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Maintaining and logging calories

sweetdaisy13sweetdaisy13 Member Posts: 102 Member Member Posts: 102 Member
I started logging my food intake in March, having never previously counted calories, as I wanted to see if I could lose a few stubborn pounds to reach my goal weight of 122 lbs (I'm female, 5ft 4inch and active through running, rebounding and doing isometric exercises).

I'm now 120 lbs and have lost 7lbs, since 10th March. I'm looking to maintain at this weight and am only weighing myself twice a week (Wednesday and Saturday's).

From logging my calories, I've learned that snacking was a problem as I was often consuming more calories snacking than I was for my main meals.

I did a little experiment from Wednesday until this morning where I took a break from logging my intake, just to see how I was doing and I lost a pound from my weigh in on Wednesday.

So, my question is to those who have successfully maintained their weight: do you continue to log your intake daily or have you just learned over time, what you can/can't eat etc?

I've never previously counted calories because I felt worried about falling into a trap of becoming consumed and obsessed by counting everything and am interested to see how others manage their weight.
edited April 17


  • tennesseehilltennesseehill Member, Premium Posts: 1 Member Member, Premium Posts: 1 Member
    This is a great question! I’ve been wondering the same thing. I’m following to see what people who’ve done this a while are doing successfully. 👍🏻👍🏻❤️
  • NVintageNVintage Member Posts: 391 Member Member Posts: 391 Member
    I just lost about 5 pounds that I had gained those first few months of covid lockdown, but feel the same way you do about calorie counting. I guess technically I am still watching calories, but I have all my favorite meals saved to where it takes less than a minute to copy them to make a meal plan for the day.
    Like this today:
    The Plan~*Drink Some Water! *~ Calories
    *30 Min. + Exercise/Housework*

    Add Food Quick Tools
    Eat When Hungry From 930AM-
    Generic - Peach Preserves, 0.3 tbsp 20g 15 4 0 0 0 2
    sams club - creamy almond butter, 1 tablespoon 90 5 8 3 0 2
    Natures Own - Wheat, 1 slice 50 10 1 4 0 1
    20oz Fresh Brewed - Coffee (Black), 20 oz 5 0 0 1 0 0
    Fairlife - Fairlife® Fat-free Ultra-filtered Milk, 0.25 Cup (240mL) 35 2 0 3 30 2
    Organic sugar - Sugar, 2 tbsp(s) 90 24 0 0 0 24
    Add Food Quick Tools 285 45 9 11 30 31
    Pasta e Piselli (Pasta with Peas) (copy), 1 serving(s) 522 76 18 17 454 4
    Add Food Quick Tools 522 76 18 17 454 4
    Taylor Farms - Sweet Kale Salad, 0.5 cup (100 g) 53 6 3 1 47 4
    olives - garlic stuffed olives, 4 olives 40 1 6 4 0 0
    Kebler - Club Crackers, 4 crackers 70 9 3 1 125 1
    Homemade - Deviled Eggs, 1 Egg 97 2 9 8 225 1
    Cherry Tomato - Raw, 5 raw 20 4 0 1 10 2
    havarti - Havarti Cheese, 1 oz 110 1 9 6 210 0
    Our Daily Red - Organic Red Wine, 8 oz 92 2 0 0 6 2
    Add Food Quick Tools 482 25 30 21 623 10
    + 150 Cal. Drink/Dessert Maybe
    Add Food Quick Tools

    Totals 1,289 146 57 49 1,107 45
    Your Daily Goal 1,200 135 53 45 2,300 45
    Remaining -89 -11 -4 -4 1,193 0

    . During the day I don't count calories or weigh anything, but just try to follow the plan. If I'm hungry I have a snack and I might have a soda or extra wine. I know that I'm not going to go over 1800 calories, which is what I'd have to eat every day to start gaining weight again.
  • Speakeasy76Speakeasy76 Member Posts: 519 Member Member Posts: 519 Member
    It really is a personal preference and finding out what works for you to determine whether or not you'll need to track and log to be able to maintain this weight.

    I successfully lost about 35 pounds 8-9 years ago and generally kept it off using MFP. I stopped logging at some point, and my weight started to creep up a bit. When that happened, I started tracking or consciously doing things to lose it. Then, like you, when Covid happened, I decided to see if I could lose those last stubborn 8 pounds or so by going back to MFP. I was worried about becoming obsessive and anxious, which can happen anytime I set out to lose weight as I have a long history of restrict-binge eating. I reached my goal of 143 at 5'8 last September, and have lost a few more. I still continue to track, which I think at this point may be more of a crutch, but I still think it keeps me mindful of how much I'm eating.

    I think we're all different in terms of what keeps us mindful of how much we're eating. I love the concept of mindful eating, and I know it's still something I need to work on as I often eat too quickly or while doing other things. By using tracking, I compare it to using a top-down approach to being more mindful about what and how much I'm eating. Others can use a bottom-up approach, where they just learn to trust their bodies, etc., to know what and how much to eat to maintain their current weight.
  • sweetdaisy13sweetdaisy13 Member Posts: 102 Member Member Posts: 102 Member
    Thank you everyone for all your replies.

    I'm pretty new to all this calorie counting/logging etc and have struggled for a couple of years to get to my current weight, even though I didn't have a lot of weight to lose. I had previously put it down to my age (42 years old) and wrongly believed it was my age preventing me from losing weight. But whilst it is easier to lose weight when you're younger, I think I was using age as an excuse to not sort myself out.

    I guess I just needed some discipline and to see in black and white where I've been going wrong. One thing I do know is that if I restrict too much, then it affects my running and I'm more prone to becoming injured and generally feel drained.

    I can't bring myself to eat back all of my exercise calories, but I do allow myself to have some treats when it's a heavy exercise day. I don't exclude any food groups, just try to eat in moderation and I'm more aware of portion control.

    Buying a digital food scale has been a real eye-opener in terms of how much is actually a recommended portion size, to what I previously considered was a 'normal' portion.

    I hope I can continue to be mindful of what I'm eating and if the numbers start going up on the scale, I'll revert to logging everything to reign it back in.
  • cmriversidecmriverside Member Posts: 31,251 Member Member Posts: 31,251 Member
    There are several similar threads in this Maintaining Weight could peruse some of them. It's a common question. :)

    I still log food daily using a digital food scale 14 years after I lost 70 pounds. I don't feel obsessive and it works for me.

    You'll find your way.
  • spiriteagle99spiriteagle99 Member Posts: 3,079 Member Member Posts: 3,079 Member
    I don't weigh or measure my food, but I do log it every day even though my weight loss was several years ago. Like RosebarnAlice, I have a history of yoyo dieting. As soon as I stop paying attention, I go back to old habits, mostly in terms of eating a lot of sugary food. Then I get afraid to weigh myself because I know I won't like the result. Sooner or later, I find myself back at the previous high weight, or beyond. This time I decided I didn't want to play that game again. I lost 55 lbs. and continued to log and to weigh myself a couple of times a week. I am also a runner and that gives me a lot of leeway in my eating. Truth is, I frequently eat over goal, but I seem to burn it off. I've been at 121-124 lbs. for at least 6 years.
  • sijomialsijomial Member, Premium Posts: 18,362 Member Member, Premium Posts: 18,362 Member
    I don't need to log food to maintain within my chosen range.
    Daily weighing to keep an eye on my weight trend and making adjustments to my food intake works for me.

    I do find exercise logging useful though as my daily allowance varies massively in line with my cycling. (I've almost doubled my food allowance today due to a long ride.)
  • FflpnariFflpnari Member Posts: 889 Member Member Posts: 889 Member
    I still log everyday. Its just accountability. Its to easy to add in extra bites or handful of something.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 19,760 Member Member, Premium Posts: 19,760 Member
    The right answer will be individual: It needs to work for *you*.

    This is my context:

    I have a history of obesity: I was fairly weight stable, but at a class 1 obese bodyweight, even for a decade plus after becoming active and competing athletically. I love food, tend to be hedonistic across the board. Fortunately for me, I love many nutrient-dense healthful foods, so I can enjoy eating while getting good nutrition. Also fortunately for me, I have a higher than average TDEE for my demographic, so I can get all the good nutrition I need, and still have calories for treats, quite regularly.

    I've come to realize that in order for my future self to have a pleasurable life, to be happy, I need to stay at a healthy bodyweight. At the same time, I want my current self to have every delicious bit of food and drink that I can possibly consume, while staying at that healthy weight. I also want to stay fit, so have good exercise performance, both for current enjoyment, and future Ann's quality of life.

    I don't find measurement (scale weight, food weight, etc.) stressful. I don't feel obsessive about it, while doing it. I don't freak out if I forget some measurement occasionally, because it's NBD in the big picture.

    This is my approach to maintenance, in year 5+ of maintaining a healthy weight:

    I log most days, and weigh most foods. My food scale sits on the counter, and it's automatic to use it (and I know all the ways to do it efficiently). When losing weight, and for a few months afterward, I logged conscientiously every day, even if I had to estimate (partly to nail down my true TDEE, because MFP's estimates for me are very inaccurate). Nowadays, if I have an especially difficult to estimate day, or am unusually short on time or attention span, I skip logging (part or all of a day - whatever). Often, those are higher calorie days because of restaurant/social occasions being harder to estimate but also usually higher calorie. From logging in the past, I have a decent feel for the maximum number of calories I can eat (2-3 times TDEE seems to be the top end). I don't worry about the skipped days, I just don't have super high days very often, and I keep an eye on the scale.

    Logging on most days only takes maybe 10 minutes, tops. That's a tiny "cost" for the benefits of staying at a healthy weight, getting good nutrition daily, and being able to eat every delicious calorie I burn. It's actually *less* stressful for me to keep logging, as I can indulge freely right up to my goal, and know that I'm not kicking future Ann in the (expanding) gut.

    You'll need to figure out what's most practical and least stressful for *you*, going forward. Maybe experiment with different approaches for a few weeks at a time? You have some history of sustaining a reasonable weight without logging in the past, it sounds like. Maybe that can work fine for you. I have a history as a hedonistic obese woman. I'm planning to keep logging indefinitely.
  • cwolfman13cwolfman13 Member Posts: 39,105 Member Member Posts: 39,105 Member
    I haven't logged in ages...

    But your experiment and losing 1 Lb over the course of a few days doesn't really tell you much. Maintenance is a range of weight, not a static number. My average maintenance weight is 180...I can easily be up or down from that number anywhere from 0-3 Lbs from day to day for no other reason that bodyweight fluctuates naturally.
  • sweetdaisy13sweetdaisy13 Member Posts: 102 Member Member Posts: 102 Member
    Thank you for all of your replies. They've been really insightful.
  • sweetdaisy13sweetdaisy13 Member Posts: 102 Member Member Posts: 102 Member
    Thank you @rosiekin, 6 years of being able maintain is amazing, along with not being a slave to the scales and weighing yourself.

    Feeling quite positive about the journey ahead and know there will be ups and downs, but hopefully I can get a system on place.
  • riffraff2112riffraff2112 Member Posts: 1,752 Member Member Posts: 1,752 Member
    Maintenance can be tricky! A continuation of logging and weighing assures accountability but for many people the knowledge and will power that they have gained can be enough to have success with it.
    I'd put myself in the category of people who have stopped logging and a year later have had to recommit to losing again.
  • bold_rabbitbold_rabbit Member Posts: 1,126 Member Member Posts: 1,126 Member
    I've been maintaining a little over a year. I weigh myself every day, but it's just one step in my morning routine. I also log my food, with about the same precision that I did when losing (probably a B or B+ effort). It gives me info on my nutrition and on my triggers for heartburn, etc, while giving me good data about CI/CO in maintenance.
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