My Fitness Pal (MFP) has a unique way of calculating daily caloric needs. Sparkpeople will give you a calorie range to shoot for, exercising is beyond that. You can find in the reports section what your daily (or weekly, etc) calorie deficit is, but it's not readily viewable on any main page. MFP gives you a minimum calorie goal, anytime you enter exercise it adds that into the calculation. Take today for example, my calorie goal is 1300, I exercised a total of 478 calories, making a total of 1778 calories right? I ate 1769 calories, leaving me with 9 left.
Now, I'd always viewed that as I wanted to stay around or even under that total calorie goal. Under meaning possibly 200 or more calories at times. I was looking at it as, "I ate 1700 calories today! UGH! I should be eating only 1300." However, I was missing something. That was Net Calories. MFP takes your calories eaten minus your exercise. In doing so, that gives me net calories of 1291. In reality I'm right where I need to be.
I had this revelation over the weekend, and then promptly looked at a history report of my net calories and saw there were many times I was getting 1000 or less calories a day. Essentially my body said, "You are not eating enough and I'm going to hang onto whatever I can." And thus the scale did not move. I'd read on the MFP boards how people said they need to eat their exercise calories because if they didn't they'd stall/plateau. I get that now!
I've not been very good about tracking the last couple days, with the holiday season--all the goodies, the feelings of just celebrate and not think about what you ingest--I blew it off over the weekend. But today was back at it. And I will continue to do so until probably next weekend when we do the big xmas thing. And I think that's ok, as long as I remember moderation, and promptly get back to tracking on Monday.