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To add calories or not to add....

Jubee13Jubee13 Member Posts: 127 Member Member Posts: 127 Member
So I few weeks ago, I reached my goal weight. I weigh every day and was below goal for four or five days, but since then I’ve been 0.2 above, 0.5 above, or maybe just a few ounces below. After being at goal a few days, I had begun to add calories back (100), but I’m wondering if I shouldn’t add back until I’ve been at or under my goal wight for a more significant period of time. I need to eat about 1,200 calories a day to lose because I’m older and petite. (I’m also pretty active, but even so, eating 1,200 has me losing pretty slowly.) After eating 1,200 for so long, I was very excited to add calories back! Now I’m unsure about the best course of action! Any advice would be appreciated!


  • cmriversidecmriverside Member Posts: 30,158 Member Member Posts: 30,158 Member
    If you're at goal weight you should be eating at Maintenance calories.

    Did you read the sticky threads here in the Maintaining subforum?
  • Jubee13Jubee13 Member Posts: 127 Member Member Posts: 127 Member
    If you're at goal weight you should be eating at Maintenance calories.

    Did you read the sticky threads here in the Maintaining subforum?

    Yes, but it’s been awhile. I definitely need to go back and reread. To be more clear, I guess I’m wondering since I’ve been slightly above goal for the past week, should I wait to start adding back calories?
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 15,886 Member Member, Premium Posts: 15,886 Member
    There is a very real possibility that as you add calories, you'll see a little upward movement of the scale . . . and that that is not fat.

    If a person eats more calories, they typically will eat a little more sodium, more physical volume of food, and a few more grams of carbs. The sodium and carbs will slightly increase water retention, and the physical volume of an apple in your body has the same weight on the scale as an apple in your hand (until it's digested and the waste eliminated). So, it's realistic to expect a little uptick on the scale as you add calories. It will show up less if you add calories very gradually, but it may possibly still show up.

    Whether you should add calories now is a judgement call, and depends on your personality and psychology. From what you write, it doesn't seem like you're in a position of health risk either way, which says to me that any advice to us about whether or not to do it is just going to be reassurance of your judgement (or its reverse).

    As long as you're at a healthy weight (not severely underweight already), and as long as you've been losing quite slowly (as you say you have), then continuing at a tiny deficit for a short while shouldn't be a health risk.

    On the flip side, if you're adding back a modest increment of calories at a time, your risk of actual fat regain is quite low, or rather, the risk of adding fat unmanageably quickly is very low. (If you overshoot maintenance calories by 100 per day, it'll take over a month to gain a pound of fat, and that would be hard to even see on the scale amongst daily fluctuations, probably even hard to be certain about even with a weight trending app. (I use one myself, BTW, and have been losing ultra-slowly for a few months, so I have a bit of feel for how it responds to slow fat changes.)

    If you want to stabilize your weight, you'll need to go to maintenance calories eventually.

    The scale will likely wobble a bit for a while as you do.

    You know your own personality and temperament best.

    If you're wanting/needing reassurance about your course of action: You can trust your judgement. Add some calories now, add some later, do it gradually, do it all at once: Whatever works for you should be fine.

    Best wishes!
  • Strudders67Strudders67 Member Posts: 621 Member Member Posts: 621 Member
    There's also the real possibility that if you carry on eating at 1200, you'll lose more.

    I'm also short and was also on 1200. With a deficit of 140, I was losing very slowly. I reached my goal weight just at the start of lockdown. The gym closed, I was no longer going to the office (always snacks available) and my pre-prepped meals in the freezer were all geared to my 1200cals diet (with the gym largely offsetting the snacking at work). No gym but no endless supply of snacks, I thought maintenance would be fine. The extra 140 cals wasn't much more. And then suddenly I weighed 2kg (4lbs) less. For the last two weeks I switched my goal to gain weight by 0.5kg a week, just to stop the slide. I'm snacking a lot to boost my cals each day. I need to do some more batch cooking and make the portions bigger!
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