The weight gain freakout is something I experienced many times before it became low-drama. I was used to the scale having meaning. It had powerful control over my mood and behavior, but only because I'd given it that, not knowing any better. Once I began weighing on a regular basis, I realized just how much the scale fluctuated for silly reasons. Canned soup. Steak. Humidity. Medication. Workouts. Each new thing that caused a scale swing was so dramatic! Until I watched it right itself hundreds of times without any intervention on my part. If I do what I usually do, I weigh what I usually weigh. Anything that looks otherwise is a temporary anomaly and not a major concern. I didn't know that though until I experienced it. Maintenance was brand new. New things take practice. The mindset of maintenance takes practice. If something feels surprising or upsetting, see how it looks in three weeks. Deal in weeks and months, not single readings.
Even the momentary scheming and doubting is great because it allows you to step back decide whether that's the way you want to handle it next time. Should I freakout? Or should I see how this reading looks in a few days/weeks? Or should I even get on the scale? You get to choose. Every choice will help you in some way, whether it's a positive experience or a reminder of what you don't want. It's all part of the process. It doesn't mean you're failing or backsliding. It's what trust-building feels like, a bit messy and awkward.
The interesting thing is that my body picked the happy maintenance range. I couldn't have chosen a number ahead of time because I didn't have a clue what "healthy and sustainable" might look like. I sort of looked at it like enjoyable habits were my business and outcomes were my body's business. If I eat and train to feel fantastic and to maximize my quality of life, things go really well. If I get all focused on numbers and outcomes, my process falls apart.
I eat the same way (to feel good!) no matter what I weigh. That was the revelation. I don't need to overeat if my weight is low or diet if it's high. Trying to take control of my food intake instead of listening to my body is what got me in trouble in the first place. Maybe if my weight seems to be trending one way or another and staying there for weeks, I'll look at if I'm actually following my habits lately. Or am I skipping meals? Ignoring hunger and fullness? Mindlessly snacking? Avoiding bread? If I've gotten too restrictive or too loose and it doesn't feel good, all it ever takes is coming back to center and giving it time. Weight creep isn't an indication that you're not happily maintaining. You may be very happily maintaining that higher weight, enjoying your habits and enjoying your life, in which case there's nothing to be done. Finding your real maintenance range takes time. At first, I was trying to maintain something about 7 pounds too low. I knew it was too low because it required constant vigilance. It didn't feel good. It didn't allow me any flexibility with restaurants and ice cream. True maintenance is a breeze by comparison. I'm not fighting anything to stay here. I just do, even while eating out, baking, snacking, living. I see that any big bumps or drops in scale weight are temporary if I'm following my usual habits most of the time.
I find there's never a need to deliberately restrict. I always come back to an "I could eat this way forever and not feel deprived" way of eating, knowing that it will land me in a good place.