Recomposition: Maintaining weight while losing fat

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Replies

  • MrsClairwood
    MrsClairwood Posts: 5 Member
    So, if I feel I have about 15lbs still to loose, could I get results with a re-comp? Right now I eat 1600 cal, weight train 5 days a week. I do know I am working on negative calories right now. Just scared to gain as I went from 215lbs to 135. Body fat seems high, this is using one of those scales that counts the percentage
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,811 Member
    So, if I feel I have about 15lbs still to loose, could I get results with a re-comp? Right now I eat 1600 cal, weight train 5 days a week. I do know I am working on negative calories right now. Just scared to gain as I went from 215lbs to 135. Body fat seems high, this is using one of those scales that counts the percentage

    @MrsClairwood

    Results are personal and situational (age, training experience, how lean, genetic gifts, quality of training.....) but yes recomp can be done with a small deficit rather than seeking to perfectly maintain weight.
    Absolutely no idea what 1600cals means to you in terms of rate of weight loss (e.g. 1600 would be a deficit of about 2500cals for me today!) but to a large extent the slower you are losing the better if you are serious about wanting to gain muscle.
    Understandable about being scared of regain but 80 x 3500cals doesn't happen overnight and that emotion can't be allowed to stop you eating at an appropriate level now and also when you get to goal weight. Making adjustments needs to be normalised rather than feared.

    Those scales range from sort of OK for a trend (but with weird spikes mostly caused by variations in hydration levels) to hopelessly inaccurate all of the time. If your BIA scale only has foot sensors it's just making guesses based on the lower half of your body which is far from ideal.
    TBH progress pictures and measuring tape would probably tell you more.

    If you are serious about hypertrophy I'd really suggest following an established hypertrophy routine. What you roughly described in your other post doesn't sound particularly alligned towards that goal.

  • MrsClairwood
    MrsClairwood Posts: 5 Member
    @sijomial Thank you for this. I eat 1600 calories per day, macros are 40P, 30F, 30C. I have been told I should shed more fat before building or I will start this process with fat already around my muscles. I always measure and take pictures. I also am aware it dies not happen over night, this has taken me 3.5 years so far. I am not about the scale per say, it was mentioned several times not to avoid training while loosing weight. I train all the time, I am a member of a boot camp. I lift 4 days a week and do 1 hiit class a week. Just wanted suggestions on should I still shed the 15lbs or can I jump on this now?
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,811 Member
    @sijomial Thank you for this. I eat 1600 calories per day, macros are 40P, 30F, 30C. I have been told I should shed more fat before building or I will start this process with fat already around my muscles. I always measure and take pictures. I also am aware it dies not happen over night, this has taken me 3.5 years so far. I am not about the scale per say, it was mentioned several times not to avoid training while loosing weight. I train all the time, I am a member of a boot camp. I lift 4 days a week and do 1 hiit class a week. Just wanted suggestions on should I still shed the 15lbs or can I jump on this now?

    @MrsClairwood
    But 1600 a day is just a number without context - it says nothing about what that means in terms of your current weight loss / calorie deficit.
    If your TDEE is 1850 that might be a good number to aim for but if your TDEE is 2600 that's far too high a deficit in your current situation.


    "I have been told I should shed more fat before building or I will start this process with fat already around my muscles. "
    Sorry but that doesn't make sense at all. You will always have some fat around your muscles for the rest of your life. Muscle and subcutaneous fat in the same area have no bearing on each other apart from aesthetics.
    If building muscle is your priority goal there's no good reason not to start now (by probably changing your training and maybe your calorie level). It's actually easier to recomp when not lean so no idea why whoever told you to wait would say that.
    The only level on which it makes some sense would be for a person whose main priority is being lean as quick as possible - but that doesn't sound like you.

    It's not a binary choice between losing fat or gaining muscle - recomp is doing both those things together. Jump on it now AND lose the 15lbs slowly.

    "I lift" doesn't tell me anything about how you lift and what programming you use. There's guys in my gym who "lift" - but virtually all their lifts are bicep curls!! This time next year they will still look virtually the same with maybe tighter sleeves on their T-shirts. :smiley:

    Boot camp and HIIT (I'm guessing it's probably circuit training) are fine if they support other fitness or enjoyment goals of course but sub-optimal for muscle growth.
  • 200Karen
    200Karen Posts: 1,429 Member
    Bump
  • ddsb1111
    ddsb1111 Posts: 438 Member
    edited September 19
    Several responses said eat “about your TDEE” which confused me. I don’t follow a TDEE, I use the MFP calculation. Do I need to change this?

    To recomp, do I need to eat at maintenance and workout? Eat under? Over?

    About, to me, means close to maintenance but either above or below and not at. So which one is it, can someone provide a direct answer? When the posts get really long I tend to get more confused 🙈.

    I’m at goal weight, don’t want to gain or lose weight, just want to reduce fat.
  • mtaratoot
    mtaratoot Posts: 10,753 Member
    ddsb1111 wrote: »
    I read several responses saying to eat “about your TDEE”. And I don’t follow a TDEE, do I need to? I just follow the MFP calculation.

    So my question is, to recomp, I need to eat at maintenance and workout?

    About, to me, means close to maintenance but either above or below and not at. So which one is it, can someone provide a direct answer? When the posts get really long I tend to get more confused 🙈.

    I’m at goal weight, don’t want to gain or lose weight, just want to reduce fat.

    TDEE is an abbreviation for Total Daily Energy Expenditure. It's the calories you burn. You can calculate your TDEE a number of ways; one is using SailRabbit. This contrasts to the method that My Fitness Pal (often referred to as MFP) uses. MFP uses "Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis" or "NEAT." This is the calories you burn not including intentional exercise. That's why you add exercise back in when you use MFP if you set your daily goal using the guided set-up or some other system that calculates NEAT.

    To oxidize fat from storage, your calorie intake has to be less than your TDEE.

    Maintenance is not one static weight. It's a range of weights. You will likely find that your weight goes up and down and up and down over and over and over. There's more to your mass than bones, organs, and fat. It's also the food moving through you and the water your body stores for a number of reasons. So "about" goal weight could for sure be maintenance.

    If you eat at maintenance for your goal weight, over time your body will get to maintenance. If you do the right kind of strength training, you can build muscle while losing that fat. There's plenty of folks here that are much more well versed in the optimal way to recomp; I'm sure you'll get good answers about that too.
  • ddsb1111
    ddsb1111 Posts: 438 Member
    edited September 19
    mtaratoot wrote: »
    ddsb1111 wrote: »
    I read several responses saying to eat “about your TDEE”. And I don’t follow a TDEE, do I need to? I just follow the MFP calculation.

    So my question is, to recomp, I need to eat at maintenance and workout?

    About, to me, means close to maintenance but either above or below and not at. So which one is it, can someone provide a direct answer? When the posts get really long I tend to get more confused 🙈.

    I’m at goal weight, don’t want to gain or lose weight, just want to reduce fat.

    TDEE is an abbreviation for Total Daily Energy Expenditure. It's the calories you burn. You can calculate your TDEE a number of ways; one is using SailRabbit. This contrasts to the method that My Fitness Pal (often referred to as MFP) uses. MFP uses "Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis" or "NEAT." This is the calories you burn not including intentional exercise. That's why you add exercise back in when you use MFP if you set your daily goal using the guided set-up or some other system that calculates NEAT.

    To oxidize fat from storage, your calorie intake has to be less than your TDEE.

    Maintenance is not one static weight. It's a range of weights. You will likely find that your weight goes up and down and up and down over and over and over. There's more to your mass than bones, organs, and fat. It's also the food moving through you and the water your body stores for a number of reasons. So "about" goal weight could for sure be maintenance.

    If you eat at maintenance for your goal weight, over time your body will get to maintenance. If you do the right kind of strength training, you can build muscle while losing that fat. There's plenty of folks here that are much more well versed in the optimal way to recomp; I'm sure you'll get good answers about that too.

    So I can use MFP’s calculator for maintenance and add exercise calories if I want, correct?

    I realize weight is a range based on water, food, etc. But our calories for maintenance shouldn’t be a range, right?

    So, you’re saying eat at a small deficit and workout? I’m confused I’m sorry 😕
  • mtaratoot
    mtaratoot Posts: 10,753 Member
    ddsb1111 wrote: »
    mtaratoot wrote: »
    ddsb1111 wrote: »
    I read several responses saying to eat “about your TDEE”. And I don’t follow a TDEE, do I need to? I just follow the MFP calculation.

    So my question is, to recomp, I need to eat at maintenance and workout?

    About, to me, means close to maintenance but either above or below and not at. So which one is it, can someone provide a direct answer? When the posts get really long I tend to get more confused 🙈.

    I’m at goal weight, don’t want to gain or lose weight, just want to reduce fat.

    TDEE is an abbreviation for Total Daily Energy Expenditure. It's the calories you burn. You can calculate your TDEE a number of ways; one is using SailRabbit. This contrasts to the method that My Fitness Pal (often referred to as MFP) uses. MFP uses "Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis" or "NEAT." This is the calories you burn not including intentional exercise. That's why you add exercise back in when you use MFP if you set your daily goal using the guided set-up or some other system that calculates NEAT.

    To oxidize fat from storage, your calorie intake has to be less than your TDEE.

    Maintenance is not one static weight. It's a range of weights. You will likely find that your weight goes up and down and up and down over and over and over. There's more to your mass than bones, organs, and fat. It's also the food moving through you and the water your body stores for a number of reasons. So "about" goal weight could for sure be maintenance.

    If you eat at maintenance for your goal weight, over time your body will get to maintenance. If you do the right kind of strength training, you can build muscle while losing that fat. There's plenty of folks here that are much more well versed in the optimal way to recomp; I'm sure you'll get good answers about that too.

    So I can use MFP’s calculator for maintenance and add exercise calories if I want, correct?

    I realize weight is a range based on water, food, etc. But our calories for maintenance shouldn’t be a range, right?

    So, you’re saying eat at a small deficit and workout? I’m confused I’m sorry 😕


    If you use MFP's calculator, you MUST add in exercise calories or you will be in a bigger deficit than you think. the MFP calculator is for NON-EXERCISE calorie expenditure. Go through the set-up, answer the questions honestly, and tell it you want to maintain. That's your calorie intake goal BEFORE exercise. If you add exercise to your day, add it to your diary. This will add calories. If your exercise is pretty consistent day-to-day, you can use a TDEE calculator and just use the same calorie target every day.

    I am not saying eat a small deficit. If you eat in deficit, you will lose weight. If you eat at maintenance, you should maintain the same weight. If you work on building muscle and losing fat without losing weight, that's recomp.
  • ddsb1111
    ddsb1111 Posts: 438 Member
    edited September 19
    Okay, so I’ll find my maintenance calories and eat that for recomp, not “about” my maintenance calories. Meaning, I won’t eat above or below what my maintenance calories have shown me.

    Food choices will be paramount; make sure to get adequate nutrition, and generally eat around maintenance.

    If you eat at maintenance, you should maintain the same weight.

    Sorry, I’m a very literal person, I say things like, it’s 11:02am instead of 11am. When someone says, eat “around” your maintenance I take that to mean I’m purposely supposed to eat either less or more. When someone says “at” it means find your maintenance calories and that’s what you eat.

    My mind is a pain sometimes 😂!!!
  • mtaratoot
    mtaratoot Posts: 10,753 Member
    ddsb1111 wrote: »
    Okay, so I’ll find my maintenance calories and eat that for recomp, not “about” my maintenance calories. Meaning, I won’t eat above or below what my maintenance calories have shown me.

    Food choices will be paramount; make sure to get adequate nutrition, and generally eat around maintenance.

    If you eat at maintenance, you should maintain the same weight.

    Sorry, I’m a very literal person, I say things like, it’s 11:02am instead of 11am. When someone says, eat “around” your maintenance I take that to mean I’m purposely supposed to eat either less or more. When someone says “at” it means find your maintenance calories and that’s what you eat.

    My mind is a pain sometimes 😂!!!

    If I want people to show up on time, I'll say "We will meet at 09:17" instead of something more round like nine o'clock. It's funny - when you are very specific, people tend to be closer to on time.

    Calories aren't quite the same. You will have days you are over, and you will have days when you are under. On average, over a week or a month, you want to be close to your goal. Remember - every body is different, and the caloric value of foods is an estimate based on testing. They can all be subtly different. Have goals. Strive to meet them. Don't stress if you miss by a little. Remember - this is a lifetime commitment. It's a lifestyle. You will almost certainly NOT be able to hit the exact target every day or even every week. Give yourself some slack. The main thing is find a method that works, strive to be close to your goal, and make small changes based on feedback you get from your body. Always feel tired? You probably should eat more (and get more sleep). Slowly gaining weight? You might consider cutting a few calories from your goal. Then there's the whole seasonal thing....

    This isn't something you have to figure out today or this week or this month or this year. You have the rest of your life to do adaptive management as you increase the amount of data and experience you have.

    I have a digital watch. If someone asks what time it is, and it's 13:42, I say, "It's around twenty to two." I round that off even though I have very accurate and precise data. Precise because it's to the minute or finer, accurate because my watch gets the time from satellites. It doesn't matter that much to my day if I water my bonsai three minutes from now or two minutes ago - they will still get water. Same with your calorie counting. Do the best you can, be consistent, and STICK TO IT!

  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 30,339 Member
    edited September 19
    ddsb1111 wrote: »
    Okay, so I’ll find my maintenance calories and eat that for recomp, not “about” my maintenance calories. Meaning, I won’t eat above or below what my maintenance calories have shown me.

    Food choices will be paramount; make sure to get adequate nutrition, and generally eat around maintenance.

    If you eat at maintenance, you should maintain the same weight.

    Sorry, I’m a very literal person, I say things like, it’s 11:02am instead of 11am. When someone says, eat “around” your maintenance I take that to mean I’m purposely supposed to eat either less or more. When someone says “at” it means find your maintenance calories and that’s what you eat.

    My mind is a pain sometimes 😂!!!

    Here's another way to look at it, when translating between MFP-speak and TDEE-speak. Assuming reasonable estimates of everything, your TDEE for today is your MFP base maintenance calories plus your exercise calories for today. So, in MFP context "eat about your TDEE" means "eat close to your base maintenance calories plus your exercise calories".

    We slop around quite a lot when talking about TDEE.

    "TDEE method" calculators are basically giving you an estimated average daily TDEE, usually estimated over the course of a week. (I say that because the activity levels usually talk about job activities, which most people do 5 days a week not 7, and about exercise done 3-4 days a week or 2-3 days a week, or whatever. Different TDEE calculators phrase activity levels more or less precisely, but the gist is that there's an averaging of days going on.)

    In reality, our true TDEE (which we can only estimate, not know) is different every single day. We walk more at work some days, we do grocery shopping some days, we exercise different intensities or durations on different days, etc., etc.

    You don't have to go someplace else to get a TDEE estimate in order to plan your eating for recomposition. Just eat your estimated maintenance calories plus your exercise calories, that's "eating about your TDEE". If your weight doesn't stay approximately stable over 4-6 week periods, adjust your calorie intake, of course.

    Caveat: All the usual cautions apply about how your BMR/RMR may differ from calculator estimates, your activity level setting is a generalization, exercise is hard to estimate, it's best to use your own data to estimate maintenance calories, blah blah blah. You understand that stuff by now, I think.
  • ddsb1111
    ddsb1111 Posts: 438 Member
    edited September 19
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    ddsb1111 wrote: »
    Okay, so I’ll find my maintenance calories and eat that for recomp, not “about” my maintenance calories. Meaning, I won’t eat above or below what my maintenance calories have shown me.

    Food choices will be paramount; make sure to get adequate nutrition, and generally eat around maintenance.

    If you eat at maintenance, you should maintain the same weight.

    Sorry, I’m a very literal person, I say things like, it’s 11:02am instead of 11am. When someone says, eat “around” your maintenance I take that to mean I’m purposely supposed to eat either less or more. When someone says “at” it means find your maintenance calories and that’s what you eat.

    My mind is a pain sometimes 😂!!!

    Here's another way to look at it, when translating between MFP-speak and TDEE-speak. Assuming reasonable estimates of everything, your TDEE for today is your MFP base maintenance calories plus your exercise calories for today. So, in MFP context "eat about your TDEE" means "eat close to your base maintenance calories plus your exercise calories".

    We slop around quite a lot when talking about TDEE.

    "TDEE method" calculators are basically giving you an estimated average daily TDEE, usually estimated over the course of a week. (I say that because the activity levels usually talk about job activities, which most people do 5 days a week not 7, and about exercise done 3-4 days a week or 2-3 days a week, or whatever. Different TDEE calculators phrase activity levels more or less precisely, but the gist is that there's an averaging of days going on.)

    In reality, our true TDEE (which we can only estimate, not know) is different every single day. We walk more at work some days, we do grocery shopping some days, we exercise different intensities or durations on different days, etc., etc.

    You don't have to go someplace else to get a TDEE estimate in order to plan your eating for recomposition. Just eat your estimated maintenance calories plus your exercise calories, that's "eating about your TDEE". If your weight doesn't stay approximately stable over 4-6 week periods, adjust your calorie intake, of course.

    Caveat: All the usual cautions apply about how your BMR/RMR may differ from calculator estimates, your activity level setting is a generalization, exercise is hard to estimate, it's best to use your own data to estimate maintenance calories, blah blah blah. You understand that stuff by now, I think.

    Here’s where I was/am confused. I was reading “eat around your maintenance”. That, to me, means eat somewhere between 1430-1580 calories. I have never heard that before. I know our bodies will do what it does when it comes to body weight variations based on what we eat and drink, but I don’t understand how my maintenance calories can be “around” that. Wouldn’t maintenance calories just be “start with 1480, test for a few weeks, adjust 100 calories give or take accordingly”. Do you see what I mean?

    I don’t understand eating around 1430-1580 calories. This is incredibly confusing to me because I’ll be bouncing around in weight all the time in a way I don’t understand. Maybe I’m supposed to? 🤔

    To lose weight I used 1 calorie goal, not a range, and was fine with the variations because I learned to anticipate and understand them. Wouldn’t a range take that away?
  • ddsb1111
    ddsb1111 Posts: 438 Member
    edited September 19
    @mtaratoot Why wouldn’t I want to shoot for one calorie goal instead of a range? I’m okay with fluctuations, that’s what I’ve been experiencing during the whole weight loss process, as long as the weight trend is the same over time. What I don’t understand is having a variation of calories. Why would we do that? Shooting around maintenance is broad, such as 1430-1580. Shooting for a maintenance number like 1480, and then adjusting, seems more clear. Maybe a variation and 1 calorie goal is the exact same thing and I just didn’t realize it! 😳
  • briscogun
    briscogun Posts: 1,135 Member
    ddsb1111 wrote: »
    @mtaratoot Why wouldn’t I want to shoot for one calorie goal instead of a range? I’m okay with fluctuations, that’s what I’ve been experiencing during the whole weight loss process, as long as the weight trend is the same over time. What I don’t understand is having a variation of calories. Why would we do that? Shooting around maintenance is broad, such as 1430-1580. Shooting for a maintenance number like 1480, and then adjusting, seems more clear.

    You are probably getting a range because its not an easily specific number. You might need to experiment a bit to find YOUR exact calorie goal. My understanding of recomp has always been to eat just at maintenance or slightly below, depending on the person and the circumstances and the goal.

    In order to lose fat you either have to burn more calories than you take in (slight deficit) or create enough muscle that your BMR increases so much that your body naturally burns more calories (long and hard process). Recomp is by definition a very long and arduous endeavor, but you will probably have to experiment a bit and see what works for you. There's no exact formula (X calories + Y exercise = Z recomp look).

    But you will have to gauge your success in months not days and weeks, and it won't be on the scale. There are some great examples in here of people recomping over 2 years or so and staying the same weight but losing inches and multiple sizes.

    Start by seeing what works (or doesn't) for you and adjust as needed. It's art not science sometimes! (Well, it is science, but... you know what I mean!) ;)
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 30,339 Member
    edited September 19
    ddsb1111 wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    ddsb1111 wrote: »
    Okay, so I’ll find my maintenance calories and eat that for recomp, not “about” my maintenance calories. Meaning, I won’t eat above or below what my maintenance calories have shown me.

    Food choices will be paramount; make sure to get adequate nutrition, and generally eat around maintenance.

    If you eat at maintenance, you should maintain the same weight.

    Sorry, I’m a very literal person, I say things like, it’s 11:02am instead of 11am. When someone says, eat “around” your maintenance I take that to mean I’m purposely supposed to eat either less or more. When someone says “at” it means find your maintenance calories and that’s what you eat.

    My mind is a pain sometimes 😂!!!

    Here's another way to look at it, when translating between MFP-speak and TDEE-speak. Assuming reasonable estimates of everything, your TDEE for today is your MFP base maintenance calories plus your exercise calories for today. So, in MFP context "eat about your TDEE" means "eat close to your base maintenance calories plus your exercise calories".

    We slop around quite a lot when talking about TDEE.

    "TDEE method" calculators are basically giving you an estimated average daily TDEE, usually estimated over the course of a week. (I say that because the activity levels usually talk about job activities, which most people do 5 days a week not 7, and about exercise done 3-4 days a week or 2-3 days a week, or whatever. Different TDEE calculators phrase activity levels more or less precisely, but the gist is that there's an averaging of days going on.)

    In reality, our true TDEE (which we can only estimate, not know) is different every single day. We walk more at work some days, we do grocery shopping some days, we exercise different intensities or durations on different days, etc., etc.

    You don't have to go someplace else to get a TDEE estimate in order to plan your eating for recomposition. Just eat your estimated maintenance calories plus your exercise calories, that's "eating about your TDEE". If your weight doesn't stay approximately stable over 4-6 week periods, adjust your calorie intake, of course.

    Caveat: All the usual cautions apply about how your BMR/RMR may differ from calculator estimates, your activity level setting is a generalization, exercise is hard to estimate, it's best to use your own data to estimate maintenance calories, blah blah blah. You understand that stuff by now, I think.

    Here’s where I was/am confused. I was reading “eat around your maintenance”. That, to me, means eat somewhere between 1430-1580 calories. I have never heard that before. I know our bodies will do what it does when it comes to body weight variations based on what we eat and drink, but I don’t understand how my maintenance calories can be “around” that. Wouldn’t maintenance calories just be “start with 1480, test for a few weeks, adjust 100 calories give or take accordingly”. Do you see what I mean?

    I don’t understand eating around 1430-1580 calories. This is incredibly confusing to me because I’ll be bouncing around in weight all the time in a way I don’t understand. Maybe I’m supposed to? 🤔

    To lose weight I used 1 calorie goal, not a range, and was fine with the variations because I learned to anticipate and understand them. Wouldn’t a range take that away?

    I'm not clear where you got the translation from "eat around maintenance" to "eat between 1430 and 1580 calories". Evidently I missed something in the thread.

    Generally, when I see "eat around your maintenance calories", I think it means to eat approximately maintenance calories, eat maintenance calories on average over a few days, or something like that.

    "Maintenance calories" is always an estimate, and technically it's a different number every single day (by a bit). I'm literal, too, in a way that makes me waffle-y about stating absolutes. Consequently, I don't think it's actually possible to eat exactly maintenance calories. I do think it's possible to eat about/approximately maintenance calories, with the test of accuracy being how weight behaves over a period of multiple weeks.

    On top of that, something resembling recomp could happen at anything from a slight deficit to a slight surplus, or while switching from one of those to the other if/as needed for reasons having nothing to do with the recomp goal. (Example: Slight deficit to bring down small holiday weight gain.)

    But maybe I'm missing something.
  • ddsb1111
    ddsb1111 Posts: 438 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    ddsb1111 wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    ddsb1111 wrote: »
    Okay, so I’ll find my maintenance calories and eat that for recomp, not “about” my maintenance calories. Meaning, I won’t eat above or below what my maintenance calories have shown me.

    Food choices will be paramount; make sure to get adequate nutrition, and generally eat around maintenance.

    If you eat at maintenance, you should maintain the same weight.

    Sorry, I’m a very literal person, I say things like, it’s 11:02am instead of 11am. When someone says, eat “around” your maintenance I take that to mean I’m purposely supposed to eat either less or more. When someone says “at” it means find your maintenance calories and that’s what you eat.

    My mind is a pain sometimes 😂!!!

    Here's another way to look at it, when translating between MFP-speak and TDEE-speak. Assuming reasonable estimates of everything, your TDEE for today is your MFP base maintenance calories plus your exercise calories for today. So, in MFP context "eat about your TDEE" means "eat close to your base maintenance calories plus your exercise calories".

    We slop around quite a lot when talking about TDEE.

    "TDEE method" calculators are basically giving you an estimated average daily TDEE, usually estimated over the course of a week. (I say that because the activity levels usually talk about job activities, which most people do 5 days a week not 7, and about exercise done 3-4 days a week or 2-3 days a week, or whatever. Different TDEE calculators phrase activity levels more or less precisely, but the gist is that there's an averaging of days going on.)

    In reality, our true TDEE (which we can only estimate, not know) is different every single day. We walk more at work some days, we do grocery shopping some days, we exercise different intensities or durations on different days, etc., etc.

    You don't have to go someplace else to get a TDEE estimate in order to plan your eating for recomposition. Just eat your estimated maintenance calories plus your exercise calories, that's "eating about your TDEE". If your weight doesn't stay approximately stable over 4-6 week periods, adjust your calorie intake, of course.

    Caveat: All the usual cautions apply about how your BMR/RMR may differ from calculator estimates, your activity level setting is a generalization, exercise is hard to estimate, it's best to use your own data to estimate maintenance calories, blah blah blah. You understand that stuff by now, I think.

    Here’s where I was/am confused. I was reading “eat around your maintenance”. That, to me, means eat somewhere between 1430-1580 calories. I have never heard that before. I know our bodies will do what it does when it comes to body weight variations based on what we eat and drink, but I don’t understand how my maintenance calories can be “around” that. Wouldn’t maintenance calories just be “start with 1480, test for a few weeks, adjust 100 calories give or take accordingly”. Do you see what I mean?

    I don’t understand eating around 1430-1580 calories. This is incredibly confusing to me because I’ll be bouncing around in weight all the time in a way I don’t understand. Maybe I’m supposed to? 🤔

    To lose weight I used 1 calorie goal, not a range, and was fine with the variations because I learned to anticipate and understand them. Wouldn’t a range take that away?

    I'm not clear where you got the translation from "eat around maintenance" to "eat between 1430 and 1580 calories". Evidently I missed something in the thread.

    Generally, when I see "eat around your maintenance calories", I think it means to eat approximately maintenance calories, eat maintenance calories on average over a few days, or something like that.

    "Maintenance calories" is always an estimate, and technically it's a different number every single day (by a bit). I'm literal, too, in a way that makes me waffle-y about stating absolutes. Consequently, I don't think it's actually possible to eat exactly maintenance calories. I do think it's possible to eat about/approximately maintenance calories, with the test of accuracy being how weight behaves over a period of multiple weeks.

    On top of that, something resembling recomp could happen at anything from a slight deficit to a slight surplus, or while switching from one of those to the other if/as needed for reasons having nothing to do with the recomp goal. (Example: Slight deficit to bring down small holiday weight gain.)

    But maybe I'm missing something.

    I think I took their term “around” too literally, as if it was a range they were saying to create. My brain can be really frustrating in the way I absorb information. Ask my husband haha.

    I’m going to treat maintenance the same as I treated my deficit, by choosing a logical number, but then slowly adding calories until I find an equilibrium.