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Old 08-17-2004, 11:13 AM   #1  
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Default Help from you wise ones on losing too fast?

Hi, Maintainers!

A couple of us in SBD are having trouble with losing too quickly, including myself. Anywhere from 3-5 pounds a week, which is setting off warning bells in most of us. Is the idea that losing more than 2 pounds a week is unsafe true across the board for everyone? If you lost more than that a week, did you find it creeping back when you got to goal?

Below is a crosspost of mine from the SBD forum...I would love your help in dealing with this issue! Thank you!!!

I have the feeling that even though I have a lot to lose, I still shouldn't be losing more than 2 pounds a week, as any more than that is losing muscle and water, not fat. I don't really want to lose muscle. In addition, from what I'm reading, it seems like losing this quickly makes us more apt to gain it back when we are done (which terrifies me!) because it is mainly water that our body needs. I realize that if I continue to follow Phase 3 when I am done, I am unlikely to gain much, if anything back. I'm not doing SBD just until I lose the weight and then going back to "my regularly scheduled program"...this IS my regularly scheduled program from now on. : The weight loss still worries me. Here are some things I found that were thought provoking. What do you think?

You can't lose more than 2 pounds of body fat a week, so if you're losing more than 2 pounds a week you're losing something else. In most cases, it's body water and some muscle tissue.
This is from (you have to search for's about a 1/3 down the page)

Lots of websites for different diet plans list information cautioning you not to lose more than 2 pounds a week, and often list ways to combat it within their rules. This one was interesting:

If you are losing more than 2 pounds a week, you may be losing muscle tissue as well, which is not what you want. Remember, if you lose muscle, your metabolism will slow down, and your fat loss could come to a screeching halt. When you first begin your program, you may lose weight rapidly, up to 10 pounds in ten days. But this lost weight is not all fat. Some of it will be “bulk,” and some will be water. This is a good thing. It means your body is getting “balanced.” Beyond those first two weeks, however, you should settle into a pace of about two pounds of fat loss per week.

If you are eating a lot of protein, exercising regularly, and eating a decent amount of calories for what you are burning, but still losing a lot of weight, would the worry for muscle mass loss still be there? I'm just not sure! And how to be certain that I am consuming enough protein and calories for the amount of work I am doing? Wish I knew... :sad:

Losing more than 2 pounds a week on a
regular basis may cause you to lose muscle mass. A gradual weight loss of 1-
2 pounds a week helps you lose fat, not muscle. In the early stages you may
lose more since it may be largely water weight.
From: (very simplified view of weight loss, but interesting, nonetheless)

I called the local health hotline at our hospital and talked with a very friendly woman there. She agreed with most of what I have read, though she said that with my need to lose more weight, I might be able to lose more a week safely than a moderately overweight person would. She did say that she thinks I should add another piece of fruit to try to slow things down until I can get into the nutritionist (no open appt. until mid-September ).

I'd love to hear what you all think. And thanks for letting me draw on your experience and good advice! :
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Old 08-17-2004, 11:47 AM   #2  
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Laurie: Congrats on the loss first of all you've been doing an awesome. I lost about 3lbs a week at first too, but once I got under 200 it slowed to about 2lbs a week. I heard an aim of about 1% of your body weight is okay each week, but aiming for less isn't a bad thing either. I lost my weight is 9 months (actually more than that, but I kind of did the equivalent of your maintanence plan and kept losing, my metabolism is good and got really thin), but I could have used more time to entrench this is how I should be eating for life.

I had a picture perfect weight-loss, NO struggling asides from when I went on the Pill where I gained for two weeks and then lost 6lbs once my body got used to it. But sure it was fast, but I never really learned how to deal with the frustrations of plateaus, having a bad eating day (during those 9 months I think the most I ever ate in one day was maybe 1800calories and that was a bad day <my bdady, xmas, thanksgiving and easter all passed by during that>). So when I started having other eating issues I just couldn't deal and ate more.

Anyway, just my thoughts. I am losing again, it's going slower, I am back into a comfortable size 8 (I'd like to be a comfortable size 6), my weight seems to be up right now, but all my clothes are fitting better. So I am basically trying to relearn now and it's relearning for life.

As for muscle mass, keep up the lifting till failure and regular cardio and you should do well (and make sure to eat lots of lean protien).

On one last little note, I am glad you recognize the possible pitfalls of losing too fast. You're roughly in my age co-hort right (mid-twenties?) and you do have an advantage that your metabolism is probably faster (it does have some advantages I won't deny that). So maybe add a little more, if you're feeling it's too fast. Monitor it and enjoy your weight-loss/maintanence journey. You have a great attitude and that will carry you far


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Old 08-17-2004, 11:54 AM   #3  
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Hi Laurie! Good to see you around these parts!

About your question -- obviously I'm not a doctor or expert (nor do I play one on the Net! ) so all I can share are my personal experiences.

I started at 257 pounds and about 1600 calories/day (dropped my calories as my weight dropped). Here are my four-week weigh-ins:

4 weeks - 16 pounds
8 weeks - 9 pounds
12 weeks - 11 pounds
16 weeks - 12 pounds
20 weeks - 7 pounds
24 weeks - 9 pounds
28 weeks - 10.5 pounds
32 weeks - 16 pounds
36 weeks - 4.5 pounds
40 weeks - 7 pounds
44 weeks - 8 pounds
48 weeks - 8 pounds

So in 48 weeks, I lost 121 pounds, which averages to about 2.5 pounds per week. But you can see how inconsistent it was and how it tended to slow down as I got closer to my goal (the last 12 weeks averaged less than 2 pounds per week). So I don't think I lost it too fast and yep, I've been able to keep it off for more than two years now.

I'm not aware of any law of nature that says that you can't lose more than two pounds of fat per week. It's calories in vs. calories out, and if you create a large enough calorie deficit, I don't see why you can't lose three pounds of fat per week without taking muscle along with it. For example -- one pound = 3500 calories, right? If I create a 500 calorie/day deficit, that's one pound of fat burned per week. A 1000 calorie/day deficit would be two pounds of fat per week, 1500 calorie/day deficit would be three pounds of fat per week etc. In my case, I have no doubt that I was able to generate a genuine 1500 calorie/day deficit in the first weeks since I went from a totally sedentary couch potato, Dorito-munching lifestyle to counting calories and tons of exercise (my body was in total shock ).

You're very wise to be concerned about losing muscle instead of fat as you lose weight. Too often people get hung up on seeing the number on the scale go down without considering what it may mean. I lifted weights the whole time I was losing (still do ) and the trainer who I was working with checked my body fat % every four weeks to be sure that I was maintaining my muscle mass while I was losing. I started at 57% BF and ended at 16.3% at the end of the 48 weeks, meaning that I was able to add 10 pounds of muscle as I was losing fat.

My personal opinion is to not be concerned about large weight losses in the beginning, especially when you have a lot to lose. Some of it may be water -- big deal -- but hopefully most is fat. But I do think that anyone who's setting out to lose a lot of fat needs to pay attention to their muscle mass as they are going down to be sure that what they're losing is fat, not muscle. The best way to monitor your muscle mass is to first figure out how much of your weight currently is fat and how much is lean body mass (everything but fat, like skin and bones and muscle) and then recheck on a regular basis (like every four weeks). You can have your body fat % checked at a gym, through an underwater testing facility or with various electrical impedance devices (not as accurate though). And keep lifting weights to build muscle!

Hi Ali! You replied while I was typing this -- great advice!
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Old 08-17-2004, 07:32 PM   #4  
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Thanks for the wonderful and comprehensive replies...I really appreciate it. : You are echoing what I feel in my bones about this weight loss...and it's good to hear. I'd love to hear from other too..thanks!

And might I say that as always, I am so impressed with what you have done for yourselves and your health?
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Old 08-17-2004, 11:08 PM   #5  
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can i still post on this??? i lost 97 pounds in 12 weeks [what does that work out to? 8.3 pounds a week] before the surgery, and THEN another 100 pounds in 6 months [roughly 4 pounds a week]. and trust me, i'm fine.

yes, it's a little different losing this way, but bottom line, it's a fast weight loss with the goal of being healthy and maintaining muscle mass. i could not agree MORE with what meg and ali said: LIFT WEIGHTS. and make sure you get enough protein. ya gotta keep the muscle, and ya gotta keep the calcium in your bones.

and the weight loss WILL slow down so that it will eventually average out to less than 2 pounds a week.

go for it!!!! make sure you're developing sustainable habits [and it sure sounds as if you are... ]

you're doing great...
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Old 08-19-2004, 03:13 PM   #6  
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Jiff, praise from you is high praise indeed!

And absolutely...I welcome advice from anyone!!! This is one convoluted problem! And go figure--I'm dying to cut the extra starch from my diet (it's making me sluggish, less motivated, have more cravings, and my IBS came back), and it finally seems to be working. I haven't lost anything in the last five days and TOM is a week or two away. I was giving this extra starch one last week and then was going to switch to something different.

Figuring this stuff out is hard work, but much better than where I was before. MUCH better.

Thanks for the great feedback, ladies. I had a feeling that if I kept lifting weights and eating lots of protein, that what I lose would mostly be fat.
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