Living Maintenance - Losing/maintaining without counting calories?




Xena31
04-13-2014, 07:04 PM
Hi Maintainers,

I am almost at my first goal of 150 lbs and was wondering if any of u lost weight/maintain without counting calories? Maybe just using portion control?

I have lost the weight using many different strategies, i.e. Low carb, WW, IF and counting calories. They all work.

I am scared of slipping back into old habits but feel that in order to live a free/healthy life I would like to look into different strategies.maybe just going higher one day and lower the next, watching portions etc. It does feel scary to let go of the numbers though. I do check my weight daily to see the trend and it helps me stay on track.

Do any of u have their "own" guidelines and maintain without constantly feeling on a diet or tracking their intake?

I am very curious and hope for lots of responses.

Xena31


Mudpie
04-13-2014, 07:46 PM
I lost by calorie counting and weighing food to make sure I didn't give myself larger portions. I no longer weigh the food but I do still eat mostly the same stuff and have a pretty good idea of my cals each day. I eat about 1700 cals two days and then 2000 the third, then 2000 on "treat" day and 1500 the next.

I tend to try to eat a bit less on the weekends as I don't have to do so much physically so don't need as much fuel. During the week I have a "treat" night which is usually Thursday. the treat is basically the same thing each week - a small bag of jelly beans. 460 cals.

That's the plan. I do stray sometimes (with beer and potato chips mostly) and now have about 4 lbs. to lose for summer. It's been a heck of a winter - that's my excuse :p - but I'm looking forward to lighter food, BBQ and salad, etc now that the weather is improving.

Any plan is easier to maintain if one isn't worried about the weather, driving, etc.

Dagmar :dizzy:

bargoo
04-13-2014, 09:42 PM
I still count calories and keep a food journal.


ahna
04-14-2014, 12:59 AM
I have lost all my weight and am now maintaining my weight. But NOT with Intuitive eating. Its with Bite counting... see link In my signature for more info.

I track my bites, I count my bites every single day, day in and day out. I just have one day a month where its my free day and I don't count. Otherwise, I am strict on portion control. I am free to pretty much eat what I want.

Counting Calories was too time consuming, and Intuitive Eating was too free, too easy to slip back into old ways...

Bite counting is in the middle, I can track my bites with a few different iphone apps, and I can also stay pretty consistent on my portion sizes, which keeps my weight in my 5 lb maintenance Range. It takes less than a few minutes a day, and doesn't take me hours to figure out all the recipes calorie content of all the food and ect!

Highly recommend bite counting as a way to be strict and not take so much time counting calories!


Highly recommend trendwieght.com for daily weighing it has a special 5 lb Maintenance Range on the chart for Maintainers, too, and I really like it. Plus its FREE! ;)


I feel that tracking intake is an important component in keeping the weight off long term for anyone really. Tracking bites, calories, portions, whatever, I just feel it is important!

Koshka
04-14-2014, 02:03 AM
Back when I was on maintenance I did quit tracking/counting after I had been on maintenance a few months. And, well, I gained it all back plus more. For me, I do better tracking and counting. I know some people can maintain without doing that. Particularly those who got to maintenance and counted awhile and eat similarly most of the time and so don't really need to formally count to know they are within their range.

There are some people who can lose without counting. I'm not one of them.

lin43
04-14-2014, 08:58 AM
I lost by calorie counting, and I still do it. I have gained a few pounds over winter (fewer than 5), and I notice that now, 2 1/2 years later, it seems more difficult for me to stay within my calorie range. So, I've tweaked my program to something sort of like Intermittent Fasting. Basically, though, I'm eating two meals a day. I would rather deal with a bit of hunger temporarily and then have the satisfaction of eating two hearty meals a day than have to be careful at 3 meals a day.

I still plan to count my calories, though. I have gotten a bit more lax on weighing and measuring and in not counting the little blt's (bites, licks, tastes), and I suspect that is the reason I put on a few pounds.

I don't find calorie counting a burden, though, as I use a smartphone app that makes it really easy.

Also, I use a few tricks that make it easier to eat what I like without uber-planning:

I calorie cycle (i.e., I have a weekly total rather than a daily total)

I start my "day's" calorie count with my most unpredictable meal, which for me is dinner (then the next day's breakfast and lunch would equal one "day's" calories).

Xena31
04-14-2014, 09:13 AM
Thanks so much everyone!!!

Starting to track with dinner sounds great cuz that is when I struggle. Breakfast/lunch is basically the same food all the time anyways.

Maybe I should just print out all my recipes, calculate the calories, add to MfP and this way add them as I go.

paperclippy
04-14-2014, 09:32 AM
I maintain without counting but I can't lose without counting. Also my maintenance tends to be maintaining without counting for a while, then my weight gradually creeps up, then it hits my red line and I have to start counting for a little while to get it back under control.

Pattience
04-14-2014, 09:45 AM
There are some good systems for monitoring that are not as arduous as counting calories.

The CSIRO total wellbeing diet has one. Basically the idea is that all the counting has been done for you and all you need to remember is how much constitutes one serving and how many servings of that particular type of food _eg dairy, you are eating each day.

They have a system that is something like this

2-3 serves of dairy per day
3 serves of fats
i can't remember how many serves are protein
3 serves of carbohydrates

those quantities are for the diet but you are given enough information to be able to figure out how much extra you want to add in maintenance.

Anyway having done the diet a few years ago, i found the system very good and to some extent it helps me avoid having to count every day on any diet i've done since.

I do count and i'm not yet in maintenance but i only count to check what my calories are roughly.

I do intend to keep a food diary though because i find it impossible to keep track of what i'm doing if i don't.

Another book i'm still in the middle of which you might find gives you some useful ideas to incorporate into your strategy is called the No hunger diet. Shee seems to take an IE approach to appetite but she does give you some tools to go with it. As the writer is a scientist in molecular biology and did a lot of work on the diet science in her early career as far as i can tell, her book introduces some comprehension of things worth knowing about like like the famine reaction usually known as the starvation mode, and the fat brake and the set point. I haven't finished the book and i'm reluctant to follow her particular approach in all its details as yet but i am learning useful ideas and strategies.

The writer was overweight in her 20s and late teens i think and has dealt with it using the strategies in the book and she tools a lot about her personal experience so you know its not all theory.

The authors name is Dr Amanda Salisbury-Salis

lin43
04-14-2014, 07:28 PM
Maybe I should just print out all my recipes, calculate the calories, add to MfP and this way add them as I go.

That's one way to go. I found it more convenient to just add my recipes as I used them rather than entering them all at once. My smart phone app (called Fat Secret) has a feature called "Saved Meals." It allows me to save the list of foods and calorie counts for meals that I eat frequently. For example, I often eat broiled salmon, green beans and brown rice, so that is one of my "saved meals." When I decide to eat that for dinner, I just go into the category of my app called "saved meals" and choose that meal. In seconds all the foods and the calories are listed in my app for that day's dinner.

Regarding starting the "day's" calorie count with dinner, that one change made a major difference in how well I adhere to my count. Before I did that, I would have to worry about whether I would have enough calories left over for dinner, especially if I was going out to eat. Starting the day's count with dinner allows me so much more eating freedom.

crispin
04-15-2014, 04:56 PM
I maintain as long as I follow certain rules:
--exercise at least 3x a week
--don't regularly eat past fullness
--when I'm eating, it's because I'm hungry most of the time (at least 80%) and not just because I'm bored/want to taste something delicious
--don't go totally wild with carbs
--weigh myself regularly

As long as I stick with those general guidelines, I maintain. For the past year and a half, I've been too off-and-on with the first rule, so I've twice gone up about 5-10 pounds. Before that, I stuck with all those guidelines and "effortlessly" maintained for about 2.5 years.

I found counting calories or any other nutritional info too tedious to do for long stretches of time, but every now and then I track just to get a sense of the actual numbers.

chickadee32
04-15-2014, 09:36 PM
I don't know if my response is worth much here, since I've never technically been in maintenance...

But I first lost the weight by calorie counting, got pregnant literally the day I hit my final goal weight, gained a ton in pregnancy (95 lbs), and then have lost the weight again without calorie counting - or at least not calorie counting in the same manner by which I originally lost the weight. The first time around with the weight loss I was really organized and really strict. I weighed my food and tracked every bite, weighed myself every day, tracked all my exercise, etc. Since having the baby I just haven't been able to make that kind of time to devote to weight loss, and so after I lost all the weight that was going to come off "easily' (the first 75 lbs, in the first 6 months, leaving me with ~20 lbs left to lose) I just went back to my weight loss intake habits but without the tracking. I am sure I could lose much faster if I were weighing and tracking (and if I were consistent about exercise, which I am not right now), but simply returning to the good habits that I developed during my initial ~16 months of weight loss has enabled me to lose very slowly but consistently - about 15 lbs in 9 months.

I'm still not really sure what maintenance will look like for me, but it's starting to seem like it's going to look nearly identical to what I'm doing now and what I've been doing the past 9 months. Eating well most of the time but allowing some treats/indulgences here and there, keeping a super rough estimate of my calories consumed in my head each day, easily eating lightly during one half of my menstrual cycle, and then fighting the urge to eat everything in sight during the other half. I think my body will just stop losing when I get to the point where my caloric intake equals my expenditure, and I bet that's going to be somewhere in the low 130s. If/when I manage to exercise more consistently, I can increase what I'm eating a bit more, or lose a touch more.

I don't know. We'll see when I get there, I guess. Right now I'm just playing it by ear since what I'm doing seems to be having the results I'd like.

Pattience
04-15-2014, 10:40 PM
chickadee, from where i sit, that's a far better program than what you were doing previously. I wouldn't change a thing if i was you.

You have learnt to eat all foods in moderation - That's more than i've ever been able to do - and lose weight.

Its actually a good thing that your weight loss is slower. It means that you will do better keeping it off. It seems the trick is not to force yourself to into a tight corner when your body starts to rebel against weight loss. i.e. when you get hungry instead of sticking to your program more tightly and exercising harder, instead actually eat a bit more and satisfy yourself appetite. Steady your weight for a while while your body recovers to the new you. That's the insights i've got from some of the latest scientific research that i've been read about in recent years.

A widely and varied diet of nutritious foods is the best thing we can do (along with some regular exercise) for maintaining a normal body weight.