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Why isn't weight loss linear (or even close)?

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Old 07-04-2013, 07:55 AM   #1
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Default Why isn't weight loss linear (or even close)?

I'm 7 weeks in to IP and I'm baffled by how my body loses weight. I'm learning to accept (and expect) it, but still baffled. I've recently started recording my weight daily so I can really see the pattern, but it goes something like this:

No weight loss - 7-9 days
Drop 2 - 4 lbs overnight
Drop .5 lb a day for 3-4 days

Repeat.

Does anyone else have such a bizzare pattern? I track my food on MFP and honestly there is no difference week to week. Food, calories, water consumption, all in the same range.

I wish I understood the science behind this!
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Old 07-04-2013, 08:08 AM   #2
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My pattern is somewhat similar. I tend to go up, down, up, no change, up, down, down, etc. in very small increments (from 0 to 0.5 lb gain/losse) for about 5-7 days. At the end of all that, I typically end up anywhere from 0 to a half pound lighter than I started. Then, I will lose anywhere from 1 to 1.5 lbs at the end of all the up and down nonsense. And then I'm back to up, down, up, down.

So, I lose about 1.5 lbs to 2 lbs a week on average, but the bulk of the loss comes on my "whoosh" days. The rest of the time, I just bounce back and forth. And there's no rhyme or reason to my whoosh days...it doesn't seem to matter what I eat, how much exercise I do, etc. (and TOTM is no longer relevant for me, given my age).
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Old 07-04-2013, 08:12 AM   #3
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Very very frustrating and weighing ourselves daily does not help, well at least does not help me, lol! I can get a little scale crazy!
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Old 07-04-2013, 10:00 AM   #4
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I guess it's a case of each to his or her own. I find weighing daily does help, since it has allowed me to see the pattern. Whenever I'm going up and down, I now know that ultimately I will see a whoosh...so I don't sweat the ups and downs. If I didn't weigh daily, I would never have discovered the pattern. Depending on where in the "up and down" cycle I was, I would just see a loss one week, a gain another week, no change the next week, etc., and I would wonder what the heck was going on!
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Old 07-04-2013, 10:33 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuscany View Post
I guess it's a case of each to his or her own. I find weighing daily does help, since it has allowed me to see the pattern. Whenever I'm going up and down, I now know that ultimately I will see a whoosh...so I don't sweat the ups and downs. If I didn't weigh daily, I would never have discovered the pattern. Depending on where in the "up and down" cycle I was, I would just see a loss one week, a gain another week, no change the next week, etc., and I would wonder what the heck was going on!
I totally agree!!!!! Admittedly, at first, before I discovered the pattern, I was on the brink of insanity. Just look back to my old posts here complaining about no weight loss.

I just really wish I understood the biology behind it. I always used to think it was about calorie deficit meaning, as long as I was consuming fewer calories than I was using, the difference in lbs would come off. Older diets seemed to work that way. But then again, older diets never really worked or stuck long term. So maybe the fact that this is different is a good thing? Does it have to do with burning fat vs losing muscle? The analytical side of my brain wants to know.
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Old 07-04-2013, 10:49 AM   #6
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I wouldn't weight myself everyday, why torture myself with it? Stress doesn't help my body to lose weight either and I'm causing it by getting frustrated - some people don't have big loses but they are losing in inches, probably that's your case? Don't obsess with the scale, breath, and wait for your weekly appt to get weight
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Old 07-04-2013, 10:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hangdog View Post
I totally agree!!!!! Admittedly, at first, before I discovered the pattern, I was on the brink of insanity. Just look back to my old posts here complaining about no weight loss.

I just really wish I understood the biology behind it. I always used to think it was about calorie deficit meaning, as long as I was consuming fewer calories than I was using, the difference in lbs would come off. Older diets seemed to work that way. But then again, older diets never really worked or stuck long term. So maybe the fact that this is different is a good thing? Does it have to do with burning fat vs losing muscle? The analytical side of my brain wants to know.
There is water weight lost with every oz of fat.
We also lose lean tissue (connective tissue, unneccary blood vessles, etc) as we downsize. All of this is weight on the scale but it is NOT linear. People who stress over it will slow down their weight loss by increasing cortisol production.
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Old 07-04-2013, 11:00 AM   #8
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It is probably how estrogen and progesterone levels cycle. I can go up 7 lbs easily and then around ovulation or right after TOM I loose everything and some more within two to four days. It is just water retention and at least in my case it got a lot more pronounced with age. I also exercise and change things up frequently. So, muscle repair will further enhance water retention. I just stick to what I am doing and ignore the ups as best as I can.
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Old 07-04-2013, 05:04 PM   #9
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I do that also. Four pounds one week, one pound the next. Right now my coach is a bit puzzled because I gained an inch in my waist and am not losing a lot of inches (for the past couple of weeks). I just keep on with the program and know that eventually it will come off. I'm on week eight now, and have to say, it's gotten a lot easier.
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Old 07-04-2013, 11:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lisa32989 View Post
There is water weight lost with every oz of fat.
We also lose lean tissue (connective tissue, unneccary blood vessles, etc) as we downsize. All of this is weight on the scale but it is NOT linear. People who stress over it will slow down their weight loss by increasing cortisol production.
Lisa - I appreciate the reference to cortisol production because I've just come to understand that cortisol is one of the things that activates the production of insulin - and I used to get hypoglycemic so quickly. Not on the IP diet, tho. It is such a relief to go 6 -7 hours and not be hungry after having my main meat/fish meal at noon! I'm just cruising and have to push myself to eat again--a packaged meal-- by 8P. But if I get really anxious, stressed, it isn't the same! I go through the same strange differences in the amount of weight lost, too. So many factors to consider. I believe that when I eat some of those soy nuts or anything else that is so salty, I don't show any weight loss that day. Feel like I'm being re-introduced to my body.
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Old 08-01-2013, 09:28 AM   #11
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Default Why isn't weight loss liner?

Due to the 1 to 2 million years that home erectus/sapions etc have been on this earth the body is always trying to keep itself from starvation. The body has a "body mass set point" similar to a termperature, 98.6, set point and it tries to keep itself at that point to prevent starvation. While you lose fat cells daily the body replaces the fat cells with water. It does this until the body feels saturated with water. Can be 3 days, 7 days, 10 days. At this point the body will flush the water and establish a new "body mass set point". You will notice increased urination when this happens. It is pretty simple for men, however, women have a harder time with this due to their mentrual cycles which also store water cells. These cycles interwine with women and it can be up to 10/14 days before the water cells get flushed. It can be very frustrating. Keep at it!!!!!!!!!!

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Old 08-01-2013, 01:34 PM   #12
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For me, weighing several times a day for two to three months actually HELPED me see and understand fluctuation patterns. For several months I kept a detailed notebook, even weighing before and after going to the bathroom. Some of the patterns were quick and easy to find others were harder to discover. Some of my personal discoveries (your patterns and discoveries may differ).
Wake up, pee. "Lose" 1.5 - 3 lbs from my pre-bedtime weight.
Shower, "gain" 2 lbs.

Get dressed, and "gain" 2 lbs on the scale

Put on shoes "gain" another lb

Drink a large glass of liquid "gain" another lb

20 - 30 minutes later, go potty and "lose" that lb (and the 2 from the shower)

Eat food and "gain" whatever the food weighs

In 20 or 30 minutes, go potty again and lose some, but not all of the food weight.

Keep the food's weight for several hours or several days, depending on how quick the food is digested (I even learned several different patterns for different foods).

High fiber foods like fruits and vegetables can show "gains" on the scale which can take several days to "lose".

Increasing carbs tend to result in a "gain" largely because less water is peed out, because the body needs more water to process.

Likewise, low carb tends to cause a significant loss for the opposing reason. You need less water, so you pee more out.

Constipating foods can cause a "gain" on the scale

Illness and injury can (and for me usually does) cause a "gain" again, because the healing process requires more water, so you pee less out.

Illness and injury can also cause a "loss" through dehydration, loss of appetite and metabolism (if the immune system has to "spend" extra resources on healing and recovery).

Often this means for illness and injury a small gain precedes a somewhat bigger loss.

I usually gain 6 - 10 lbs with TOM

10 days later it's all gone (If I don't succumb to TOM hunger, especially for chocolate and other carbs)

Stress and lack of sleep can through off numbers on the scale

Exercise (probably because it causes micro-injuries such as tiny tears in the muscles) causes a 2-3 lb "gain" for a couple days.

I tend to be hungrier after exercise, but if I stay on plan, I not only lose the 2-3 lb gain, I often lose a bit more than if I don't exercise.

So exercise (like illness and injury) often results in a short term gain, but a larger long-term loss.

These are just the patterns I discovered and can now reliably predict. There are still many times I can't understand why a gain or loss occurred. No doubt, this means there are patterns I haven't yet discovered.


Since discovering all these patterns, I'm no longer surprised by scale fluctuations. Instead, I'm astonished that my weight doesn't fluctuate more than it does.

Now I weigh less often, but still weigh at least twice a day (I get a kick out of seeing the 2 lb loss in the morning compared to my bedtime weight, even though I know it's not a "real" loss).

If I "cheat" I immediately get on the scale, to remind myself that I cannot "gain" more than a food weighs. Doing this helps me avoid the "I've blown it, I might as well keep eating off plan until tomorrow). If I cheat again, I get on the scale again and again remind myself that continued eating is only making the situation worse.

I don't always do this. Sometimes I avoid the scale when I've slipped because I don't want to see the effect on the scale. For me, this is usually a very bad idea. Getting on the scale, gives me the "starting fresh" vibe without having the sense of "starting over."

Weighing frequently, as much as 20 times a day, really helped me feel more comfortable with fluctuation-anxiety and scale-anxiety in general.

I recommend it highly, but if you do, you really have to decide that fluctuations are normal and not something to regret. It helps to celebrate "not gaining" rather than being crushed by "not losing." And even if I gain, I force myself to celebrate what I've successfully kept off. So that one pound gain seems insignificant in comparison to the 90 lbs I've successfully kept off.

Even significant backslides do not feel insurmountable any more, such as a recent 30 lb gain (I was down to 284 lbs several months ago, but had some health problems and allowed myself to fall out of my frequent weighing and other healthy habits).
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Old 08-01-2013, 04:15 PM   #13
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Lyle McDonald - i.e. smartest man on earth as an article on it

http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/fat...uishy-fat.html
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