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Perplexing Situation

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Old 03-03-2006, 06:38 PM   #1
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Red face Perplexing Situation

Hey all:

Having met my goal weight, I suppose this is the area in which I need to be.

Perhaps those of you who have been maintaining for a while can help me out with a few issues that have cropped up due to my meeting my goal:

Issue 1: I am afraid to normalize my caloric intake to maintenance level. (1900-2200 calories per day figured as an average by using several caloric needs calculators on the net.) My fears arise from being uncertain that these numbers are accurate. The calorie calculator that was most accurate for my situation actually asked how long and how often I work out along with the normal weight, height and age questions. Others are more vague and the terms they use are kind of open to interpretation. ( lightly active, moderately active, very active) What do these terms mean? The calorie calculator on this site is also vague in that it defines activity in terms of normal daily tasks or job duties. I get my exercise on exercise machines and my routine is very strenuous, so where does that leave me??

Issue 2: I am tempted to continue losing weight. In terms of my height (I am only 5'3") I could lose another 10lbs and still be considered at a healthy weight. Some weight calculators state that not only could I be fine at a lower weight, but insist that I am still overweight at 130, and that I ought to weigh something like 115lbs. I feel good at 130lbs and my BMI is only something like 23, which is healthy, and I know from the past that 130lbs is a weight my body is very happy with. However, the compliments I constantly receive from people urge me to be slimmer yet. After all, if I look this good at 130lbs, how much better will I look at 120lbs or 125lbs?

How do I deal with these issues? Have any of you maintainers experienced anything similar and how have you handled it?

Thanks in advance for your support.

~Silvervixen
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Old 03-03-2006, 06:42 PM   #2
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Hi SilverVixen and to Maintainers! Congratulations on reaching your goal and yep, this is the right place for your question. I'm going to move it down into the main part of our Maintainers Forum so more members will see it and respond. I gotta run and make dinner, but promise to be back later.
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Old 03-03-2006, 08:38 PM   #3
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OK, back from the dinner shift.

Issue 1 - metabolic calculators. I personally don't have much faith in them but they work for some members here. For others (like me), they're way, way off the mark. All the calculators that I've tried tell me that I can eat more than 2000 calories and maintain, but the reality is considerably less, darn it.

I think that the only way you're going to be able to determine your maintenance calories is through trial and error. It sounds like you're tracking your calories now, so my suggestion is to bump them up a few hundred per day for a week and see what happens. If you still lose, bump them up again. If you gain, whoops, back off! If you stay the same, then voila - it's maintenance for you. Daily calorie tracking and weekly weighing is going to be more accurate for your unique body than a metabolic calculator any day.

Issue 2 - where to stop? That, my dear, is going to be purely personal - where you feel comfortable and are happy with what you see in the mirror. But a few thoughts -- first, you want to pick a goal weight that you can reasonably and comfortably sustain. You don't want to end up with a goal weight that keeps you constantly hungry or exercising insane amounts. Second, it's OK to practice maintaining for a while and THEN go for another ten pounds. A lot of people benefit from a 'maintenance break' as a breather before tackling the last few pounds. Last, you can make a lot of changes in your body shape, appearance, and body fat % through exercise without losing any additional weight at all. You're at the point now where a lot of us stopped worrying about hitting a goal weight and started focusing on achieving a goal body.

I don't know if you're experiencing this, but when I reached goal, I felt so lost and scared. See, I was good at weight loss but knew absolutely nothing about maintenance. Everyone talks, writes, and posts about weight LOSS but what do we ever hear about maintenance? Try going to the diet book section of a bookstore and finding a book on maintenance! I felt like - now what? How in heaven's name do I keep from getting fat again? I honestly would lie in bed at night and worry that I'd wake up the next morning 50 pounds heavier.

But what I discovered - and you will too - is that you already have all the tools and knowledge that you need for maintenance. Everything that you learned to do to lose weight is exactly what you'll do to maintain. You'll eat the same way and exercise the same way. And once you get your calories nailed down, you're set for life.

We're so glad you've joined us here and hope to hear lots more from you!
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Old 03-03-2006, 08:40 PM   #4
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Hi there. Congrats on your weight loss. Now comes the hard part. You're very wise to be thoughtful about the next phase of your progress. I regained around 25 pounds by ignoring the fact that I couldn't just eat everything I wanted. I've now lost that again. What about gradually increasing calories and doing a weekly weight check? It's hard to let go of the control factor re: eating and go off into the unknown, isn't it? I'm kind of there too now. I'm debating with myself about losing another 10 pounds. I've found some of the posts stickied above VERY helpful. Good luck to you.
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Old 03-03-2006, 08:41 PM   #5
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Wow, I think Meg and I were posting at the same time. She's very clearly expressed what I was trying to say. : ))
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Old 03-03-2006, 08:45 PM   #6
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Hi Boarderchick!

Hey, we've got a lot of ideas in common. Congrats on getting rid of those 25 pounds!
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Old 03-06-2006, 08:23 PM   #7
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Hi to you too Meg!

Yes, judging from some of your posts, we do think alike on alot of this. Maybe the voice of experience talking...

Thanks on your encouragement re: my weight loss. What a pain... I had lost the whole 120, and didn't know about the maintaining thing until that 25 crept back on. Good news is that I'm getting so good at this that I'm going down another 10 pounds! I want to start long distance running and it'll be helpful to be lighter.
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Old 03-07-2006, 08:20 AM   #8
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Increasing calories to maintenance level scared the crap out of me. I lost weight eating around 1400-1600 calories a day. My goal weight was 135, I hit 140 March of last year. I was stubbornly stuck at 140 for 12 weeks. In May 2005, I decided to start maintaining and enjoying my weight loss.

I gradually increased calories to 1900-2000 a day. I did it very slowly, over a couple of months. Imagine my surprise when the scale said 138 in July. I was eating more and lost 2 more lbs.

I still eat around 1800-2000 calories a day (2200 if I work out). My weight continued to drop and I have leveled off at around 127.

Even though it was a very scary thing, eating more turned out to be a very good thing for me! I did continue to weigh myself every week. If my weight had started creeping upward, I would have adjusted calorie intake/exercise until I found the spot where I maintained
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Old 03-08-2006, 02:23 PM   #9
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Thanks for the good advice Meg, Boarderchick and Glory87.

I am trying to up my calories but it is not as easy as I thought it would be. For one thing, my new diet of healthier stuff like fruits and veggies don't pack a lot of calories per serving, so I find my calorie count still in the weight loss range. Who would have thought that I'd have trouble finding calories?

Glory87, it's interesting that you lost more weight after increasing your calorie intake but then leveled off.

I'm still pretty scared about gaining the weight back. I desperately do not want to find myself back where I was 30lbs ago.

Anyway, thanks for the replies.


~Silvervixen
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Old 03-08-2006, 04:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverVixen
I am trying to up my calories but it is not as easy as I thought it would be. For one thing, my new diet of healthier stuff like fruits and veggies don't pack a lot of calories per serving, so I find my calorie count still in the weight loss range. Who would have thought that I'd have trouble finding calories?
There is a lot of wonderful, nutritionally powerful, calorie rich food. When I started maintaining, I kept doing everything I had been doing - food journaling, calorie counting, meal planning, packing snacks/lunches, etc. I just allowed myself more calories per day. It was actually wonderful to have more calories a day to eat more healthy food every day and get a wider range of nutritonally powerful food. Foods I added more of after maintenance:

1. Nuts. So good for you - studies have shown that eating a serving of nuts 5 times a week can reduce the risk of heart disease by 25-39%. One of my absolute favorite breakfasts is 2 pieces of whole grain toast with natural peanut butter. It is a good, healthy fat and a decent souce of vegetable protein. I also eat more trail mix, put sesame seeds on my salad, pine nuts in my omelettes, almonds in my enchiladas (or slivered in rice/couscous).

2. Olive oil. When I was actively losing weight, I still cooked with olive oil, but I watched it carefully. Now, when I'm making pasta sauce, I add 2 tbs when I sautee the onions, garlic. When I'm making homemade hummus, I add a tablespoon. I make my own healthy salad dressing with canola oil/olive oil and herbs. Fat can aid in the absorption of nutrients and is a very good thing!

3. Avocados. Oh, how I love these. They are so good for you - an incredible source of folate! When I go to Qdoba, I get guacomole with my naked burrito. When I make turkey sandwiches, I add half an avocado. I add chopped avocado to the top of chili.

4. Red wine. I avoided alcohol very carefully while losing weight - now during maintenance I drink 1-2 glasses of red wine a week. Love the stuff.

5. Dark chocolate. An excellent source of anti-oxidants. I'm still working up to feeling it's "okay" to eat a small square of dark chocolate every day, but at least I am treating myself to it more these days.

6. Real eggs. During weight loss, I ate a lot of egg whites and eggbeaters. Now that I'm maintaining, I buy the cage free eggs with extra Omega 3. Eggs are a good source of protein and a healthy fat source. 70 calories, 5 grams of fat each, I feel great when I make a 3 egg omelette.


Just some ideas!
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SIX YEARS at maintenance weight!

My very long weight loss story

"I saw an angel in the marble and I chiseled until I set it free."
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