Originally Posted by JohnP
Small deficits have their place but they are best suited for someone with very little to lose in my opinion. Half a lb a week would mean 4 years for someone to lose 100 lbs. Not very motivating. Also, it is easy to screw up if you're shooting for a 250 kcal daily deficit. If you're going for a small deficit you need to be meticulous.
My point is ... context matters. You can say it over and over but it doesn't make it the best solution for all people.
It is possible she is burning muscle but extremely unlikely for a number of reasons. The biggest one is that walking can be powered almost 100% by fat and currently she still has plenty of fuel on board in that area.
What makes you think her body is not functioning well? The only complaint we are given was slow weight loss. There are much more simple ways to explain 1 month of "slow" weight loss than jumping to the conclusion that she is suffering from mal nutrition.
Unless she's on a low carb diet, she will not be burning pure fat. Where do you get that idea?
I found i think that i lost more than half a pound when i used that goal as the basis for calculating my calories. The reason is logical. The half a pound is an average over a certain period of time that the calculator told me. If i had kept on with that same daily intake it would have slowed down much further later on, but instead, then i changed my calorie count again. Perhaps two pounds is a good aim at the beginning of a diet but its not sustainable over a long time so better to readjust the calorie intake. If on the other hand, you start with a calorie intake that claims to enable you to lose 20 pounds a month, you will quickly come unstuck. And i think we are seeing that in the initial question.
Though she didn't say at the outset that she was happy with a loss at 5 pounds per month so it was obvious to assume that she found this a problem.
A small deficit - I actually don't know what my actual deficit is - i keep in check by keeping a food diary. I don't stress over what i eat. I just keep make small adjustments when it seems necessary but also because life is not a text book, the odd incursion shouldn't be a matter of disappointment and self beating up but just life.
Well people may think its not the best solution for them, but given the failure rate of diets, i think it is a pretty good solution and worth trying. But a smaller calorie deficit in itself is not the whole story either. People need to eat better quality and more nutritious food in order to be satisfied.
I didn't say she was suffering from malnutrition. But she probably will soon be diagnosable with it if she were to continue on such a low calorie diet. It wouldn't hurt to read some article on what malnutrition is. continuing on this path will likely lead to getting run down will lead to a range of symptoms from depression, to catching every passing virus to fatigue. So if the OP wants to continue on this path as John seems to think is a good idea, then she should go for it. But she must complain or be surprised when problems arise.
Don't get me wrong OP, i want you to succeed but don't believe you can do it on your current program without significant modification.