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Do you try to gain weight back when you slip below your maintenance range?

sofrancessofrances Member, Premium Posts: 146 Member Member, Premium Posts: 146 Member
I've had a few times where I have slipped below my maintenance range, and then just set a new, lower one. But I know I can't keep doing that forever. After a panic about a month back where my weight spiked up, I have settled into a slow loss again.

But the idea of trying to put weight on - even just a few pounds - is quite frightening to me. I feel like once I start gaining, I won't be able to stop, or it will be difficult to reduce my calories down to maintenance again.

What do you do if you slip below your maintenance range? Have you tried to gain a bit to get back into it? Did it turn out OK or did it end in disaster?
edited November 2020
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Replies

  • psychod787psychod787 Member, Premium Posts: 3,882 Member Member, Premium Posts: 3,882 Member
    are you having hunger or hormonal issues? Is your body fighting you back to regain?
  • sardelsasardelsa Member, Premium Posts: 9,821 Member Member, Premium Posts: 9,821 Member
    It depends on my goals. If I'm trying to build muscle over time, yes. Or if my weight gets below a certain threshold ( for example lower than 125lbs for me).
    I will eat more and gain a bit.

    You don't have to add a crazy amount, even 100 cals, an extra snack.

    If I am planning on continuing to cut down and I'm not near the threshold, then no. I just let it be.

    Are you at the low end of weight or trying to recomp? Are you unhappy with your results, feeling weak and deprived? If not, then I would probably not worry too much about trying to regain.

    Being comfortable with weight fluctuations (especially going up) can be daunting at first but over time you (hopefully) get used to it.
    edited November 2020
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 18,106 Member Member, Premium Posts: 18,106 Member
    Yes, I have.

    One clear case: When I was first trying to tune in my maintenance calorie level, I overshot the bottom of my goal-weight range. Realistically, there's only so thin I (or anyone else) can be, and still have best odds of continuing good health (even ignoring appearance implications, i.e., skeletally thin is really not attractive, generally). I definitely gained intentionally, and did stabilize my weight long-term within the range.

    Starting many months later, I did experience some slow regain (at a creep, like averaging 2-3 pounds a year, maybe, with some ups and downs). Generally, I'm not too freaked out about that kind of gain, as long as (1) I'm in a healthy range, and (2) I don't have to buy new, bigger clothes (hate to shop). At the end of last year, I was clearly pushing toward that "new clothes" end of things, so I started intentionally creeping my weight back down again super slowly, averaging around a pound a month loss since (125-ish calorie daily deficit, nearly painless). Now, I'm pushing toward the "must buy new *smaller* clothes" boundary, so I'll be slowing/stopping the bus soon.

    These are things IMO that I can observe, and act on. I have the skills needed. I've just gotta wanna, then do it. For me (won't speak for others) it's most helpful if I keep emotions out of it, and treat it as sort of a grown-up science fair project. I know I can do it, because I've done it before.

    You've done weight loss before, too. And too-thin isn't healthy or attractive.

    Best wishes!
  • sijomialsijomial Member, Premium Posts: 17,580 Member Member, Premium Posts: 17,580 Member
    One of the switches I had to throw to maintain successfully at goal weight was to decide that I choose what my weight will be - it doesn't just happen by accident. If I drift out of my range I correct that drift.

    I have in the past deliberately picked a weight that turned out to be too low to maintain comfortably in pursuit of a better power to weight ratio for my main sport of cycling. Ultimately it made maintenance too hard and too hungry. But the choices to lower my weight and then reverse that loss were deliberate actions.

    You need to take care over these thoughts....

    "But the idea of trying to put weight on - even just a few pounds - is quite frightening to me"

    If you can't by yourself switch weight maintennce to being a logical exercise and not an emotional reaction maybe consider getting some help with that? It's actually quite a concern. You can set an upper limit and you don't forget how to lose weight, it's actually a very normal thing that people have to do in maintenance as it's not a perfectly flat line for the rest of your life.
  • spiriteagle99spiriteagle99 Member Posts: 2,963 Member Member Posts: 2,963 Member
    Where are you in terms of a healthy weight range? If you're already on the low end, then I would deliberately try to gain back some weight. If you were trying to maintain at the higher end of healthy weight, then you can lose a few pounds and not worry about it.

    When I lost weight several years ago, my initial maintenance was 130-135 because that felt sustainable and I felt like I looked pretty good at that weight. Then I started running more (marathon training) and my weight dropped. I was okay with that because 130 was right in the middle of the range of healthy for my height (5'6") and it is considered healthy to be as low as 115 or so. Eventually I stabilized at 121-124 lbs. I can eat pretty much what I want at that weight as long as I stay active, which I enjoy doing. I am a bit too thin, but I rather enjoy that after a lifetime of being pudgy. Occasionally, my weight drops below 120 and I immediately start eating more. I'll go out to dinner or add more snacks to my day. I also find I get really hungry when I drop below 120, so it is easy to eat more. Ideally, the calories should come from healthy food, but they don't always.
  • sofrancessofrances Member, Premium Posts: 146 Member Member, Premium Posts: 146 Member
    psychod787 wrote: »
    are you having hunger or hormonal issues? Is your body fighting you back to regain?

    Nothing obvious. I have hungry days now and then, but not too often at the moment. I'm quite tired come bedtime, but who isn't?
  • sofrancessofrances Member, Premium Posts: 146 Member Member, Premium Posts: 146 Member
    Where are you in terms of a healthy weight range? If you're already on the low end, then I would deliberately try to gain back some weight. If you were trying to maintain at the higher end of healthy weight, then you can lose a few pounds and not worry about it.

    My BMI is 23.3, so I'm not in any immediate danger of becoming underweight, although I do look thinner in the face than is ideal.

    If I were underweight or close, I would be trying to gain, no question.
    edited November 2020
  • sofrancessofrances Member, Premium Posts: 146 Member Member, Premium Posts: 146 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    For me (won't speak for others) it's most helpful if I keep emotions out of it, and treat it as sort of a grown-up science fair project.

    Thanks. Thats a helpful way of seeing it.
  • charmmethcharmmeth Member Posts: 718 Member Member Posts: 718 Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    You can set an upper limit and you don't forget how to lose weight, it's actually a very normal thing that people have to do in maintenance as it's not a perfectly flat line for the rest of your life.

    I think this is key. One of my challenges is having my response trigger at ca. 78 kg (getting towards the top of normal bmi for me) rather than 88 kg (right at the top of overweight bmi for me). I would also want triggers at the bottom of my healthy range, though these days I am not aiming for it and don't expect to get there. I have programmed my spreadhseet to show green when I am within my desired range, amber if I am just out, red over or under normal BMI, and hope this will help. Good luck!

    edited November 2020
  • ahoy_m8ahoy_m8 Member Posts: 2,182 Member Member Posts: 2,182 Member
    I don't. If I eat at TDEE for a while, that will take care of it with no additional effort. The reverse, sadly, isn't true. When I'm over maintenance range, it takes a little more effort to get back in range.
  • SummerSkierSummerSkier Member, Premium Posts: 2,032 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,032 Member
    ahoy_m8 wrote: »
    I don't. If I eat at TDEE for a while, that will take care of it with no additional effort. The reverse, sadly, isn't true. When I'm over maintenance range, it takes a little more effort to get back in range.

    haha... You are so right. @sofrances this is definitely a legitimate question to ask and there have been a lot of interesting and helpful answers. It does come down to the individual tho and what their goals are. Best of luck and glad you are on a good trend!
  • LivingtheLeanDreamLivingtheLeanDream Member Posts: 13,264 Member Member Posts: 13,264 Member
    I can't say I've ever slipped below my maintenance range.... (it was a fight to get there and stay there)
  • SummerSkierSummerSkier Member, Premium Posts: 2,032 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,032 Member
    I can't say I've ever slipped below my maintenance range.... (it was a fight to get there and stay there)

    I did once and it was really strange. Of course that was a few years back when I first was starting maintenance and I realized for the first time ever in my life I definitely did NOT need to lose any more weight. Of course shortly after I got the flu (the normal flu altho I did lose my sense of taste and smell back in Jan 2018) . Eating at TDEE and about everything else went out the window for a month. When I got back to life I was in a good range again. So I think I would have to be crazy or have an ED to want to go back to underweight.
  • briscogunbriscogun Member Posts: 1,012 Member Member Posts: 1,012 Member
    sofrances wrote: »
    I've had a few times where I have slipped below my maintenance range, and then just set a new, lower one. But I know I can't keep doing that forever. After a panic about a month back where my weight spiked up, I have settled into a slow loss again.

    But the idea of trying to put weight on - even just a few pounds - is quite frightening to me. I feel like once I start gaining, I won't be able to stop, or it will be difficult to reduce my calories down to maintenance again.

    What do you do if you slip below your maintenance range? Have you tried to gain a bit to get back into it? Did it turn out OK or did it end in disaster?

    The short answer is yes.

    If I'm on the lighter side... WOO HOO! I get some extra food or drinks! There are even times where if I know I'm likely to have a big meal or whatnot, I will eat at a deficit for a few days ahead of time and purposefully go to the bottom of my range (or below a bit) to allow for what's coming up.

    Maintenance for me is sort of bouncing around within a +/-5 lb range (so total of 10 lbs). Some days I'm up, some days I'm down. Right now I'm like half a pound over my top end after a Thanksgiving weekend with family (It was more like a 4 day event not just one day... :)).

    I think it's different for everyone. Some people can't stop once they start, once the floodgates open its hard to stop. Other people can seem to eat more here, eat less there and manage it ok. Just do what seemd to be best for you! No right or wrong answers!
  • bold_rabbitbold_rabbit Member Posts: 967 Member Member Posts: 967 Member
    Guess I'm the odd one out here. I started maintenance in March. I have lowered my bottom range a couple times because I just keep slowly losing. I'm 5'3" and currently weigh a little under 120 lbs, so I'm in no danger of being underweight. I was initially stressing so much about continued weight loss, even though it was very slow, then my friend asked if it would be that bad if I weighed a few pounds less and I realized she had a good point.

    While I have calculated exactly how many calories I need to eat (1485 net), it can be hard for me to reach that during active months due to GERD issues. I did gain some in August cause it's super hot here which lowered my exercise calories (I'm mostly an outdoor walker). I was perfectly okay with that gain.

    I am a bit concerned about my clothes getting too big. I really don't want to have to buy more!
  • charmmethcharmmeth Member Posts: 718 Member Member Posts: 718 Member
    I have lowered my bottom range a couple times because I just keep slowly losing.

    Last time I lost I was aiming for 75kg (as I am now), and then adjusted to 72kg, and then thought "I'll just see if I can get below 70kg," which I also did. However, what I did not then do was then to work out where I wanted to maintain and work out how to do it. My weight drifted up for a couple of years, and then shot up when I was put on some medication and hit peri-menopause. This time I am thinking much harder about where to maintain. I'm aiming again for 75kg +/-2.5kg, but might see after a few months whether 72kg +/-2.5kg doesn't feel better.
    I am a bit concerned about my clothes getting too big. I really don't want to have to buy more!

    Yes, I am facing this too! In particular, I bought all my sports clothes slightly too small and they are now a good fit, with ca. 1.5kg to go to goal. I hope my leggings don't start falling down.

    edited December 2020
  • sgt1372sgt1372 Member Posts: 3,805 Member Member Posts: 3,805 Member
    No.

    That usually happens w/o any special attention on my part. It's the losing wt part that requires concerted effort.
  • springlering62springlering62 Member, Premium Posts: 2,154 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,154 Member
    I’m on the lower edge of normal BMI at 20.4. I’ve been trying to maintain around 131-132.

    I was scared when I dropped a few pounds lower than that several times, that it was too low, and ate well for a couple of days to get it back up, but I’m getting more comfortable with it now.

    I was underweight until my mid 20’s, but wore it well. I don’t want to be that low again, but am not as scared of slightly lower as I was. Tbh I don’t think I could go much lower than my lowest point so far, without a great deal of trouble and worrying I was verging on an ED, so it ain’t gonna happen.

    You never know where the line is in the sand with a fairly large weight loss and the constant monitoring and adjusting that entails, versus ED. I try to be very conscious of over-thinking or obsessing, but the past couple years really has been like a full time job. Don’t wanna relax now.

    🤷🏻‍♀️
  • mylittlerainbowmylittlerainbow Member Posts: 629 Member Member Posts: 629 Member
    I'm going to now. I had fallen below the bottom of my goal range - fine. But I've continued to fall and now I'm 1.5 lbs above the bottom of the normal weight range for my height and 4 lbs below the bottom of my goal range. BMI is 19.1. So I'm upping my calories (I was staying in the low 1300s and now I'll try to get to the low 1400s) so as not to keep losing and hopefully get a little closer to my goal range. This is becoming too big of a cushion for my comfort. My focus was more on recomp because I still have a significant amount of belly at, but I guess I was meanwhile losing weight and I don't want that to continue.
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