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Is it a problem?

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Maintenance is hard. I have read many helpful thought from you, my SP friends, on this topic, but I am still struggling here. Getting the equation just right obviously escapes me and I would appreciate any help.

Since calling myself in maintenance about two and a half months ago, I have lost about 4 kg more. Healthwise, it is not a problem - I am smack in the middle of the healthy BMI range at 21.7. The problem is that I would like to maintain, not lose any more weight.
I have upped my calories for sure, but since I no longer track, it's hard to know exactly how much I am eating.

A normal day's intake goes something like this:
Breakfast: coffee with whole milk (about a cup of milk total), a fat-free yogurt, and a banana
Lunch: A cup of soup, a sandwich made with two normal slices of part-whole wheat bread, a quarter of an avocado, turkey breast, about 50 kcal slice of hard cheese. Whatever fruit there is, a piece of dark chocolate, coffee with cream (two small coffee cream containers)
Snack: A cereal bar (130 kcal)
Dinner: Whatever the family has, often some kind of pasta dish with veggies and cheese. 2-3 times a week I'll have a glass of wine with dinner. If there is dessert, occasionally I will have a little piece. If I feel snacky after dinner, I'll have some fruit.

No, I'm not eating perfectly, and definitely not clean, but that's a separate issue.

A 1550 kcal or so day looked quite a bit like this, except no dessert with lunch and dinner, no wine, smaller portions at dinner.

Exercise: 3 times a week strength training, usually with my stability ball, and no more than 25 min. 3 times a week a Zumba video, usually 20-25 minutes, occasionally over 30 min but rarely these days. That's a very conservative program, I think. This is what I did while losing, too.

My problem is that I don't want to start eating much more, since I can see how bad habits can creep back in with increased calories. On the other hand, I really don't want to keep losing, I want to maintain.
I do think that my work-related stress is not helping stabilize my weight. It seems I both gain and lose relatively easily at this time in my life, and both trends are affected by stress. Left to my own devices, I will just gain, though, since I use food as a stress relief unless I am aware of it. No intuitive eating for me, sadly.

I've had a neighbor ask me if everything was ok, whether I lost weight because I wanted to. That scared me a little. I know people say all sorts of things about weight loss, and resist change in others. Yet, if I can be perceived as sickly and not svelte by choice, well... My husband says I look great and I'm feeling good and strong.

Is it a problem? What to do?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    If you are not sure of the calories you are consuming then track again until you feel comfortable with your ability to make choices and stay within your maintenance target. You amy want to add to your tracker if you have not already the amount of protein, fat, calcium and other key nutrients. It looks a little light on protein.
    I would also track your exercise and make sure you run the report of calorie differential in the reports section to make sure you are not continuing to be so negative that you are still losing weight.
    It is not easy but is achievable to be comfortable in Maint. Trust the opinions of those who have been with you through the entire journey not just those who occasionally see you.
    Best wishes to stay in your maintenance goals
    2295 days ago
    It takes time to adjust to the smaller size. If you want to stop losing without eating a whole lot more volume, add compact calories: dried fruit has less volume, more calories that whole fruit, for example. Nuts are good, pack a lot of calories in a small space. Don't eat a *whole* lot more, just a little bit more.

    And, do not worry about the comments of others! I had someone feel she just had to share with me that someone else said I had lost too much... but all that was really going on was that they were not used to seeing me at a healthy size. I had been heavy for so long.

    And good suggestion about tracking for a few days... maybe you are still eating at a deficit, and that's why you keep losing. Measure your supper portions and estimate the recipe calories as best you can.

    Good luck! You clearly CAN do this.
    2295 days ago
  • MIRAGE727
    I think we all go through this in maintenance. The first few months I was always in a state of panic. Then I relaxed and settled in. As for people asking whether you are well? My mom at one time said the exact same thing! Of course, she always saw me as overweight and not showing my "lines!" My DW told me I was fine. My wife is my biggest cheerleader, as I am of her. I really don't care what people think outside of her. I know I feel damn good...especially when I've finished a run. I wish you the best and know you will find balance.
    2295 days ago
    I share this situation with you,
    and I share your concerns too.
    It is hard to eat enough of healthy food, and it is so easy to eat too much of junk. Sigh...

    During my 6 maintenance months I lost 5 kg.
    Almost went down to -6, but now I seem to be back at -5 kg, and I'm happy with it. Everybody tells me I shouldn't lose any more, and I agree.
    I tracked my food all the time, and it shows I lost weight eating 1500-1900 calories, and -hopefully - I'm maintaining around 2200.
    (I do about 45 minutes cardio and 15 minutes strength training every day)

    I'm not an intuitive eater either, and I'm afraid there is no easy way.
    I need to pick a goal weight which makes me feel happy, fit and strong, and balance food and exercise based on trial and error.
    I need exercise to maintain momentum and good spirit, so I'm not reducing it.
    That means I need to eat quite much but this high calorie range gives me ideas in the evening (some more dark chocolate? a leftover sandwich? a slice of pizza?)...

    As our friend Mobycarp wrote:
    It's not like parking a car in the garage; it's more like trying to keep a boat in one spot in the middle of a lake with variable currents and winds. It can be done, but it requires me to pay attention and make adjustments in response to changing circumstances.
    I would suggest to track food again for a few days, and add some more.
    But I'm sure you will stop losing eventually, as a smaller body needs less calories.

    Not easy, but I like it much more than pre-Spark times when I was inactive, overate and helplessly watched fat layering over my body.
    2295 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/6/2012 3:30:17 PM
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