Advice on switching to maintenance

Hi! I am new to posting on here, but have gotten a lot of great advice from reading posts on here recently. I am currently at (actually a little under) my goal weight and definetly need to start adding back some calories and maybe cutting down on the exercise a little. In my journey to lose weight I have become a very avid runner and do a lot of it (now mainly for enjoyment!) However, after reaching my goal weight I continue to eat low-calorie and still run quite a lot...something I know has to change. Yet, while I know I need to make some changes to stay healthy, I must admit that I am a little scared about adding calories back...I just don't know how my body will react. I have read some other posts where people have mentioned that when you give your body more fuel it just uses it and you would be suprised by how UNEFFECTED your weight is by the extra calories. Is this really true? Seeing that I exercise a couple hours every day, would it be safe to assume that my body can handle...and even needs the extra nourishment? I am aware that there is no definite answer that anyone on here can give me...that there are no gauruntees...but does anyone else have experience with this? I do think that I am exercising too much and eating too little and I am determined to fix that and stay healthy! Any thoughts and advice would be much appreciated!!!

Replies

  • tehzephyrsong
    tehzephyrsong Posts: 435 Member
    You don't need to tone down your exercise routine. Just change your goals in your settings on here; it'll give you a new calorie goal to maintain your weight with your current level of activity. Once you get used to that, you won't even need us anymore! *tear* No, but really, you should be proud of your progress. Go update your info and gradually start adding calories back, especially if you're still eating on a significant deficit (more than 1lb/week). Step yourself up to the next line in the drop-down from whatever you have it set on every couple of months and you'll ease into eating more; if you just all of a sudden go from eating 1500 calories to eating 2500 calories a day, you're liable to go overboard and gain back some of what you worked so hard to lose.
  • uglyhobo
    uglyhobo Posts: 108 Member
    Slowly work up to your goal.
    Your metabolism is probably slowed down from eating at a deficit constantly for a while.
    If you go back to maintenance, you might end up gaining weight if you suddenly jump up to maintenance.
    Try adding 100-200 calories per day until you're at maintenance. You might actually gain 3 or 4 pounds though from eating at maintenance but that weight would just be water and extra food in your body, not fat or muscle.
  • kimad
    kimad Posts: 3,011 Member
    Look forward to the replies.. I am about 6 lbs from goal and keep thinking I will gradually increase my calories but it also scares me. I have an idea of how to maintain becuase I have been lately (too many splurges) but I realize I need something more firm and healthy. I personally won't change my workout schedule -- I feel if I make it less, I will just stop all together.

    Good job on your progress...
  • RobynMWilson
    RobynMWilson Posts: 1,540 Member
    I work out roughly an hour a day (may be a little more with P90X coming up) and I eat 2000 cals on workout days to maintain 136lbs and have maintained between 133-138 for many years so I know for me it rings true... Good luck on the maintenance! don't be afraid to add cals back, be afraid of going back to old habits! Maintenance is as much work as the journey getting there but you got this! :)
  • jamm2000
    jamm2000 Posts: 79
    Great question! I'm actually a few pounds under goal and am kinda terrified of going into maintenance as this is usually where I fail. Right now I'm doing 30 minutes of cardio 5 days a week and 60-90 minutes of cardio 2 days a week. I really need to start weight training and toning, which I know will cause me to gain a little weight back as I gain muscle. This past week I ate more calories than usual, still netting under 1200, and lost 2.4 lbs!!! My goal this week is to net 1200 calories everyday and find myself a basic, at home strength training routine.

    Anyway, I'm looking forward to the advice here.
  • kimad
    kimad Posts: 3,011 Member
    Maintenance is as much work as the journey getting there but you got this! :)

    YUP! this I know, becuase I don't want to ever weight 245lbs again.. I am an MFP'er for life...
  • Thank you all so much for the support and advice! My questions now are, how slowly should I add back calories? Also, what does "netting" calories mean?
  • Does "net calories" mean eating your exercise calories? I have to admit I am very bad at that...until recently I didn't even know I should be eating back my exercise calories. If I were to start now, would I be looking at a little gain most likely?
  • yarwell
    yarwell Posts: 10,479 Member
    adding 500 calories a day should only lead to 1 lb/week of fat gain. There may be an initial water retention effect etc but I would think that adding 500 and waiting 2 weeks to judge the outcome would be a reasonable approach.

    After a large weight loss the reduced metabolism may take some time to increase, so BMR estimates are probably useless. Try it and see is the only guaranteed method.
  • YoYo1951
    YoYo1951 Posts: 370
    bump, want to see where this goes
  • londoneye
    londoneye Posts: 192 Member
    Check out the national weight control registry for research on how people keep off weight long-term: http://www.nwcr.ws/Research/default.htm
  • JesterMFP
    JesterMFP Posts: 3,610 Member
    Congratulations on reaching your goal!
    Does "net calories" mean eating your exercise calories? I have to admit I am very bad at that...until recently I didn't even know I should be eating back my exercise calories. If I were to start now, would I be looking at a little gain most likely?

    Yes, "net calories" are the calories you've consumed, minus the calories you've burned and logged as exercise. You've reached your goal now, so really, the whole exercise calorie debate isn't very relevant to you. If you don't like eating them back, then either don't log your exercise, or only log it as "1 calorie burned", so that it doesn't affect your calorie goal. Remember, it's not about losing now, you need to find the number of calories that you can maintain on. You can start with whatever MFP tells you, but it might not be exactly right, so you might need to experiment.

    If it really freaks you out to add calories, I would start with maybe an extra 100 a day and do that for a week. Add another 100 the next week, and do that until your weight has stabilised. Chances are, you will put on a little bit of "weight" because there will be more food in your system, and you'll probably have more glycogen, which will store water. It's the reverse of when someone starts cutting calories and loses water weight. It's not fat though, so no need to worry. Obviously, if you keep gaining weight, then you might be eating over your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) and you might have to cut back your cals a little more, to find the right spot.
  • CnocNaCu
    CnocNaCu Posts: 536 Member
    I've switched to maintenance 2 months ago and found it very difficult in the beginning because I nervously watched what the scale said every morning. I gained about 5 pounds and was horrified BUT: it was NOT fat, only water. My body started storing more glycogen and therefore extra water to be well prepared for my workouts. I run a lot ( up to 15 miles per week) and do general strength training so I bet my body was glad to get extra fuel. When I cut down on calories again I will lose these extra pounds within 3 days so I know it is only water. I've upped my calories from 1200 to 1500 (not more, I'm in menopause) very slowly over 3 weeks.
    I might weigh a ffew pounds more than when I was a teenager but I look skinnier :bigsmile: I'm toned now and running gives my face the "happy look":bigsmile:
    Fuel your runs and don't be scared when you gain a bit. It goes as quickly as it comes and hugely depends on your level of activity. The more you do the more glycogen your body stores and in order to do that it has to store water.
    Good luck and enjoy maintenance:flowerforyou:
  • I can't give advice but I'll say how I'll do it when I reach goal in about 6-8 weeks. I will weigh myself every day (I do this now anyway, so it's no change) and if I weigh a certain weight (the maximum I'm happy with) I have to cut back that day in terms of what I eat. After a while I'll get a feel for what I can eat and what I can't, in order to maintain at my goal weight. Judging what others have said, your metabolism changes slowly after reaching goal (talking months rather than weeks).
  • B_Running
    B_Running Posts: 158
    I've switched to maintenance 2 months ago and found it very difficult in the beginning because I nervously watched what the scale said every morning. I gained about 5 pounds and was horrified BUT: it was NOT fat, only water. My body started storing more glycogen and therefore extra water to be well prepared for my workouts. I run a lot ( up to 15 miles per week) and do general strength training so I bet my body was glad to get extra fuel. When I cut down on calories again I will lose these extra pounds within 3 days so I know it is only water. I've upped my calories from 1200 to 1500 (not more, I'm in menopause) very slowly over 3 weeks.
    I might weigh a ffew pounds more than when I was a teenager but I look skinnier :bigsmile: I'm toned now and running gives my face the "happy look":bigsmile:
    Fuel your runs and don't be scared when you gain a bit. It goes as quickly as it comes and hugely depends on your level of activity. The more you do the more glycogen your body stores and in order to do that it has to store water.
    Good luck and enjoy maintenance:flowerforyou:

    Such GREAT advice! Thanks for sharing : )
  • Again, I have to admit to being a little clueless! I'm not sure if I should ask this here or start a new thread... But what is the deal with glycogen storage? I run a lot so I am sure it is probably an issue for me. In terms of adding calories, how will I know what's normal weight gain because of water and when to stop adding? I am really sorry to ask so many questions!!!!
  • CnocNaCu
    CnocNaCu Posts: 536 Member
    Again, I have to admit to being a little clueless! I'm not sure if I should ask this here or start a new thread... But what is the deal with glycogen storage? I run a lot so I am sure it is probably an issue for me. In terms of adding calories, how will I know what's normal weight gain because of water and when to stop adding? I am really sorry to ask so many questions!!!!

    When I had gained a few pounds I cut back on calories again and watched what happened. I lost the pounds within 3 days so it must have been water. This is a test you can always do when you're worried

    I found this definition in askabout.com

    Definition: Glycogen is the main way the body stores glucose for later use. It is a large molecule produced in the liver, although it is also stored in the muscle and fat cells. After carbohydrate ingestion, more glycogen will be produced, and then released as blood glucose levels fall. Low-carb diets initially deplete glycogen storage, although to some extent any weight loss diet has the same effect. Since glycogen molecules have quite a bit of water attached, some "water weight" is lost at the beginning of any weight loss diet. The glycogen stores are partially replaced subsequently.

    Hope that helps