Important Update: Calorie Count will be shutting down on March 15th. Please click here to read the announcement. Data export is available.
Weight Loss
Moderators: spoiled_candy, Mollybygolly, devilish_patsy, nycgirl

Burning calories from standing...

Quote  |  Reply

I just started my new job and I work in a pharmacy on my feet all day.  After I got home and logged, it showed that I burned over 1,400 calories being on my feet for 8 1/2 hours today.  Is that accurate?  I almost felt guilty for the dinner I got after work...but if I really burned that much I don't feel that guilt anymore.

8 Replies (last)

Our bodies burn calories all the time, when we walk, stand and even sleep! I don't think you should count that towards the calories you eat though

Well I know enough to know that I burn calories all the time.  That wasn't my question though.  I have myself marked as sedentary and add my exercise in.  It worked quite well for me while I was going to school and I know of many others on this site who do the same thing.  Standing and working > sitting and breathing.  It's obvious that I would burn a lot more calories while on my feet working than while sitting at a computer.  If I don't count any of those calories burned, then I would end up with too much of a deficit...and that's something I don't need when I have to be fueling my body to have it work for me


actually i was wondering about the same thing. at my work place the chairs are... lets call it not comfortable, and at a certain moment i made the decision to stand instead ( also because it burns more calories).

for the calculation, if you put yourself as sedentary -> this calculates all the calories you need to be "alive" plus sitting down, and doing some basic things ( brushing teeth, etc), lets say for the 8 hours at work. But when you log in an activity like working - standing, basically in an 8 hour day in those 1400 calories you also count those basic calories like breathing and stuff. So i'd either look up in an old post what those exact numbers are ( for being alive and general basic activities, i think thats like 100 or so - which means from 1400 you should do a - 200 leaving you with 1200, these numbers are made up by the way, you should find an older post with the exact numbers ) or i would use this calculator iture-advanced

because this one does those calculations automatically and its more precise.

No, it's not accurate. Just go to lightly active and don't count standing or anything else that isn't intentional exercise. It seems people try and find excuses to go low in calories, this isn't one of them.

^this^  as coachK says .. you can't "double dip your calories".

(guessing) that you normally burn 100 calories per hour just sitting around and doing small stuff like walking to the kitchen/unloading the dishwasher, cleaning your teeth/ showering etc. So 800 calories burned during 8 hours.

You don't get to count that (breathing in and out and the small stuff) twice, so your calculation would be:

1400 - 800 = 600

This, 600 calories, is how many extra calories over your sedentary level that you burned by standing /walking at work etc for 8 hours.

I agree with neaderthin, simply change your activity level to "light activity" (this will cover home and work) and then add on any intended exercise such as the gym / weights/ biking and so on

ETA: if you are then logging that exercise here on CC, you will notice that on your analysis page it adjusts the calorie burn logged so that you are not double dipping.

Hmmm...well logging that way worked well for me before.  I kept a deficit of 300-600 for the last couple months keeping myself marked as sedentary and logging my exercise.  It's not that I want to go too low with my calories.  But my work doesn't just entail standing there.  If anybody here has ever worked in a busy pharmacy you know that it's not like being a cashier where you stand in one place all day.  I stand, walk back and forth, and squat a lot (finding medications on shelves involves reaching and squatting)...constantly doing something.  I would think that with all that I would burn more than the 1990 some-odd calories each day that it shows me doing at "lightly active".  I really liked being able to add in everything I did.  I obviously wasn't over estimating what I was doing or the 300-600 deficits I was estimating wouldn't have been happening and I wouldn't be losing a pound a week.

I tried the website that jellybirdie recommended and with adding 8-9 hours of standing/easy walking (cooking, shopping) it says I burn 2,700 calories a day. Now I know THAT is over estimating it.  LMAO  Don't I wish!

I guess foxrivers explanation makes a little more sense than marking myself lightly active but only burning another 260 calories a day above what I would be at sedentary.  I just wish there were an easier way to calculate all this stuff so I can keep having the success I've been having. : /  For me, It helps a lot to know how many calories I'm eating compared to what I'm burning so I don't have too large or small of a deficit.

Is there anybody else out there that works on their feet keeping super busy that has found a better way to log than this?

Just record what you eat over the next 2 or 3 weeks and how that effects your weight....if you don't lose any weight or put on weight, then eat less....make adjustments going isn't a race. This might be too easy though. Smile

I also work in a store. No standing still allowed unless I am actually helping someone at the till (maybe 5-10% of the time) the rest of the time I am constantly walking, my shifts also include any / all of the following; climbing 8 ft ladders, lifting furniture and other boxes of up to 50 lbs (over my head sometimes), squatting and kneeling to load and unload shelves, moving heavy loaded carts and wet mopping the entire store at the end of the night. On days am walking a lot and I am doing a lot of furniture moving and lifting, I'd estimate my activity level as moderate. Shifts that are mostly walking, loading and unloading shelves, up and down ladders I call it light activity.

I also exercise on most of my days off. So I calculate my calorie burn thusly:

I put in my stats as lightly active, then again as moderately active, sum of both, then divide by two. That number is my daily calorie target. I figure that covers days I am more active and ones I am slightly less active, the days I eat more or slightly less. It all evens out. I actually do not bother with adding in my exercise separately with this method (It is included as part of the activity level). So you can do that or what I suggested before.

Whatever method you choose, stick with it for at least a month. You are new at this job and (from your post) not used to this much activity throughout the day. Give your body some time to adjust. It is common to experience a weight gain when suddenly increasing your activity level (either through work or exercise) so 3-4 weeks to allow your body to adjust and then see where you are.

If you seem not to be losing at that point have a rethink. Do you seem always to be hungry? If you are drinking enough, then constant hunger (or regular urges to overeat) could indicate your calorie target is too low. In this case try adjusting upward in  increments of 200 cals (add in a smallish snack).

If your weight is stable at that point or still going up, then you may need to adjust your target downward (again, 200 calories might be enough to make the difference and you can divide that between all your meals so that it is barely noticeable).

The main thing is it is difficult for anyone to assess your exertion level and therefore your true calorie burn. Most calculations are estimates /educated guesses. Throughout this losing process it is wise to realise you need to be flexible and re-assess regularly.

Two lists that might help you figure out your activity level...

You can rate yourself on a Perceived Exertion Scale:

  • Level 1: I'm watching TV and eating bon bons
  • Level 2: I'm comfortable and could maintain this pace all day long
  • Level 3: I'm still comfortable, but am breathing a bit harder
  • Level 4: I'm sweating a little, but feel good and can carry on a conversation effortlessly
  • Level 5: I'm just above comfortable, am sweating more and can still talk easily
  • Level 6: I can still talk, but am slightly breathless
  • Level 7: I can still talk, but I don't really want to. I'm sweating like a pig
  • Level 8: I can grunt in response to your questions and can only keep this pace for a short time period
  • Level 9: I am probably going to die
  • Level 10: I am dead

Levels 2, 3 & 4 = Light.

Levels 5 & 6 = Moderate,

Levels 7, 8 & 9 = Intense

Level 10 = Undesirable, dial it back a bit!

Since your job includes a lot of walking, I also recommend you get a good pedometer (one that does not count steps if you shake it). Wear it for a few shifts and use your average number of steps as a guide to setting your activity level...

  • sedentary = less than 5000 steps per day
  • lightly active = 5000-7500 steps per day
  • moderately active = 7,500-10,000 steps per day
  • highly active = more than 10,000 steps per day (although you need to be *far above* 10,000 for this to apply)

5000 steps = approx 2.5 miles

10,000 steps = approx 5 miles

8 Replies