You may have heard the term ‘maintenance calories’ used at the gym by your trainer or other members and wondered what the hell are they referring to? When it comes to changing your body shape, calories are king, be it less calories to lose fat or increased calories to gain weight. But what about the in-between? Thats where maintenance calories come in.
Everything you eat and drink has a calorie count, end every calorie goes toward your body’s energy expenditure. Every day, your body requires a certain amount of energy to perform basic functions, such as muscle movement, cell growth, and energy conversion. The energy your body needs to do all of these things is known as maintenance calories, or total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).
Even though you’ll frequently hear generalised calorie count recommendations for women and men, there’s no single maintenance calorie intake level that works for everyone. That’s because everybody has different calorie maintenance requirements that depend on their size and activity levels.
Whether you’re concerned about gaining weight, building muscle, or losing fat, understanding calorie maintenance is important. After all, when you consume exactly the number of calories your body needs to function on a daily basis, you won’t lose or gain either fat or muscle. Instead, you’ll maintain your current weight and form.
If you put more than just the maintenance level of calories into your body, you could build muscle or put on fat. In contrast, you can lose weight if you decrease your caloric intake below the maintenance threshold. Ultimately, it’s all about striking the right energy balance and knowing how to make slight adjustments to meet your weight goals.
Eating at maintenance calories is ideal if you’ve reached the end of your weight loss journey and you simply want to maintain your weight, right where you are. Eating at maintenance will preserve your muscle mass and fat mass levels.
The diet after the diet. The most successful way to maintain your weight loss is by making lifestyle changes that work for you. The transition from dieting to regular eating can be difficult. But the following tips on eating after weight loss will help you successfully transition to a healthy maintenance diet.
Incorporate conscious eating habits at meals. Avoid mindless eating. This includes the kind of snacking that is so off the radar that you don’t even remember how much you eat. Mindful eating allows you to better process your body’s signals and stop when your body says it’s full.
Yep, there will times when you just couldn’t say no to the extra helping of cake, you had just a little too much to drink, or you lost your control at the appetiser table. That’s life. Learning how to handle dietary slips and get back on track is probably the most essential tool for maintaining weight loss. When you do have a bad food day, be done with it when your head hits the pillow. You can always start fresh the next morning. Those three donuts are history. Holding onto any feelings of guilt associated with your diet will only derail your self-esteem and determination.
Keep a Food Journal
The last thing you probably feel like doing after a diet is writing down what you eat. Keeping a food journal during the first weeks of maintenance, though, can make the difference between success or failure. Writing down everything you eat makes you stop and take the time to really pay attention to your diet. And keeping a record is vital for making changes to your caloric intake if the scale starts to creep up.
Portion Control is Your Friend
The typical serving size for foods has steadily increased over the past decades. So how do you determine what’s a normal serving size? Learn to estimate by comparing to other objects. For example, one cup is approximately the size of a tennis ball and a serving of meat or fish should be the size of a deck of cards. Determine the actual content size of your bowls and cups by filling your serving ware with water and measuring it, or use dry foods like oatmeal or rice to fill and measure. When adding oil to a dish while cooking or dressing always take the time to measure it out instead of just pouring.
Eat Only When You’re Hungry
Pay close attention to your body’s signals to learn the difference between real hunger and stress or boredom eating. Try to determine whether your body is feeling actually hungry (your stomach is growling) or your hunger is a response to an emotional cue. This can be a difficult thing to determine at first. It may take time to learn true hunger cues versus old stress response eating habits. The first step is becoming mindful of the cues, avoiding an immediate response (such as grabbing a donut and eating it before thinking about whether you’re truly hungry), and making healthier choices.
Eat Protein at Each Meal
Protein can help you curb your appetite because it reduces a hormone responsible for hunger, helping you feel full sooner and stay satiated longer. Include at least 20 grams of protein in every meal. Make sure your snacks also include protein to help give them staying power.
Get Your Sleep
Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep can disrupt your body’s hunger signals. When you don’t get enough quality sleep, your body becomes less glucose sensitive. The hunger hormone ghrelin is increased, while the appetite control hormone leptin is decreased. There’s an increased risk of obesity in people who don’t get adequate levels of sleep. So priorities good quality shut eye!