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What happens when you have A Bad Day/go over your calories-

wunderkindkingwunderkindking Member Posts: 1,330 Member Member Posts: 1,330 Member
Friday, I went to spend a few days at a cabin on a lake.

During those few days I didn't really track anything except my morning coffee, so I'd keep my streak and have something in my diary. The rest of the time? I just ate. A lot. Hot dogs, s'mores, pizza, hamburgers, a whole bag of chips + container of dip, candy, an entire bottle of wine - loosely estimated and averaged, probably about 4,000 calories a day, for 3 days.

I was definitely more active while we were there, but not enough to account for more than twice my maintenance calories - nowhere near, to be honest.

I did nothing but get back to my usual calories when I got back - and less than usual exercise the first day because I was tired.

I knew it was coming up, so I did an 'Ann Experiment'.

Friday morning (pre trip) - 130.1
Monday afternoon when I returned - 132.6
Tuesday - 131.7
Wednesday - 131.7
Thursday (today) - 130.1

A day or even few being off your usual plan - and subject aside I won't call them bad days, because for me they were EXCELLENT days - isn't going to ruin you. It isn't the end of the world. It isn't a big deal.

I'd encourage almost anyone to do this sort of experiment if they can take the initial jump on the scale. Largely because I think it's a good weapon against 'all or nothing' thinking - ie: I ate more than I intended/wanted for a day or two, everything's ruined forever now. KNOWING what happens - in general but also for YOU - is powerful.


  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 21,945 Member Member, Premium Posts: 21,945 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Great post - love seeing it.

    Not sure how I feel about the eponymous infamy, though. 😉🤣 (I'm so vain, I think that remark was about me. 🤣)

    BE FLATTERED> You're our resident laid back, experimental, guru.

    🤣 That'll be the day. But thanks. I'll own "laid back", mostly, "experimental", maybe.

    Others: Wunderkindking was, I believe, referring to this thread:

    . . . which has just been bumped with a cross-link to this thread you're reading now.
  • wunderkindkingwunderkindking Member Posts: 1,330 Member Member Posts: 1,330 Member
    switching over to maintenance has been weird as heck for me, too - even with diet breaks along the way.

    I lost a little less than 60 pounds. that means my maintenance calories, even if my activity level hadn't gone up (and it has) it'd' be a sub 600 calorie difference day to day to maintain where I am now vs where I was. that's not actually a lot of food, given that my primary cause of weight gain were small, consistent, stupid decisions (ie: lots of butter, cream in my coffee, salad dressings, mayo, drowning pancakes in real maple syrup, etc.)

    When I was actively losing there was a LOT of figuring out how to eat and a lot more changes, but as I have a-) gotten used to the lower calorie condiment subs and b-) needed to eat more calories, it FEELS almost like I'm eating exactly as I was before. In truth unless my activity level drops again, it's... not far off, in spite of being pretty active before. Maybe 200-400 calorie difference between starting calorie counting and to maintain 189 and to maintain 130 now.

    The easy was the goal and I'm glad but also. Weird. Weird weird weird. Uncomfortably weird.
    edited September 24
  • missysippy930missysippy930 Member Posts: 2,520 Member Member Posts: 2,520 Member
    I remember my first Thanksgiving after I started. Ate everything. Didn’t want to get on the scale the next day, but I did. Surprisingly, only up 1-1/2 pounds. By the following Thursday, had lost 3 pounds. This time I didn’t let myself give up, and tell myself I’d start over again on Monday. It can be a mind game.
  • kshama2001kshama2001 Member Posts: 25,131 Member Member Posts: 25,131 Member
    arobey11 wrote: »
    Hear, hear! I've been in a deficit for most of the last 7 months and last week I just ate, and ate, and ate. At first I thought "well I'm just starving in general, maybe because I'm around 20 pounds from my goal weight, I'll reduce my deficit" but that did nothing to deter me. I gave up and just ate.

    Back on my regular deficit this week without an issue and I've lost 7 lbs since Monday - water and waste. I was feeling pretty crappy about myself last week because I seemed to have lost control but in the grand scheme of things it didn't really ruin my progress or anything. I must have just been really hungry for some reason!

    I had a very similar experience 7 months in this year, but wasn't as smart as you to figure out the "20 pounds away from goal" connection right away, despite posting this graphic all the time.


    So I had an unplanned maintenance break for a while. But I've since reduced my deficit and have stopped the overeating.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 21,945 Member Member, Premium Posts: 21,945 Member
    I'm sorry but the main thing I took away from this is I need to be at a cabin on a lake. 😁

    In all seriousness, it's a different number of calories every day and the important thing is that it's about right on average.

    I agree about the lake, with possible some provision for a tent vs. cabin: Flexible.

    And generally, I agree the key thing is about being right *on average*, over time.

    Still, I think that maybe part of what @wunderkindking is trying to say, and certainly some of what I tried to say in my somewhat-related thread, is that averaging may not work out exactly as one would expect, for some of us, based on pure calorie math, when we're talking about *very* *rare*, rather extreme, over-goal eating.

    Some of that, of course, is about the more detailed/complicated math that Stephanie Buttermore describes in one of her "many thousand calorie days and aftermath" YouTubes. Bodies are dynamic, and that sort of thing, putting it less technically. I also wonder if there are calorie/nutrient absorption limits within a digestion cycle, when presenting the body with excess that it hasn't trained to manage recently - but that notion's pure speculation.

    I'm firmly convinced that too many people freak out too often about some over-goal calorie intakes, in a way that's extremely, extremely out of proportion to even the theoretical-maximum-gain calorie math . . . let alone the possibility that that math is more simplified than usual when it comes to unusual case. That's just not necessary, and usually unhelpful.
  • russellholtslander1russellholtslander1 Member Posts: 129 Member Member Posts: 129 Member
    I think many people eat too few calories, and lower their metabolism. Then they gain when they finally eat.

    If you can eat some extra calories, and then get right back on a plan, then you aren't eating extra due to cravings.. you probably were eating a few too few calories, and eventually your body wanted more calories.. or like here, an opportunity to eat extra presented itself or was chosen.

    It appears that a temporary period of extra calories, may simply have revved up your metabolism, and in the long run, you burned off the extra calories. I eat low carb, but find that many of my biggest weight drops come after a particularly large meal.. I eat extra and lose.

    It's more complicated than we think, and we eat great some days, and lose nothing or gain, and eat poorly, and lose at times.. but in the end, all that really matters, is that you are able to follow your plan when you want to, and maintain a healthy weight, or see some weight loss, if you need that.

    We have general guidelines, but I think most people would be surprised to find out they could lose weight, eating 250 calories more than they are currently eating, and a lot of people on 1200 calorie diets, are struggling.

    It's not that surprising when you factor those extra calories, over a week.. the body doesn't care what day you ate the calories.. all that matters is that over time, you have the proper amount average. So if you eat 1500 all week, and then eat 2500 on the weekend.. the body only knows it got 12,500 that week.. 1786 a day.. only 286 extra per day, and 2 weeks later, those 2 days are a blip on the radar, not some catastrophic event. Any weight gain will be temporary, as long as you get right back on plan.

    What you eat is part of your life, not a science experiment. If one bad day ruins everything, your plan wasn't working anyways. It isn't something you could maintain for long, if you need to be perfect.

    Glad you enjoyed the time at your cabin.
  • neffyworldneffyworld Member Posts: 82 Member Member Posts: 82 Member
    I've just had three days where I ate excessive calories, as an early treat for my birthday, so it should be interesting to see the weight come off. I haven't actually weighed myself though.
  • WalkywalkersonWalkywalkerson Member Posts: 186 Member Member Posts: 186 Member
    I'm sorry but the main thing I took away from this is I need to be at a cabin on a lake. 😁

    Haha me too 😄
    I'm so jealous!
    I've just had a weekend of excessive calories (again)
    I'm straight back on plan today starting with a nice long walk.
    I'm losing around a pound a week with most weekends 'off plan'
    My weekends keep me sane - they're part of living.
    It works for me - even if the weightloss is slower than if I went all in.
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