Weight Loss Support - Explain maintenence to me please

View Full Version : Explain maintenence to me please

12-06-2008, 01:03 AM
I know this will probably sound ******ed on my part but I am confused.

How is it that in order to loose weight we have to restrict our calories to well below what our maintenance goal weight calories are? Say for instance my goal weight of 165 says to maintain that weight I would need to eat around 2200 calories.. Yet Im only eating about 1700-1800 right now in order to reach that weight. I mean i know you have to restrict calories to loose and all and I understand why im just confused how i will be able to go back to eating say 200 calories a day and not get fat again.

And how do you girls/guys it when you do reach goal weight? How do you build yourself back up to eating more food and still keep the weight off? I have a long ways to go I know but I am just curious and trying to get info.

12-06-2008, 01:20 AM
I lost weight eating around 1400-1600 calories, I maintain at about 2000 calories a day. I was pretty scared to increase my calories after I reached my goal weight. I added about a hundred calories a day (say up to 1500 a day for a couple of weeks) then I ate another hundred calories a day (up to 1600 a day for a couple of weeks) until I eventually reached my goal maintenance calories.

I did everything else EXACTLY the same. Meal plan, pack lunches, weigh once a week, food journal, same good quality of food (I didn't eat 100 extra calories of Doritos, for example, I added stuff like nuts, bigger servings of granola, healthy salad dressing etc).

That being said, 2000 calories a day for maintenance is WAY under what I ate before my lifestyle change. At a conservative estimate, I ate 3000+ calories on a normal day and spiked into the stratosphere on a day when I was "treating" myself.

When I was heavy, I ate too much. Now that I'm slender, I watch what I eat and I'm a careful, mindful eater (under normal circumstances, don't want to get into the last 2 weeks, my step dad died and I am focusing on what is really important right now and it is not making sure I have the right kind of low fat yogurt at my mom's house).

Thinking about maintenance at any stage of your weight loss journey is SMART, losing weight is a short battle compared to the life long war that is maintenance.

12-06-2008, 08:07 AM
Hey! I agree with Glory--it's good to think about these things in advance.

Most likely, you were eating more than your maintenance calories when you gained weight.

How much you can eat to maintain and not regain is something you'll have to experiment with once you get to your goal.

Calculators only give you estimates. You may find that once you're at goal weight, you'll be able to eat more than 2000 and still maintain, or you'll have to eat less than that to maintain. My maintenance level, given my age and current weight, is around 1700 according to the calculators, but I do better if I keep my calories not above 1600, average. And I find that overeating on even a single day tends to mess things up for awhile. But that's just me!


12-06-2008, 08:39 AM
A lot of people eat less than their goal weight maintainence calories to lose the weight faster. I did not do this. I started eating at my goal weight maintainence calories (1700 calories) from the get-go. I still lost weight, but very very very slowly. So I don't need to up my calories to maintain. For most people, losing 0.5 lbs a month is excruciating (can't say I blame them) and prefer to lose faster, so they go lower in calories while losing.

Shannon in ATL
12-06-2008, 10:10 AM
I'm still trying to find my maintenance calories - I've lost weight everywhere from 1200-1700. I'm doing like Glory said and adding in slowly, with a few hiccups (like vacations! :) ) along the way. I haven't gained any weight during maintenance, even on weeks where I averaged 1950-2000 per day, so I'm thinking my maintenance level will settle in there. I'm just afraid to go there quickly. :)

I do the same thing I did every day as well - measure, weigh every day but log every week, pack food, read nutrition labels, post on 3FC :), also trying (most of the time at least) to add in healthy calories. I've learned that throwing in junk makes me feel yucky, and can even cause a several day yucky, headachey tailspin.

And, I'm still new enough at maintenance that I'm nervous about it pretty much every day. I ask a lot of questions to people like Glory, and they haven't steered me wrong yet!

12-06-2008, 10:45 AM
I still do the same thing I did to lose. Weigh daily. plan all meals ahead of time, keep a food log. This doesn't take much time and is preferable to starting over again. You might want to check the maintainers forum, lots of great info there.

12-06-2008, 10:54 AM
how i will be able to go back to eating say 200 calories a day and not get fat again.

Because you will no longer be trying to create a calorie deficit. We need to eat UNDER our maintenance calories, since we are not looking to maintain, but to LOSE. What we're doing by consuming less caloreis then what is required to maintain, is using up our STORED fat as energy, but once you're no longer looking to lose and just remain the same (maintain), you no longer need to create that calorie deficit, so you can safely eat more calories.

I too would also caution you about "those" on line calorie counters. They are strictly estimates and usually estimate quite high. We are all different and there is no way on earth for any calculator, physician, nutritionist or any one to know for sure what just the right amount of calories are - to lose and/or maintain. That will take trial and error on your part.

And I too do the same thing to maintain my weight as I did to lose it. Exercise, track my calories, plan ahead, pack foods with me, eat healthy foods - I just add in occasional splurges. I give myself a 5 lb range that I stay within, as it's too difficult to remain the same exact weight from week to week.

And I would definitely take a look at the Maintainer's Forum. I did waaay before I hit my target weight. There's a wealth of great information and advice there from people who have been "doing it" for quite some time. They have helped me many times and will continue to do so. They're "pros" at it.

12-06-2008, 01:46 PM
For most people, losing 0.5 lbs a month is excruciating (can't say I blame them) and prefer to lose faster, so they go lower in calories while losing.

Yeah, in theory I wanted to do this from the beginning, but it is also nice to get the bulk of the weight off faster. And I did for many months. But everyone is different. Since around 158, I think I've been mostly eating maintenance style, and my weight loss has slowed down a lot. But at this point, I'm happy with it. Eating is easier and more enjoyable (not that it was bad before, it wasn't), I'm still losing, and I'm learning a lot that I need to learn for maintenance, so I think that will make the transition easier.

I'm starting to pick up a little more motivation now to work a little harder again and make goal. Taking a little break really helped, and losing 3-4 pounds a month instead of 7-8 was perfectly fine with me. Not that I have any expectation of going back to 7-8 pounds a month at this point, but it would be nice not to drop to 1-2 pounds a month ;). But I'll take whatever.

Now others will be strict all the time, and that works for them. It's not right or wrong, we're just different.

And I would definitely take a look at the Maintainer's Forum. I did waaay before I hit my target weight.

Oh yeah. Definitely. You guys rock.

12-06-2008, 02:15 PM
If you eat enough calories to maintain your current weight, you won't lose.

If you eat enough calories to maintain your goal weight (provided that your goal weight is lower than your current weight), you will lose. However, this will likely happen very slowly, especially if you are close to your goal weight.

12-06-2008, 09:56 PM
Thanks girls!!! Great advice as always. I guess I totally got it, just didnt really think it thru. I was not eating obviously calories to maintain my old weight. I ate way more which is how i got here.

Im going to read on that forum now :)