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Moving to Maintenance Tips

Thursday, March 07, 2013

I'm not yet at my goal weight, but through numerous "conversations" with people on SP, I've finally decided to take the plunge and move to maintenance. I've been having trouble wrapping my head around having to eat so much more. I mean, wouldn't that make me gain the weight back? I asked about it on the boards and on SparkCoach. None of the answers were really clicking with me until...

I read an article in Outside magazine. I tried to find that article online, but I seem to be having trouble. I wanted to post the link on this page for all of you. The gist of it was that food is the fuell that you need to workout. If you workout and don't eat enough food, you system goes into starvation mode and starts storing what you do eat as fat. I also read about some of the complications that not eating enough while working out can cause.

It can cause hormone deficiencies from the poor nutrition. The starvation mode can cause your body to halt nonessential work llike the creation of testosterone, estrogen, and other reproductive hormones. The fallout can lead to loss of muscle and bone density, diminished sex drive, and low energy. In men it can lead to fewer and less-healthy sperm; in women it can cause irregular menstrual cycles.

Here are the magazine's five simple tips to ensure you get what you need:

1) Endorphins can blunt appetite, so refuel after exercise even if you don't feel hungry.
2) Have food on hand so you never allow yourself to become extremely hungry.
3) For workouts under two hours, eat a meal or snack 1 - 2 hours prior.
4) For workouts two hours or longer, ideal pre-exercise fueling includes a full meal 3 - 4 hours prior and a snack 1 - 2 hours prior.
5) If you're planning a tough workout the next morning, eat a bedtime snack plus breakfasts before and after working out.

I hope this blog helps anyone who is considering, or in the middle of, maintenance.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    No, eating more food with extreme exercise hasn't made me gain at all. I have actually lost weight after eating more, when SP has told me I wasn't eating enough with my calorie burn. By tracking everything you eat and all your cardio exercise, SP will keep track of that for you. But, I always try to figure out the magic formula, because it seems I am more in maintenance mode than anything. No gain, no loss! So, I keep changing things hoping to figure it all out. I really do believe that about the starvation theory that they speak about & you mentioned! emoticon emoticon
    1804 days ago
    Thanks for the info.
    1807 days ago
    Great topic! A lot of good ideas here. If it wasn't so hard, more people would be successful. You are off to a good start though, keep up the spark!
    1807 days ago
    Making that transition from weight loss mode can be a tough one. I really struggled with it a year ago when I reached goal and decided to make the transition gradually. I increased my calories slowly and stopped increasing them when my weight leveled off. I still exercise at more or less the same level as I did when I was losing weight, so the difference has really come down to food for me.

    A big part of maintenance is experimenting with the things that work for you and are most satisfying, motivating and sustainable. You can learn a lot from listening to the advice of others, but ultimately you have to go with what will help keep you on track permanently.

    Good luck navigating maintenance and feel free to keep in touch. We maintainers need all the support we can get!
    1807 days ago
  • LINDA!
    You have been doing great and moving to maintenance is a good idea.
    1808 days ago
  • BOBBYD31
    this is a good topic, i have talked to many people about this over the years. what people must understand is that starvation mode is not the lack of food it is actually the lack of proper nutrients to allow you body to function at optimum levels.

    here is a bit of an example:

    starvation mode- starvation diet does not mean the absence of food. it means cutting the total caloric intake to less than 60% of what the body requires. it slows you metabolism so you can't drop weight as easy or even gain and you body does not get enough nutrients.

    just an example if you need 2000 per day to maintain weight. you only eat 1500 which is ok but then you burn 1000 you end up with a net of 500 calories. with a net of 500 your body is starving for nutrients, any and begins to hold onto everything you put into so you can actually gain weigh on 500 calories per day. good rule of thumb is never go below 1200 calories net. if you have been doing this to you body it may take several weeks to turn it around to get back to normal

    1808 days ago
    Just when you think you got dieting figured out, here comes maintenance with a whole new set of rules! I think I got my needs covered, but it was definitely a lot of trial and error. And I still feel like the tweaking will be ongoing. Congrats on moving to this new phase - good luck!
    1808 days ago
    I'm in the middle of maintenance and I don't follow any rules :)
    Maybe not the best strategy, but it works for me currently, and it gives me freedom from food. It is, after all, just fuel and does not deserve more attention from me than it takes to prepare and eat it :)
    1808 days ago
    I know going into maintenance is scary, but it's the right thing to do. No one should be on a permanent "diet".

    It will take some time to find the right balance of food and exercise to keep the weight off. So, don't be alarmed if you do happen to gain a little back. Your body just needs a bit of time to settle and adapt to the new weight.

    As far as eating, if you feel uncomfortable eating 2000 calories a day, when you've been eating 1500, then eat 1600 each day for one week. The next week, you eat 1700 calories a day. You keep doing this until you are at your proper maintenance calories. And there are lots of healthy ways to increase your caloric intake.

    Put some extra virgin olive oil on your salads. Toss some slices of almonds into your oatmeal. Have some beans with your dinner. Have some avocado. Eat a couple more servings of fresh fruit.

    Don't worry, as the weeks go by, you'll feel more comfortable. But, I will say this, kicking the dieting mentality won't be easy. thus the need for patience. We're so used to trying to lose weight that keeping it off will seem confusing and even overwhelming. What to do ? Don't give up those healthy habits. Every healthy habit you adopted to take the weight off, you'll need to keep it off. The only difference ? You get to eat a bit more.

    1808 days ago
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