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When going from a weight loss diet to a maintenance how should one add additional calories?

Should you slowly add calories each week until getting to maintenance level or add all additonal calories at once?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

My general recommendation is the same whether you used a hypocoloric diet (i.e. just cutting calories) or a low/no-carb diet:

  • Re-introduce calories slowly. It's a good chance your BMR changed since you last had it calculated/measured. If you add all the calories back from your last BMR measurement you'll probably add too many. Article on BMR changes.
  • If you had a low-carb diet, re-introduce your carbs slowly. Your body has to get used to processing them again, and skipping this step can really mean the difference between keeping your weight off or regaining it. The Get Shredded diet has a corresponding Get Unshredded diet which elaborates on one way of re-introducing carbs. I used a different method, but both have the principle of re-introducing sanely.

The best method of diet success is a two step process:

  • Monitor your weight regularly, and have a Do not cross this weight number within 5 lbs (2Kg) of your target weight. No less than once a week.
  • If your weight approaches that number, or even crosses it, start doing what you did to bring it back down. It's easier to lose a couple pounds than 20.

So why 5 pounds higher than the target weight? Your body weight can swing close to that much between water retention, undigested food still in your stomach/intestines, etc. However, once you hit that number it's probably most likely a little more fat than you want. Fix it while the problem is small, and you might be able to do it with just one no-carb day.

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I'm not trying to be your nemesis, but references please. – michael May 9 '11 at 13:37
links added as you requested – Berin Loritsch May 9 '11 at 13:52

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