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Is There A Formula For Maintenance?

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Old 01-23-2009, 12:17 AM   #1
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Default Is There A Formula For Maintenance?

Howdy maintainers!

Can anyone tell me what is the formula for figuring out how many calories where you will not lose weight OR gain weight in other words calories that will maintain you in neutral gain/loss environment?

thanks!
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Old 01-23-2009, 12:31 AM   #2
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Unfortunately...there isn't one!

Most of us figure out our maintenance levels through trial and error. We go up and down, see what levels at which we gain, what levels at which we lose, and what is in between. Most of the calculators out there are inaccurate, for most of us.

So the formula is to experiment!
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Old 01-23-2009, 05:04 AM   #3
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As soon as I read your post, "trial and error" is what popped into my mind too -- then Amanda said it.

Formulas and calculators are generalizations and averages, often based on research done decades ago. There's at least an +/- 400 calorie range on either side of the number you get from a calculator, so they're pretty useless in actuality.

Just like the wise Amanda said, you have to experiment with your own unique body to see what level of calories and exercise will maintain your weight. The answer may surprise you one way or the other, but -- it is what it is. And it may change as the years go on (and you get ancient like I am! )
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Old 01-23-2009, 05:14 AM   #4
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A set formula? Oh if only it were that easy!

Just to echo what's already been said, there is no one math equation that will you give you the "correct" answer. No calculators, nutritionists, doctors, wizards, genies or even folks who have "been there, done that" can tell you. It's something you just must figure out for yourself. But it's not as hard as it seems. With a little tracking (of calories and the scale), a little experimenting and a little tweak here and there when necessary, you will be able to figure it out all by your lonesome. Rest assured.

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Old 01-23-2009, 05:40 AM   #5
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There do seem to be a couple of general "rules" that help us stay within maintenance.

I think most of us have either a set number or a "maintenance range" weight (usually a fluctuation of about 5 lbs.)

Most people post that they weigh themselves on a regular schedule (how often depends again on the individual).

They also have a "red line" weight. Once they get near or go over the red line they switch into diet mode until they are in their maintenance range again.

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Old 01-23-2009, 09:24 AM   #6
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hmmm I thought I had seen a formula that was based on body size and activity level and how many calories your body burns at resting rate that would give you an idea of what your calorie intake needed to be to put your body in neutral weight gain.

Maybe I am wording my question wrong. Maybe I think I should explain why I need it. It is not because I am thinking about maintaining already.

I am counting calories right now in my efforts to lose weight. For the most part it is working. I log everything that goes in my mouth and figure out how many calories it is. I try to get as close to 1800 calories as I can.

Like most I screw up every now and then. For instance Christmas Day I took in almost 3500 calories.

What I am trying to figure out is what is the caloric number that I can go to and not gain weight.

So say on the days I do screw up and go over 1800 and say eat 2200 calories that day it would be nice to know that at 2300 (fictional number) calories I won't lose weight but at least I won't gain.

I could have sworm I have read that there is a formula for this.

Sorry if I am so confusing. And thanks for any help anyone may provide or have already.
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Old 01-23-2009, 09:36 AM   #7
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I don't think what you're asking is confusing at all, and the answer is still the same whether you're talking about maintenance calories now or at goal. Yes, there are charts and formulas, and many of us have seen and used them, but as previous posters have alluded to the formulas don't work very well for most folks.

In a sense they're like chinese restaurant fortune cookies "for entertainment purposes only."

The formulas and charts have been around for decades. I started using them when I was 12 (30 years ago), and the primary value they had was in improving my math skills, not my weight loss/maintenance. I will say they were most accurate (and even then, not all that accurate) in my teen years, and have steadily become less and less accurate over the years. It reinforces to me that repeated dieting may reduce metabolism significantly each time (not that an experiment of one subject proves anything).

So, sorry trial and error still is the very best indicator of your maintenance calories at any weight.
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Old 01-23-2009, 09:55 AM   #8
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You can go to the site called "calories per day calculator", and punch in your info and activity level to get a rough idea. That is what I use, but it may not be accurate for you. As Kaplods says, since we are all different, one formula doesn't work for everyone. But, you can use that formula for a trial period to see how your body fits with the formula, and then modify it up or down to fit your body. But again, it only works when you are eating the right amount of food to keep you losing or maintaining. If you go too far in either direction, you might start gaining, or you might go into starvation mode and stop losing when you think you should be. So...it's still a learning curve, and a ball park that works for some, and not so well for others.
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Old 01-23-2009, 10:29 AM   #9
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I think you will find it very easy to google yourself a calculator. There are indeed formulas.

They'll give you a place to start. But you CANNOT say, well, the calculator says I maintain at 2000 calories, so if I eat that, I won't gain. Because formulas just can't be that accurate for everyone. And on top of that, your body adjusts your metabolism all the time, so you just can't be that precise about it. But trial and error will give you a pretty good idea of what works for you.
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Old 01-23-2009, 01:45 PM   #10
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Yup, same answer applies. Whether you're looking to maintain your weight or to LOSE it. No one or nothing can give you and accurate answer. Experimentation. Trial and Error. It's something you must figure out on your own.
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Old 01-23-2009, 11:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockinrobin View Post
Yup, same answer applies. Whether you're looking to maintain your weight or to LOSE it. No one or nothing can give you and accurate answer. Experimentation. Trial and Error. It's something you must figure out on your own.
OK I think it is sinking in now! LOL! Thank you everybody. I guess I won't know until I reach goal and start maintaining because I am losing right now and no way am I gonna increase my calories to find out exactly where I stop losing.

Hmmmm one thing you all have made me think now and that is the battle is not over after you lose the desired weight you want. It's gonna still take some effort to maintain. Maybe not as much as losing but still effort.

Thanks again I have food for thought!
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Old 01-24-2009, 12:21 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flatiron View Post
OK I think it is sinking in now! LOL!

Hmmmm one thing you all have made me think now and that is the battle is not over after you lose the desired weight you want. It's gonna still take some effort to maintain. Maybe not as much as losing but still effort.

Good. Think about maintaining right now. Right NOW. This process isn't over when we reach goal. You'll find that most of us maintainers, if not all, do the same exact thing to maintain our loss as we did to lose the weight, the careful monitoring and tracking of calories, the "clean" eating, planning ahead, frequent exercise, frequent scale watching, etc. Some of us up our calories by a few hundred a day, others, like myself, keep their calories the same and adds in a splurge meal every now and then. You will have to discover what works best for you.

Remember, this is no "diet" that you're on. No going back to the old ways. The minute that you go back to those old ways, the minute, maybe sooner, that you gain back the weight. There is no way around that.

The good thing though is, you'll be so satisfied and delighted with your new body and LIFE that you will be more then happy to continue on with this lifestyle. You will have good habits in place and "know" just what to do to keep you there.
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Old 01-24-2009, 12:32 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flatiron View Post
Hmmmm one thing you all have made me think now and that is the battle is not over after you lose the desired weight you want. It's gonna still take some effort to maintain. Maybe not as much as losing but still effort.
For me, it's pretty much the exact same effort except I get more calories per day when I'm maintaining. Everything else pretty much looks the same - meal planning, packing lunches, food journaling, staying within a calorie range. It's a LITTLE bit easier for social occasions since I can usually move my schedule around so a social occasion is my "treat" meal (I get one per week, but I still stick to all my forever no's - no fast food, no cream based sauces, no sugary soda, limit the breadbasket, no more than 2 glasses of wine, etc).

In some ways, it's easier than losing, because I have a lot of good habits in place, a lot of tried and true recipes, a lot of systems to fall back on. In some ways, it's harder because occasionally I get overwhelmed with the "this is never gonna end" doldrums.

Don't get me wrong, I love maintenance. I love my size 6 body. I loved the way my tushie looked in my black pencil skirt on Thursday. But - for me it requires ever vigilance.
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Old 01-24-2009, 05:42 AM   #14
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Flatiron and all you wonderful members who contributed to this thread ...

I'm going to slightly change the title and "sticky" this thread because it's Maintenance 101 in a nutshell. I think a lot of our members who are wondering about maintenance will find it very useful. We'd ALL like to find that magic formula but the reality is that we have to live it, tweak it, experiment and modify to find the unique combination of exercise and nutrition that will let us keep the weight off for life.

Great thread, everyone!
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Old 01-30-2009, 07:51 PM   #15
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I like what Glory said about it being a bit easier - in some ways. I find this to be true. But I also remember a post from Amanda recently that should remind us all, that maintenance has a cyclical component. Most of the time, once the trial and error is finished, we just stick to our routine to maintain. But, occasionally, we get thrown out of sync, or backslide a bit, or start feeling sorry for ourselves because of what we can't eat. It is then that we need to refocus, strengthen the resolve, count our blessings and continue forward.

Maintenance is actually easier than I thought it would be. That being said, one of the real reasons is because I have stayed connected to 3FC. The community we have here is another important piece of maintenance, I believe.
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