Hi there, I was wondering how easy it is for everyone to maintain their weight. I have been losing weight slowly for the last 2 years, and now that the finish line is clear on the horizon, I am terrified at the prospect of maintenance.
Now the big question is - what do I do when I reach 20% ish bodyfat percent, with the intention of staying there? In your experience, do you have to restrict what you eat forever? Do you always have to stop short of eating until you are full?
I feel that if I'm not hyper vigilant about the amount of food I eat, that I will gain the body fat back! Will it be easier for me to maintain because I was never super obese? It seems that "naturally skinny" people aren't naturally skinny at all, they just eat less if you really observe them.
Of course when I get to goal I will try a freestyle paleo way of eating with a wider variety of foods, but it would also be nice just to hear your post weight loss experience :)
My background -
~ Always had a relatively high bodyfat percent since childhood - skinny arms/extremeties with a lot of belly fat. My highest weight was about 164 pounds on a very light 5.4 frame (tiny wrists, very narrow shoulders, most glasses are too big for my head)
~ Started Paleo at the end of 2009, and my weight has slowly come down to 120 pounds presently (along with the obliteration of my life long Acne and IBS, yay!). I am aiming for 20% bodyfat - I don't know what weight this will bring me down to, its more a certain look that I'm after. Im guessing that 20% ish bodyfat will bring me to about 115 pounds as I don't have much lean body mass. I plan to work on body comp in the long run.
~ ALong the way, the only thing that has really caused fat loss was restricting calories. I would do this for about 1 month, then take a couple of months off. Rinse and repeat - have tried high fat, intermittent fasting, no carbs, high carbs - doesn't matter, it boils down to caloric restriction for me. This is probably because my job is so sedentary (artist)
~ In order to get these last few percentages of bodyfat off, I have been restricting calories to about 900~1100 a day. This is done by eating plenty of vegetables, lean proteins and coconut oil. I do a high calorie day every couple of weeks. Interestingly I am not hungry restricting this much, and have never craved junky food since going paleo. Its easy for me to be grain/legume/dairy free and I honestly never "need" to "cheat" . No food issues other than a few days during the good old luteal phase where my appetite ramps up, for more quantity of food (steak, lamb chops, liver etc)
~ The calorie restriction is working and I am liking what's happening in the mirror, and very happy at nearing the end of my weight loss phase. Next year I want to put on more lean body mass.
~ exercise is walking a few kilometers every day (don't own a car) and Bodyweight stuff 2~3 times a week. Sleep is great, in bed early, wake up without alarm clock.
I met my weight loss goal (and then some) on Paleo, once I observed calories and found the right combination of exercise and intermittent fasting. I flew past my initial 'goal' weight with the speed of a full-blown eating disorder but that's besides the point -- to your question, maintenance is not an issue if you stop thinking about Paleo as a diet but as your new way of eating. There's a significant difference. When I started to treat Paleo like a way of life instead of a quick lift to the next town I lost my fear of failure, I stopped looking over my shoulder and was no longer devastated when I slipped up for a meal here or there. There's no wagon to fall off of if you just walk the road.
I also don't think that periods of lower calorie eating, what some are calling 'starvation diet' is necessarily bad or even un-Paleo. Just make sure you know what you need for optimal health overall, over time, and make sure that you get it.
I think we are highlighting one of the issues with calorie-counting, which is that it isn't even accurate most of the time. If you were truly that low in calories, you would probably feel some symptoms of starvation. It reminds me of 8th grade science Olympiad when the guy who did the estimation event got sick and I had to compete in it. Estimation is HARD. Even if you have a scale and are weighing food, calorie values on Fitday or whatever are the average for that food and they can vary pretty highly in whole foods.
I got to a pretty low weight on paleo after a year at it (100) and now I'm at a slightly higher weight at four years (107), which I feel and look better at. I don't count calories, I do use an Android app called task:life to track cheats. I set a goal for the cheat like sugar on no more than 10% of days in a month, and try to meet it. Otherwise, I eat whole in-season paleo foods.
I am 5'4" also and weigh 117. I too have to eat between 900-1100 calories in order to lose weight. And this is to lose 2 lbs per week so I don't think it's a starvation diet. As long as you are not hungry. My problem is I restrict for a week not realizing I am hungry and then figure it out on the weekend :>
I plan to up calories to 1400 once I have reached 110 for maintenance and not go carb crazy but add some back in.
I am 5'4" and weigh 114. I eat whenever I am hungry. I dont restrict myself any calories because I am only wanting to maintain now. It fluxuates between 114 and 115, but it generally stays around the same. The only advice that I have is to stay away from too many nuts.They are my downfall! On days that I snack on nuts consistently, I will gain a pound. But then I find that if I just cut out the nuts the next day and still eat whenever I am hungry, it drops almost immediately. Just make sure that what you are eating are the right things for you. Then maintaining becomes easy :) congrats on your weight loss!
I had been low-carb, low grain for about a year before going Paleo. It has been just over the 1 year anniversary of Paleo. My body comp has been stable in this year, even with a lot of travel.
At home (which is again 90% of the time): I follow a 80-90% Perfect Health Diet Paleo (safe starches like plantain, potato, white rice, sweet potatoes, with pastured dairy).
I DO Not count calories or weigh food. I eat to satiation and I follow my cravings for non-processed whole foods.
I do weight training 1 hour for 1-2 times a week and walk about 4-8 miles a week.
My 10-20% cheats (close to 20% when travelling) are gluten free grains and sweets.
I will bloat, get constipated, and gain possibly 5 pounds with about a week of eating legumes added to this.
I get acne on vegetable oils.
I don't get carbohydrate cravings if I stick to this.
50% calories from pastured fat - (pastured meat and wild seafood), butter, ghee, coconut oil, etc.
15-25% from animal protein (pastured meat and wild seafood, some eggs)
25-35% from safer starches (sweet potatoes, plantains, potatoes, and smaller amounts of white rice on occasion)
The higher end of protein on gym and weight training days.
About 0.75-1 pound/daily of animal meats, seafood, eggs/day
About 1.5-2.2 pounds/daily of plant matter from mostly vegetables, starches, fruit, (0-2 servings of fruit a day)
You have to find what works for you.
If you actually are eating that little, I think there's a good chance you're not getting enough of something you need. If you are, though, I think you definitely can maintain your weight the way everyone else here has mentioned, by eating enough nourishing foods when you're hungry and not eating when you're full, and not over eating foods that are not filling but calorie dense (e.g., nut butter).
I ate essentially 800 calories a day for two years, and I thought I was doing fine, and was convinced I could keep it up forever, and then my body just rebelled and force-fed me until I was eating about 6,000 calories a day, literally eating until I was sick. I think my body was just trying to make up for a massive nutrient deficiency I'd forced on it.
Given, I was a vegetarian at the time and wasn't eating enough fat, and I got better by being paleo, but I don't think being paleo is a guarantee that you're getting enough nutrients. So, make sure you're eating enough of all your vitamins, and taking supplements, and whatever else you need to do to ensure that you're healthy, and then I think maintaining will just be a question of not over-indulging.
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