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Maintaining and water retention

umbramirrorumbramirror Posts: 167Member Member Posts: 167Member Member
Hello all,

I'm attempting to begin maintaining for the first time, and have set my range to 127 - 132 lbs at 5'6" (at the edge of medium/large frame). I've been in this range for about a month but I have still been slowly dropping weight. I know that I need to increase my calories, so I am doing that slowly.

However, my question is more along the lines of how to track progress when it seems I am cycling in retaining water. It has been very hot where I am, and while I drink enough water, I am constantly sweating. I don't have access to air conditioning most of the day and I'm outside a lot. I also walk a good portion of the day and train in the morning. I'm worried because I don't want to lose any more weight, but the scale isn't budging and I believe I'm still in a rather large deficit, so I don't want a random surprise of a huge scale drop.

I did eat a bit more than I usually do this weekend, but not enough to put on any weight so it seems I am still retaining water. Anyway, now I'm rambling. My question is, how can I be sure I'm maintaining and not losing while my body is holding onto water?

Replies

  • Kathryn247Kathryn247 Posts: 526Member Member Posts: 526Member Member
    This is something you'll just have to monitor over the long term. I'm finding that maintenance is as non-linear as weight loss!

    I put on 5 pounds of water weight on vacation, now I'm down 2.5 pounds in the last 2 days. Some people fluctuate within a 10-pound range. I'm guessing you're female, and monthly water retention can be a factor, too.

    At your height and weight, additional weight loss should be hard to come by if you're eating enough for nutrition (at least 1200 net calories), so any additional weight loss (not water loss) wouldn't be large or sudden.



  • umbramirrorumbramirror Posts: 167Member Member Posts: 167Member Member
    Thank you for the reply and insight. Yes, I am female and you're right, it is something I have to monitor long term. It's difficult adjusting to tracking progress from constantly losing to trying to actually make that stop happening. 😅

    I have a hard time understanding the drops and increases in body weight, and how to determine what is my true weight. About 2 weeks ago I ate so much over what I usually do. 2 days spent with family, 1 of those days being an all day eating fest and the next night I had my first binge in a year in a half. I gained ~ 3 lbs of water weight, lost it in 4 days and then by the end of the week, actually lost a total of 3.9 lbs from the week before, not including the water retention. It doesn't make sense to me, and I'm trying to learn more by daily weighing.
  • umbramirrorumbramirror Posts: 167Member Member Posts: 167Member Member
    sardelsa wrote: »
    I would highly recommend using a trend weight app and weighing frequently .. it can help sort out those water weight dips

    I do actually, but only started recently so I'm still getting used to the changes. Thanks though.😊 I hope that with more time, I'll understand the trends better.
    kimny72 wrote: »
    TBH you don't have a "true weight". Your weight is constantly fluctuating, hour to hour.

    Trying to figure out when water weight will come and go and how much is kind of futile for some of us as well. There are so many variables, and so many different conditions that cause your body to hold onto or release water. I guess some people can predict it well, but it's not necessarily obvious. Other than knowing when I will retain some water due to my cycle, I really don't see a pattern myself. Salt consumption, alcohol, varying exercise effort levels, it all factors in there.

    I maintain around 124-130. I don't worry about the lower limit because honestly I could stand to lose another 5 lbs so if that happens accidentally, I'm cool with that.

    When I hit 131+ on the scale for two straight weeks, I go back to super accurate logging and eating at a 250 calorie deficit. I do this for a couple of weeks, or until I drop back down below 130, then I stop and go back to "maintenance". Whether that extra couple of lbs was water or fat or whatever else it may have been doesn't really matter to me. It's not like I'm going to get too lean in a few weeks. And I can easily eat back a couple of lbs if I drop too low :smile:

    Obviously, some of this is highly personal. I'm maintaining right in the middle of the healthy weight range, and know I'd be fine if I accidentally gained or lost 5 lbs. Someone who maintains at a very lean weight, or at the upper end of what they think is acceptable, will have more stress involved in going outside their range in one direction or the other.

    I think you're saying you look like you're maintaining on the scale, but you're afraid that water retention is masking the fact that you're still losing? Let's say you're holding on to 10 lbs of water. At some point, the weather is going to settle down, and your body will start to release this water, probably over 2-3 weeks. Then you'll see it on the scale and can eat a little more until you are solidly back in your range.

    For some people who have invested a lot of emotion into every movement of the scale through weight loss, it can be difficult to chill out about the number on the scale moving up 1 lb or down 1 lb. Assuming you are healthy, there are no dire consequences to drifting a lb or two above or below your range, and you are in complete control to tweak your calories when needed until you feel confident you are back in range. And just like when you first started losing weight, maintenance can take some trial and error to nail down what kind of fluctuations you will see and what exactly will be messing with your head. Welcome to "Lifelong Healthy Weight, part 2" :wink:

    Thank you, this helps a lot. I guess I do need to watch the trends over more time to really get a hang of this. I only reached my goal recently, and it has been so long since I have been this weight that I feel a bit possessive of the number on the scale at the moment. Maintaining is stressful for me because I really don't want to gain weight but I'm also anxious about losing more. I haven't gained or maintained in 1 1/2 years so this is completely new territory for me.

    And yes, you got it exactly right. I'm anxious about the fact that the water retention could be masking the weight loss. I have been constantly losing, and it's starting to worry me. At first, I thought, "Oh, this is cool... I'm not even trying and I'm losing weight" but now I know it's very important to stabilize. But you're right, I can readjust once my body does adapt. Thanks again!
    jrwms714 wrote: »
    kimny72 wrote: »
    TBH you don't have a "true weight". Your weight is constantly fluctuating, hour to hour.

    Trying to figure out when water weight will come and go and how much is kind of futile for some of us as well. There are so many variables, and so many different conditions that cause your body to hold onto or release water. I guess some people can predict it well, but it's not necessarily obvious. Other than knowing when I will retain some water due to my cycle, I really don't see a pattern myself. Salt consumption, alcohol, varying exercise effort levels, it all factors in there.

    I maintain around 124-130. I don't worry about the lower limit because honestly I could stand to lose another 5 lbs so if that happens accidentally, I'm cool with that.

    When I hit 131+ on the scale for two straight weeks, I go back to super accurate logging and eating at a 250 calorie deficit. I do this for a couple of weeks, or until I drop back down below 130, then I stop and go back to "maintenance". Whether that extra couple of lbs was water or fat or whatever else it may have been doesn't really matter to me. It's not like I'm going to get too lean in a few weeks. And I can easily eat back a couple of lbs if I drop too low :smile:

    Obviously, some of this is highly personal. I'm maintaining right in the middle of the healthy weight range, and know I'd be fine if I accidentally gained or lost 5 lbs. Someone who maintains at a very lean weight, or at the upper end of what they think is acceptable, will have more stress involved in going outside their range in one direction or the other.

    I think you're saying you look like you're maintaining on the scale, but you're afraid that water retention is masking the fact that you're still losing? Let's say you're holding on to 10 lbs of water. At some point, the weather is going to settle down, and your body will start to release this water, probably over 2-3 weeks. Then you'll see it on the scale and can eat a little more until you are solidly back in your range.

    For some people who have invested a lot of emotion into every movement of the scale through weight loss, it can be difficult to chill out about the number on the scale moving up 1 lb or down 1 lb. Assuming you are healthy, there are no dire consequences to drifting a lb or two above or below your range, and you are in complete control to tweak your calories when needed until you feel confident you are back in range. And just like when you first started losing weight, maintenance can take some trial and error to nail down what kind of fluctuations you will see and what exactly will be messing with your head. Welcome to "Lifelong Healthy Weight, part 2" :wink:

    This. Could not have said it better myself. I'm rounding onto 5 years of maintenance and I can tell you, OP, that water retention is still my particular anxiety-producer. I know what it is; I know it causes 3 -5 lbs. of gain on the scale that is not really gain, and I also know that 2 -3 days of drinking lots of water and it comes right off. My Happy Scale weight trending app helps with my psychology with this ... it helps with a lot ... I recommend you find one that you like. But every restaurant meal (even a salad with dressing on the side and a request for no added salt) puts this on me ... and this trending app keeps me sane when that happens. On the other hand, it's not such a bad thing to be vigilant ... this, for me, is what maintenance is all about. Again, @kimny72 said it really well.

    I hope to have this comfort with tracking at some point. Thanks for commenting. It's nice to know there are others that feel the same way I do. How long did it take you to feel more comfortable with the changes?
  • spiriteagle99spiriteagle99 Posts: 2,329Member Member Posts: 2,329Member Member
    I'm 5'6" as well. My original goal was 131, but when I went into maintenance I continued to lose. Since I still had fat around my waist and on my thighs, I was okay with that. I eventually stabilized at 120-125. My weight goes up and down within that range depending on salt, exercise, fiber, etc. I don't worry about it unless I go above or below those numbers.
  • umbramirrorumbramirror Posts: 167Member Member Posts: 167Member Member
    I'm 5'6" as well. My original goal was 131, but when I went into maintenance I continued to lose. Since I still had fat around my waist and on my thighs, I was okay with that. I eventually stabilized at 120-125. My weight goes up and down within that range depending on salt, exercise, fiber, etc. I don't worry about it unless I go above or below those numbers.

    How is it that your weight stabilized? Did you begin eating more around that time? I don't know too much about this but that's good to know. I don't think I should lose anymore, in my opinion, so I need to find a way to stabilize sooner rather than later. I could be maintaining at the moment since I've been trying to increase my calories. I would be happy if that's true.
  • umbramirrorumbramirror Posts: 167Member Member Posts: 167Member Member
    Your range should allow for your weight fluctuations. A trending weight app will help. We aren't just one static number so just go with the flow. If you're within your range the majority of the time, all is well. Its only when the number would creep up or down too much on either side of your range and stay that way for a few weeks that any action needs taken.

    That's true, thank you for the reminder. I've been so regimented and consistent for a long time, that now I truly have to find a way to relax and enjoy this period of time, while also efficiently tracking my maintaining progress. It has been a long time coming.
    edited June 14
  • spiriteagle99spiriteagle99 Posts: 2,329Member Member Posts: 2,329Member Member
    I'm 5'6" as well. My original goal was 131, but when I went into maintenance I continued to lose. Since I still had fat around my waist and on my thighs, I was okay with that. I eventually stabilized at 120-125. My weight goes up and down within that range depending on salt, exercise, fiber, etc. I don't worry about it unless I go above or below those numbers.

    How is it that your weight stabilized? Did you begin eating more around that time? I don't know too much about this but that's good to know. I don't think I should lose anymore, in my opinion, so I need to find a way to stabilize sooner rather than later. I could be maintaining at the moment since I've been trying to increase my calories. I would be happy if that's true.

    Mostly it was just a matter of finding my balance point where I am comfortable with how much I eat and how much I need to exercise to maintain that weight. At one point several years ago, I lost weight because I was seriously depressed. Once I started feeling better, I couldn't maintain that low weight because I felt too deprived in my eating. I gained a few pounds, found my happy balance and maintained there for a while, then I started doing more exercise and lost weight again and found a new balance point.
  • firecat1987firecat1987 Posts: 801Member, Premium Member Posts: 801Member, Premium Member
    I would get a weight trend app and monitor your weight over a period of time. Since your weight will always fluctuate you can get a steadier number by observing your trend weight.
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