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Eating unhealthy foods during maintance?

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  • jacksonptjacksonpt Member Posts: 10,464 Member Member Posts: 10,464 Member
    Just like losing weight, maintaining weight is about calories in vs calories out. Eating cake won't make you gain weight. Eating over your caloric maintenance levels will cause you to gain weight. "Healthy" vs "unhealthy" isn't the issue. You can continue to eat "clean" or "healthy", but gain weight because you are taking in more calories than you burn. Your body doesn't store fat because of the type of food you eat, and you didn't lose weight because you were eating a "clean" or "healthy" diet.

    I follow flexible dieting and eat according to my macro, micro and fiber goals. If I wan't pizza or chipotle, ice cream or pop tarts I eat it, but it fits my goals. Mindless snacking and not tracking your food intake is where you will run into trouble, and this usually occurs when you restrict your diet and avoid certain foods. Once you hit your "goal" weight, that's where people tend to slack. I suggest sticking to your calorie, macro and micro goals and making room for the foods you enjoy. You want to create a lifestyle that you can continue for the long term.

    I've seen this several times in various threads and just do not agree. I don't think you can make a one size fits all answer. Personally, if I eat a excessive amount of carbs, it makes a big difference in whether I maintain my weight as opposed to eating a higher percentage of protein.

    And what I could do in my 20's and 30's is much different than what happens now. I have to be so much more disciplined. Sad, but true.

    Does your overall calorie intake change, or just the composition of those calories?
  • kimmymayhallkimmymayhall Member Posts: 419 Member Member Posts: 419 Member
    I never had a "no chips or sweets type of attitude" so maintenance is just like weight loss mode but with more food. With a higher calorie allowance I have more room to fit in treats while hitting my macro goals but it's not that different.
  • SJVZEESJVZEE Member Posts: 467 Member Member Posts: 467 Member
    I did it the opposite way-ate a lot of 'junk' food during weight loss but now that I'm in maintenance I've felt led to transition to a whole foods, plant based diet :) Just eat in a way that makes you happy and keeps you on track with your weight and lifestyle goals!
  • DefrenDefren Member Posts: 216 Member Member Posts: 216 Member
    I eat clean while losing and I plan to eat clean when I get to maintenance. The extra calories will allow for treats and such, and we shouldn't decide to never eat higher calorie/treat foods ever again. Life is too short and if you feel your jeans are a little tight just reduce calories and get rid of the little extra. After working so hard to lose the weight obviously we don't want to gain but we don't want to live the rest of our lives denying ourselves a treat or two.
  • nxd10nxd10 Member, Premium Posts: 4,539 Member Member, Premium Posts: 4,539 Member
    I think it's a bad habit, actually.

    Yeah, a piece of cake once a week because you're going out and want dessert. I do eat chips every few weeks. And I COUNT them into a bowl so I know how many I'm eating. Eating junk food makes me want more junk food, so I don't eat it very often and make a conscious decision to do so.

    When I snack, I grab fruit or nuts or 1/4 cup of ice cream. All have some nutritional value (even the ice cream) and I know exactly how many calories they have.

    I also have a stash of true junk food - Ritter sport chocolate and licorice. I eat one piece when I want something sweet. 35 calories. I never have more than one a day.

    =============

    Bottom line:

    No hard and fast rules about what not to do. Moderation is key.

    Most people regain because they go back to their old habits. It's easy to do if you snack like that.
  • JesterMFPJesterMFP Member Posts: 3,610 Member Member Posts: 3,610 Member
    I don't really differentiate between "healthy" and "unhealthy" foods, or "good" and "bad" foods. I eat the same foods now as I did while I was losing, and they include the kinds of foods yo might call unhealthy. Obviously, some foods are more nutritious than others, and I try to eat larger amounts of those, and some foods will fill you up better than others, for the same amount of calories, so it helps to have balance.

    I aim to get plenty of protein and fibre, and make sure I'm getting a wide range of micronutrients. That means that I eat a lot of vegetables, eggs, lean meat, fish, Greek yoghurt, seeds and nuts. I eat plenty of whole grain bread and white pasta (don't really like wholewheat pasta) because getting enough carbs helps fuel my running, and helps me manage my mood. When those priorities are sorted out, I also have plenty of chocolate, cheese, biscuits, ice cream, red wine etc, as much as I can fit into my calories once my other nutritional needs have been met. I don't consider those foods "junk" or "crap", I'm just mindful that I'm eating them more for enjoyment than nutrition, and that I have to be more careful with foods that are more calorie dense. I'm not saying I never get the balance wrong - it's a work in progress, but most of the time, I manage to focus on meeting the nutritional goals first.

    I think it's tricky if you cut out a whole load of foods during the weight loss phase, because it can be difficult to reintroduce things then without completely going back to your old habits. That's one reason I didn't cut anything out to start with.
  • Sabine_StroehmSabine_Stroehm Member, Premium Posts: 19,324 Member Member, Premium Posts: 19,324 Member
    I personally don't. IIFIYM: my macros are lower sugar than many other folks I predict. I know what works for me (I lost my weight a long long time ago and kept it off), and traditional junk food normally doesn't. I eat tortilla chips once in a while, but that's about it.

    You need to figure out what works for you. If you can eat a few hundred calories in cheetos and move on, awesome.

    Eat it and see what happens, but don't get complacent.

    ps: congrats on maintenance!
  • MslmesqMslmesq Member Posts: 1,001 Member Member Posts: 1,001 Member
    My indulgence (over indulgence) was red wine. And sometimes martinis and margaritas. :-). I already know that I have to permanently change my habits or I'll end up putting weight on again. So for me, this doesn't mean I cannot enoy red wine. It just means I have to do it sensibly, not every day (got into that bad habit), and making allowances the days I do to compensate.

    The goal to a lifetime of healthy eating is fitting in things you enjoy and making them work.

    Now, we could talk about why you still crave doritos. :-)
  • NovemberJuneNovemberJune Member Posts: 2,525 Member Member Posts: 2,525 Member
    I ate plenty of junk while losing and I eat plenty of junk now lol :wink: I just care about calories and getting enough protein.
  • dieselbytedieselbyte Member Posts: 739 Member Member Posts: 739 Member
    Just like losing weight, maintaining weight is about calories in vs calories out. Eating cake won't make you gain weight. Eating over your caloric maintenance levels will cause you to gain weight. "Healthy" vs "unhealthy" isn't the issue. You can continue to eat "clean" or "healthy", but gain weight because you are taking in more calories than you burn. Your body doesn't store fat because of the type of food you eat, and you didn't lose weight because you were eating a "clean" or "healthy" diet.

    I follow flexible dieting and eat according to my macro, micro and fiber goals. If I wan't pizza or chipotle, ice cream or pop tarts I eat it, but it fits my goals. Mindless snacking and not tracking your food intake is where you will run into trouble, and this usually occurs when you restrict your diet and avoid certain foods. Once you hit your "goal" weight, that's where people tend to slack. I suggest sticking to your calorie, macro and micro goals and making room for the foods you enjoy. You want to create a lifestyle that you can continue for the long term.

    I've seen this several times in various threads and just do not agree. I don't think you can make a one size fits all answer. Personally, if I eat a excessive amount of carbs, it makes a big difference in whether I maintain my weight as opposed to eating a higher percentage of protein.

    And what I could do in my 20's and 30's is much different than what happens now. I have to be so much more disciplined. Sad, but true.

    How is this a "one size fits all answer"? If you happened to read and understand my answer, I stated to eat according to your calorie, MACRO and micro goals. Carbs are macros, yes? You have to find the macro range that works for you. If the "unhealthy" food still falls within your macro ranges, how does this create a problem?

    The other issue is weight gain vs fat gain. If you are obsessed with the scale, and gaining a pound or two makes you panic, then you have the wrong approach. Carbs hold more water than protein, so you will see more weight fluctuation eating higher carbs. Does that mean you've just gained a pound or two of fat?

    Discipline is eating according to your goals. Staying away from certain foods because you know that you won't have control once you eat them is one thing, but restricting certain foods because you believe eating that particular food will make you fat is absurd. Having a healthy relationship with food is what will lead to long term success - both physical and mental.
  • balancedbrunettebalancedbrunette Member Posts: 531 Member Member Posts: 531 Member
    I don't really differentiate between "healthy" and "unhealthy" foods, or "good" and "bad" foods. I eat the same foods now as I did while I was losing, and they include the kinds of foods yo might call unhealthy. Obviously, some foods are more nutritious than others, and I try to eat larger amounts of those, and some foods will fill you up better than others, for the same amount of calories, so it helps to have balance.

    I aim to get plenty of protein and fibre, and make sure I'm getting a wide range of micronutrients. That means that I eat a lot of vegetables, eggs, lean meat, fish, Greek yoghurt, seeds and nuts. I eat plenty of whole grain bread and white pasta (don't really like wholewheat pasta) because getting enough carbs helps fuel my running, and helps me manage my mood. When those priorities are sorted out, I also have plenty of chocolate, cheese, biscuits, ice cream, red wine etc, as much as I can fit into my calories once my other nutritional needs have been met. I don't consider those foods "junk" or "crap", I'm just mindful that I'm eating them more for enjoyment than nutrition, and that I have to be more careful with foods that are more calorie dense. I'm not saying I never get the balance wrong - it's a work in progress, but most of the time, I manage to focus on meeting the nutritional goals first.

    I think it's tricky if you cut out a whole load of foods during the weight loss phase, because it can be difficult to reintroduce things then without completely going back to your old habits. That's one reason I didn't cut anything out to start with.

    ^this, well said.

    I also try to meet my nutritional goals first where possible and leave room for treats that would be considered eaiting more for enjoyment while watching a film rather than for nutrition. Saying this i do think the 80/20 approach when eating is good, trying to eat 80% nutrient, whole foods i suppose....reason im looking at this is because i've started strength training and i'm working towards changing my body comp so macros and nutrients are important.

    While maintaining though you should be able to eat what you want, it is a lifestyle, that being said as long as your not binging on cakes and sweets, moderation is key. Dieting and using MFP has really helped changed my lifestyle and eating habits, i don't think i could go back to the way i was before but i also never deny myself my treats.
  • jackielou867jackielou867 Member Posts: 422 Member Member Posts: 422 Member
    They call it JUNK food for a reason. While you can allow for it in your calories, and still maintain your weight, or even weight loss, you are depriving your body of something that would do it a whole lot more good.
    Also, it causes a blood sugar HIGH, followed by a perceived low, which potentially makes you feel hungry. When you finally break that cycle, why go back.
    I used to leave a few calories for a bit of chocolate every night, then I thought, why am I doing this, I don't need it.
    Not that I never have a splurge, like a meal out with the family. I blew 2500 calories last Saturday, but hey it was my Silver wedding:-)
    I am not a smoker, and I don't miss cigarettes. I am not a junk food eater, and I don't miss junk food.
    I am 47 years old by the way, and I feel 10 years younger than I did 6 months ago, when I broke the junk food cycle, and I have way more energy, and I don't bloat up all day.
  • dieselbytedieselbyte Member Posts: 739 Member Member Posts: 739 Member
    They call it JUNK food for a reason. While you can allow for it in your calories, and still maintain your weight, or even weight loss, you are depriving your body of something that would do it a whole lot more good.
    Also, it causes a blood sugar HIGH, followed by a perceived low, which potentially makes you feel hungry. When you finally break that cycle, why go back.
    I used to leave a few calories for a bit of chocolate every night, then I thought, why am I doing this, I don't need it.
    Not that I never have a splurge, like a meal out with the family. I blew 2500 calories last Saturday, but hey it was my Silver wedding:-)
    I am not a smoker, and I don't miss cigarettes. I am not a junk food eater, and I don't miss junk food.
    I am 47 years old by the way, and I feel 10 years younger than I did 6 months ago, when I broke the junk food cycle, and I have way more energy, and I don't bloat up all day.

    Good for you that you don't eat "junk" food, and I'm glad you agree that you can still eat "unhealthy" foods and maintain or even lose weight, which was the OP's original question. However, if you are hitting your minimum micronutrients goals and requirements, how are you "depriving" your body of something by eating junk food? And if you think anyone is advocating to ONLY eat junk food, you are missing the point of the post. Eating a "healthy" diet that is rich in micronutrient dense food is, without a doubt, the best thing for your body. But you can't argue the benefits or merits of a diet consisting of 100% "clean" "healthy" foods vs 80% "clean" "healthy" foods if you are hitting your micronutrient goals. Do you get extra credit because you go over?

    If you lack the self discipline and control to include "junk" foods in your diet, then you shouldn't include them. But I do have self discipline and control. Any percieved high or low from eating chocolate or sweets doesn't matter to me. My goals and results are more important to me than how I "feel" when I eat food.
  • WanderingPommeWanderingPomme Member Posts: 601 Member Member Posts: 601 Member
    I've had a bacon cheeseburger, veggie quesadilla, cream puff, cronut, apple pie, dark chocolate, kitkat chunky, singaporean food, fried chicken the past week but within calories (sometimes) worked out ate healthy 70% of the time. I was 112.5 on Monday, 110.6 this morning... had rice today, singaporean food again curry and more fooood and again cronuts and a creampuff today. So probably 115 tomorrow! lol very unhealthy damn it.
  • SeesawboomerangSeesawboomerang Member Posts: 296 Member Member Posts: 296 Member
    Have a little of what you know you have control over. Avoid what you can't resist having too much of.

    So if you can have a little chocolate/cake/sweets/crisps/chips/whateverwhatever and not overdo it, enjoy it.

    Some foods are delicious and good for you so enjoy in abundance.

    Some foods are not so good for you so be moderate.
  • FivefootninebaddieFivefootninebaddie Member Posts: 10 Member Member Posts: 10 Member
    I generally eat what I want within reason. I usually have desert and eat take out sometimes. I just make sure to keep exercising to keep up my metabolism and I’m fine. No foods are inherently “good” or “bad” as long as you don’t overeat or undereat. Everything within moderation!
  • psychod787psychod787 Member, Premium Posts: 3,944 Member Member, Premium Posts: 3,944 Member
    IIFYM!!!!!!

    If it frightens your monkeys?🤔
  • ninerbuffninerbuff Member, Greeter Posts: 44,775 Member Member, Greeter Posts: 44,775 Member
    What I eat gaining, I also eat losing. And at maintenance, I'll still eat the same. All I care about is getting the right amount of macros and micros RDA and if there's room calorie wise to have anything else, I'll eat it.


    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

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