Just saw something on HBO's 4-part series "The Weight of the Nation". It said that, if you have lost a notable amount of weight in the past, once you are looking at maintenence you cannot eat the same number of calories as a person of the same height/weight/build/lifestyle who has been at that healthy weight basically their whole adult life. Metabolically, these 2 individuals are not the same. To keep it off, the person who has lost the weight has to eat about 20% less than the person who never had to lose weight. This never changes, no matter how long you stay at the new/healthier weight. So this reality needs to refigured into all the calculations we make about the calories we need to maintain; you can't just think of yourself as a person of a certain weight; you have to consider your weight loss history....I wonder if CC can put this into their calculations. It was very sobering to hear this; moral of the story: don't become overweight in the first place, as it will change you forever.
Reason: Moved to Maintaining Forum
There are a couple of things that might be considered:
(1) A person can eat the 20% more by exercising more and burning the amount of calories consumed 20% over what would normally be consumed to maintain at the new weight. It still comes down to calories burned and calories consumed.
(2) A person can make metabolic changes such as varying how much he/she eats at times, based on eating the correct amount of foods at the correct time, eating the correct proportion of fats, carbs, and protein. Studies have suggested that one's metabolism can be increased in differing ways: drink plenty of water, start the day off with a large glass of cold water, occasionally break away from eating the exact same amount of calories each day -- go light one or two days followed by eating a lot more on the 3rd day, start the day off with some vigorous exercising, include strength-training in your exercise regimen, etc.
I can only base my opinions on my own experiences. I can eat between 3200-3600 calories daily, depending on the above two factors. There are men my age, height, and weight who have never lost weight and eat less than that and would probably gain weight if they ate as much.
However, I only lost 45 pounds; so probably that is NOT in the "notable" weight loss category.
I want to know how they concluded that. This no doubt applies to people who have eaten below their BMR for an extended period of time or have lost a significant amount of muscle mass as those result in a decreased metabolism. However, most studies do not focus on individuals who lose weight more slowly so I am not sure how accurately those conclusions can be generalized to those who have taken a more restrained approach.
I agree. I am going to go back and look at the recording to see which researcher stated that and see if I can find out more about the studies they used to draw this conclusion. But as one who has gained and lost a number of times over the years (maximum of about 40 pounds), it seems to fit my experience that, for someone of my fitness and activity level, I have to eat considerably less that the number crunching would suggest in order to maintain any weight loss....
Good topic. I am going to try to do a bit of research and also check my own data. I think it is logical that, indeed, generally the results could be as the documentary suggests.
So what do they define as a "notable" amount of weight? What about celebrities who lose quite a bit of weight for a role, like in Black Swan? People recovering from an eating disorder? Going from a BMI-classified healthy weight to underweight and then back to a healthy weight? Going from a BMI-classified overweight to a healthy weight?
lotsa questions sparked from this bit of info lol! o.o
This thread is related I think.
I don't know if the difference is 20% or if that's just a general number plucked out of a lot of other statistics. I think probably I fall into the category of folks who have to eat less to maintain than you'd think based on my activity level. My guess would be it works out to about 200 calories/day fewer calories, more or less. I have no idea what it would have been if I had never been obese because I didn't track anything those many years ago when I started gaining weight.
I've been in maintenance for nearly two years now after losing almost 60 pounds and I can honestly say that the 20% rule does seem to bear out. I'm 36 years old and 5'4" and weigh about 135 pounds. If I eat to maintain based on the average person with my height and activity level, I would eat about 1660-1700 cals to maintain. However, I've noticed that if I actually eat that much I gain weight. I always have to eat at a deficit compared to these numbers. To maintain my weight without working out, I have to eat about 1400 cals. So, working out is essential otherwise I would simply gain everything back in a matter of time.
Even now, I work out about 5-6 days per week and I still have to be so incredibly mindful about how many calories I take in.