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Maintainers: how many calories do you eat?

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Old 05-17-2009, 10:01 PM   #1
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Default Maintainers: how many calories do you eat?

Although I probably still have at least another year before maintenance, this had been on my mind a lot lately. I know everyone's different, and that I'll have to figure out my own maintenance calories, but I'd like a general idea of what to expect.

So how many calories do you eat at maintenance (and how many do you exercise off)?

If I reach a healthy BMI (around 140lbs, 5'4") will I be eating 1200 calories for the rest of my life?
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Old 05-17-2009, 10:10 PM   #2
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I'm on South Beach so I don't count calories, but when I've bothered to count, it is about 1500-1700 calories/daily.
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Old 05-17-2009, 10:12 PM   #3
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No one can tell you how many calories YOU will be eating in maintenance. As Meg often says, "we are laboratories of one".

I eat around 1600 calories each day to maintain. A LOT depends on my activity level. If I ramp up my workouts, I can eat more. If I have a busy week and exercise less, I usually try to adjust my calories accordingly.

I think there are way too many factors that come into play to even estimate what number will be right for you.

I exercise moderately. I try to get in 3-4 hours per week, minimum. This is not high-intensity level stuff - just plain old "exercise". I vary my routine regularly, depending upon my mood and schedule. I try to incorporate a lot of variety - shape boxing, yoga, pilates, walking, weights or stretchy bands, balance ball, etc.

I'm 50+ (post menopausal), and 5'4" with a small frame. I also have a very sedentary job.
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Old 05-18-2009, 04:59 AM   #4
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I maintain on about 1400 - 1600 calories and about 90 minutes of exercise/day.

But Counting Down is right, it's different for all of us. I think there's at least a 1000 calorie range among the maintainers here. Mine falls on the low side because I'm 54, postmenopausal, and hypothyroid. Chances are yours may be a lot higher.

Good to see you here, Kelly, and congratulations on you wonderful weight loss!
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Old 05-18-2009, 06:40 AM   #5
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I too have been diagnosed with having a low thyroid (only just recently). I maintain around 1600-1700 weight training 3x's a week and interval cardio 3x's as well. This is a great thread because I feel many magazines and calculator counters are way off base. Magazines like Woman's Health and Muscle Fitness always have women at 15-1600 "dieting".....maintenance sample meal plans showing a calorie range of 2000-2200. Who are these woman.. Since I have been maintaining now for over 7 years, it has taken a while for me to realize I am not "those" women. I think I still sort of struggle with it mentally that it doesn't seem fair. Like Meg said,I think many different factors are involved. Meg,are you on thyroid medication??
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Old 05-18-2009, 08:18 AM   #6
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Tita, I take Synthroid, alternating 150 and 175 mcg every other day.

I totally agree with you about the inaccuracy of calculators for many of us and find that they're really only good for a laugh (or cry, as the case may be). No one knows better than we do about how our bodies respond to different levels of calories. So long as we track our calories and monitor our weight regularly, we have all the information we need for successful maintenance.
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Old 05-18-2009, 08:32 AM   #7
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I have found through careful monitoring that my maintenance level is around 1600 calories per day, with an average of one hour of daily vigorous exercise. I can, and do, eat a little more on the days with higher levels of activity, such as all-day hiking or kayaking excursions or long runs of more than 10 miles. I rely on exercise a lot to boost my calorie burn; I run 25 miles per week, strength train, swim, kayak, and take other classes (Pilates, Yoga, belly dancing, etc) as often as I can squeeze them in.

If I stray off plan too much (like, during vacations!), and gain a few pounds, I find I have to drop to 1200 calories per day AND increase my activity level to lose weight. And, at that, it takes me weeks just to lose a couple of pounds.

I'm 49, perimenopausal, with no known health issues. I'm just small - 5'2" and maintaining at 112-115 pounds. For me to be able to eat 2000 calories per day and not gain .... I'd have to lose this desk job and go to work as a lumberjack or something.
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Old 05-18-2009, 08:34 AM   #8
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I'm maintaining on 1,600-1,700 calories a week (plus snacks I'm not counting...working on that) with 30 minutes a day, five days a week of cardio...and weights three times a week.
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Old 05-18-2009, 10:01 AM   #9
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I probably also maintain at about 1600-1700 cals a day.

I am 43, also take thyroid med for hypothyroid. I do cardio about 5 days a week for 1 hour and weights about 4 days a week.

If I gain a couple pounds it takes me weeks to get it off. Just getting older I guess!!

I can see why so many over 40 have huge struggles with their weight.

It ain't easy!!!!!!!
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Old 05-18-2009, 10:16 AM   #10
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It's interesting how many of us are hypothyroid! I can think of at least three other maintainers who are hypo -- Jtammy, Sheila 53, and Jessica/Paperclippy.
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Old 05-18-2009, 10:56 AM   #11
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I'm maintaining at 1900-2000. I got up to 2100-2200 average and gained a little, have dropped back to 1750-1850 and am losing it again. I try to exercise 45-60 minutes, 5-6 days per week. I'm working to get back into a 4 day on, 1 day off pattern. I weight train 2-3 times per week, yoga 2-3 times per week, try to run on three days per week, some other cardio on the other days. I try to do my cardio and my yoga on the same day. I let my exercise slip a lot during the same time I let my calories go higher, so I don't know where the calories will settle out when the exercise evens out. I'm still reasonably new to the maintenance, so working on the details.
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:50 AM   #12
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To lose I strive for 1200-1400. I thought I was maintaining at about 1800, but obviously I wasn't as I'm in full diet mode again. I'm thinking I'll be able to maintain at 1500-1600, but it remains to be seen!

Oh, yeah. 46 with no health issues other than slightly high cholesterol. I do cardio (30 minutes) about 4-6 times a week (depending on how my week is going).
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Old 05-18-2009, 12:00 PM   #13
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I'm on the verrry low end. So be it. I'm 45, post-menopausal (yes, that's right), formerly 287 lbs - morbidly obese for about 20 years, 5 feet tall. This old, short body just doesn't require many calories to live.

Hard to tell exactly how many calories I maintain on I because I add in an uncounted splurge meal every 2 - 3 weeks. But I stick to 1200 during the week and about 1400 on Friday, Saturday & Sunday. My calories are quite "clean", being that I require so few of them. I really need to get the most from each and every one. I exercise between 60- 90 minutes a day.
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Old 05-18-2009, 01:40 PM   #14
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My maintenance level is about 2200 cal/day. I'm currently hitting about 1800/day to take off a few more post partum pounds (I can still claim that for another 3 weeks). My maintenance weight is on the high side, mid 170s, and my activity levels are generally pretty high, burning an average of 400-500 cal/day through exercise. I'm pushing 40 about as hard as you can push it.

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Old 05-18-2009, 03:33 PM   #15
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About 1800 calories a day + 1 treat meal a week.

I am 5'7" and do little physical activity (yes, I know)
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