Calorie Counter

You are currently viewing the message boards in:

saving calories as a strategy for sustainable maintenance

Latima58Latima58 Posts: 7Member, Premium Member Posts: 7Member, Premium Member
I have been loosing and gaining the same 7kg (approx 15lbs) for almost 20 years now and never had been able to stay in maintenance for more than a couple of weeks. As I am heading to my maintenance level again, I am desperate to find a way to make it last.

It is not too difficult for me to live within 1200 kcal limit when I have started to lose weight, but when I allow myself to eat more, it quickly gets out of control. And when it is out of control, it takes a lot of time and effort to get back on track.

Usually, things get out of control during events when a lot of really delicious and special food is being served. As my work involves attending many events and I have also active social life, such situations happen quite often - sometimes even several times a week. When I am in the weight-loss phase, I really prepare mentally for these events and mostly can resist the temptation and to focus on my goal. It means that maybe I eat +300 or +500 kcal on that day, but I am still on track. However, when I am in the maintenance phase, I find it really difficult to find the motivation to be so restrictive to myself.

On the other hand, during ordinary days without events, sometimes when I get back home, I do not feel hungry, but see that I still have to consume 500-700 more calories to reach normal maintenance level. And as I do not want to "lose" these, I make myself something for dinner even if I do not really want it.

Therefore I have started to wonder if I could make my maintenance more sustainable by introducing the system when I can "save" the calories for future events. For example, if I "save" 300 kcal for 6 days, it would give me 1800 extra kcal to "spend" during the event. I guess it would help me to overcome the feelings "I have overeaten so much, that I am a failure" (if I give-in) or "I am not sure if being in my best weight is worth it, if I have to restrict myself so much" (if I manage not to give-in).

Has anybody tried such an approach? If so, what tools do you use for tracking your "savings"? I have not found that it is possible to do this with MFP, so I have Google Sheet for "savings" - I do not think it is a good idea long term. Maybe somebody knows good reasons why "saving" strategy is not something one should try?
«1

Replies

  • Latima58Latima58 Posts: 7Member, Premium Member Posts: 7Member, Premium Member
    It is definitely possible to track this on MFP. If you’re on the app, navigate to the nutrition section (at the bottom of your food diary), set it to 7 day view instead of day view, and click on the Calories tab. This will allow you to see your net calorie goal for the past seven days and how much you have left. If the past six days’ diary was short by 300 cals each day, your remaining calories for the week should be your remaining calories for the day plus the 1800 calories.

    Yes, but it is possible only for the last 7 days. I would like to be able to "save" for a longer time. For example, create some saving of 2000kcal and maybe use it just after several weeks.
  • cmriversidecmriverside Posts: 28,815Member Member Posts: 28,815Member Member
    That's a long time to "save."

    I've found that one blowout day calorie-wise doesn't affect my weight. No way I'd save up 300 calories a day. I do have my Goal calories rounded down to the nearest 100 on this site and sometimes I'm under that, sometimes over.

    Why do you need this level of accounting? A big day every now and then isn't going to need to be accounted for. We all have those days - special occasions are going to happen. You just get back on plan the next day and whatever little blip the scale shows is going to drop back off in a couple days.
  • Latima58Latima58 Posts: 7Member, Premium Member Posts: 7Member, Premium Member
    That's a long time to "save."

    I've found that one blowout day calorie-wise doesn't affect my weight. No way I'd save up 300 calories a day. I do have my Goal calories rounded down to the nearest 100 on this site and sometimes I'm under that, sometimes over.

    Why do you need this level of accounting? A big day every now and then isn't going to need to be accounted for. We all have those days - special occasions are going to happen. You just get back on plan the next day and whatever little blip the scale shows is going to drop back off in a couple days.

    I used to do that, but unfortunately, I can not make it work for me :( I have this "all or nothing" mentality - either I count every day or I start binging cycle and can not pull myself together for quite long time. If those "big days" would be very rare, like once in two months, I think it would be more manageable. But in my life, two regular weeks can be followed by a three-day event in a hotel with a fancy dinner followed by social drinking :) I think that during those 2 regular weeks I could save 300kcals every day (and really - it even does not feel like a big deal in regular days). Then I could arrive to the three-day event with more than 4000 extra calories "savings account". It still does not allow to be completely mindless about eating and drinking for 3 days, but it is enough to enjoy dinner and wine without being afraid to log-it as I am supposed to do.
  • TavistockToadTavistockToad Posts: 35,819Member Member Posts: 35,819Member Member
    That's a long time to "save."

    I've found that one blowout day calorie-wise doesn't affect my weight. No way I'd save up 300 calories a day. I do have my Goal calories rounded down to the nearest 100 on this site and sometimes I'm under that, sometimes over.

    Why do you need this level of accounting? A big day every now and then isn't going to need to be accounted for. We all have those days - special occasions are going to happen. You just get back on plan the next day and whatever little blip the scale shows is going to drop back off in a couple days.

    I used to do that, but unfortunately, I can not make it work for me :( I have this "all or nothing" mentality - either I count every day or I start binging cycle and can not pull myself together for quite long time. If those "big days" would be very rare, like once in two months, I think it would be more manageable. But in my life, two regular weeks can be followed by a three-day event in a hotel with a fancy dinner followed by social drinking :) I think that during those 2 regular weeks I could save 300kcals every day (and really - it even does not feel like a big deal in regular days). Then I could arrive to the three-day event with more than 4000 extra calories "savings account". It still does not allow to be completely mindless about eating and drinking for 3 days, but it is enough to enjoy dinner and wine without being afraid to log-it as I am supposed to do.

    so just set yourself a spreadsheet up if you need to see the actual numbers over that time period?
  • LivingtheLeanDreamLivingtheLeanDream Posts: 12,406Member Member Posts: 12,406Member Member
    yes, look at your weekly goal.

    i always save 100-200 cals Monday to Thursday to eat more at the weekend. i do it both when losing weight and maintaining.

    +1
  • Latima58Latima58 Posts: 7Member, Premium Member Posts: 7Member, Premium Member


    so just set yourself a spreadsheet up if you need to see the actual numbers over that time period?

    yes, that is exactly what I have done. Just wondering if somebody here might know a better app for that :)

  • tinkerbellang83tinkerbellang83 Posts: 6,664Member Member Posts: 6,664Member Member
    It is definitely possible to track this on MFP. If you’re on the app, navigate to the nutrition section (at the bottom of your food diary), set it to 7 day view instead of day view, and click on the Calories tab. This will allow you to see your net calorie goal for the past seven days and how much you have left. If the past six days’ diary was short by 300 cals each day, your remaining calories for the week should be your remaining calories for the day plus the 1800 calories.

    Yes, but it is possible only for the last 7 days. I would like to be able to "save" for a longer time. For example, create some saving of 2000kcal and maybe use it just after several weeks.

    It only shows you 7 days at a time, but you can go back beyond the current week and just add up the difference.
  • firecat1987firecat1987 Posts: 801Member, Premium Member Posts: 801Member, Premium Member
    A lot of maintainers on here go by their weekly calorie count, and they will bank calories for the weekend or a night out. That's what I plan on doing when i reach maintenance
  • elisa123galelisa123gal Posts: 3,644Member Member Posts: 3,644Member Member
    Why not do that.. other ways have not worked for you. It makes sense to me. Good luck.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Posts: 12,416Member Member Posts: 12,416Member Member
    It is definitely possible to track this on MFP. If you’re on the app, navigate to the nutrition section (at the bottom of your food diary), set it to 7 day view instead of day view, and click on the Calories tab. This will allow you to see your net calorie goal for the past seven days and how much you have left. If the past six days’ diary was short by 300 cals each day, your remaining calories for the week should be your remaining calories for the day plus the 1800 calories.

    Yes, but it is possible only for the last 7 days. I would like to be able to "save" for a longer time. For example, create some saving of 2000kcal and maybe use it just after several weeks.

    The app won't give you the totals, but you can still do this. Either give yourself a sort of calorie "savings account" on the side, or relax from that and work on finding a daily-intake level that keeps your weight in a sensible range despite the occasional high days. If you go over the top of the range, cut a bit from your daily amount; if you go under the bottom of the range, add a bit.

    This is psychologically a little harder, maybe, depending on how you're wired, but it can work.
  • CahgetsfitCahgetsfit Posts: 1,898Member Member Posts: 1,898Member Member
    I do this when i'm maintaining. I eat less Sunday to Friday, then more on Friday and Saturday. Or Saturday and Sunday - depends on life. I'll keep a slight deficit during the week when it's easy to have all my meals prepped and i'm at work and stuff (not a huge deficit) and then on weekend I can eat more :)

    unless you have premium though you have to manually chancge your goals every weekend. which i find annoying but I do anyway.
  • WinoGelatoWinoGelato Posts: 13,331Member Member Posts: 13,331Member Member
    It sounds like you are living in the extremes. When you are losing weight - what is your calorie target and what deficit are you aiming for?

    With such a narrow weight fluctuation, 15 lbs swing from your ideal weight to where you feel you need to lose again, when in deficit you should only be aiming for 0.5 lb/week or a 250 cal deficit. That means when you revert to maintenance after goal weight you only add back in roughly 250 cals - it shouldn’t be a big swing in intake like you’re describing which sets off your yo yo patterns.

    With regards to banking calories, sure, you can do that. But again, traveling for work or staying in a hotel for a few days with nice dinner and wine doesn’t sound that excessive to me if it’s a rare thing and not every week. I travel for work at least once a month and while those weeks tend to be higher calorie than my normal routine, I don’t feel the need to make up for them significantly or be afraid to log them as you mentioned. I also don’t understand why you are able to control your intake at social events when you are in weight loss mode but not in maintenance? Your calories are your calories. Whether it’s the deficit target or your maintenance target if you can tell yourself that’s the max when you are losing, why can’t you set the same ground rules when you’re maintaining?
  • Latima58Latima58 Posts: 7Member, Premium Member Posts: 7Member, Premium Member
    WinoGelato wrote: »
    It sounds like you are living in the extremes. When you are losing weight - what is your calorie target and what deficit are you aiming for?

    My ideal weight is around 58kg and I am 165cm. So when losing, I aim for 0.5kg per week and it sets me to 1200kcal + exercise calories. In maintenance, MFP sets me up for 440 kcal more. It is a lot of difference, taking into account that usually I do not eat all my exercise calories when losing. It does not even feel restrictive in regular days, the problem starts with special occasions, which, as I said before, can happen quite often, but not regularly (like every weekend).

    Why I am able to control my intake at social events when I am in weight loss mode but not in maintenance? I guess because in weight-loss mode I am really concentrating on my goal. Using all these psychological tricks - visualizing what I want to achieve, mentally preparing before the event, psychologically rewarding myself for staying on track. Of course, I slightly go over my 1200 calorie limit in these events anyway, but even staying below 2000 on such days means that I have to say "no" to many things that I actually really would like to have. I think I just do not want to be so restrictive to myself (in terms of restaurant food and events) for the rest of my life. On the other hand - I think I am absolutely fine with living on 1200 kcal for the rest of my life in regular days.
  • MaxxittMaxxitt Posts: 1,090Member Member Posts: 1,090Member Member
    If you're "fine" eating 1200 calories a day for "regular" days, then do that. Assess outcome after a few months and adjust accordingly. It makes sense to me, as long as you are meeting your protein macros and getting sufficient micro-nutrients in during the course of a week. If it was me, I wouldn't bother to track a "savings account" as long as I was tracking the "regular" days and not having "special events" multiple times a week.
  • cmriversidecmriverside Posts: 28,815Member Member Posts: 28,815Member Member
    Latima58 wrote: »
    That's a long time to "save."

    I've found that one blowout day calorie-wise doesn't affect my weight. No way I'd save up 300 calories a day. I do have my Goal calories rounded down to the nearest 100 on this site and sometimes I'm under that, sometimes over.

    Why do you need this level of accounting? A big day every now and then isn't going to need to be accounted for. We all have those days - special occasions are going to happen. You just get back on plan the next day and whatever little blip the scale shows is going to drop back off in a couple days.

    I used to do that, but unfortunately, I can not make it work for me :( I have this "all or nothing" mentality - either I count every day or I start binging cycle and can not pull myself together for quite long time. If those "big days" would be very rare, like once in two months, I think it would be more manageable. But in my life, two regular weeks can be followed by a three-day event in a hotel with a fancy dinner followed by social drinking :) I think that during those 2 regular weeks I could save 300kcals every day (and really - it even does not feel like a big deal in regular days). Then I could arrive to the three-day event with more than 4000 extra calories "savings account". It still does not allow to be completely mindless about eating and drinking for 3 days, but it is enough to enjoy dinner and wine without being afraid to log-it as I am supposed to do.


    Oh, well then.

    I just log those big days and don't worry too much about them because over time I've learned that as long as I get back on plan after that weekend, then the extra pound or two drops right back off. Even 4000 calories over Maintenance isn't a big deal if I don't carry on that way every weekend. I find it very hard to eat more than 3500 calories on any given day, so that's about 1500 over my maintenance and I just log it and move on...I wasn't suggesting you not log it, just that balancing the spread isn't maybe as big a deal as you think it is.

    But good luck, whatever you do. That level of detail is impressive. :)
  • paperpuddingpaperpudding Posts: 5,162Member Member Posts: 5,162Member Member
    Cahgetsfit wrote: »
    I do this when i'm maintaining. I eat less Sunday to Friday, then more on Friday and Saturday. Or Saturday and Sunday - depends on life. I'll keep a slight deficit during the week when it's easy to have all my meals prepped and i'm at work and stuff (not a huge deficit) and then on weekend I can eat more :)

    unless you have premium though you have to manually chancge your goals every weekend. which i find annoying but I do anyway.
    Cahgetsfit wrote: »
    I do this when i'm maintaining. I eat less Sunday to Friday, then more on Friday and Saturday. Or Saturday and Sunday - depends on life. I'll keep a slight deficit during the week when it's easy to have all my meals prepped and i'm at work and stuff (not a huge deficit) and then on weekend I can eat more :)

    unless you have premium though you have to manually chancge your goals every weekend. which i find annoying but I do anyway.

    Can't you just set your week to start on Monday( and then by each day it tells you how much you have left for rest of the week so when you finish eating on Friday, you can see how much you have for the weekend?


    That is what I do and I dont have premium.

Sign In or Register to comment.