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Question for Maintainers

ChickenKillerPuppyChickenKillerPuppy Member Posts: 204 Member Member Posts: 204 Member
I have been maintaining for a little over a year. I have stayed in my maintenance range which is 120-130 pounds the whole time, but I have spanned that 10 pound range during this past year.

I have found that most of that time I am still often eating in a deficit to allow for indulgences that come along, and then doing a lot of course correcting so I stay between 120-125. I like to get to the bottom (the 120) so that I have a cushion to gain a few, and I often do, and then I go back into a deficit to get back down.

Just wondering if others find themselves in a deficit as often as it feels like I do (with these same little course corrections), or if others tend to just eat at maintenance calories and their weight will just naturally fluctuate in a range. I don't mean you literally eat 2150 calories a day (those are my maintenance calories), I mean maybe have a few weeks where there are days a couple days where I eat 3000-4000 calories (and between 1500-1900 the other days) that week, and then other weeks where I may stay around 2000 on the weekends and 1600 during the week to make sure those 3000-4000 days that come around are taken care of.

I'm OK with what I'm doing, but sometimes I wonder if I should try and be more consistent. Interested in what others do/think. Thanks in advance!
edited April 6


  • SuzySunshine99SuzySunshine99 Member Posts: 2,141 Member Member Posts: 2,141 Member
    I generally eat at a slight deficit on work days so that I can go over my maintenance calories on my days off.

    It evens out for the most part and I stay within my 5-pound range.

    I think it would be hard for me to eat a consistent number of calories every day. That just wouldn't fit with some of the foods I want to eat on certain days.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 19,518 Member Member, Premium Posts: 19,518 Member
    Gee, I dunno.

    I let my weight creep up (quite slowly) in the first maybe 4 years of maintenance, up around 10-15 pounds but all within a healthy range. When my jeans started getting a little snug, somewhat over a year ago, I started creeping my weight back down again, intentionally super-slowly, like a pound or less a month. Now, the jeans are pretty loose again. I hate to shop, so I think it's time to stop the down-creep.

    Will I restart up-creep? I dunno. 🤷‍♀️ Do I care if I do? I dunno. 🤷‍♀️ (Sometimes my distaste for personal drama is *not* a strength. 😆)

    Even apart from this recent phase, there have been some gradual ups and downs, without a lot of extreme *trying* anywhere in there, more like seasonal tendencies to gain a bit in the Fall, maybe drop a bit in the Spring, gain on some long-weekend trips, lose gradually after, indulge a bit less if the up-creep is faster than I'd like (but without explicit "now I will adopt X deficit"), etc.

    I do routinely calorie bank (eat a little under maintenance calories) most days, to eat more (sometimes lots more) on the occasional day. It's not a 5/2 pattern at all, because I'm retired so I don't have weekends, sort of. It's also not a big deficit being banked - 100 or 150 calories, maybe? And I try not to let it run *too* long without a higher day.

    I'm still calling all of that "maintenance", because I want to. 😆 No, seriously: I'm calling it "maintenance" because it's in a range where my health is good, my performance is about as good as it's going to be given my age and laziness, and I don't have to buy new jeans, let alone a whole new wardrobe. (That part of weight loss, from obese to healthy was a nightmare, for me. New wardrobe? Shopping? Ugh.)

    I don't see anything odd or problematic about what you're doing. I'm not sure there's a bright line, but I consider moderate weight swings kind of normal and reasonable, but extreme yo-yos not very health-promoting. In my own life, some of the difference between those two, near the border, would be how I feel subjectively: Strength, fatigue, exercise performance, energy level, sense of well-being, etc.
  • cwolfman13cwolfman13 Member Posts: 39,023 Member Member Posts: 39,023 Member
    I typically maintain my weight pretty steadily. I don't log, so I can't say exactly how many calories I consume, but I would say my natural eating pattern is such that some days I may be in a deficit and others I am not. My usual maintenance range with fluctuations is a 3 or so Lbs either way. I will have fluctuations here and there that are outside of that, but they aren't a matter of routine. I typically intervene when I'm a consistent 5+ Lbs up with my upper threshold being 10 Lbs. This is typically seasonal. I'm a pretty active "play outside" kind of guy, so my weight only tends to creep up over the winter when I'm just out doing less and hibernating's pretty stable Spring, Summer, and Fall. Hitting my upper threshold weight wise usually coincides with the onset of more spring like weather and more activity, so I don't usually have to do much diet wise to "adjust"...usually increased activity pretty much does the trick...maybe a little dietary tweak to get things rolling.

    I never really had any kind of weight problem until I hit my 30s and started white collar desk job work. I've always been more or less a three squares a day and maybe a little afternoon snack and some post dinner desert kind of my bigger issues weight wise haven't really been food and overeating by copious weight stuff seems to flex more with changes in activity while my appetite and eating habits remain relatively static.
  • sijomialsijomial Member, Premium Posts: 18,266 Member Member, Premium Posts: 18,266 Member
    I have no idea how many days I'm over, under or at maintenance calories as I gave up food logging a long time ago.
    My guess is that most days I have big exercise burns I'm in a deficit, most days I don't exercise much I'm in a surplus, days I do moderate exercise (in terms of calories if not the exercise itself) I'm probably close to maintenance. My activity level is also often very varied.

    But if there's a social or family event involving a special meal or I'm particularly hungry the relationship between that day's needs and my intake isn't that important to me. It evens out over time.

    My calorie needs are very varied due to a lot of cycling so it's not unusual to eat wildly varied amounts day to day, 2,000 - 4,500 is a typical range and I feel no need to balance the books daily.

    My usual yearly pattern is to gain about 5 - 7lbs over winter and lose it again slowly in the Spring. 7lbs is my usual annual range and I set an upper limit that triggers action.

    "I'm OK with what I'm doing" - great! That's hugely important for long term adherance.
    "but sometimes I wonder if I should try and be more consistent." - Why? What aspect do you think it will improve for you? (I actively dislike restrictions and imposing consistency on myself in terms of either net or gross calories would feel like a restriction to me.)
    edited April 7
  • Strudders67Strudders67 Member Posts: 905 Member Member Posts: 905 Member
    After reaching my goal weight, last March, I (unintentionally) kept losing due to multiple things all changing at once. I've now adjusted MFP enough such that what it thinks I need to eat to gain 0.5kg a week is actually maintaining my current weight.

    Since my weight stabilised, around November, my weight has barely fluctuated more than half a kilo (approx 1lb). However, this is probably because, as I did when I was losing weight, I keep tabs on my weekly average via the app. Some days are definitely higher than others, and on some days I get more exercise than on others,but the average is in line with where I want to be.

  • bold_rabbitbold_rabbit Member Posts: 1,101 Member Member Posts: 1,101 Member
    I've been in maintenance just over a year. I still enter all my food into the app and have no plans to stop. My daily calories are all over the place, but that's mainly due to how hungry I feel and what meals I planned, since they can really vary in calories. I keep track of my average on a monthly basis (via a spreadsheet).

    I don't deliberately try to create a deficit, but my maintenance experience has been a slow loss of a pound every 3-4 months, so, if anything, I am trying to eat just a little bit more.
  • cmriversidecmriverside Member Posts: 31,150 Member Member Posts: 31,150 Member
    I think I do what you do.

    BUT I don't give myself a 10 pound range, it's five pounds - full stop.

    I have a goal, but I'm often over for a week and then back at goal and so on. I don't try to save calories for treats though, I just eat when I'm hungry for the most part.

    Many 3000 calorie days. During a month, probably from 3-6 3000 calorie days. It all works out as long as I stop on the body weight scale on a regular basis. That helps me course-correct quickly.
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