Switching to a deficit: trying for 6 weeks

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  • sofrances
    sofrances Posts: 153 Member
    edited August 2020
    Hi there! Wanted to share that after maintaining my weight since around October 2019, I’ve decided to take around a 250 calorie deficit for 6 weeks. I THINK I have detected a slight upward trend in my average weight over the past three months or so (around 126 on average in April, and now my average is around 128/129, and this morning it was 130 due to some crazy salty meal/Lots of food in system/Period coming soon/etc).

    I had a lot of resistance in my brain going from a 2100 calorie maintenance level to 1850 (switched MFP manually this morning). It’s like I’m worried that I’ll never be able to eat 2100 average again. Maybe I won’t, or maybe my activity level will go up or down in future; there’s a lot I can’t predict). BUT trying to look at the deficit as a temporary positive practice in switching from maintenance to slight deficit back to maintenance, and also practice in not getting too attached to one particular calorie goal number.

    Anyone else in a similar boat, or has some past experience to share related to this?

    Thank you!

    No advice to add, as you are a much more experienced maintainer than I. Nevertheless I very much admire your determination to nip weight gain in the bud, while also not panicking at normal fluctuations.

    Let us know how it goes! Good luck!
  • gallicinvasion
    gallicinvasion Posts: 1,012 Member
    sofrances wrote: »
    Hi there! Wanted to share that after maintaining my weight since around October 2019, I’ve decided to take around a 250 calorie deficit for 6 weeks. I THINK I have detected a slight upward trend in my average weight over the past three months or so (around 126 on average in April, and now my average is around 128/129, and this morning it was 130 due to some crazy salty meal/Lots of food in system/Period coming soon/etc).

    I had a lot of resistance in my brain going from a 2100 calorie maintenance level to 1850 (switched MFP manually this morning). It’s like I’m worried that I’ll never be able to eat 2100 average again. Maybe I won’t, or maybe my activity level will go up or down in future; there’s a lot I can’t predict). BUT trying to look at the deficit as a temporary positive practice in switching from maintenance to slight deficit back to maintenance, and also practice in not getting too attached to one particular calorie goal number.

    Anyone else in a similar boat, or has some past experience to share related to this?

    Thank you!

    No advice to add, as you are a much more experienced maintainer than I. Nevertheless I very much admire your determination to nip weight gain in the bud, while also not panicking at normal fluctuations.

    Let us know how it goes! Good luck!

    Thank you so much, friend!!

  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,784 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I empathize for sure, friend Gallic: I got to about the same spot, except I let the drift go on further, up into the upper 130s (over the course of close to 4 years) before I decided I needed to Get Real.

    We even have similar numbers, I think: I believe I maintain somewhere around 2000-2100 +/- in pandemic conditions, maybe a hair more other times . . . though I've never set my MFP goal to that, because I calorie bank, and I bank in these later years a little sloppily (I don't bother estimating my high days anymore, if they're complicated/time-consuming/likely to be way off anyway). So, I've had my goal set at 1850 ever since getting into maintenance, IIRC in early 2016.)

    Around last October, I decided I needed to Get Serious, and drift weight back down again. I still didn't change goal from 1850, I just started minimizing size & frequency of those days where I was drawing on my calorie bank account (but I still have some). Maybe it's easier, psychologically, because of that banking practice? Makes it feel more like giving up some luxuries, not necessities? 🤷‍♀️

    Since then, I've been losing around a pound a month, maybe a little less, on average . . . which is soooo slooooowwwww 😆 . . . but IMO pretty painless. (Truth in advertising: Pandemic helped, by reducing social eating and brewpub temptations.) FWIW, I still consider myself in maintenance before and during this phase - it's just part of the long term process, IMO, as long as I'm meandering around within a range of healthy weights. (Health is my main motivation, so while I want to be on the lighter side, it's not something I'm too stressed about, as long as I feel like I'm below the risky zone . . . maybe I'm not stressed *enough* about it, in fact. Oh, well.)

    One observation: If you end up going as slowly as I've been, there will be times when the ongoing loss is Not. Obvious. At. All. Even Libra thought I was gaining for a good share of July, when I restarted strength training routinely. It doesn't take much water weight whackitude to cover up 0.25-0.5 pound/week fat loss. 🤣 If I leave the trend set on 7 days, trend runs up and down quite a lot - smooths out if I go longer. And that's in menopause! I'm happy I've been at this long enough to mostly trust the process.

    FWIW, I really don't see much change in my estimated maintenance numbers at all (not that I've been doing fancy spreadsheets to confirm this, like PAV does😉 - just saying my loss rate hasn't slowed enough to notice as I've gotten lighter). I think you'll be able to go back to 2100. If you're worried, start being twitchier, fidgeting more. Nah, just kidding. Sort of. I admit, I do push myself to do more of active home chore/projects, or movements in spare moments around the house, and things like that, if I feel like I'm getting a little too . . . placid? Every little bit helps, by a calorie or two. 😆

    Anyway, trend line peaked out around 138 or so back in September/October 2019, and I'm at 127.2 actual (128.3 trend) today, no big plan right now about where I stop - we'll see.

    You can do this, and you can choose whether to think of it as going back to weight loss/deficit for a while, or as a weight management thing in maintenance. Matters not. You can cut the 250 and go a little quicker, or cut less and go slower, or add some movement (or rocks in backpack) to burn a little more as part of that - doesn't matter.

    As always with these things, it's not even the case that you need to decide now, and not change your mind ever. If it were me, I'd decide on a general course and commit to it for a defined period of time, like a month, then re-evaluate. However, that's mainly because I know myself, and that would work better FOR ME than telling myself I could change my mind from moment to moment. (Though my current plan is pretty squishy itself, I guess.) In truth, as long as your strategy includes being in a small deficit on average over a period of time, you'll drift downward. (Even things like a bigger defict a couple days a week are on the table, if it's easier.)

    No worries, you've got this - you've accomplished so much already, this will be in the realm of easy.

    All the best!

    ❤️❤️❤️ You rock; thank you so much for sharing your methods and your mindset with these things. I really like your method of painless loss by reducing the amount of times you draw on the calorie bank. It’s heartening to hear that your maintenance numbers haven’t seen too much shifting!

    And I think we’re similar in that I feel much more desire to be active than the old Megan, who used to define herself by hating sports and moving around 😂 I feel like now, with a few exceptions every so often, I crave movement! If a Sunday comes along and I decide not to take my walk, I definitely feel the urge to do some movement-based chores or activities because my body FEELS better when it’s moving around. This definitely gives me hope and happiness, to trace that change in myself. And I think I can draw on that desire to help me get even a bit more movement in than I am currently.

    So glad to hear about your downward trend and success getting to the low end of the range!! So good to witness your journey and learn from you.

    Suspect you've seen it already, but I never seem to be able to resist an opportunity for shameless self-promotion 😉😆:

    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10610953/neat-improvement-strategies-to-improve-weight-loss/p1
  • gallicinvasion
    gallicinvasion Posts: 1,012 Member
    LOVE IT
  • gallicinvasion
    gallicinvasion Posts: 1,012 Member
    ahoy_m8 wrote: »
    It's amazing you have been in mtce so long and are just doing your first little course correction! I probably course correct once a year. Summer is my riskiest time for weight creep (so gawd awful hot. And margaritas.) but it varies.

    I'll echo one thing Ann said, and that's that you can take solace in trusting the math. I have learned about myself that it's less effort in the long run if I catch the creep at 5 lb because I get deficit weary after 10 weeks. 10 weeks go by really fast for me, and then it gets to be more of a mental drag than a physical one, so I take a break at 10 weeks. Maybe it's 6 weeks for you. Lots of times I've gone to a 100 cal deficit for 1 lb/mo for a month or two, and that deficit is hardly noticeable in the grand scheme of things.

    Maintenance success for me is re-gaining and re-losing the same 5 lb over & over. Little course corrections every so often are just a part of maintenance for me. I wouldn't say something went wrong and needs to be fixed; I would say this is just what maintenance looks like. You will figure out the easiest way of course correcting for you.

    This sounds so right. Those course corrections are all part of it! Yeah I think 10 weeks would feel like a lot for me.
  • nxd10
    nxd10 Posts: 4,556 Member
    I've done that periodically over the last six years. Works for me.
  • SummerSkier
    SummerSkier Posts: 3,384 Member
    I find it very hard to go back to deficit after maintaining. It tends to put me back on a stupid rollercoaster ride which always ends with more weight on. It works well I think to do the slow steady very small deficit type thing if you are not likely to over eat and blow away the entire deficit of a month in one day.

    Congrats on catching any gain quickly and I certainly hope that you are successful in this small experiment!
  • LivingtheLeanDream
    LivingtheLeanDream Posts: 13,345 Member
    Yep its hard to go back to deficit :/ I've been sitting at the top end of my maintenance range for months, even started to creep up a tad higher so I've HAD to get my head back in gear and on a losing streak once again - its hard because for 7 years I maintained pretty darned effortlessly...but snacks can creep in and become regular and they do make a difference over time so needs must. I'm active by nature, so that part isn't an issue, but its oh so easy to eat more than I should.

    For me this time I'm managing on IF and doing 16:8, it feels a great way to easily cut 250-300 calories from my day. Its not for everyone but at least I don't feel I'm depriving myself.

    Its easier to nip 4 or 5lbs in the bud than 10+ imo
  • gallicinvasion
    gallicinvasion Posts: 1,012 Member
    Yep its hard to go back to deficit :/ I've been sitting at the top end of my maintenance range for months, even started to creep up a tad higher so I've HAD to get my head back in gear and on a losing streak once again - its hard because for 7 years I maintained pretty darned effortlessly...but snacks can creep in and become regular and they do make a difference over time so needs must. I'm active by nature, so that part isn't an issue, but its oh so easy to eat more than I should.

    For me this time I'm managing on IF and doing 16:8, it feels a great way to easily cut 250-300 calories from my day. Its not for everyone but at least I don't feel I'm depriving myself.

    Its easier to nip 4 or 5lbs in the bud than 10+ imo

    YES to your last sentence. I am letting that idea be my guide 😂

  • SummerSkier
    SummerSkier Posts: 3,384 Member
    How is it going?
  • LivingtheLeanDream
    LivingtheLeanDream Posts: 13,345 Member
    Loving this update :smile: and am pretty envious that you get to eat so many calories to eat, but the last 6 weeks have taught you a lot.
  • Antiopelle
    Antiopelle Posts: 906 Member
    I like your experiment, it is insightful !
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,784 Member
    So rational and sensible, and I love that you built yourself that conceptual breakthrough: Congratulations, sounds Perfect-o!
  • beulah81
    beulah81 Posts: 168 Member
    How is it going?
    Overall, I’m just really glad I could do this experiment and wean myself off the notion that 2,100 is MY NUMBER and NO ONE can take my calories from me, NOT EVEN ME!
    All in all, super glad that I didn’t choose a weight loss goal in pounds, and rather just chose to do a time-bound deficit practice, regardless of what the scale showed in the moment.

    This gives so much insight on your thought process during this experiment. Thank you for sharing! Love it! 💐👏