Starting to Think About Maintenance Halfway to Goal of Losing 56lbs

Greetings Everyone!

My wife had a very interesting comment yesterday when she looked at my weight loss graph over the entire span of MFP use. She goes: "ya know, you were successful at losing weight before but then you never had a plan for maintenance. Your trend is that you lost a bunch then started to put it right back on when you stopped dieting."

We were talking about my most recent milestone. I'm down to 189.2 from 221, which means this is officially the best I've ever done with weight loss. I'm down 32 lbs total with a 143-day MFP streak, but I've also surpassed the lightest I've ever been since starting MFP in August 2013. My 90-day average for loss is 13 lbs, which translates to 4.33 lbs/month or just about 1 lb/week. That's right where I want to be even though my total overall average is 31.8lbs/20.4 weeks = 1.56 lbs lost/week since I began.

My goal is to hit 165 lbs, so I'm 57% of the way there. I can actually count the number of times I've tried to lose weight since joining MFP and in the past 6 years I've started and quit TWELVE times. The second and third best attempts saw me drop 25lbs from 215 to 190 by August 2015 and 20 lbs from 220 to 200 by August 2017 after spending just a single year to put back on those 20 lbs. Other than those two attempts, I've only managed to lose 10lbs once, every other time was a measly drop of 3-7lbs before I gave up.

I have this week and next week of lifting before my second rest week/diet break which also means I'm halfway through the Book of Muscle Beginner Program having completed Stage 2 of 4. I've never made it to Stage 3 before quitting that program so I feel like I'm hitting milestones left and right. It feels like uncharted territory as I can barely remember the last time I weighed under 190 even though that was only in August 2015. My first weigh-in on MFP was 215 lbs in August 2013, so I'm possibly lighter than I've been in close to a decade.

In all that time, I never once dipped my toes into the social aspect of MFP and one of the first things I "discovered" was this mysterious "maintenance" that has its own section heading in the forums. I had no clue I should be doing maintenance, nor that I could (and should) be using MFP to log while trying to achieve maintenance. It's incredible. I'm barely half way to goal but I'm already dreaming about the day I can announce that I'm finally in maintenance!

Any useful tips or advice for someone half-way there? Specifically on the best way to transition, or do I literally just up my cals back to "normal?" Boy, when I type that it seems blatantly obvious... I just can't believe I had no clue that's what I should have been doing all along. If I'm being fully honest, it's not like I've managed to hit my goal in the past 6 years, so maybe it's silly to be talking about maintenance before ever getting there.


John B.


  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 25,205 Member
    As with other areas of the forums, I think you might find it helpful to read the most helpful posts topic (the "stickies") for the maintenance topic area of the forum. Here's a direct link:
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,730 Member
    Very astute of your wife.

    Whether maintenance for you is just dieting with a higher calorie allowance depends to a degree on how you are dieting. If it's just moderating your intake by eating less of the food you intend eating for the rest of your life then that pretty much sums it up. At least for the first few months until maintenance becomes normal.

    If however, you are dieting by eating "diet foods" or excluding items, or exercising to lose weight then yes you should make a transition plan.

    That transition may well start before getting to goal weight - tapering down your rate of loss for example.

    You might notice a few common traits amongst successful long term maintainers.
    My personal take on that would be:
    • Exercise for health/fitness/performance/enjoyment, not weight loss (that includes eating back exercise calories).
    • Vigilance about your weight trend (it's quite marked that the number of people who advocate daily weighing are far higher in the Maintaining Weight forum as opposed to the General Weight Loss forum - data not emotion, understanding of fluctuations not fear of them.)
    • Having an acceptable weight range not a single goal weight.
    • Enjoyment of special occasions but with moderation.
    • Realisation that getting to goal weight is just the start of a new phase - it's not an end point.

    I'm also sure there's some successful maintainers who do it very differently! Knowing your own strengths and weaknesses is key.

  • TavistockToad
    TavistockToad Posts: 35,731 Member
    well if you're already doing diet breaks, then you must have some idea of how you maintain, as you're already doing it periodically.

    you're right, MFP doesn't stop the second you hit goal.

    i second the idea of a goal range, not one set number, to account for fluctuations, and also whatever you're doing now while you're losing you need to be comfortable doing for the rest of your life - regular exercise, counting calories, only eating dessert once a week or whatever those things are.