Maintain Weight without the Counting!

dpr73
dpr73 Posts: 495 Member
edited January 2020 in Goal: Maintaining Weight
Hi all, I am looking to ditch counting for food after counting religiously for several years. I have noticed that I can be a bit obsessive with tracking and wanted to get away from it and be healthier mentally.
Does anyone have any tips on how to maintain without counting? I try to follow my hunger cues but tend to underestimate and lose weight...right now I am 133.5 (my range is 135-140). I really don’t want to lose more weight and want to stay in my range for good. So any tips on how to do so without tracking would be good for me. Thanks!

Replies

  • dpr73
    dpr73 Posts: 495 Member
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    I haven't logged calories in years. I weigh in 2-3 times per week and monitor the trend. If I'm losing weight as a general trend over time (not just a fluctuation) I know I need to eat a little more. If I'm gaining weight as a general trend over time (not just fluctuations), I know I need to eat a little less.

    Maintenance is a range, not a singular number. My average maintenance weight is 180, but can fluctuate typically anywhere between 177 and 183. I usually put on 8-10 Lbs from about October through December and cut it starting in January. 10 Lbs of actual weight increase is my intervention point.

    So if you go to 193 and if you go below 167 you intervene and eat more? My range is 135-140 and I’m currently 133.6 so I was gonna try to eat more to go back to 135 considering I fell out of my range
  • sardelsa
    sardelsa Posts: 9,826 Member
    It can definitely be done. I would agree with the others that tracking your weight (especially your trend weight over time if you can) will give you an idea of your intake and you can adjust it accordingly. Now, it can take some time to get a baseline and to know your fluctuations.. knowing what looks like maintenance vs gaining... knowing that maybe extra salt makes your weight jump or a lower carb day makes your weight drop, or adding or taking away volume from your workouts can affect the scale significantly. Over time you will get to know your body and what is going on. Also taking measurements, photos and all that can help too.

    What also works for me when I don't want to track and maintain, I don't go crazy with changing my eating day to day so it is easier to cut down or add a portion when the scale is moving too fast one way or another.
  • dpr73
    dpr73 Posts: 495 Member
    sardelsa wrote: »
    It can definitely be done. I would agree with the others that tracking your weight (especially your trend weight over time if you can) will give you an idea of your intake and you can adjust it accordingly. Now, it can take some time to get a baseline and to know your fluctuations.. knowing what looks like maintenance vs gaining... knowing that maybe extra salt makes your weight jump or a lower carb day makes your weight drop, or adding or taking away volume from your workouts can affect the scale significantly. Over time you will get to know your body and what is going on. Also taking measurements, photos and all that can help too.

    What also works for me when I don't want to track and maintain, I don't go crazy with changing my eating day to day so it is easier to cut down or add a portion when the scale is moving too fast one way or another.

    What I do know is that I tend to lose weight over time which is definitely not something I want. So I wonder whether any indication of falling out of my weight range (as I am currently) should trigger a sustained period of extra eating just to get back to baseline. This seems like the logical solution but my concern is that I blow past my range the other way and fail to correct it in the future.
  • apullum
    apullum Posts: 4,888 Member
    It's really about finding what works for you. A lot of maintainers go by what the scale does and adjust their eating if their weight goes outside their maintenance range. Most folks find that a trend weight app like Libra or Happy Scale is very useful for focusing on long term changes rather than short term fluctuations.

    You sound like you already know what your struggles are. You know you need to be eating a little more in order to keep your weight where you want it to be--a few more calories per day, from the sound of it, not dramatically more. At this point, you probably know enough about your own eating habits to have some ideas of how to do that. The task is really just making sure that you do it, whether that means weighing/logging food or not.

    The thing about maintenance is that you've learned how weight changes work. You have all the tools you need. You know what causes short-term fluctuations, so a day or two outside your maintenance range if you have an explanation for it is not a big deal. You know how to create a deficit if you happen to gain fat that you don't want to gain. And you know how to add calories if needed.

    Personally, I still weigh and log as much as possible. That's what works for me; it's not what works for everyone. Only you can determine what works for you.
  • staticsplit
    staticsplit Posts: 538 Member
    I tracked (with many guesstimates for eating out etc) for about six months, but like you it can be too obsessive. I'm tracking for the next few weeks after not doing so since...October, maybe? I'll probably track for the rest of January and then stop. Then I tend to just log the odd day here and there. I don't weigh myself very often either as the numbers can also get in my head. Like others I have an upper and lower range I try to stay within. Most of the time I maintain pretty much bang on 155. It seems to be where my body/appetite likes me to be.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,772 Member
    dpr73 wrote: »
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    I haven't logged calories in years. I weigh in 2-3 times per week and monitor the trend. If I'm losing weight as a general trend over time (not just a fluctuation) I know I need to eat a little more. If I'm gaining weight as a general trend over time (not just fluctuations), I know I need to eat a little less.

    Maintenance is a range, not a singular number. My average maintenance weight is 180, but can fluctuate typically anywhere between 177 and 183. I usually put on 8-10 Lbs from about October through December and cut it starting in January. 10 Lbs of actual weight increase is my intervention point.

    So if you go to 193 and if you go below 167 you intervene and eat more? My range is 135-140 and I’m currently 133.6 so I was gonna try to eat more to go back to 135 considering I fell out of my range

    10 Lbs is my upper weight gain limit...like I don't want it to get any more out of hand than that. I've never had the issue of continuing to lose weight, but if I was losing weight (not just a fluctuation) and I didn't want to, I would eat more. Depending on where I was weight wise and leanness wise, my intervention point might be different for weight loss than weight gain.
  • dpr73
    dpr73 Posts: 495 Member
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    dpr73 wrote: »
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    I haven't logged calories in years. I weigh in 2-3 times per week and monitor the trend. If I'm losing weight as a general trend over time (not just a fluctuation) I know I need to eat a little more. If I'm gaining weight as a general trend over time (not just fluctuations), I know I need to eat a little less.

    Maintenance is a range, not a singular number. My average maintenance weight is 180, but can fluctuate typically anywhere between 177 and 183. I usually put on 8-10 Lbs from about October through December and cut it starting in January. 10 Lbs of actual weight increase is my intervention point.

    So if you go to 193 and if you go below 167 you intervene and eat more? My range is 135-140 and I’m currently 133.6 so I was gonna try to eat more to go back to 135 considering I fell out of my range

    10 Lbs is my upper weight gain limit...like I don't want it to get any more out of hand than that. I've never had the issue of continuing to lose weight, but if I was losing weight (not just a fluctuation) and I didn't want to, I would eat more. Depending on where I was weight wise and leanness wise, my intervention point might be different for weight loss than weight gain.
    I get it. I have had no real issues with weight loss since I stabilized between 135-140 five years ago. But I do have a tendency to lose weight rather than gain and I have been below my usual weight range for like 6 months now and just stopped counting so that change has me concerned I’ll continue dropping. But the only way to move past counting is to finally just do it!
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,529 Member
    I don't log my food and haven't for years while maintaining - but that's a return to normal for me.
    Most of my adult life I've maintained within a fairly narrow weight band despite my intuitive eating level being higher than my actual needs. It must be admitted that I've not always maintained at the right weight though!

    Calorie counting was a useful interlude and very educational, you don't forget what you have learned just because you don't log anymore.

    I eat mindfully and weigh myself daily to keep an eye on my weight trend. I also have an upper intervention weight that triggers action to reverse my weight trend back down again. Outside of illness I've never had the problem of losing weight unintentionally so I don't need a lower limit.

    Since taking up cycling I've found logging my exercise burns helpful as my calorie budget is enormously variable and I get a better idea of my "budget" that day / that week / that month. Staying on MyFitnessPal also helps keep my focus.

    Give it a try if you find logging stressful (or pointless). But monitor your weight. You can always revert if you have to. There's a lot of BS around at the moment that to maintain without logging you need to eat intuitively. Utter cobblers! We have a brain and can use it when our instinctive eating levels don't work properly.
  • I’ve stopped tracking at the moment cos I was bored with it. I’m hoping to drop about 5 pounds but don’t have a time frame to do that. I weigh every day and eat a pretty predictable diet most of the time. I have a good idea of the calorie content of what I’m eating as I prepare probably 90per cent of food myself.

    Before the internet I managed to lose weight without tracking and I also maintained without tracking. Not saying this will be forever for me just an experiment to see if it makes me happier.
  • LivingtheLeanDream
    LivingtheLeanDream Posts: 13,345 Member
    It can be done, I hardly ever log my food now - in 7th year of maintenance. I do mentally keep tabs though of what I'm eating though and am pretty accurate at knowing my intake despite not logging. Personally I think its good to be always mindful of how many calories are in foods in general, so for me it keeps me making better decisions for food choices.
  • dpr73
    dpr73 Posts: 495 Member
    It can be done, I hardly ever log my food now - in 7th year of maintenance. I do mentally keep tabs though of what I'm eating though and am pretty accurate at knowing my intake despite not logging. Personally I think its good to be always mindful of how many calories are in foods in general, so for me it keeps me making better decisions for food choices.

    Yes. Right now my weight is too low for what I’m comfortable with so I am purposefully eating more the next week or two. It is uncomfortable to consciously eat more food but I keep telling myself this is what I must do to maintain haha. Some people tend to gain and I guess my demon is more being too cautious!
  • dpr73
    dpr73 Posts: 495 Member
    I’ve stopped tracking at the moment cos I was bored with it. I’m hoping to drop about 5 pounds but don’t have a time frame to do that. I weigh every day and eat a pretty predictable diet most of the time. I have a good idea of the calorie content of what I’m eating as I prepare probably 90per cent of food myself.

    Before the internet I managed to lose weight without tracking and I also maintained without tracking. Not saying this will be forever for me just an experiment to see if it makes me happier.

    Thank you! I think I can do this long term but I just needed the support that it can be done and the power to do it!
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,772 Member
    dpr73 wrote: »
    It can be done, I hardly ever log my food now - in 7th year of maintenance. I do mentally keep tabs though of what I'm eating though and am pretty accurate at knowing my intake despite not logging. Personally I think its good to be always mindful of how many calories are in foods in general, so for me it keeps me making better decisions for food choices.

    Yes. Right now my weight is too low for what I’m comfortable with so I am purposefully eating more the next week or two. It is uncomfortable to consciously eat more food but I keep telling myself this is what I must do to maintain haha. Some people tend to gain and I guess my demon is more being too cautious!

    You don't necessarily need to eat more volume...swap something or some things out for higher calorie foods. When I went to maintenance I dropped the low cal salad dressings, started snacking on nuts instead of carrots, started eating cheese again, sauteed and roasted vegetables instead of steaming them, etc. I don't really eat that much more volume wise in maintenance...I just eat more calorie dense foods than I did losing weight.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,485 Member
    dpr73 wrote: »
    It can be done, I hardly ever log my food now - in 7th year of maintenance. I do mentally keep tabs though of what I'm eating though and am pretty accurate at knowing my intake despite not logging. Personally I think its good to be always mindful of how many calories are in foods in general, so for me it keeps me making better decisions for food choices.

    Yes. Right now my weight is too low for what I’m comfortable with so I am purposefully eating more the next week or two. It is uncomfortable to consciously eat more food but I keep telling myself this is what I must do to maintain haha. Some people tend to gain and I guess my demon is more being too cautious!

    In addition to Wolfman's useful observation, you also don't necessarily need to add weight quickly. You can add a small amount extra at a time, monitor and adjust.

    Look back at your last couple of months. How much have you lost? If it's a couple pounds, say, then eat maybe an extra serving of peanut butter daily or similar (that'd be about twice the recent deficit at this speculated gain rate), and monitor for a month or so.

    Still too light but gaining? Keep going, or bump it up just a little to gain faster.

    Stable? You've found a maintenance level at a slightly too low weight. Add another intake bump the next month to gain.

    Gaining? Unlikely, but you know what to do.

    If you feel anxious or overfull when eating a good bit more, consider eating just a bit more, and letting it take longer.

    Up to you, but it's one option.

    (I've been doing something approximately this, only in reverse, to lose slowly from a higher-than-preferred but not panic weight. Down probably around 2-3 pounds over 3 months. Hard to see amongst fluctuations, and can't be seen over a week or two, but the long term patterns tell a story.)

    Best wishes!