Calorie Counter

Message Boards Goal: Maintaining Weight
You are currently viewing the message boards in:

Switching to a deficit: trying for 6 weeks

gallicinvasiongallicinvasion Member, Premium Posts: 982 Member Member, Premium Posts: 982 Member
Hi there! Wanted to share that after maintaining my weight since around October 2019, I’ve decided to take around a 250 calorie deficit for 6 weeks. I THINK I have detected a slight upward trend in my average weight over the past three months or so (around 126 on average in April, and now my average is around 128/129, and this morning it was 130 due to some crazy salty meal/Lots of food in system/Period coming soon/etc).

I had a lot of resistance in my brain going from a 2100 calorie maintenance level to 1850 (switched MFP manually this morning). It’s like I’m worried that I’ll never be able to eat 2100 average again. Maybe I won’t, or maybe my activity level will go up or down in future; there’s a lot I can’t predict). BUT trying to look at the deficit as a temporary positive practice in switching from maintenance to slight deficit back to maintenance, and also practice in not getting too attached to one particular calorie goal number.

Anyone else in a similar boat, or has some past experience to share related to this?

Thank you!
«1

Replies

  • spiriteagle99spiriteagle99 Member Posts: 2,806 Member Member Posts: 2,806 Member
    I've had periods where my weight was up a bit, usually after travelling. I didn't formally change my daily calorie goal, I just worked at limiting some of the treats etc. that I eat normally. I usually know where I've been lax and where I need to pay attention. It ends up being a cut of about 100-200 calories a day, but I'm flexible so if I eat at my usual goal, I don't worry about it. Generally the weight disappears pretty quickly.
  • SuzySunshine99SuzySunshine99 Member Posts: 1,768 Member Member Posts: 1,768 Member
    I did this not too long ago. I noticed that I was pretty consistently at the top of my maintenance weight range. I don't mind visiting there from time to time, but it's not where I wanted to hang out long term...too easy to keep going up from there.

    I don't log anymore, except roughly in my head, so I just made a conscious effort to make a few changes that I knew would reduce my calorie intake by a couple hundred a day. I just reduced my portion sizes a little, cut back a bit on the treats, had one glass of wine instead of two, etc.

    It worked, and I'm actually now hovering around the lower part of my acceptable range. I have some notions of keeping it going...I could stand to lose a few "vanity" pounds...but, then again, I kinda want that second glass of wine again. :D
  • beulah81beulah81 Member Posts: 148 Member Member Posts: 148 Member
    Hi friend! Did your NEAT change since April? Even if it a small change like 70 cals a day that could be a gain of couple of pounds over a course of 4 months. I hear ya in terms of being attached to an eating goal #. If I was in your shoes I would shave off a 100-150 cals for 6-8 weeks and see what happens. You've got this!!
  • gallicinvasiongallicinvasion Member, Premium Posts: 982 Member Member, Premium Posts: 982 Member
    I've had periods where my weight was up a bit, usually after travelling. I didn't formally change my daily calorie goal, I just worked at limiting some of the treats etc. that I eat normally. I usually know where I've been lax and where I need to pay attention. It ends up being a cut of about 100-200 calories a day, but I'm flexible so if I eat at my usual goal, I don't worry about it. Generally the weight disappears pretty quickly.

    Yes, I think my 250 calorie deficit will help me be more mindful of those normal treats I go for. Maybe helping me get used to slightly smaller portions than I’ve been serving myself!

  • gallicinvasiongallicinvasion Member, Premium Posts: 982 Member Member, Premium Posts: 982 Member
    For me, occasionally needing to go into a small deficit is just a normal part of maintenance. I allow myself a 5 pound buffer for my maintenance weight and if I go over that then I know I need to reel myself in and start logging again. Most recently I was carrying around 4 pounds I had gained last summer and then the lockdown added 2 more pounds so it was time to create a small deficit for myself to return to my goal weight. I set my rate at 0.5 lbs per week which for me means 1660 calories PLUS eating back ALL exercise calories earned. I was extremely “hangry” for the first 3 days but after that it was honestly really easy watching my portions and getting in a bit more exercise in the form of extra walks in addition to my regular running schedule. I lost exactly as MFP predicted and got there just in time for bikini season. It’s a good feeling knowing I can always find my way back to my goal weight again whenever necessary simply by logging and slightly upping my activity. I am middle aged, hypothyroid and have mild PCOS and this has worked for me to maintain my weight for almost 7 years now. I don’t follow any special diet, I just eat less and move more. Now I’m back to not needing to log, I just weigh myself once a week and if I go over my threshold of 5 lbs again then it’s back to logging, this seems to be necessary about every couple of years or so.

    I’m really glad you have this healthy groove! And if it’s a few weeks at a deficit/logging/moving a little more (out of a few years at maintenance), that doesn’t sound so bad at all. I have to get over this feeling that I’ll never get to go back to my 2100 calorie maintenance level. We’ll see!

  • gallicinvasiongallicinvasion Member, Premium Posts: 982 Member Member, Premium Posts: 982 Member
    I did this not too long ago. I noticed that I was pretty consistently at the top of my maintenance weight range. I don't mind visiting there from time to time, but it's not where I wanted to hang out long term...too easy to keep going up from there.

    I don't log anymore, except roughly in my head, so I just made a conscious effort to make a few changes that I knew would reduce my calorie intake by a couple hundred a day. I just reduced my portion sizes a little, cut back a bit on the treats, had one glass of wine instead of two, etc.

    It worked, and I'm actually now hovering around the lower part of my acceptable range. I have some notions of keeping it going...I could stand to lose a few "vanity" pounds...but, then again, I kinda want that second glass of wine again. :D


    Yes, I kept thinking “I mean what’s the REAL difference (in quality of life) between 126 and 125?” But then when it started being 129 more often, I started to think that soon I’d need to go back to a slight deficit. But just temporarily 😂
  • gallicinvasiongallicinvasion Member, Premium Posts: 982 Member Member, Premium Posts: 982 Member
    briscogun wrote: »
    For me, occasionally needing to go into a small deficit is just a normal part of maintenance.

    I have found this to be very true for me. It's more art than science, but if the scale goes up I pull back on portions or treats, whatever I need to do to move the needle downward a bit. If it starts going down TOO far, hey good news! I get ice cream that night or a beer! If I know I'm going to have a splurge coming up (like I am this weekend) I'll eat at a deficit for a few days and "bank" some calories for the coming festivities.

    Its all just managing the swings. I'm NEVER going to be that guy that can "intuitively" eat and just manage my weight. I'll need to weigh and log for a long time I suppose to keep from bouncing back to my old weight (once again).

    Yes same! I don’t think I can imagine myself trying to eat without logging. It’s too easy and the benefits are too clear. Plus, I like knowing EXACTLY what I’ve eaten so I can fit in as many treats as is reasonable 😂
  • gallicinvasiongallicinvasion Member, Premium Posts: 982 Member Member, Premium Posts: 982 Member
    beulah81 wrote: »
    Hi friend! Did your NEAT change since April? Even if it a small change like 70 cals a day that could be a gain of couple of pounds over a course of 4 months. I hear ya in terms of being attached to an eating goal #. If I was in your shoes I would shave off a 100-150 cals for 6-8 weeks and see what happens. You've got this!!

    HEY GIRL!! 😊

    It’s possible (I’m thinking my body is slowly getting used to me doing the same-duration walks every day, and maybe my logging/weighting food is not as tight as it has been in the past).

    Yes I totally agree that I’m attached to that 2100 😂 but I need to get more flexible with that. It’s just a number.

  • gallicinvasiongallicinvasion Member, Premium Posts: 982 Member Member, Premium Posts: 982 Member
    PAV8888 wrote: »
    You don't need to hit -250 to slowly drift down. You don't even need to cut food to do it.

    You CAN (just as if you were starting up) do +75 in activity and -75 in food.

    ~150 is about 15.6lbs a year or 1.3lbs a month. In 3-4 months that's a full 5 lbs of weight trend.

    If you've been occasionally skipping on your logging, tightening up logging can also take care of a few of the calories without changing your 2100.

    Or you can see what you've been averaging and just aim to leave a few on the table...

    If you've drifted up... how long did it take? Drift down as slow or slower! (Dampen any pendulums)

    Hmm all good plans! I don’t know why I gravitated immediately taking a limited-time 250 deficit, rather than an extended-time 150 deficit. Maybe I am impatient; maybe it seemed easier to adjust to a shorter time of lower calories. I think if this ends up being hard, I may go your route instead. Or learn from this 6-week trial, and the next time I have to trend downward, revise the plan slightly based on lessons-learned.

    I DO know why I didn’t add activity (because I’m not a huge fan of spending more time than I already do on purposeful exercise, and I feel like I already walk about an hour a day for mental health and NEAT purposes, and I don’t know if I have time to add more distance/duration without impacting work/sleep/rest).

    I don’t skip any logging, and I weigh most items, but I do estimate a little more now with certain things. This could be an area to check out. Thank you for these thoughts!

  • gallicinvasiongallicinvasion Member, Premium Posts: 982 Member Member, Premium Posts: 982 Member
    PAV8888 wrote: »
    getting used to me doing the same-duration walks every day, and maybe my logging/weighting food is not as tight as it has been in the past

    Walk your route backwards? Change the route to something slightly more challenging (walk on grass, gravel, inclines, carry a small backpack--warning: danger to knees, increased risk of wiping-out and not being able to recover on the way down if the backpack is of substance... ask me how I know :lol: ), add a hop and a skip at every intersection and make sure logging is tight!

    Oooo I can get on board with carrying a backpack!
  • gallicinvasiongallicinvasion Member, Premium Posts: 982 Member Member, Premium Posts: 982 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I empathize for sure, friend Gallic: I got to about the same spot, except I let the drift go on further, up into the upper 130s (over the course of close to 4 years) before I decided I needed to Get Real.

    We even have similar numbers, I think: I believe I maintain somewhere around 2000-2100 +/- in pandemic conditions, maybe a hair more other times . . . though I've never set my MFP goal to that, because I calorie bank, and I bank in these later years a little sloppily (I don't bother estimating my high days anymore, if they're complicated/time-consuming/likely to be way off anyway). So, I've had my goal set at 1850 ever since getting into maintenance, IIRC in early 2016.)

    Around last October, I decided I needed to Get Serious, and drift weight back down again. I still didn't change goal from 1850, I just started minimizing size & frequency of those days where I was drawing on my calorie bank account (but I still have some). Maybe it's easier, psychologically, because of that banking practice? Makes it feel more like giving up some luxuries, not necessities? 🤷‍♀️

    Since then, I've been losing around a pound a month, maybe a little less, on average . . . which is soooo slooooowwwww 😆 . . . but IMO pretty painless. (Truth in advertising: Pandemic helped, by reducing social eating and brewpub temptations.) FWIW, I still consider myself in maintenance before and during this phase - it's just part of the long term process, IMO, as long as I'm meandering around within a range of healthy weights. (Health is my main motivation, so while I want to be on the lighter side, it's not something I'm too stressed about, as long as I feel like I'm below the risky zone . . . maybe I'm not stressed *enough* about it, in fact. Oh, well.)

    One observation: If you end up going as slowly as I've been, there will be times when the ongoing loss is Not. Obvious. At. All. Even Libra thought I was gaining for a good share of July, when I restarted strength training routinely. It doesn't take much water weight whackitude to cover up 0.25-0.5 pound/week fat loss. 🤣 If I leave the trend set on 7 days, trend runs up and down quite a lot - smooths out if I go longer. And that's in menopause! I'm happy I've been at this long enough to mostly trust the process.

    FWIW, I really don't see much change in my estimated maintenance numbers at all (not that I've been doing fancy spreadsheets to confirm this, like PAV does😉 - just saying my loss rate hasn't slowed enough to notice as I've gotten lighter). I think you'll be able to go back to 2100. If you're worried, start being twitchier, fidgeting more. Nah, just kidding. Sort of. I admit, I do push myself to do more of active home chore/projects, or movements in spare moments around the house, and things like that, if I feel like I'm getting a little too . . . placid? Every little bit helps, by a calorie or two. 😆

    Anyway, trend line peaked out around 138 or so back in September/October 2019, and I'm at 127.2 actual (128.3 trend) today, no big plan right now about where I stop - we'll see.

    You can do this, and you can choose whether to think of it as going back to weight loss/deficit for a while, or as a weight management thing in maintenance. Matters not. You can cut the 250 and go a little quicker, or cut less and go slower, or add some movement (or rocks in backpack) to burn a little more as part of that - doesn't matter.

    As always with these things, it's not even the case that you need to decide now, and not change your mind ever. If it were me, I'd decide on a general course and commit to it for a defined period of time, like a month, then re-evaluate. However, that's mainly because I know myself, and that would work better FOR ME than telling myself I could change my mind from moment to moment. (Though my current plan is pretty squishy itself, I guess.) In truth, as long as your strategy includes being in a small deficit on average over a period of time, you'll drift downward. (Even things like a bigger defict a couple days a week are on the table, if it's easier.)

    No worries, you've got this - you've accomplished so much already, this will be in the realm of easy.

    All the best!

    ❤️❤️❤️ You rock; thank you so much for sharing your methods and your mindset with these things. I really like your method of painless loss by reducing the amount of times you draw on the calorie bank. It’s heartening to hear that your maintenance numbers haven’t seen too much shifting!

    And I think we’re similar in that I feel much more desire to be active than the old Megan, who used to define herself by hating sports and moving around 😂 I feel like now, with a few exceptions every so often, I crave movement! If a Sunday comes along and I decide not to take my walk, I definitely feel the urge to do some movement-based chores or activities because my body FEELS better when it’s moving around. This definitely gives me hope and happiness, to trace that change in myself. And I think I can draw on that desire to help me get even a bit more movement in than I am currently.

    So glad to hear about your downward trend and success getting to the low end of the range!! So good to witness your journey and learn from you.

  • gallicinvasiongallicinvasion Member, Premium Posts: 982 Member Member, Premium Posts: 982 Member
    mtaratoot wrote: »
    Everything that @AnnPT77 said with this caveat:

    It WILL be easy. At the same time, your silly brain will try to convince you it not only isn't easy, but that you're not succeeding. Step back and see that you ARE.

    You've got the right attitude about it. Something went wrong; it can be fixed. You don't even need any spare parts, just make subtle changes in the fuel you're using and how you burn it. Don't be surprised if it goes faster than you expect.

    Or slower.

    But look down the road, and your next way station on this journey is waiting for you to arrive, water your horses, and keep on along your journey.

    Thank you so much for this encouragement! I appreciate what you’re saying; this IS the process and i can trust myself to make it happen in a way I can feel good about.
Sign In or Register to comment.