Over the past few weeks, you may have seen me throw around the term maintenance break. Maybe it was in reference to my podcast appearance where I talked about my previous experience with it.
A maintenance break, in my case, is a set period of time when I deliberately do not go after weight loss. Yes, I emphasized deliberately, because since starting this epic journey in 2017, I've managed to not lose weight over many weeks or even months. But, it wasn't planned. The lack of movement on the scale was more about getting sloppy with my habits than any sort of planned action.
How is a maintenance break different than my normal routine?
There's only one major difference in what I do when I'm working towards weight loss and when I'm on a maintenance break: the number of calories I eat/drink. That's all.
In the simplest terms, weight loss is about having a calorie deficit. In other words, you want to burn more calories than you eat.
Think of the process like a see-saw or a teeter-totter. If you pile on too many calories on one end of it, the other side (your weight goes) up.
But there is that sweet spot on every see-saw where it balances. And, while it's not an exact science to find that perfect maintenance spot with calories, it is possible to narrow that window so the weight goes up and down just a little bit over a period of time. That's where tracking my calories daily has come in handy. I've been able to look at the numbers over the weeks and months and come up with an average daily calorie target to keep my weight as stable as possible: about 2,750 calories. From there, I multiplied that number by 7 to get the total calories I can have for the week. Then, I sketched out how I want to "spend" those calories every day. Think of it like a checking account. This is called calorie-cycling. Some days are higher than the average, some days are lower and some are right near the bullseye. But they all should stay within that budget of calories.
You can see that I have planned calories and a place for actual calories, because LIFE happens. I like calorie-cycling because I can have days with some extra treats or a larger meals. Then, I have a few days where I balance it out with lower calorie options.
I'm hoping this will come in handy while on vacation. Hitting the Disney parks without some sort of plan can be tricky for sure!
So my rules for the maintenance break are simple:
Finding maintenance calories takes time, but the investment is so worth it because once you have that information, you know what your calorie numbers are to lose weight when you're ready.
Stay tuned for updates on how My Maintenance May is going!
I'm Marie. I'm working toward a 200 lb. weight loss goal. I'm doing it with baby steps. Follow my journey here.