LA Weight Loss - eat less when hit target weight goal?
12-29-2007, 05:03 AM
I have a question...
When someone who has a lot of weight to lose, say over 100 pounds, finally reach their target weight loss goal... do they immediately start eating 2,000 calories a day (give or take) and reduce their exercise time length from "weight loss" (45 minutes of aerobic activity for example) to "maintenance" (30 minutes of aerobic activity)?
Or do they stay on their weight loss caloric intake/exercise routine for a week or two after reaching their goal weight before going on a maintenance routine?
12-29-2007, 05:28 AM
Well, I didn't have 100 pounds to lose but I also haven't been able to go straight to eating 2000 calories a day OR reduce my exercise to 30 minutes daily.
Where I am now is my "floating maintenance range" - I like where I am but 132 is my lowest limit. Some weeks I am closer to that and some weeks I'll be around 136 as now.
I still work out daily - between 40 and 120 minutes and I eat around 1600 to 1800 in total.
When I want to lose a few extra as I was the last few months I keep to around 1400 calories while the exercise stays the same.
Maintenance "routine" seems to vary with the individual. Personally I love exercise and being active so I DO work out a fair bit - it's my relaxation time. Food wise maintenance means I can eat a little more but generally I don't as the foods I eat tend to fill me up (salads, veggies, whole grains, high amounts of protein) and I don't like feeling "over full". This last week has been trying because I HAVE been feeling over full and it's made me appreciate all over again how much nicer it is to be just "satisfied" lol.
It can be a real eye opener to see just how much (or how little) our bodies really need to stay fueled.
Tea, we discover our maintenance calories and exercise by trial and error. No calculator can tell you how many calories you can eat to maintain a weight loss or how much exercise is necessary. It's something that we all have to s-l-o-w-l-y discover for ourselves.
The maintainers in our Maintainers forum generally start off by adding in 100 or 200 calories a day until they hit their maintenance level. It's surprising how different that number is from one person to another! I'd say we have members successfully maintaining in probably a thousand calorie range. Unfortunately, there isn't any way of figuring out now what your maintenance calories will be when you reach goal.
I don't think that any of our maintainers have cut back on exercise. Everyone seems to exercise at the same levels and intensities that got them to goal. It seems to me that if you cut back on exercise, your calories needs would drop and you wouldn't be able to maintain on as many calories. Since most of us like to eat, we keep on exercising so we can eat more!
I realize that the numbers you posted are hypothetical, but the calories seem high to me and the exercise seems low. Did you know that the recommendation for maintenance exercise is 60 - 90 minutes a day? Dietary Guidelines for Americans (http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2005/document/html/chapter4.htm) And you might be interested to know that in a survey of maintainers by the National Weight Control Registry, the average daily calories for maintenance were 1400, with an average of an hour of exercise. I wouldn't want you to be disappointed if you got to goal and couldn't maintain on 2000 calories with just a half hour of exercise. :)
12-29-2007, 08:38 AM
I agree with Meg, that maintenance calories/exercise levels are done slowly. If you get to goal, and you are eating say, 1200 or 1300 calories a day at the very end, you would want to eat 1350 or 1400 a day for a few weeks, and make sure you don't gain.
If you don't, take it up another notch to 1450-1500 a day for a few weeks, until you find the point where you are maintaining your weight-with no loss/gain.
Exercise is usually the same. Some of us even intensify it during maintenance-such as doing challenging things like running 5Ks, or lifting heavier weights when the ones we are using are not as challenging. This might not affect the weight on the scale, but it keeps improving our body-making it look better and better, even after we hit the weight we desire. Even after you hit goal, you can always improve your muscle and lower your body fat.
Maintenance calories are really going to depend on the individual, but also on your goal weight. Someone who has a goal weight of 175 is going to be able to eat more calories on maintenance than someone who is trying to maintain a weight of 125 pounds.
12-30-2007, 06:52 AM
Very interesting information guys!
Yeah, my question was general... I have seen some websites that calculate how much calories a person should eat based on activity level & height & weight.
I had heard of the 60-90 minute a day of physical activity, though I had originally thought it was only for weight loss. You still see all these exercise dvds for 30 minutes apiece here....
I was thinking of taking my exercise length from my current 45-60 minutes to 40 minutes whenever I hit my maintenance weight goal here, since I would want to workout enough for maintenance and not weight loss at that point! :)
But I do realize it's all trial and error in the beginning for weight maintenance for caloric intake and exercise.
Thanks for the tidbit of slowly adding calories in until you find a caloric intake that suits maintenance but doesn't have you gain weight! I didn't think of that!
12-30-2007, 11:09 AM
I also wanted to throw in there that even though the recommendations are 60-90 minutes per day, it doesn't mean that doing 30-40 minutes of exercise doesn't do you any good! If that is all you can fit in, it is much better than nothing!
My exercise varies, depending on the day. On Mondays I do strength during the day for about 30 minutes, and I teach two, one hour dance classes that night, back to back. So, on Mondays I actually do about 2 1/2 hours of exercise...but on a couple other days during the week I only get 30-45 minutes. Overall, however it averages out over the course of the week.