as we provided you, then you will either receive a “0” for the adjustment, if you don’t have the negative calorie option elected, or if you do have the negative calorie option elected, then you will receive a deduction from what we provided you.

The actual calculation can be a bit confusing because you have to take into account the calories needed to reach the goals you have elected. This is a formula that is calculated behind the scenes, but can be viewed by either clicking on the “i” next to the adjustment line from your tracker in the cardiovascular section online, or by tapping directly on the adjustment if you are using an app.

When you click on that section, you should see information from your tracker and then under that, a section of calories already provided by MyFitnessPal. For your tracker data you will see two numbers. A number with a time of sync. This is the exact number taken from the last sync of the tracker. You should then see a number in the column to the far right. This number is a projection of what we think you will earn with your tracker for the entire day, based on where you are currently at. That number will change each time you sync.

We then take the projected number of calories and compare that with the given calories from MyFitnessPal. The given calories will represent the number of calories provided to reach the goals you have elected. For example, say you have elected to lose 1 pound per week. A pound is 3500 calories. So in order for you to lose 1 pound per week, you will need to deduct 500 calories a day (7 days in a week x 500 calories = 3500 calories). Therefore your given calories from MyFitnessPal will add back in the amount of calories needed to reach the goals you have elected. The MyFitnessPal given calories will also include any other exercise you’ve added to your diary manually, as those calories are instantly accounted for in your diary.

Basically, the all day tracker will provide you with a total of calories you’ve burned all day. If you then ate back that exact number you should maintain your current weight. However, if you would like to also lose weight, you have to account for a subtraction of calories. That formula is provided for you by MyFitnessPal and is then calculated against your all day tracker.

The comparison between the two totals will then provide you with an adjustment. If our projection was not as much as what your tracker says you’ve actually earned for the day, then we will provide you with additional calories to consume. However, if our projection was too much, then we will actually take away calories, if you have the negative calorie option elected. Or if you prefer not to lose calories, you can turn the negative calorie option off and we will just show that you did not earn an adjustment for that day, which will be represented by a 0.

To elect to turn on or off the negative calorie option, please go online to, and then go to the main “settings” tab, then go to “calorie adjustments” and either put a check in the box to enable the negative option or remove the check to disable it. Then make sure to update the changes at the bottom of the page.

If you are also using an iOS or Android app, please make sure your all day tracker is listed as your Step source. If your tracker is not available as a Step source, please make sure there is not any Step source elected at all. As you can only have your tracker elected, but some trackers do not offer this option, so in those cases you can not have a Step source elected. You can check this by going to the menu or “More” page, then settings, then Steps.

Hope this helps to clarify,
MyFitnessPal Staff

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