Figuring out Maintenance calories

soldodunja81
soldodunja81 Posts: 14 Member
edited May 25 in Goal: Maintaining Weight
….. did anyone else find that they were still losing on the maintenance calories… not sure how to figure out what they would be since done days I’m a lot more active and other days I’m very lazy

Replies

  • rosiekin
    rosiekin Posts: 62 Member
    Hi, I lost weight for about a further 6 months after I had reached my goal, losing approximately a further 16lbs in that period of time. On reaching my goal (in 2014), I decided to increase my calories slowly, about 100 extra a day for a month, then another 100 extra a day for the next month, and so on until my weight stabilised. That happened when I got to 2000 calories a day. I was actually happy with the extra weight loss so it was a painless, but good move for me!
  • LiveOnceBeHappy
    LiveOnceBeHappy Posts: 262 Member
    This is the hardest part I think of this process. I keep losing weight and need to stop losing weight! I'm adding in calories, but my activity level varies widely from day to day. I live in Minnesota and it's finally nice outside, so I'm more active right now. I've never let MFP adjust my calories for exercise so I'm not used to that! So hard!
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,636 Member
    "did anyone else find that they were still losing on the maintenance calories"
    Initially no, after a while - yes.
    Easy to fix as I just ate more.

    "not sure how to figure out what they would be since done days I’m a lot more active and other days I’m very lazy"
    Average it out? The idea of maintenance is not to be exactly the same weight every day or even every season. It's to stay in an acceptable weight range long term.

    Life involves change and your diet (including size of your diet) has to change to match.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,845 Member
    This is the hardest part I think of this process. I keep losing weight and need to stop losing weight! I'm adding in calories, but my activity level varies widely from day to day. I live in Minnesota and it's finally nice outside, so I'm more active right now. I've never let MFP adjust my calories for exercise so I'm not used to that! So hard!

    That's one reason I'm happy to have stumbled into MFP and adopted the "MFP method" of logging exercise separately. (I won't claim it was clever planning on my part up front!).

    My exercise varies seasonally, plus there are those periodic unplanned breaks from injuries or surgery recovery or whatever. I feel more confident that I know how to handle the variations well, since I got the practice and experience in early.

    I do agree with others, though - it averages out over time. TDEE method works, too, with consciousness about what kinds of life changes might cause major changes in calorie expenditure, plus watching the scale (or clothes fit, or other metric of choice).
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,892 Member
    ….. did anyone else find that they were still losing on the maintenance calories… not sure how to figure out what they would be since done days I’m a lot more active and other days I’m very lazy

    Your maintenance figures aren't going to be an exact single figure all of the time. Most people have to adjust for seasonality and being more or less active, etc. One of the benefits of using MFP as designed and eating your exercise calories back is that it teaches you this. I personally average mine out with the TDEE method.

    My maintenance requirements are also seasonal. March through September/October I do a lot more cardio because I'm actively training or I'm very recreationally active so my maintenance needs are higher. October through February I'm much less recreationally active due to it being dark and cold and I'm also not training for anything as it's the offseason, so much of my exercise switches from cardiovascular work to strength training and my maintenance requirements are significantly less.

    Also realize that maintenance isn't a specific number. You're going to fluctuate up and down. In maintenance I can typically be up or down 3 Lbs from my average day to day and more if I have an unusually high sodium day or flying for vacation, etc. Most people also have a range with an upper limit of acceptability. My usual maintenance weight is around 180 Lbs but going through the winter, it isn't unusual for me to start spring training at around 190 Lbs and lose that weight over the course of March, April, and May before it settles.
  • ninasuejones
    ninasuejones Posts: 3 Member
    I have been on maintenance since June, 2021 after a two year 85 pound weight loss with a dietician, MFP and 3 miles a day walking. In the past year on maintenance, there has been an additional 15 pound weight loss. However ten weeks ago, I began weight machines and Zumba in addition to the walking. This has caused the weight to drop more and its affected my face - I look like a zombie. So in the last 3 weeks have added 200 calories per day. The weight loss has stopped. However, I need to put a few pounds back on. Just started an additional 100 per day. Does everyone struggle with this kind of balancing act?
  • gpanda103
    gpanda103 Posts: 175 Member
    Maintenance is kind of tricky. You aren’t ever going to burn the same amount of calories every day. There’s a lot of stuff that goes into what you need to eat to maintain that no app or mfp can account for. You just have to adjust over time
  • rosiekin
    rosiekin Posts: 62 Member
    edited May 27
    I have been on maintenance since June, 2021 after a two year 85 pound weight loss with a dietician, MFP and 3 miles a day walking. In the past year on maintenance, there has been an additional 15 pound weight loss. However ten weeks ago, I began weight machines and Zumba in addition to the walking. This has caused the weight to drop more and its affected my face - I look like a zombie. So in the last 3 weeks have added 200 calories per day. The weight loss has stopped. However, I need to put a few pounds back on. Just started an additional 100 per day. Does everyone struggle with this kind of balancing act?

    I'm struggling a bit with this myself just now.

    I've been maintaining since late 2014 (90lbs loss), and to be honest, I'd been really lucky and found the whole maintenance 'journey' quite easy, and was very happy with how many calories I could eat to maintain. Despite rarely weighing myself, I reckon my weight was pretty stable for about 5 years. However, by the beginning of 2020, I had fallen out of love with swimming and was hardly doing any exercise at all, but I hadn't adjusted my calorie intake accordingly. I began to suspect I'd put on a few pounds, but as I knew I would still be well within a healthy BMI, and 99% of my clothes fitted well, it wasn't a big problem to me. However, at the start of lockdown, I decided to start walking, basically because there was nothing else you could do!

    Over time, I was aware my weight was dropping due to my clothes hanging off me, and my loose skin getting even looser, so about 8 months ago, I decided to step on the scales for the first time in years. I was shocked to see my weight had dropped over a stone since the last time I weighed myself in about 2018. When I looked back at my data on MFP, I realised I was actually undereating about 30-40 calories a day, so with that, coupled with the increased exercise I was doing, it was little wonder I was losing weight again.

    I actually find it VERY hard to eat up to my full weekly calorie allowance, and see the total on MFP at zero, instead of minus 100, etc. That temptation just to keep a LITTLE bit under goal is hard to shake off. However, 6 weeks ago, I weighed myself again and I was down another 4lbs in about 6 months. This time, I had a stronger word with myself, and although I have found it hard, I am now eating my whole weekly allowance.

    My aim initially is to stabilize my weight, and then I am going to tackle the issue of putting back on a few pounds by doing what you are doing, gradually increasing my daily allowance. You sound like you're more up for that than me, even though I know I need to!

    Like everything with weight loss/weight gain, you've got to want to do it, so hopefully I will get my head round the idea of gaining a bit of weight again, because I genuinely think I will look better for it. I wouldn't say my face was like a zombie, but my skin under my clothes isn't a pretty sight!!
  • ninasuejones
    ninasuejones Posts: 3 Member
    You have maintained your 90 pound weight loss for five years; that is incredible and gives me hope for sustaining on maintenance.

    I do weigh often and frankly have been more attached to the scale in the past year than the during the weight loss. First afraid of gaining, and now afraid of losing more.

    The sagging skin, I accept with a smile as it is so much better than being overweight and unhealthy. It's a side affect of years of obesity and waiting until after age 65 to tackle the problem. These wrinkles can be covered up with clothing, but the gaunt face with the last 5 pound loss - not at all.

    With the calories that you added in the last six weeks, what kinds of foods did you add? All I could think of were nuts and fruits. What is working for you?
  • rosiekin
    rosiekin Posts: 62 Member
    You have maintained your 90 pound weight loss for five years; that is incredible and gives me hope for sustaining on maintenance.

    I do weigh often and frankly have been more attached to the scale in the past year than the during the weight loss. First afraid of gaining, and now afraid of losing more.

    The sagging skin, I accept with a smile as it is so much better than being overweight and unhealthy. It's a side affect of years of obesity and waiting until after age 65 to tackle the problem. These wrinkles can be covered up with clothing, but the gaunt face with the last 5 pound loss - not at all.

    With the calories that you added in the last six weeks, what kinds of foods did you add? All I could think of were nuts and fruits. What is working for you?

    Sounds like you are doing well too, and while it's natural to worry about sustaining weight loss, it is definitely possible, and lots of members on MFP will vouch for that. Continue with the good habits you started during weight loss, but enjoy the extra calories you can now add in.

    I'm 61 now, and like you I spent the majority of my adult life obese, although I did have quite a number of times when I reached my goal. This period of maintenance, since late 2014, has been the only time I have succeeded in keeping the weight off. Every other time, within weeks, I'd started to overeat again, and within months, I was back to being obese.

    I did lots of things differently this time, and even now, after years of maintaining a healthy weight, I sometimes have to pinch myself that I have actually succeeded. Like I said before, I've had very few hurdles along the way, and that's probably why I am struggling a bit just now with the changes to my weight. I know what I have to do, and physically I could easily eat more, it's just the mental battle I am having with myself that I am finding a bit overwhelming just now. I know what to do, I just need to do it, and believe in the maths!

    You can easily add in extra calories by eating extra fruit or nuts, or if you are currently eating any low fat version of things, just change to the full fat version. Personally, on average, I was actually only undereating about 200-300 calories a week, so it has been really easy just to eat a little bit more, e.g. eating a 140 calories banana instead of a 90 calorie one, having 35g of cheerios instead of 25g, etc. The battle for me is accepting that seeing 0 cals left on my weekly total is a good thing! I liked that little buzz even a minor deficit gave me.

    Nearly 8 years after reaching my initial goal, I'm still a work in progress! I think lots of people would agree that when you reach maintenance, your weight journey doesn't end, a new one begins. You have to adapt to different lifestyles, new circumstances, aging, blooming lockdowns (!), etc, etc. However, it is definitely worth it, even though I am having a wobble just now! Good luck with your own journey.

  • Arc2Arc
    Arc2Arc Posts: 428 Member
    I started maintenance 5 months ago. Since then I'm down another 3% body weight. I've upped my calories twice now and I'm about to do it again, if I gain it's bulking in concert with resistance training. That's how I've gotten myself comfortable with eating more calories. My downside, hopefully, is more muscle and a little more fat which I now know how to lose if I need to.

    This is the fun part. I get to eat more, tweak my body and lean into what I've learned.
  • SummerSkier
    SummerSkier Posts: 3,397 Member
    remember maintenance is not a static thing. Your weight, your activity, your day to day changes all the time. What's important is to notice the trends and take action at the point you have designated.

    It's been 5 years since I started back on MFP and lost about 30 pounds in 18 weeks. After that I slowly raised my calories and yes I continued to lose because my body was still headed in that direction. I think of it like a huge freighter. You slowly increase calories and the freighter slowly drifts to a stop and at some point you see it has reversed and then you look at the data and perhaps cut things a bit very gently until you stay within your range.

    By continuing to log and check in and work out (and weigh) and watch how my clothes fit I have been able to nip any regains fairly nicely. It IS rough to cut again after so long in maintenance but the alternative is to just throw up your hands and give up? Not gonna happen.