How to Find Your Maintenance Calorie Level

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Replies

  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 25,203 Member
    Because that immediately previous post was crazy long, I'm going to pull out a shorter piece as a standalone post for the general improvement of the thread:

    That nice @heybales created a very handy spreadsheet for estimating TDEE, with more and clearer options than the usual TDEE calculator.

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1G7FgNzPq3v5WMjDtH0n93LXSMRY_hjmzNTMJb3aZSxM/edit?usp=sharing

    There's more detailed description about it in this post:

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10287502/just-my-tdee-please

    Like any TDEE calculator, it's still an estimate, not a certainty ( <== I think heybales would agree with this :) ).

    Going back to the original post (OP) in this thread, this spreadsheet is one good option for those who choose to use method #2 in the OP to get a maintenance calorie estimate.
  • heybales
    heybales Posts: 18,831 Member
    I just improved it today (maybe) to include a little calc for using weight loss/gain and calories eaten to get your apparent TDEE.

    I'll also mention the math for exercise is based on the METS database, the daily stuff is based on the same WHO study MFP used when they changed their BMR multipliers.
  • amarquis792
    amarquis792 Posts: 6 Member
    @heybates, can you send the improved/ updated link to the spread sheet?
  • heybales
    heybales Posts: 18,831 Member
    Same link same spreadsheet - just updated.
  • Curvybaja55
    Curvybaja55 Posts: 114 Member
    edited July 2020
    I am 10lbs away from my weight goal my diary is open and will appreciate any suggestions about my workout and eating habits. I used to run for several years but unable to do so now, my doc said I destroy my knees from running. My only form of exercise is walking which can be painful sometimes. For many years I was able to maintained my weight 148 to 155 but due to a running injury about 3 years ago and been inactive my weight was 202 the most I weigh. February of this year was the first time I had keep a food diary. I have loss about 30lbs. Thanks for your help
  • Curvybaja55
    Curvybaja55 Posts: 114 Member
    edited July 2020
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I am 10lbs away from my weight goal my diary is open and will appreciate any suggestions about my workout and eating habits. I used to run for several years but unable to do so now, my doc said I destroy my knees from running. My only form of exercise is walking which can be painful sometimes. For many years I was able to maintained my weight 148 to 155 but due to a running injury about 3 years ago and been inactive my weight was 202 the most I weigh. February of this year was the first time I had keep a food diary. I have loss about 30lbs. Thanks for your help

    I'm not really sure what you're asking? This is a thread about estimating maintenance calories, but it's unclear that that's where you are now?

    If you've lost 30 pounds in around 5 months, that's a fairly fast rate (around 6 pounds a month, a little over a pound a week), with only 10 pounds to go. If it were me, I'd slow down from there by adding some calories (that's what I did, in fact, at around 10 pounds to go).

    If you're looking for alternatives to running, then (if you haven't already), I'd suggest asking your doctor for a referral to a good physical therapist who can look at your movement patterns, help you adjust any imbalances or disfunctions to reduce pain/limitations, and if necessary help you identify other types of exercise that would be less stressful, but still beneficial/enjoyable. I did that after being diagnosed with a torn meniscus (on top of some osteoarthritis), and found it very beneficial. The PT helped me identify some joints that needed more mobility (and gave me exercises to do for that), plus taught me how to minimize stress on my knees from walking and (especially) using stairs.

    As far as what you're eating, it looks pretty nutritious and well-rounded. There are things that wouldn't work for me personally as an eating pattern (example: I need more protein at breakfast for appetite control), but if they're working for you they should be fine. I'd want a little more protein overall, but I'm weird that way, and you seem to be in a reasonable range. Do you feel good (other than the knee problems)?

    I would note that you seem to be leaving a lot of calories of your goal uneaten most days, which matches up with your still relatively fast loss.

    If your question is about something other than estimating your maintenance calories, you might want to start your own thread with a clearer question in it. If your question really is about transitioning to maintaining your weight, clarifying your exact question(s) would still be helpful.

    Best wishes!

    @Annp77 thanks for your reply. My question is when do I start maintenance should I wait until I reach my goal weight or can I start now.
    I was on another thread and this link was in one of the answers and this is now I came to met such a wonderful person who answered all my questions.

    * My diagnosis was bilateral torn meniscus, osteoarthritis and hypothyroidism add to the mix.
    * I did see a PT and his recommendations were using exercise bike and elliptical no walking on treadmill.
    * I am usually full after having so much fruits and vegetables and most of the time I am unable to eat all my calories.
    * I am working on adding a bit more protein to my meals. I am doing okay beside the knee pain which has decreased as I loss the weight.

    Once again thanks for your help and have a Great day.
  • Curvybaja55
    Curvybaja55 Posts: 114 Member
    edited July 2020
    @AnnP77 thanks for your reply. My question is when do I start maintenance should I wait until I reach my goal weight or can I start now.
    I was on another thread and this link was in one of the answers and this is now I came to met such a wonderful person who answered all my questions.

    * My diagnosis was bilateral torn meniscus, osteoarthritis and hypothyroidism add to the mix.
    * I did see a PT and his recommendations were using exercise bike and elliptical no walking on treadmill.
    * I am usually full after having so much fruits and vegetables and most of the time I am unable to eat all my calories.
    * I am working on adding a bit more protein to my meals. I am doing okay beside the knee pain which has decreased as I loss the weight.

    Once again thanks for your help and have a Great day.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 25,203 Member
    edited July 2020
    @AnnP77 thanks for your reply. My question is when do I start maintenance should I wait until I reach my goal weight or can I start now.
    I was on another thread and this link was in one of the answers and this is now I came to met such a wonderful person who answered all my questions.

    * My diagnosis was bilateral torn meniscus, osteoarthritis and hypothyroidism add to the mix.
    * I did see a PT and his recommendations were using exercise bike and elliptical no walking on treadmill.
    * I am usually full after having so much fruits and vegetables and most of the time I am unable to eat all my calories.
    * I am working on adding a bit more protein to my meals. I am doing okay beside the knee pain which has decreased as I loss the weight.

    Once again thanks for your help and have a Great day.

    When to go to maintenance?

    Simplistically: When you start eating (true) maintenance calories, you stop losing weight, and you don't gain any weight. So, at that cartoon-simple level, you don't want to start eating maintenance calories until you reach goal weight.

    But . . .

    * Pinning down true maintenance calories involves estimating and confirming the calorie level, so it may take some noodling around to get it right
    * Some people prefer not to go to maintenance calories all at once, in a big jump
    * Some people who kinda freak out about scale jumps, and plan (sensibly) to use a weight range to manage maintenance, may decide to lose to the lower boundary of their goal weight range, before starting to eat maintenance calories. (Example: Someone wants to weigh 140, maybe plans a maintenance range of 137-143, loses down to 137 to leave some wiggle room while they figure out maintenance calories.)

    All of those are individual preferences, except the first one. So, you would decide what to do, based on your personality and preferences.

    With say 10 pounds to go, if you'd been losing sort of fast (1 pound a week or more), you could - if you wanted to - start tapering your loss rate by increasing calories gradually. For example, just making up data, if you'd been averaging losing 1.2 pounds a week, that's about 4200 calories per week of deficit, so about 600 calories deficit daily. If you wanted to go to maintenance gradually, you could add back 300 or so calories daily, wait a couple weeks, add another 100, wait a few weeks then add 100, etc., continuing to look at your average weekly weight loss, and timing things so you end up at your goal weight and your estimated maintenance calories at about the same time.

    At the other extreme, you could continue as you are (as long as not losing dangerously fast now!) until at goal weight or lower end of goal range, then go to maintenance calories in a single bigger jump (which will tend to have that water-weight jump in weight show up on the scale, as discussed in previous posts on this thread).

    Does that answer your question?

    ETA: If you like, you can take a "diet break" at any point, where you eat at your estimated maintenance calories for a couple of weeks or more, then - possibly renewed and refreshed - go back to a bit of a calorie deficit for a while, to lose a few more pounds.

    Keep in mind that those readjustment decisions are always open to you: I've been in maintenance, at a healthy weight, for 4+ years now, but had let my weight drift up a little. I few months ago, I started trying to lose a few more vanity pounds ultra-slowly, which has been going well . . . I still consider myself to be "in maintenance" because my high weight in the fall was still around BMI 23, normal range, health markers good . . . but now it's around BMI 20.5, which I'm happier with.
  • Curvybaja55
    Curvybaja55 Posts: 114 Member
    edited July 2020
    With say 10 pounds to go, if you'd been losing sort of fast (1 pound a week or more), you could - if you wanted to - start tapering your loss rate by increasing calories gradually. For example, just making up data, if you'd been averaging losing 1.2 pounds a week, that's about 4200 calories per week of deficit, so about 600 calories deficit daily. If you wanted to go to maintenance gradually, you could add back 300 or so calories daily, wait a couple weeks, add another 100, wait a few weeks then add 100, etc., continuing to look at your average weekly weight loss, and timing things so you end up at your goal weight and your estimated maintenance calories at about the same time.

    @AnnPT77 thanks again so may options, I decide to go with this one. I now know where you reach you and I can post my progress and seek your opinion from time to time. I forget to mention I am on a gluten free, low sugar and diary diet and this is going to be a challenge.

    Good Day to you my friend and be safe.
  • bacpath
    bacpath Posts: 326 Member
    With say 10 pounds to go, if you'd been losing sort of fast (1 pound a week or more), you could - if you wanted to - start tapering your loss rate by increasing calories gradually. For example, just making up data, if you'd been averaging losing 1.2 pounds a week, that's about 4200 calories per week of deficit, so about 600 calories deficit daily. If you wanted to go to maintenance gradually, you could add back 300 or so calories daily, wait a couple weeks, add another 100, wait a few weeks then add 100, etc., continuing to look at your average weekly weight loss, and timing things so you end up at your goal weight and your estimated maintenance calories at about the same time.

    @AnnPT77 thanks again so may options, I decide to go with this one. I now know where you reach you and I can post my progress and seek your opinion from time to time. I forget to mention I am on a gluten free, low sugar and diary diet and this is going to be a challenge.

    Good Day to you my friend and be safe.
    Any idea how to bookmark this thread or stickie it. I will be going into maintenance in September hopefully.
    Thanks
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 25,203 Member
    bacpath wrote: »
    With say 10 pounds to go, if you'd been losing sort of fast (1 pound a week or more), you could - if you wanted to - start tapering your loss rate by increasing calories gradually. For example, just making up data, if you'd been averaging losing 1.2 pounds a week, that's about 4200 calories per week of deficit, so about 600 calories deficit daily. If you wanted to go to maintenance gradually, you could add back 300 or so calories daily, wait a couple weeks, add another 100, wait a few weeks then add 100, etc., continuing to look at your average weekly weight loss, and timing things so you end up at your goal weight and your estimated maintenance calories at about the same time.

    @AnnPT77 thanks again so may options, I decide to go with this one. I now know where you reach you and I can post my progress and seek your opinion from time to time. I forget to mention I am on a gluten free, low sugar and diary diet and this is going to be a challenge.

    Good Day to you my friend and be safe.
    Any idea how to bookmark this thread or stickie it. I will be going into maintenance in September hopefully.
    Thanks

    Up near the top right corner of this page, across from the thread title, look for a hollow (outline) star. Click it, and it should turn yellow. That's bookmarking.

    From that point on, any updates to the thread will show up in your notifications (which you may or may not want ;) ). Also, you can click on the solid gray/white/black star (shows up various places in web MFP or phone/tablet app, color varies) and see a list of threads you've bookmarked.

    For this specific thread, another alternative: When you get close to maintenance, read the "Most Helpful Posts" section (a.k.a. the "stickies") in the "Maintaining Weight" part of the forum. This thread is in linked in that section. So is some other good stuff.
  • saumyajainjan6
    saumyajainjan6 Posts: 1 Member
    I basically want to mentain my weight but have kind of sendatory level of activity but do record my calorie intake which seems to be fine like around 1100-1200 calories but feel anxious because I don't exercise or I am not very active
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 25,203 Member
    I basically want to mentain my weight but have kind of sendatory level of activity but do record my calorie intake which seems to be fine like around 1100-1200 calories but feel anxious because I don't exercise or I am not very active

    Exercise is optional for weight management (loss, maintenance or gain), though it does affect the number of calories a person will need to reach any particular weight management goal. But regular exercise is important for best odds of long-term good health, so it's worth working at doing some. :)
  • sargemarcori
    sargemarcori Posts: 247 Member
    bumping a super-useful thread.
  • rosiekin
    rosiekin Posts: 66 Member
    dralicephd wrote: »
    Ok, I think I'm ready for maintenance....

    Wish me luck!

    Good luck! Let us know how it goes... I try to have faith in the maths too, so it will be interesting to see how you get on. Thanks.
  • rosiekin
    rosiekin Posts: 66 Member
    edited June 20
    dralicephd wrote: »

    Thanks for the reminder!

    It is now a month later and the math works! I've been sitting at about 144 (+/- 1 pound) the entire time. :smile:

    Yay data and numbers! :wink:

    That's brilliant news. I've been doing a wee maths 'test' myself for the past couple of months, but I haven't stepped on the scales yet so I don't know if I'm being successful or not. Hopefully like you, the data and numbers will work for me too!
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 25,203 Member
    rosiekin wrote: »
    dralicephd wrote: »

    Thanks for the reminder!

    It is now a month later and the math works! I've been sitting at about 144 (+/- 1 pound) the entire time. :smile:

    Yay data and numbers! :wink:

    That's brilliant news. I've been doing a wee maths 'test' myself for the past couple of months, but I haven't stepped on the scales yet so I don't know if I'm being successful or not. Hopefully like you, the data and numbers will work for me too!

    In a sense, some of us think the definition of maintenance is "cyclically gaining then losing the same 2 (3) (5) pounds". It's a little bit of a range, and managing it is very possible. IMO, it's possible to overstress oneself, trying to narrow it tooooo much.