Entertainment: is maintenance a trend line just like weight? When does it start?

PAV8888 Posts: 13,585 Member
edited April 2020 in Goal: Maintaining Weight
@AnnPT77 wrote in a post that she has been maintaining x-number-of-years.

So I'm wondering... how long have I been maintaining?
When does it "count" as maintenance?
A self declaration? A trend-line? A deliberate range? A stall regardless of intent?
What #counts#?

And if I am not the only one with these weird thoughts... what is YOUR experience?

In my spreadsheets I use my trending weight (from trendweight.com):blush:

Nov 2015 -- 168.1lbs (rapid losses end: "25.6 BMI: normal weight smartbmi; overweight WHO; high normal fat for 50+ DEXA)
Nov 2016 -- 156.9lbs ("try to lose slowly" ends - first potential 'start' of maintenance)
Nov 2017 -- 154.2lbs ("maintain but ok to lose" - second potential 'start' of maintenance)
April 2018 -- 153.7lbs (regular monthly logging/tracking reviews end. Still logging but only recording weight trend change in spreadsheet - third potential 'start' of maintenance)
August 2019 -- 153.6lbs (first-and only to date-12 days of incomplete/no logging since MFP start during a trip - fourth potential 'start' of maintenance)
December 2019 -- 154.3lbs ('looser' logging for restaurant meals & more logging "equivalents" - fifth potential "start" of maintenance)
April 2020 -- 153.0lbs (existential angst as to when maintenance started - surely maintaining now even though I am ok with losing a bit? or am I losing instead of maintaining now? UGH!)

So when should I start counting my 'x-number-of-years at maintenance'?
I mean even today I am maintaining... with the option to lose! :flushed:


  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,030 Member
    No, no, Mr. PAV: I'm much more coy than that. I say "4+ years" or "sometime in 2020 will start the 5th year" or something like that, because I don't know how to count it - exactly - either. ;)

    My current weight isn't my lowest weight. First I overshot my goal (lost a few pounds more than intended/wanted, while trying to dial in maintenance calories). Then I went back up to that goal weight, and stayed there a few months. Then I started a slow, gradual semi-plateau-y creep up, but still stayed at a weight I was OK with, central zone of normal BMI range. Finally, I decided that was pushing higher in the normal range than I really wanted to be, i.e., trend only intermittently and slightly over BMI 23. At that point, started trying to slowly creep down again, before 2019 holidays. Trend is back down around 22 now. I think I might hold closer to that during stay-at-home rather than dropping, but we'll see. I could tolerate losing another few pounds, and expect to do that eventually, very very slowly, unless some dramatically disruptive thing happens, but I don't feel any urgency/desperation.

    So, I figure I started maintenance when my weight trend got somewhere in the vicinity of BMI 22-ish +/-, where I've probably spend the most time since. That would be last quarter of 2015. ;)

    For some people, maintenance is a tighter thing than I feel like it needs to be, for me. I care about my health, not really so much about appearance or a specific weight.

    If I were you, I'd probably count from November 2016, but I'm not you. :drinker:
  • paperpudding
    paperpudding Posts: 8,983 Member
    This seems unneccesarily complicated :o

    I started losing weight in Jan 2013 (yay! New years resolutions!) and reached my goal 10 months later end of October 2013 - since then I have maintained within a narrow range of 1.5 kg either side of my goal (62kg which gives me a BMI of 23)

    By my way of counting, which seems a fairly straightforward way, I have been in maitenance for 7 years this October.

    or currently almost 78 months or 2,291 days since 31st October to today inclusive. ;)

    (it is a quiet Easter Sunday here ;)
  • paperpudding
    paperpudding Posts: 8,983 Member
    PS: no cucumbers were harmed during my maitenance phase ;)B)

    PPS random comment which makes no sense to most people ,I know.
  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 13,585 Member
    But harming cucumbers would be better than harming innocent... spaghetti squash!!!

    I started in January 2014 not a New Year's resolution exactly; but with the goal of just moving around a bit more... With no day being less than 5000 steps for the complete month.

    Interestingly, I too have been going with November 2016. The adoption of November 20th having less to do with what my weight was actually doing and more to do with it being my anniversary of starting on MFP 😹

    I'm maintaining at a much higher BMI then you or Ann, generally in the mid to high 23s
  • tuckerrj
    tuckerrj Posts: 1,453 Member
    Maintenance (to me) started when I decided to start 'upping' my calories in an attempt to stop losing weight. Therefore (to me) maintenance started when I no longer tried to lose weight. True I dropped a couple more pounds before finding my proper maintenance calorie/activity goals. But that was incidental.
  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 13,585 Member
    @paperpudding 's comments forced me to swap out the ready to eat Indian food pouches I was about to nuke and substitute a tomato, onion, spicy thai tuna, jalepegno, and.... spicy garlic sandwich pickles salad, solely for a *kitten* sized #humble cucumber for the win# moment! (with a tinge of extra sodium)
  • cupcakesandproteinshakes
    cupcakesandproteinshakes Posts: 1,092 Member
    So I lost 50 pounds over about 18 months in 2009-2010. Maintained that loss then decided to see if I could get leaner. Lost another 15. Might try and lose a bit more now. I’d say I was maintaining from 2009. I didn’t even realise maintenance was a term till I came on this site about 3 years ago. It was just, well, life continuining minus the weight.
  • paperpudding
    paperpudding Posts: 8,983 Member
    PAV8888 wrote: »
    But harming cucumbers would be better than harming innocent... spaghetti squash!!!

    Would be embarrassing to calculate how many pieces of chocolate cake had been harmed in the past 7 years. :s:D

  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,811 Member
    I tackled my weight loss a bit like a project, SMART objectives and all that jazz, and got to my goal weight on Christmas Eve 2012 - bang on target.
    (As a side note I probably wouldn't suggest that's a good option for many people but it was for me as I'm goal oriented on the positive side and have a tendancy towards procrastination on the negative side.)

    Since then I regard myself as being in weight maintenance as my weight has been at what I regard as a good weight range that I'm happy and healthy within. That range has varied a bit over the years (mostly for cycling power to weight ratio reasons) and what was my original goal is now my "red line" upper limit.

    I've settled on an annual pattern that means I'm heavier in winter and lighter the rest of the year so although I regard myself as maintaining there's periods every year where my weight is drifting up slowly and drifting down slowly. Mostly in line with my seasonal fluctuations in activity and more significantly exercise volume. Rather than fight what feels like a natural ebb and flow by maintaining in a very narrow band I decided to work with it and have a wider maintenance band but with an upper limit.
  • gallicinvasion
    gallicinvasion Posts: 1,015 Member
    tuckerrj wrote: »
    Maintenance (to me) started when I decided to start 'upping' my calories in an attempt to stop losing weight. Therefore (to me) maintenance started when I no longer tried to lose weight. True I dropped a couple more pounds before finding my proper maintenance calorie/activity goals. But that was incidental.

    Cool to hear that many others have similarly murky timelines when it comes to maintenance. But I like this concept tuckerrj uses; maintenance starts when you start trying to find your maintenance calories.

    I started my weight loss journey in May of 2018 (after starting to go to a cognitive behavioral therapist who really helped me understand the life-changing concept of habit-shifting and tiny incremental behavior-change process-oriented goals). I didn’t have a specific end-weight in mind; just wanted to feel better, be able to say yes to things, make clothes easier to buy and wear, not feel so self-conscious that it hampers all other areas of life. But in my mind, I thought a normal BMI made sense (and I found out along the way that it would put me around 120-145, though that all seemed like a totally unacheivable dream at the time). As I got closer, I started reading maintenance threads on MFP to prepare.

    As I actually amazingly got to a normal BMI, I thought it might sound good to shoot for the middle of the range, so around 135. This was around April 2019 I reached it, and I declared myself to be switching to maintenance at that time. I continued to lose because I was scared all the calculators were overshooting my maintenance calories, so I stuck to eating around 1800-1900 even though I was still losing like 3/4 lb per week.

    Eventually over the year I upped my calories gradually, to 2000, 2100, and finally my actual current maintenance level which is 2200. Over the second half of 2019, while doing that, I lost about 8 more lbs so my general range is now 123-129. But I would consider the whole process from April to be a maintenance-treasure-hunt. So I’ve been “maintaining” for exactly a year!

    It’s murky because goal weight-ranges can change depending on your life circumstances, your acceptance of yourself, the process of getting to know your habits and happiness better. I may decide to maintain from 140-150 in some other stage of my life, or maybe even 150-160, depending on what happens with my life circumstances, my body, my health, my work, my family, my habits, the state of the world 😂. But I think I will still call it maintaining, and not regaining, if it remains purposeful and intentional (or if I nip a regain in the bud fairly quickly 😉)

    Thanks for this question!
  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 13,585 Member
    So far we have strong votes for:
    --"conscious decision to increase calories to seek maintenance"
    --"reaching a goal"
    --and a more vague concept of ranges and continuing life "without the weight"

    I am more in the last camp because I never had a real goal when I started (except to mitigate increased missing out on life due to weight) and only "vague" goals when I got closer to where I stopped: get to a normal weight and fat percentage and stay there. The last being the only true goal.

    And by the time I would consider maintenance I knew what my maintenance levels were as compared to my Fitbit to within less than 30 Cal of unpredictability, if that.

    Which explains this thread, I guess, since I didn't really have a defined "moment of transition" such as a "reaching goal" moment. It has been more... just keep going on an even keel--if gaining: real it in slowly

  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,030 Member
    So far, IMO, it's been a very interesting thread, @PAV8888 . Most folks who've commented have been detailed enough that it really highlights how much difference personality/outlook make in our individual approaches to managing weight, even when we're comparing mostly-successful paths. Good question.