Living Maintenance - Maintenance is a tricksy beast to contemplate




Thistleberry
02-07-2013, 10:31 PM
I have about five more pounds to lose before I declare goal. With the rate I've been losing, it feels like I probably won't see it until this summer. (Which would suck, but it takes what it takes.) But, being so close, I've been thinking a lot about maintenance and I have a few questions/concerns.

Before I go into them, I am aware that maintenance is just like losing but with more calories. I currently average 1450 calories and plan to increase in 100 or 150 increments and to keep my exercise the same. I lift 3 times a week and do moderate cardio about twice a week. My goal is to maintain in a range from 133 to 138. (Subject to change, obviously, if my body enjoys yanking my chain with larger fluctuations. :lol:)

1. So my first concern is about those 100 to 150 calorie increments. My normal pattern in weight loss is to only see loss the week of my period. The other three weeks I'm more or less stalled. When I gain water weight from just about anything (change in exercise, excess sodium, extra carbs, etc) I tend to hold on to it until my period. Because of this I'm thinking I'm going to increase by 100/150 every cycle (28 days) or else I fear I just won't be able to sort out what sort of effect the increase in calories has made. Does that sound like a good plan? Anybody do something like this?

2. From all I've read, I expect to see the scale go up a bit. It makes sense to me intellectually and all, but I wonder, in your experience, how much did it go up by? Was it really more of a water weight thing and temporary? Or permanent because it's literally the weight of extra food? I'm scared to see 133 and then never ever see it again.

3. As I've said, I plan to increase by 100/150 calories. My thought is to do so by increasing fat or protein. Probably fat, really, as I feel I don't really get enough. Anyway, did anyone give any thought to macros when increasing? Does it make much any difference?

I'm so nervous about this! I don't want to get to goal and then freak out if the scale jumps a little and panic back into weight loss mode. I know that will just make a mess of things. I've been losing weight for two years now and I don't want to mess it up in the end!
I've combed through this forum and found a lot of really interesting and helpful discussion, tips, and encouragement, but very little in the way of "this is exactly what I did and why and I totally lived through it so don't waste energy freaking out" (aside from the testimonies about using increments) which would be oh so comforting.

Advice, thoughts, anecdotes, reassurance... all would be very much appreciated! Even an, "I can't really help you out there, but aren't fluffy puppies awesome?" Because they are and I'll totally talk about that if you'd rather. :D


bargoo
02-08-2013, 06:52 AM
Congratulations on your weight loss ! My suggestion, "don't waste energy freaking out". Maintenance takes a whole lot of experimenting, IMO. I have never done the increasing by increments. I eat approximately the same calories I did to lose with an occasional treat. I am sure everybody has a different method , but here on this forum we motivate and cheer each other on. Please feel free to join us.

traveling michele
02-08-2013, 10:16 AM
"I can't really help you out there, but aren't fluffy puppies awesome?" Because they are and I'll totally talk about that if you'd rather. :D

Um... this.....

Really, though-- Bargoo and I are similar. I try to continue to eat basically what I ate when I was losing and I have occasional treats. My problem is that my occasional treats became more frequent and I gained about 10 pounds after being in maintenance for several years. So now I'm back to trying to lose about 5 more pounds or so. It really is a journey. I weigh everyday. I keep track of my exercise and weight in a journal. I track most of the time what I eat but not all of the time.

Freaking out won't help. I can assure you of that. Congratulations on your loss and please join us here. You don't need to wait until you declare "goal". Sorry I can't help you on the cycle stuff as I haven't had a uterus since I was 31 which was before my weight loss journey began.


Megan1982
02-08-2013, 11:49 AM
Fluffy puppies ARE awesome, and we do talk about fluffy puppies a fair amount on this forum, perhaps more than we should.

I'm not the best maintenance example. Like Michele, after about 2 years of maintaining at 140, I went through a really gradual regain of some weight. It was from allowing myself a few too many treats and drinks and not seriously bouncing back to my "losing" plan when I crossed that red line. I just want you to know about where I'm coming from.

Re #1. You sound like a very patient person. If you are really only going to increase your calories by 100-150 for the entire first month of maintenance, I'd go to the higher end there. Maybe 200 calories a day. But you know your body best, and I do think the gradual increase approach is a reasonable one.

Re #2, I am not really sure why the scale would go up. I mean, if you're eating an extra 100 calories a day of nuts, that's less than an ounce. 3500 calories of food = 1# (in some bodies, anyway). Of course sodium and water retention is another issue, but eating a little bit more food as you figure out your calorie level shouldn't make the scale go up.

Re #3, I think I did eat more (try to be healthy) fats and proteins. I always eat plenty of carbs. I did also feel I was quite low on fat during my weight loss, so once on maintenance I let myself have the whole ounce of raw almonds instead of half, or some avocado and olive oil on my salad, etc. Again, look at your macros currently, see if something is deficient. I also had a period where I realized my hair and nails weren't growing very well. That really made me realize I needed more fats.

Congratulations and welcome to maintenance! Don't be a stranger around here. We love newbies. :D

Thistleberry
02-08-2013, 12:10 PM
I'm the kind of person who freaks out less when I've nitpicked a subject to death and come at it from every angle. :lol: I can't just let it alone. Some see it as, perhaps, a touch neurotic, but I've learned that's just the way I work and I'm okay with it. It's really not a stressful, uptight thing for me. It helps me feel more confident.

There's really so little information in the world about maintenance! You ladies are a treasure trove of information and I really appreciate your taking the time to help me out.

Megan - #1 - Persistence and patience have been key for me in a lot of different things. I may take longer than most to hit my goals, but I get there in the end. :D I don't mind taking it a month at a time.

In regards to #2, wow, yeah, I guess I didn't think about that too deeply. I was just going with the assumption that extra food would equal extra weight, but it's not really much extra at all so shouldn't make much difference. I'd feel silly for asking if I didn't feel so much better having been smacked with the obvious.

bargoo
02-08-2013, 12:42 PM
Thistleberry. Speaking for myself and what others have said we learn a lot by trial and error. I did many different programs before I decided calorie counting works best for me and I still do it at maintenance. I don't want to give the wrong impression I, too have had that sad experience of gaining after being at goal for quite some time about 13 pounds in my case which I have now lost again. Why did I regain, I got lazy, careless, complacent or all of the above. I have learned I still need to plan ahead ,I make a menu for the day every day, I still count calories, I still weigh every day and record the figure every day. I don't find this to be a chore at all, I would rather do this than to wear extra large clothing again.

Thistleberry
02-08-2013, 01:15 PM
Calorie counting is what has worked best for me as well and I do intend to keep doing it in maintenance. It has become just another part of my routine, like brushing my teeth or washing the dishes. Anyway, I know that it's not one and done and over and that there will be plenty of times I'll struggle. I'm just looking to arm myself with a plan now for transition and to learn all I can about what to expect. There's a wealth of information about losing weight and some about maintaining after, but info about the transition from one to the other seems quite sparse.

chubbiegurl
02-08-2013, 02:24 PM
I have been scared of maintenance for a while now, u would think actually losing the weight would be a far scarier thought, I managed to maintain my higher weights why do I fear my current one. Never gave much thought to transitioning until today realizing my goal is so close I could taste it. I have been doing calculations based on the amount of exercise I do and my goal weight, I came up with just over 2000 calories, being that I tend to stay at 1200 I fear gaining if even get close to that. I think I will attempt to add a little at a time and see what the scale and my jeans have to say about that. I just don't want to feel I can eat more therefore eat the wrong stuff although I have read a calorie is a calorie no matter where it comes from, I still want them to be healthy calories. Let's hope we find the right approach and what works best for ourselves!

paperclippy
02-08-2013, 03:48 PM
I don't think the scale should go up when you start maintenance, unless you run around like a crazy person cramming your face with food as soon as you hit goal. :lol: In fact, many people see the scale continue to go down for a while before they find the right balance of food/exercise to stabilize it.

I don't know that I can offer advice, but I can certainly tell you "this is what I did." I calorie counted to lose weight 6 days per week and had one uncounted splurge meal per week (which means no point in counting the rest of the day). When I got to maintenance, I kept eating the same things in roughly the same portions, and writing down what foods I ate, but stopped actually weighing and measuring. I continued to lose weight for a little while, then it stabilized and came back up a bit. (Exercise remained the same.)

For me, the difference between losing and maintaining is whether I'm eyeballing my portions or actually measuring them. Over time, my eyeballing ability gradually degrades and I start to gain weight, and I have to measure again for a while to get back to where I want to be. Then, since I'm used to seeing the portion sizes again, I go back to eyeballing.

If there's one fact about maintenance, it's that everyone does something a little bit different and there's no one method that works for everyone. Someone on here also described maintenance as "yo-yo dieting on a very short string," which I've also found to be true. You're not going to see the same exact number on the scale every day, and that's okay. If it goes up more than you're comfortable with, eat less. If it goes down more than you're comfortable with, eat more. But expect to fluctuate several pounds in either direction pretty much all the time, so don't freak out if the scale goes up or down by 1-2lbs.

saef
02-08-2013, 06:48 PM
If there's one fact about maintenance, it's that everyone does something a little bit different and there's no one method that works for everyone. Someone on here also described maintenance as "yo-yo dieting on a very short string," which I've also found to be true. You're not going to see the same exact number on the scale every day, and that's okay. If it goes up more than you're comfortable with, eat less. If it goes down more than you're comfortable with, eat more. But expect to fluctuate several pounds in either direction pretty much all the time, so don't freak out if the scale goes up or down by 1-2lbs.

What Jessica said.

I didn't answer your first post because it had math in it. Seriously. I don't count calories because I don't want to constantly do math. When I did do math, I ended up counting obsessively and was not healthy. I've never worked out my exact allotment. Everyone works out his or her own way of doing this, and for me, I knew turning to spreadsheets or counting would lead to suppressed irritation and eventual failure.

My own personal program seems to be not to count but to choose my foods very strictly -- there's a lot of stuff that people here eat as occasional treats that I've decided I won't eat at all, ever again. I also have learned that isn't enough, that I have to control portions, which I do by eyeballing, as Jessica said. But really key to my strategy is exercising heavily. I may have to rethink that one day, but for now, that's what I do.

But most important of all -- which is why I've saved it for last -- is having my head in the game. Maintenance for me is also psychological, not just physical. It requires leading a heavily examined life, being honest with myself, keeping up with my antidepressants, with my therapist. I didn't get fat just because I ate too much or ate the wrong foods. I ate too much for a reason, and the reason was not as simple as liking food, often bad food. Really that's the part that I feel most comfortable with talking about here, so I rarely presume to talk to anyone about having a food scale or calculating calorie intake or measuring their wrist circumference or etc.

berryblondeboys
02-08-2013, 07:26 PM
Someone on here also described maintenance as "yo-yo dieting on a very short string," which I've also found to be true. You're not going to see the same exact number on the scale every day, and that's okay. If it goes up more than you're comfortable with, eat less. If it goes down more than you're comfortable with, eat more. But expect to fluctuate several pounds in either direction pretty much all the time, so don't freak out if the scale goes up or down by 1-2lbs.



This is the part that I don't quite understand -getting too low and needing to eat more. I have never 'been there' in my life, so is it possible to really eat too little? Wouldn't your body give you signals that it's actually starving (if you are beginning to weigh too little)?

Well, I just don't think that would ever happen to me, so I guess I don't have to figure it out.

saef
02-08-2013, 09:34 PM
This is the part that I don't quite understand -getting too low and needing to eat more. I have never 'been there' in my life, so is it possible to really eat too little? Wouldn't your body give you signals that it's actually starving (if you are beginning to weigh too little)?

Well, I just don't think that would ever happen to me, so I guess I don't have to figure it out.

The first time I lost weight, years ago, and went from about 235 pounds to 109 pounds at my lowest, I developed an eating disorder. And yeah, maybe my body gave me signals that my weight was too low, like low energy, always being freezing cold, losing my menses, my ribs showing badly and my arms getting stick-thin. But I didn't really "see" them, because of my eating disorder, exactly as I think the people on "Hoarders" often don't see what a mess they're living in. It's possible to ignore the signals one's body gives. Body dysmorphia, which many people on this site post about, could also cause one to miss some signals. That's how it could happen.

dstalksalot
02-12-2013, 11:21 AM
I am about 10 pounds away from calling goal. I am starting to fret about it as well....and I should just chill and think about fluffy puppies.

I think once I get a tad closer I will be able to assess better what I need to do judging on the calories I will be currently eating at that time to lose and how I feel.( I have been gradually decreasing as I lose through a phone ap) I think you have the right idea by increasing slowly. I plan on increasing my calories by 100 a day once a month when I get within 3 pounds of my goal...or my upper red line goal. In theory I should still be losing at a very slow pace at that point and will decrease cals slightly or even out according to my results for those first couple of months.

My plan is to try and maintain a weight of 145-148 for 6 months to a year before I decide if I want to go lower.

Good luck to you and be sure to post your methods and progress.

krampus
02-12-2013, 01:46 PM
Maintaining is just like losing. Truth be told, I am only maintaining because losing more got "too hard." I read posts by people who are maintaining super lean weights and think "that's too much effort" and for now, complacency is ruling the roost.

My maintenance "rules" are:
-Weigh daily and keep a "red line" - if weight exceeds red line scale back a little for a couple days and it tends to correct itself.
-Eat approx the same stuff at similar times during the week.
-If I'm SUPER STUFFED or STARVING regularly, I'm doing it wrong.
-High protein, lots of veggies, regular workouts.
-Get enough sleep!

starbrite
02-12-2013, 01:59 PM
Good question, and one i would love an answer to.... Would your body let you know if you were eating too little ?? I am definitely verging on the too little, but am never hungry, burn alot of calories through exercise and am stumped by the question tbh

greensmoothiegirl
03-01-2013, 02:23 PM
Op, I'm just starting to transition to maintenance and I'm definitely in freak out mode with you :dizzy:

JenMusic
03-02-2013, 08:20 AM
There's already so much wisdom in this thread but I'll try to contribute (or echo and agree with) a few thoughts.

- Be honest with yourself. When I was losing weight, my "special occasions" were my birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. When I started maintenance, they eased up to a splurge every month or so. By the time I realized I was 5 pounds over my red line and it wasn't just water weight, I was having "special occasion food" once or twice a week. So for me, I needed to stop making excuses about what the scale said and how my behavior was directly affecting the scale.

- Yo-yo dieting on a very short string. YES!!! Perfect thought. Choose a red line weight and STICK TO IT. So much less painful than what I'm doing now. :)

- I found that my body didn't "settle" into its new weight for a while. I continued to go down even after I bumped up calories, then bounced up, then to my maintenance happy weight. I think your idea of going slowly, a month at a time, is excellent for that reason.

- Keep setting goals in other areas of life. I had been so focused on the scale for so long (and getting such awesome positive reinforcement from it) that, when losses stopped, it was a letdown. I was expecting that, of course, but it was still deflating. So choose another goal - fitness or a hobby or work-related or whatever - so that that energy and positivity can come from another source.

Good luck!

Bev421970
03-03-2013, 03:55 PM
You will see your usual monthly and sodium water-retention weight fluctuations, but don't let that worry you. Pay attention to how your clothes fit. I mainained 142-146 lbs. for over a year on 1600-1800 calories, which included quite a bit of processed food. But now that I eat 95% home-cooked meals (clean eating w/lots of fruits and veggies, etc.), I can eat 1800-2000 calories and maintain a slightly lower weight of 137. I count calories religiously and weigh almost everything. Everyone is different and it takes time to figure it out. Luckily, if you pay attention to your calories, measurements and weight, you'll be able to figure out what works for you over time. Try not to be afraid to eat a little bit more and then see how you're doing periodically.

HungryHungryHippo
03-04-2013, 10:13 PM
I reached my goal (102); set a new one (100); reached that; set a final one (95); reached that; and then kept eating the same, to maintain, but lost more weight. Could make the story so much longer, but I like the way I look, although the number is kind of scary, and--the crux of the matter--I am sooooooo scared to change my eating to prevent any further weight loss. I feel like an alcoholic who has reached equilibrium, but been asked to add in one drink a day.

bargoo
03-05-2013, 08:35 AM
I reached my goal (102); set a new one (100); reached that; set a final one (95); reached that; and then kept eating the same, to maintain, but lost more weight. Could make the story so much longer, but I like the way I look, although the number is kind of scary, and--the crux of the matter--I am sooooooo scared to change my eating to prevent any further weight loss. I feel like an alcoholic who has reached equilibrium, but been asked to add in one drink a day.

Not to be critical, just someone if the same height commenting. I can't even imagine being 95 pounds and am sure it is way too low for me although it might be right for you. I am a couple ( about 3) pounds more than I would like but am pretty much OK with it. I maintain by keeping a hawk eye on my scale, I weigh every day and keep it posted on my calendar. I can see at a glance if any trend is happening.Right now I am expecting a "whoosh" any day ..

HungryHungryHippo
03-05-2013, 09:11 PM
Maintaining since 2007 is pretty amazing!!