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Old 03-16-2008, 09:40 PM   #1  
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Default What does 1-2 lb per week mean? (And why?)

So, I've always heard that, after the initial week or two, you're not supposed to lose more than two pounds per week. I don't doubt that's right (though I haven't heard anyone explain why). Well, my weight loss has been erratic. I just lost more (three pounds) in the last four days than I did in the previous fifteen days (two pounds). So, for two weeks, I was slightly under a pound per week, but, this week, I'm on track to lose four or five. Overall, I'm losing within the limits that are considered OK, but, obviously, not consistently. Is going over the limit OK sometimes?

And, why is this recommended anyhow? (Again, I don't doubt that it's right, but I'd just like to know why. I'm a curious sort.)
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Old 03-16-2008, 09:49 PM   #2  
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It's recommended because if you're losing more than that, you could be eating too little or exercising too much, neither of which is sustainable. Your metabolism will slow down as a result, and eventually you won't be losing anything, and may even gain it back. In general, the idea is to AIM for 1-2 pounds/week... but if some weeks it's more and some weeks it's less, that's fine. As women our weight loss is usually very inconsistent anyway due to monthly cycles.
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Old 03-16-2008, 09:51 PM   #3  
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Don't worry. Weight loss will fluctuate - a lb. here - 3 lbs. there. It is the 1-2 lb. per week AVERAGE that you are shooting for.
Why - several reasons.
1-2 lbs. per week assumes that you are moderately overweight. If you were much heavier, a 2-3 lbs. per week would not be unhealthy.
1 - losing faster means that you are probably cutting too many calories and not eating enough to give you proper nutrition.
2 - your body can go into "starvation" mode if you cut your calories too drastically. Bodies LIKE to store fat. They consider fat a "bank account - saved energy for a rainy day". If you dramatically drop your food intake, your body freaks out and drops your metabolism to compensate. This is counter-productive.
3 - if you are "under-eating", you will not have enough energy to increase your activity level - which is also important to losing weight and becoming healthy
4 - slow losses coming from gradual lifestyle changes are losses that you will be more likely to maintain. Most of us have lost weight quickly and unhealthfully - only to regain it and MORE.
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Old 03-16-2008, 09:53 PM   #4  
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Lucky me, TOM isn't visiting me right now. I'm nursing and, if this time works out like last, I have another YEAR before I get that fun back. So, those fluctuations aren't happening for me right now.
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Old 03-16-2008, 11:07 PM   #5  
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You could probably be having fluctuations due to the nursing (more or less milk~you'd weigh differently.) A pint of water weighs 1lb, I'm sure breast milk would weight more. Plus, hormones levels vary in our bodies regardless of TOM and they can cause fluctuations as well.

Another thing to think about is that if you lose weight too quickly it's possible that you are burning muscle vs fat. If you aren't eating enough, your body will want to slow down your metabolism and it does that by reducing muscle mass. At least, this is how I understand it.

As long as you average 1-2 lbs per week in the long run, I wouldn't worry about it.

Last edited by zenor77; 03-16-2008 at 11:08 PM.
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Old 03-17-2008, 01:33 AM   #6  
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I was reading recently that a review of studies found that people who lose (again an average) of no more than .5 to 1 % of body weight weekly, were the most successful at keeping it off, and had the fewest physical side effects (like nausea, dizziness, hair loss, gall bladder problems, etc). It was in a woman's magazine in a doctor's office, so I was disappointed that they didn't actually site the studies so I could look them up directly (I hate when magazines don't site the source, because so often they completely misinterpret the research results).

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Old 03-17-2008, 07:54 AM   #7  
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kaplods beat me to it. From my understanding, it's that you shouldn't aim to lose more than 1% of your body weight per week on average. So, for those of us over 300 pounds, 3-4 pounds a week isn't all that unhealthy, but we shouldn't expect to lose that amount all the way to goal. As we get closer to 250 pounds, it should slow to 2-3 pounds per week, then down to 1-2 as we get even lighter. Losing more than this can have negative health effects (as listed by kaplods) and almost guarantees you are losing more MUSCLE and not primarily fat. Who really wants to lose more muscle than fat?
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Old 03-17-2008, 07:59 AM   #8  
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I've been losing for 10 months now and my average weightloss is about 1.7lb a week. However I do tend to lose very little or stay the same for a week or two and then lose 2 or 3 lb. I am very consistent with what I eat and amount of exercise although you'd never guess it if you looked at my weekly loss. I don't think my fluctuations can be accounted for by my cycle either as I have a contraceptive implant which means I don't experience my TOM.

Having said that my Dr. who weighs me monthly would say my weightloss is consistent as she doesn't see the weekly fluctuations.

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Old 03-17-2008, 10:46 AM   #9  
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I was, before I feel off track for a few weeks, losing at a weird pattern. One week I would loss 1 lb, then the next would be 3 lbs, then back to 1 lb, then 3 lbs again. Everyone's body will lose at different rates. Like everyone else said, those are guidelines to promote losing weight in a healthy way instead of starvation or fad diets.
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Old 03-17-2008, 01:36 PM   #10  
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I think most women are like this aren't they?

My fiance loses on average every single day consistantly. (he's lost 28 pounds in 8 I on the other hand watch it creep up before I lose. I stopped weighing myself until after I take my laxatives now (I have um... personal problems LOL). And usually not right before or when I'm on my TOM. I don't like getting depressed.

But I lose an average of 1.2 pounds a week. Some weeks 3, some .5, some 2, some 1. That's the way it is. And if you're eating within your parameters, don't freak if you see it go up. Could be anything from waste to water retention.
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Old 03-18-2008, 08:16 AM   #11  
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As for the possible health concerns, if you lose weight TOO quickly, you can end up with health issues such as gallstones, gallbladder problems, etc. My mother had her gallbladder removed, and the prime cause was all of the "crash dieting" she did in the 70's. You can also get dry, brittle hair that breaks off, and many, many other issues as well. (Do you ever notice how some anorexics, or some serious competing bodybuilders have this issue?)

A 1-2 pound a week average doesn't mean that it needs to be in that range each and every week. My weight loss is also very erratic. It is completely normal to lose 1/2 a pound one week, and 3 the next, and still be in that average. Look at the picture over the course of a month. If you lost 9 pounds over a month, that is wonderful. However, if you lost 25 pounds over a month...that is too fast.
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Old 03-18-2008, 01:32 PM   #12  
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A lot of it comes down to math- 3500 calories in a pound. So, to lose 1 pound a week, you can reduce your caloric intake by 500 calories a day. You don't want to really reduce your intake by any more than that, as it can slow your metabolism.
Then, you can create a further caloric deficit by exercising for 500 calories ish a day. Too much exericse on a regular basis, also not so good.

Now, there will always be variations. Some days you eta more, some days you eat less. Same with exercise. If I take the pupper out for a 2 hour hike, I've just burned 1000 calories. But, generally speaking, it evens out with the rest of the week and the course of time.
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