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Finding my TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure)

Let’s talk more about finding your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure), how to determine your activity level and kick off the Spring Challenge on the right foot! This article will help you customize your calories and macros to help you reach your goals, no matter what they might look like!

First, let’s dive into your TDEE. TDEE stands for Total Daily Energy Expenditure. This is the total number of calories (energy) you need each day to keep up with metabolic functions and activity including exercise, occupation, chasing kids, housework, hobbies, lifestyle, etc. We’ve created an app that will help you figure this out.

If you select “maintenance” on our Clean Simple Eats app... this is your TDEE.

Please understand that the app is ONLY a good starting point. The numbers it gives you are baseline numbers and are never meant to be absolute or unchangeable. Sometimes the numbers are great as is, and will help you hit your goals. Other times you’ll need to make adjustments to your numbers for a few weeks to find that sweet spot where you are feeling great and still moving toward your goals.

A lot of you have been concerned with the amount of calories the app is telling you to eat to hit your goals. Just know, that when it comes to your metabolism, less isn’t always more.

The CSE approach is not about starvation. It’s about eating the right amount of all the good foods with a balanced macronutrient ratio.

It’s about getting more nutrient dense foods in your life that will heal your metabolism, regulate your hormones and have your body run like the amazing machine that it is. It might help if you picture your metabolism like a fire. If you starve that fire and don’t throw enough fuel or poor quality fuel on that fire... it will burn out. On the flip side, if you put more quality fuel on that fire it will start to burn hot! Keep in mind that CONSISTENCY IS KEY. The most important thing is that you stick to the calories (7 days a week) the app has given you for at least two weeks to see if it is working for you.

If you have been eating in an aggressive deficit for a long period of time you may want to take the next 6 weeks to heal your metabolism by eating an extra snack per day to closer to your maintenance calorie level. Adding more fuel to your metabolic fire will bring it back to life! We’ve had hundreds of people tone up, lean out and get feeling better than they ever have all while eating more than they ever have. I know it sounds counterintuitive but trust the process. Listen to your body.

Now, if you’ve been in a surplus or at maintenance and want to lean out a bit, we recommend starting at a 20% deficit and adjusting week to week from there as you listen to the cues your body is giving you.

So where do you start? We’ve got an app for that! Please download our app on iOS or Android. Search “Clean Simple Eats,” download the app, answer the questions to the best of your ability and you’re all set!

Sometimes it’s tricky trying to determine what your activity level really is. If in doubt, take it down a notch and start there. You can always make adjustments as the days and weeks go on to keep you on track. We totally understand that EVERYONE is different! JJ’s caloric burn compared to Erika’s burn doing the same exact workout will be completely different. If you really want to dial it in, make sure you are wearing a fitness tracker every day. We never go anywhere without our Apple Watches and it has really helped both of us get laser focused on our own personal numbers. Here are some guidelines we put together to help you choose your activity level when plugging your numbers into the app. Remember these are only examples and will vary from person to person. You know your body and your activity level better than anyone else and if you don’t, a fitness tracker would be SUPER helpful in helping you determine your daily activity level and TDEE.

SEDENTARY: 0 DAYS (I DON’T EXERCISE)

If you’re sedentary, your daily activities include:

Activities of daily living only, such as shopping, cleaning, watering plants, taking out the trash, walking the dog, mowing the lawn and gardening.

No moderate or vigorous activities and no intentional exercise.

Spending most of the day sitting (e.g. desk job)

MODERATE/LIGHTLY ACTIVE: 1-2 DAYS/WEEK

If you’re lightly active, your daily activities include:

Activities of daily living, such as shopping, cleaning, watering plants, taking out the trash, walking the dog, mowing the lawn and gardening.

Exercise that is equal to walking for 30 minutes at 4mph 2 times per week. For an adult of average weight, this amount of exercise will burn about 150-200 additional calories. More intense exercise can be performed for less time to achieve the same goal. For example, 15-20 minutes of vigorous activity, such as HIIT, aerobics, skiing or jogging 2 times per week would put you in this category.

Spending a good part of the day on your feet (e.g. teacher, salesman)

ACTIVE: 3-4 DAYS/WEEK

If you’re active, your daily activities include:

Activities of daily living, such as shopping, cleaning, watering plants, taking out the trash, walking the dog, mowing the lawn and gardening.

Exercise that is equal to jogging for 1 hour at 5mph 3-4 times per week. For an adult of average weight, this amount of exercise will burn about 300-500 additional calories. More intense exercise can be performed for less time. Performing 3-4 HIIT workouts from the meal plans or strength training for 60+ minutes 3-4 times per week would put you in this category.

Spending a good part of the day doing some physical activity (e.g. waitress, mailman)

VERY ACTIVE: 5-6 DAYS/WEEK

If you’re very active, your daily activities include:

Activities of daily living such as shopping, cleaning, watering plants, taking out the trash, walking the dog, mowing the lawn and gardening.

Exercise that is equal to running for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 5.5mph 5-6 days per week. For an adult of average weight, this amount of exercise will burn about 500-700 additional calories.

Performing a workout from the meal plans or strength training plus cardio to total 60+ minutes 5-6 times per week would put you in this category.

Spending most of the day doing heavy physical activity (e.g. bike messenger, carpenter)

EXTREME/HEAVY: 7 DAYS/WEEK

If you’re extremely active, your daily activities include:

On top of activities of daily living, exercise that is equal to running for 2+ hours at 6+mph 7 days per week. For an adult of average weight, this amount of exercise will burn about 750+ additional calories.

Performing a workout from the meal plans (both beginner AND Advanced workouts on the same day) or strength training plus cardio to total 120+ minutes 7 times per week would put you in this category.

Extremely active and/or very demanding activities. Examples include:

(1) Elite level athlete with an almost non-stop training schedule with multiple training sessions throughout the day.

(2) A very demanding job, such as shoveling coal or working long hours on an assembly line. Generally, this level of activity is very difficult to achieve.

Keep in mind, if you’re tracking your food intake or measuring your macros in an app like My Fitness Pal, our CSE app already takes into account the calories you burn from your workout, so don’t add calories back in!

 

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