Maintain Weight


GOAL:  Maintain Weight. I am a 26 year old woman, 5'6" and 105lbs.

I know I am technically "underweight" and that if I were honest, my body's more comfortable weight was when I was around 125-130lbs.

I have been feeling at an utter plateau for the past 4 months, and know it's because I simply do too much of the same cardio ( running ) but I fear not getting in cardio each day will lead to weight gain.

I try to eat between 1300-1400 calories a day, and I am a waitress and quite active on my feet.

I know the #'s on the net all say a woman of my activity level and height should be eating 1700-2000 calories, but I KNOW if I do so I would gain weight.

I eat 1400 calories but honestly feel it is too much.

Is it inevitable that I will have to gain weight eventually, is the fact I could still eat more and do in essence feel like I have to force activity and keep on a diet to maintain, a sign that my body does not want to be this weight?

Do you find that we all naturally balance out to what our body wants in the long run?

Because I eat less and work out now more than I have at other periods when I was losing weight, but also I have gained weight when I stopped running as well.

I never fluctuate much, but this time last year I was 120lbs, and this time 2 years ago I was 103, and doing/eating almost the same.

Sorry for the 1000 questions in one, I am just confused as to how to maintain my weight and feel like I am fighting myself a bit to do so.

Answered By:

Mike Behnken, MS, CSCS ANswers the Fitness Question

Our Body Always wants to be in Balance

If you consider yourself "underweight" you answered your own question.

Just as professional athletes who compete in weight classes rarely compete at the same weight they carry during the off-season, if you are fighting to stay at such a low weight (105lbs) your body will naturally put on weight if you stop paying close attention to your diet and exercising so often.

It Sounds that you Should try to Find your happy Medium


If you feel more comfortable at higher weight physically but feel better about your weight when you weigh your current weight you should try to find a weight that you are comfortable at in the middle.

A good idea would be to exchange a couple days of your running for other activities. You could do other cardio activities or even better, weight training.

Weight training will help you keep your metabolism high, allow you to eat your extra calories with little guilt and maybe put on a little extra lean body mass.

If you put on even a little lean body mass (muscle), your body will be more efficient at burning calories, have more energy and you will probably feel more comfortable at a lower weight.


With your high activity level which includes waitressing and running you can afford to eat at least 1,400 calories.

If you focus on eating healthy fresh fruits & vegetables, lean proteins and high fiber, complex carbohydrates your caloric intake will most likely be right on since the aforementioned foods in a balanced diet tend to be satiating.

Try to add new activity to your exercise regimen and eat the same amount of calories with only the most healthy foods. If you have been exercising with the same routine and are stuck at a plateau, it would be a good idea to take a week off as well.

Change is good and if you don't like how you change, you can always change again.

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