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Maintenance without counting calories

aes1219aes1219 Posts: 301Member Member Posts: 301Member Member
I have lost 60 lbs through mindful eating and exercising, I have not calorie counted during this process. I am getting close to maintenance and wondering if others have successfully transitioned to maintaining without counting calories?

I am 5'5" and 122 lbs currently, with a goal weight of 115 lbs.

Mindful eating has worked really well for me so far, but I've gotten used to eating in a deficit that I'm unsure if I will naturally be inclined to eat more or if I am going to overshoot my weight loss and end up slightly underweight until I adjust to maintenance. If this does happen, is it terrible to be slightly underweight per BMI for a short time? I have a few pounds buffer between normal weight and underweight so I'm hoping I will be okay (and I realize 1 or 2 lbs underweight won't magically make me unhealthy).

When switching to maintenance, did you initially gain a couple lbs just due to extra food/salt/water in your body? How many lbs do you try to maintain between? My idea for maintenance is between 115 and 120 lbs. Does this seem reasonable?

Thanks!

Replies

  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Posts: 10,930Member Member Posts: 10,930Member Member
    aes1219 wrote: »
    I have lost 60 lbs through mindful eating and exercising, I have not calorie counted during this process. I am getting close to maintenance and wondering if others have successfully transitioned to maintaining without counting calories?

    I am 5'5" and 122 lbs currently, with a goal weight of 115 lbs.

    Mindful eating has worked really well for me so far, but I've gotten used to eating in a deficit that I'm unsure if I will naturally be inclined to eat more or if I am going to overshoot my weight loss and end up slightly underweight until I adjust to maintenance. If this does happen, is it terrible to be slightly underweight per BMI for a short time? I have a few pounds buffer between normal weight and underweight so I'm hoping I will be okay (and I realize 1 or 2 lbs underweight won't magically make me unhealthy).

    When switching to maintenance, did you initially gain a couple lbs just due to extra food/salt/water in your body? How many lbs do you try to maintain between? My idea for maintenance is between 115 and 120 lbs. Does this seem reasonable?

    Thanks!

    Being briefly underweight isn't life-threatening, but don't let yourself persistently keep losing.

    I'm also 5'5", a bit above my preferred weight (which would be in the lower 120s) right now, working toward very slow loss. Whether 115-120 pounds is a healthy weight for you depends on your body type. The BMI is a fairly good guide for most people.

    The implication is that being on the lower edge of the BMI normal range (which is what you're aiming for) would be more suitable for a woman with a relatively narrow pelvis, breasts on the smaller side, not super-wide shoulders, slender wrists/elbows, possibly quite fit but without a lot of muscle mass, etc. (maybe not every single last one of those, but generally those kinds of things). Does that sound like you? What does your doctor think about your weight goals?

    I'm a calorie counter, but when I decided to transition to maintenance, I did it gradually, adding small, mostly nutrient-dense tweaks to what I was eating (like putting a tablespoon each of hemp and flax seed in my daily oatmeal, for added nutrition and a pleasant crunch). That way, I really didn't see a scale jump, because I kept losing super-slowly for a while, and there was no single point where I added lots of new food volume, carbs, or sodium to increase water weight noticeably . . . it presumably happened a tiny bit at a time but was offset by weight changes so not very noticeable.

    If your intuitive eating has relied on a food routine, you might also consider increasing your intake rather gradually but systematically.

    Best wishes!
  • JthanmyfitnesspalJthanmyfitnesspal Posts: 1,746Member, Premium Member Posts: 1,746Member, Premium Member
    Congratulations! My wife has had a similar transformation using similar techniques. I always seem to have to count every dang calorie to lose weight. For the past 2-3 years, I've maintained. For the first year or more, I counted and stayed at maintenance (including added calories for exercise). Once I got the gist of what I could eat sustainably, I stopped counting, but I still eat the same way. I weigh regularly and take note whenever I have a spike, cutting back a bit afterward.

    The key to maintenance is having regular periods of calorie deficit, because you will have occasional periods of calorie surplus. Most people find that weekdays should be on the light side so you have a little room for extra on the weekends.

    Best of luck!
  • mjglantzmjglantz Posts: 67Member Member Posts: 67Member Member
    I still track everything and count calories. When I hit my goal (4/13) I actually added a bit to my calorie target because I was exercising more. I continued to lose and figured that I would eventually hit a weight that worked for me. That range was 142 +/- 3 lbs and I stuck to that until we adopted a dog and with the extra walking ended up in the 138 range +/- 3 lbs. Have basically stayed in the 139 - 145 range and still track my food and exercise every day. If I go up to 145 I am just a little more careful with what I eat and up the exercise a bit.
    I am 5'8" so this weight puts me in the middle of the normal BMI range.
  • aes1219aes1219 Posts: 301Member Member Posts: 301Member Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    aes1219 wrote: »
    I have lost 60 lbs through mindful eating and exercising, I have not calorie counted during this process. I am getting close to maintenance and wondering if others have successfully transitioned to maintaining without counting calories?

    I am 5'5" and 122 lbs currently, with a goal weight of 115 lbs.

    Mindful eating has worked really well for me so far, but I've gotten used to eating in a deficit that I'm unsure if I will naturally be inclined to eat more or if I am going to overshoot my weight loss and end up slightly underweight until I adjust to maintenance. If this does happen, is it terrible to be slightly underweight per BMI for a short time? I have a few pounds buffer between normal weight and underweight so I'm hoping I will be okay (and I realize 1 or 2 lbs underweight won't magically make me unhealthy).

    When switching to maintenance, did you initially gain a couple lbs just due to extra food/salt/water in your body? How many lbs do you try to maintain between? My idea for maintenance is between 115 and 120 lbs. Does this seem reasonable?

    Thanks!

    Being briefly underweight isn't life-threatening, but don't let yourself persistently keep losing.

    I'm also 5'5", a bit above my preferred weight (which would be in the lower 120s) right now, working toward very slow loss. Whether 115-120 pounds is a healthy weight for you depends on your body type. The BMI is a fairly good guide for most people.

    The implication is that being on the lower edge of the BMI normal range (which is what you're aiming for) would be more suitable for a woman with a relatively narrow pelvis, breasts on the smaller side, not super-wide shoulders, slender wrists/elbows, possibly quite fit but without a lot of muscle mass, etc. (maybe not every single last one of those, but generally those kinds of things). Does that sound like you? What does your doctor think about your weight goals?

    I'm a calorie counter, but when I decided to transition to maintenance, I did it gradually, adding small, mostly nutrient-dense tweaks to what I was eating (like putting a tablespoon each of hemp and flax seed in my daily oatmeal, for added nutrition and a pleasant crunch). That way, I really didn't see a scale jump, because I kept losing super-slowly for a while, and there was no single point where I added lots of new food volume, carbs, or sodium to increase water weight noticeably . . . it presumably happened a tiny bit at a time but was offset by weight changes so not very noticeable.

    If your intuitive eating has relied on a food routine, you might also consider increasing your intake rather gradually but systematically.

    Best wishes!

    I just had a doctors appoinment less than a week ago and my doctor is happy with my weight loss and has no concerns about me losing more weight to be around 115 lbs. I think I will slowly start adding nutrient dense foods into my diet and just keep an eye on my weight trend.

    Thank you so much for the advice!
  • FarmerCarlaFarmerCarla Posts: 568Member, Premium Member Posts: 568Member, Premium Member
    After I got used to following a low carb/keto way of eating and came close to my goal, I stopped counting calories. If I followed a strict keto eating plan, I would lose more weight than I'm comfortable with--I don't want people to say I look skinny or gaunt. I maintain by weighing daily and eating more or fewer carbs depending on my morning weigh-in. I walk, jog, and follow a strength/cardio program, and it's working! Good luck!
  • lorrpblorrpb Posts: 10,252Member Member Posts: 10,252Member Member
    I lost 140 over 2.5 years and counted calories for only the first few months. I’ve maintained for another 2.5 yr and do not count in maintenance. I eat a lot of the same foods daily, do it had been fairly easy to estimate appropriate portion sizes. If my weight gets out of range, I restrict a bit or count calories on new things I’ve added in. I just eased into maintenance based on a small deficit at the end of my loss cycle, so there was no extra weight gain. The loss just stopped. You should be losing only 0.5 per week for the last 10-15 lbs, do adding in an extra 250 per day isn’t going to add so much extra food that you gain weight. This is a myth thats never made sense to me. 🤪
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