Eat at maintenance first?

Hey everyone! I was wondering if I should eat at maintenance before going into a deficit/fatloss phase?

A bit of backstory: I got a knee injury and then I got Covid so I’ve been off fitness and tracking calories for 4 months. I have been eating mindfully/intuitively. That didn’t work well for me because I found out I was eating much less protein than my body needed cause I lost hair! I was also eating too much junk and skipping meals. Aside from a little walking and some physical therapy I did zero exercise and lots of bed rest.

Recently I’ve been feeling better and I’ve been exercising waaay more. This was also encouraged by my therapist who said I need exercise to manage my depression and anxiety. I’ve been walking 10,000 steps a day most days and 5-6 workouts including yoga workouts. I’m in a deficit right now but I was wondering if I should eat at maintenance first to rebuild muscle and metabolism cause then my body won’t freak out with more activity and less food?

Stats are:
Female
28
5’ 4”
165-170lbs
Body fat %: 30-32%

Replies

  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 10,673 Member
    Glad you're feeling better! What is the weight history during this back-story? Were you gaining, maintaining, or losing while eating intuitively and lower protein? How much time has passed between hair loss and now? How long ago did you start moving more and how big of a deficit is your current deficit?
  • xxzenabxx
    xxzenabxx Posts: 877 Member
    I ended up maintaining my weight during the intuitive eating phase. But I wasn’t working out and I wasn’t eating properly so I’m surprised. It was also my sisters wedding so there was crazy amounts of food. I haven’t tracked my food properly since May this year. Hair loss has been on going for a few years now due to restrictive diets I assume but recently it got worse! I’m also more injury prone. I’ve posted before about my history of chronic undereating and overexercising.

    I started moving more just 2 weeks ago. I’ve been aiming for a 250-350 calorie deficit but some days I’m just not hungry so have eaten less.

    I basically just want to know if being at maintenance first is a good idea.
  • brundell7376
    brundell7376 Posts: 70 Member
    edited November 2021
    I think it's good to eat what you think is your maintenance calories for a little bit to figure out your starting point, then back the calories off in 100 cal/week increments until the weight starts coming off. Sometimes people are way off on what their maintenance calories are because they go off total body weight rather than lean muscle mass.
  • Xellercin
    Xellercin Posts: 777 Member
    I personally always eat for maintenance when I want to lose weight, but I eat for maintenance of a lower weight, and then eventually end up that lower weight, and never have to adjust my eating from there.

  • wunderkindking
    wunderkindking Posts: 1,607 Member
    I ate at maintenance for a good 3 months and a week every 10lbs lost after that the whole time I lost weight. It's super good to become aware of what you're doing, what you could change and to practice at maintaining.

    In many areas of my life I'm 'go big or go home' to a near toxic degree. In weight loss I was a 'slow, sustainable, educate myself, be kind, be patient' one and tbh it paid off in big, big ways.
  • Walkywalkerson
    Walkywalkerson Posts: 444 Member
    Xellercin wrote: »
    I personally always eat for maintenance when I want to lose weight, but I eat for maintenance of a lower weight, and then eventually end up that lower weight, and never have to adjust my eating from there.

    This is what I'm doing at the moment.
    It's kind of a diet break too as I am recovering from Covid and my tastes have changed food wise.
    I'm losing at a slow but steady rate.