@ Jennygoodman: tracking calories is confusing...I am with you on that and I have spend many hours online reading (which made is worse), right when you think you understand you read something else that makes it more confusing. I've taken multiple nutrition and exercise phys courses for my major and there are people on here that get it more than i do :~) it's a complete guessing game...but one that you can grasp a closer guess to with a few things
I like RunbikeSki's response...as I too was very confused with the calculators that ask you how much you exercise and include into your daily calorie needs...because A) how does this calculator know how many minutes your exercise and/or what the intensity of your exercise is? here's what I find to be helpful
1. For starters, I've read that of the few BMR equations out there the mifflin is closest to the real deal...so on FD when i calculate my base lifestyle calorie needs, i select mifflin and then whatever my lifestyle is...i.e. seated all day
2. use a calculator that will calculate your lifestyle activities and then when you "ADD" intentional exercise it will not only add the est. calories it think you burned for each activity but will also subtract the time you spent doing those activities (like fitday)...some calculator only add the calories burned to the base lifestyle calorie need...
3. if you use calculators on other sites that ask you how many days a week you exercise keep in mind the things mentioned above...it doesn't know how long you're working out for and how much you're burning but it does include your intentional exercises.
4. last...not the least, this is what I found most recently to be helpful...since we're unsure the exact amount of calories to eat to lose the weight or reach our goal, we can cycle the calories we take in...depending on your preference, this may sound like a good idea or too complex/time consuming
here's how it goes...and how I've been doing it.
this creates a reasonably low average without you feeling hungry while shedding those pounds....this is simply an example so you would have to custom it to your stats.
check out this link: Permanent weight loss plan to keep weight off forever - Lose weight permanently
when you put in your stats it will give you a range of calories to eat to lose...you can use the lowest of that for your low days and the highest of that for your high days.
so basically you're doing 3 low days 1 high and 2 low days and 1 high and then you start over again. this is suppose to aid in fat loss/ weight loss without putting your body in starvation mode and tricking your body that it's getting as much food as it's suppose to.
this is of course just based on my readings and personal experience...hope it helps you as well.