What does maintenance look like to you?

wunderkindking
wunderkindking Posts: 1,614 Member
edited July 2021 in Goal: Maintaining Weight
I'm curious about this -

If you're in maintenance, do you expect to stay strictly within a calorie 'budget' and maintain your weight consistently (barring scale weight fluctuations via water or whatever)? Do you expect your weight to drift up to a 'scream weight' and then gradually lower it (with or without tracking)? Track your calories and allow for some gain/loss ANYWAY and have a scream weight where you switch to a deficit or intentionally gain? Something else entirely?

I think at this point I kind of expect that my average weight will go up some, hit a self-imposed ceiling and then I'll have a deficit again. This is what I expect it be, basically forever (and that's fine for me - also I don't know if I'll want to lose more from where I am now - talk to me in August or September).

But I also know this is not the only way and I'm curious, so tell me what maintenance is for you. What's your approach?

Replies

  • wunderkindking
    wunderkindking Posts: 1,614 Member
    I feel the need to clarify that I'm not *afraid* of that upper limit - I just kept hearing it called a scream weight here and borrowed it.

    I'm not sure what I will ultimately do, and I'm not too fussed about it - just curious about other people's mentality about it. I kind of expect some ebb and flow in weight - largely seasonally actually, and to stay somewhat involved in MFP because I like the community and it keeps me paying attention.

    I've always been super imprecise at logging - consistent, not precise - so how that evolves will be interesting and probably involve a lot of experimenting.

    Right now, temporary (I hope) injury aside all my goals are fitness/activity related. I'd LIKE to get down a few more, but I have a hard time caring now that I'm really, actually, into vanity weight territory AND both lighter and more fit than I've been in decades. I just want to DO THINGS, mostly.
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,751 Member
    "MaltedTea wrote:
    *snip*

    In short, this may be maintaining but I still have health targets to aim for. That keeps me vigilant.

    That's a great point.

  • Speakeasy76
    Speakeasy76 Posts: 960 Member
    So, I've actually had 3 different goal weight ranges since I initially started using MFP over 9 years ago. When I first lost weight, I was at the higher end of the BMI and totally ok with that. I tracked for a little while after achieving my goal, but then fell off a bit. I was (and still am not) super precise with logging in that I rarely measure or weigh what I eat, but it's worked for me. After I stopped tracking I generally maintained that loss and at some points was able to lose a bit more without tracking. I was happy at that weight range for quite awhile. When my pants started getting tighter and I was reaching the upper limit of the BMI was when I knew I had to do something different.

    When I decided I wanted to try for my true "goal weight" and went from a high-ish BMI to a mid-range BMI over a year ago, I logged back onto MFP and have been tracking ever since. Again, not super-precise but it worked. Since I reached that "true goal weight" I've since lost about 10 more pounds, not so much intentionally but by having to cut out certain foods for an elimination diet. I know that if I want to maintain this weight since a weight I haven't been at probably in maybe 30 years as a teenager, I will still most likely need to track. I feel comfortable at this weight and am not hungry, and in fact some days need to eat more than my hunger tells me to to hit my target. I also track to ensure I hit my protein and fiber targets as well, since I take strength training somewhat seriously. I also have a bad habit of mindless eating, which is why I used MFP in the first place--to keep me accountable.

    I don't know how religious I'll be with tracking once I've maintained this weight range for awhile. I think my "scream" weight is more based on how my clothes fit...if I feel them starting to get tighter and it's not just that they shrunk (which they do actually do sometimes), then I'll need to re-evaluate things. I also know that I'll be healthy at any weight in the normal BMI range, so it's also a matter of re-evaluating my own personal goals--do I just want to be healthy, am I wanting to gain more muscle, or am I wanting to look a certain way as well?
  • cmriverside
    cmriverside Posts: 32,389 Member
    I agree with most of sijomial's post except I don't have massive exercise burns like he does, just regular, daily moderate exercise.

    ...and I do still log food. Maintenance for me is a five pound range and the upper end requires action. I weigh myself almost every day.

    With that said, the first year after my biggest weight loss (about 70 pounds) I did struggle with finding satiety and calorie level. I was hungry a lot.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 25,278 Member
    I think I'm sloppier about maintenance than most of those who've commented so far.

    Oversimplifying, I hit and overshot goal in early 2016, crept back up to goal range, hung out there for maybe 6 months, then started creeping up super slowly: Mostly down in Summer a few pounds, up in Winter a few pounds, but each next high a pound or two higher, each next low a pound or two higher, too. All of that nonsense was in a healthy weight range, so I wasn't too stressed about it. My original goal had been 120, and the highest high (trend-line) in there was upper 130s-ish.

    Eventually, around Fall 2019, jeans got tight, along with other parts of my wardrobe. I hate to clothes shop with a fiery passion. That was an adequate action trigger. I started creeping weight downward super-slowly, because my heart wasn't in it for a significant deficit, and health is my main principle, not cute, so it didn't feel like an urgent crisis. (The hate to shop thing is a parallel track, obviously.) That went OK, then slowed, then the pandemic reduced social life/restaurant meals and it got easier again.

    This time, I'm working on stabilizing around 125 pounds, which is where I am now.

    That whole narrative doesn't seem structured, but it's kind of sloppily intentional, I think. I guess I sort of provisionally trust myself not to be super stupid, and I feel like I have the tools to accomplish that. It's 5+ years of what I'd call maintenance, at this point.

    My basic routine is to keep counting (mostly), calorie bank a tiny amount most days (maybe 100-150 calories), allow some over-goal days for fun (sometimes way over goal), and keep an eye on the scale, and my jeans' fit. I weigh daily, put the numbers in Libra. The process for creeping my weight down was mainly reducing the frequency/magnitude of the over-goal days, letting the calorie bank turn into a weight loss deficit more of the time, maybe going under goal some days when I was less hungry, too.

    I skip logging some days, now, mostly when it's a super unusual thing that either would be annoying to log (looking up a lot of new stuff, time consuming disproportionate to value) or that would be so wild-a** an estimate that it doesn't really feel worth the effort. (I did log those kind of things during loss, and for some months in maintenance, mainly to get a good handle on maintenance needs. I'd do that again if things seem to change, and it seems useful again.)

    I hate to say it, but I think "how to do maintenance" is another one of those things that's very personal, very dependent on a particular individual's preferences, strengths, limitations, risks, etc.
  • Maxxitt
    Maxxitt Posts: 1,282 Member
    I'm currently in maintenance after successfully halting and then reversing the "bracket creep" that happened once I dropped a big bunch of weight (2015). I decided in Sept of 2020 enough was enough and started curtailing my food intake intentionally until about mid-April, at which point I stopped measuring food intake and decided to see what "intuitive eating" felt like. After ending the planned "deficit" eating I immediately put on 2-3 # which I decided to chalk up to water weight and just keep an eye on. I weigh daily and enter the data into "Happy Scale" which crunches the #s to show trends. I've stayed within 5# of my original "lowest weight" for 3 months. In terms of maintenance, that's like a minute. I am not weighing any foods or guesstimating calories but I am also making some intentional choices and noticing how my appetite varies in relation. Most recently, this has meant eating a fairly light breakfast a few hours after I get up, a really hearty second meal sometime before 3 PM, and a satisfying but not heavy evening meal. This seems to be working in that I don't feel like grazing between meals and there hasn't been a sustained weight uptick. But I also chalk up what feels like "success" to being quite active, walking my pooch 4-5 miles a day (not all at once) in addition to incidental activity. I remember that after my big weight loss 6 years ago, the weight creep didn't start until the activity levels dropped.
  • mjglantz
    mjglantz Posts: 450 Member
    I'm curious about this -

    "If you're in maintenance, do you expect to stay strictly within a calorie 'budget' and maintain your weight consistently (barring scale weight fluctuations via water or whatever)? Do you expect your weight to drift up to a 'scream weight' and then gradually lower it (with or without tracking)? Track your calories and allow for some gain/loss ANYWAY and have a scream weight where you switch to a deficit or intentionally gain? Something else entirely?"

    When I hit my first goal weight (around 172) I didn't do much except my weight kept going down. A couple of months later I had a heart attack and started in on cardia rehab. That combined with moving to an even healthier diet got my weight of 162 which is where I expected to stay. Gradually increased calories but also increased the exercise and within about 6 months got to the mid 140's where I've stayed since fall of 2013. I don't have a strict calorie budget although I aim to be under 2,000/day on average for actual calories. Don't really "eat back" the calories.

    I expect to have some fluctuations and weigh myself on Tuesday, weds, and Thursday and if by Thursday my weight is up more than 3 lbs from my goal of 142 I will cut back slightly. I exercise every day and even if my weight is up a little, I don't over compensate. About the only thing I'll do if I see a slight uptick is to pay closer attention to snacking especially at night.
  • charmmeth
    charmmeth Posts: 936 Member
    @wunderkindking, I am definitely still learning how maintenance is going to be for me. One thing I do know, from experience, is that if I don't keep an eye on things I will end up back where I started (top end of overweight/borderline obese in bmi). That seems to be my natural "trigger weight", but having now lost form their twice, I'd rather not get back there. So for me part of being in maintenance is having a mechanism to trigger a response long before (i.e. about 10kg before) I get there. My way of doing that at present is to weigh in every day and to go back to logging and eating at a deficit if my rolling 7-day average goes over 77kg. My aim is to keep my monthly average weight within my maintenance range. My narrow range is 75kg +/- 0.5 kg; my wide range iss 75kg +/- 2.5 kg. At present I am out of the narrow range but within my wide range, and am not logging.


  • NVintage
    NVintage Posts: 1,463 Member
    I can't imagine counting calories for the rest of my life, but I agree to each their own!:) I do think i'll have to keep a check on my weight with the scale, and maybe start watching calories whenever I see 139-140 lbs...I generally eat pretty healthy, but it's just so easy to gain weight for most of us as we get older and less active!
  • westrich20940
    westrich20940 Posts: 526 Member
    I tend to track when I think about it more-so just to know that I'm actually eating at my maintenance or thereabouts...I'm not stressed about whether I eat more really (because I don't tend to go significantly over other than something like a party, etc.)

    I want to work on eating more intuitively -- listening to my body -- I was awful at that before starting to lose weight and pay closer attention to my own hunger signals. Some of that was mental (eating due to boredom or anxiety, etc....which is MUCH better now that I'm consistently physically active and outside) and some of it was that I'd not 'feel' hungry and be way under my calorie goal.

    I still weigh myself ~every 2 weeks just to check...but I mostly more pay attention to how my clothes fit and haven't had any issues. Ideally I'd like to not have to track my food anymore. It's not a huge inconvenience to me I just don't want to be preoccupied with counting calories. I find that I feel more connected to my body now though which is super helpful with making sure I'm checking in and noticing..."Do I feel hungry? Do I feel full?" -- these are things I did not take the time to think about before/did not feel accurately.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,002 Member
    I'm curious about this -

    If you're in maintenance, do you expect to stay strictly within a calorie 'budget' and maintain your weight consistently (barring scale weight fluctuations via water or whatever)? Do you expect your weight to drift up to a 'scream weight' and then gradually lower it (with or without tracking)? Track your calories and allow for some gain/loss ANYWAY and have a scream weight where you switch to a deficit or intentionally gain? Something else entirely?

    I think at this point I kind of expect that my average weight will go up some, hit a self-imposed ceiling and then I'll have a deficit again. This is what I expect it be, basically forever (and that's fine for me - also I don't know if I'll want to lose more from where I am now - talk to me in August or September).

    But I also know this is not the only way and I'm curious, so tell me what maintenance is for you. What's your approach?

    I don't log and I don't have any particular static calorie goal. On average, without knowing exactly, I'd say I eat anywhere from 2500-3000 calories per day depending on the day. I just keep an eye on my weight on the scale. I find maintenance to be pretty easy as long as I'm active, which is most of the time.

    My weight tends to creep up in the winter when my activity, both general and purposeful exercise dips. I usually put on 8-10 Lbs in the winter. 10 Lbs is my upper limit and intervention point...but that point also typically coincides with the onset of spring when my activity, both general and purposeful exercise starts to increase. I may or may not do something at this point dietary wise to get things moving...typically, the increased activity gets things moving on it's own, but I may also cut out a snack or two. I've been maintaining (save for my COVID Lbs that I'm working on losing now) since the spring of 2013 so this is more or less just a normal ebb and flow for me at this point and not something I really worry about.

    I put the same emphasis on nutrition on maintenance as I did when I was losing...which is to say that it's very important to me and I eat well most of the time but also allow for indulgences. I exercise regularly and in general I am pretty active. I prefer to be out and about doing and seeing than sitting around. Too much "chill" time makes me antsy which really annoys my wife when we're on vacation because she can easily sleep in until whenever and then spend the rest of the day lounging by the pool reading a book while I want to be out seeing and doing all of the things. I'm exhausting....

  • rosebarnalice
    rosebarnalice Posts: 3,493 Member
    Been in maintenance about 6 months. I weigh daily, track carefully most days and stay at or below but usually give myself one day a weekend that I don't track. I try not to go too overboard that day, but occasionally I've eaten as much as double my goal, and if that happens, I'll drop my calories the next day or two by 250 or 300 calories