Maintenance Drift

I got to within 2 pounds of my goal weight in late June and hit my goal on July 31st.  During that time, I’ve mostly been working on maintenance.  I am doing fine with it overall.  This morning (at home) I weighed in at 145.9 pounds with a goal weight of 146 pounds.

But, it has been a sort of interesting ride so far.  Here is a graph of my at home weigh-ins since I first went under 146 pounds on July 31st (when I hit 145.4 pounds).  I haven’t been below 146 since then although I’ve usually been no more than 2 pounds above it.

Weight ChartThe first week after I got to goal, I averaged 1365 calories a day.  On August 7, I weighed 148.1 (note these are at home weights.  Weight Watchers weights are always higher since I have clothes on there).

OK, that made some sense.  I was eating at a higher level and I would expect to see a little gain.  So I cut back the next week.  I ate an average of 1141 calories a day.  But, my weight kept going up.  The high weight was on August 13 (toward the end of that week) when I hit 149.9 pounds!  That was 4.5 pounds higher than I was on July 31st and I was eating lower calories that entire week!

I really hadn’t intended to be quite that low in calories though.  I’ve noticed, frankly, that when I eat really low calorie and I go to the bathroom less and that can temporarily distort my weight.  The next week I ate an average of 1174 calories which is pretty close to what I aimed for while losing weight (1200 calories).  Note that I think calorie counts on packages or in restaurants are imperfect and I’m sure I’m not perfect at measuring either.  So I feel that in reality whatever I record is probably a little less than it actually is in reality.

Anyway, that week it came down some and by August 17th I was back to 147.1 pounds.  So I was done 2.8 pounds from 4 days earlier!

But then it started climbing again. By the end of that week (1174 calories a day average) I was back up but then it dropped by August 22 to 147 pounds by Saturday so that was when I did my August weigh in at Weight Watchers (147.4 pounds).

The week after that (the week of August 22) I ate actually an average of 1429 calories a day!  I ate all my daily maintenance points and all but 3 of my weekly points.  You might think that would cause my weight to balloon up.  But, it didn’t.  By the following Saturday (last Saturday), was at only 147.4 pounds.

For this week, so far, I’ve eaten at 1205 calories a day which is about where I aimed for when I was trying to lose weight.  And, I’ve gone down a pound a half since last Saturday.  So this is all fine.  But, it has been a bit of a wild ride and the gains and losses haven’t necessarily correlated that closely with what I ate.  I’m sure it does correlate over time.  Since July 31, my average for the whole period is 1263 calories a day and I’m (at home) up .5 pounds but still below goal weight.  So that seems to be reasonable.

What I find hard on the maintenance part is that I feel at times like I’m drifting along.  When you are trying to lose weight, there is a firm goal and I was very good at staying within my calorie/points goal.  Now, it is more trial and error.  Sure I didn’t like it when my weight went up 4.5 pounds!  But, it is hard to know now exactly how much I can eat.

I should mention that I’ve exercised less in the last month. I am still exercising, but less intense.  Part due to how I felt, part due to being really busy, and part due to just a lessening of intensity that I think is attributable to hitting goal.

I think part of it is that I do have new goals, which are to stay within my goal range and to reduce my body fat.  But, it is not as clear exactly what level I have to eat at and what exercise level I need to do that.  It is easiest when I eat just like I ate while losing weight.  Aiming at an average of 1200 calories a day is easy to do because I did it for a long time.  When I stick to that I feel calm.  When I move away from that I feel adrift and uncertain.


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