Diet Creep after 6 months of maintenance

Portion CreepIt’s half a year ago that I decided I was at my target weight (83.5kg). As I’ve said before, it’s bobbed up and down more than I would like, but this morning I weighed 82.7kg. So far, then, there have been some slips, but I’ve stopped them becoming slides! I’m pleased!

HOWEVER…it is very finely balanced. That small loss in six months works out at giving my body just 30 calories less than what it needed, every day. That’s cutting out a single plum. So if it was the other way round, and I started to eat an extra plum every day, then a year later I would be 3 lbs heavier. And, of course, when I am trying to acquire new eating habits, I am dealing with more than a single plum every day.

Since starting maintenance, I have had to up my calories in order to stop losing weight. The sort of things I have consumed are:

  • Things I didn’t have while losing – such as nuts and salmon.
  • Things I had while losing, but now have in bigger portions – such as yoghurt, buckwheat, rice, sweet potatoes, beer and porridge.

These are all nutritionally good (possibly not the beer!), but the risk is DIET CREEP! Diet Creep is just a name for what many dieters and maintainers are concerned about, where we think we’re safe and in control, but then old habits start to return. We eat different things and portions get bigger. So, taking my salmon as an example, everyone would agree that it is a ‘good thing’, but a reasonable portion is about 140g – a creep of 300 calories. And porridge – well I’ve always eaten that, but my usual 40g portion has drifted up to the 70g I have now. That 30g creep is 120 calories. And so it goes on. The salmon and porridge alone are much, much more than the single plum – and even that plum every day can make quite a difference in a year.

But to be positive, after six months of maintenance I am delighted, but always on the look-out for signs of the dreaded diet creep. And it’s good to be able to switch back to the food diary, to keep the creep under control, where necessary.


  • Sprog says:

    I am so glad I have been reading this long before I get to maintaining. I really think it will be helpful in the long run as you are helping me get my mindset right for that stage. The Beck-stuff is fabulous for weight loss (for me), and I think the “Marshall” stuff will be my watchword for maintenance!

    Thank you!

  • Steve Marshall says:

    Hi Sprog, I’m really delighted that you feel this lot will be useful to you. It wasn’t long before I hit maintenance that I did some calculations and realised that maintenance (aka forever) would look an awful lot like how I had lost weight. If I hadn’t have got my head around that, I would have assumed that maintenance was roughly like the last 50 years, and almost immediately diet creep would have taken hold, the graph would have pointed up, with the same inevitable, vastly obese, result. For me maintenance eating has to be pretty lo-cal but also pleasurable, otherwise it won’t be sustainable. Best wishes, Steve

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