# Question about the "How Quick/How Much to Lose" Chart

## Replies

• Posts: 8,911 Member
edited May 2015
And then there is this: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15615615

Which says 31 calories per pound of fat maximum rate at which fat can be lost, can be higher in individuals who exercise and/or take PEDs.

Which, if correct, is a much better thing to base your deficit on than just your total weight.
• Posts: 651 Member
And then there is this: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15615615

Which says 31 calories per pound of fat maximum rate at which fat can be lost, can be higher in individuals who exercise and/or take PEDs.

Which, if correct, is a much better thing to base your deficit on than just your total weight.

I agree and I base my own goals off of this.

It's interesting that you point this out though. Your own previous challenge against TimothyFish asked if his advice should apply to a 200 lb person at 8% BF. That's 16 lbs of fat, or 3472 calories of fat energy per week. They certainly COULD lose 1 lb/week to start, which supports what TimothyFish was saying.
• Posts: 1,038 Member
And then there is this: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15615615

Which says 31 calories per pound of fat maximum rate at which fat can be lost, can be higher in individuals who exercise and/or take PEDs.

Which, if correct, is a much better thing to base your deficit on than just your total weight.

Yes, that would make sense although the numbers aren't dramatically different:

For a 205lb person with 30% bodyfat, that actually works out to be a slightly higher number than using the 1.5% calculation (3.8 vs 3.07lb per week).

For the 125lb version of the same person who is now down to 20% bodyfat; it's reversed (1.5lb per week rather than 1.88lb using the 1.5% rule).

• Posts: 8,911 Member
And then there is this: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15615615

Which says 31 calories per pound of fat maximum rate at which fat can be lost, can be higher in individuals who exercise and/or take PEDs.

Which, if correct, is a much better thing to base your deficit on than just your total weight.

Yes, that would make sense although the numbers aren't dramatically different:

For a 205lb person with 30% bodyfat, that actually works out to be a slightly higher number than using the 1.5% calculation (3.8 vs 3.07lb per week).

For the 125lb version of the same person who is now down to 20% bodyfat; it's reversed (1.5lb per week rather than 1.88lb using the 1.5% rule).

Or the example Lyle uses of the guy trying to get to competition levels of bodyfat who needs to lose less than 1 pound per week.

Also keep in mind, those would be the maximum amounts, if you want to ensure you're not losing LBM you'd be advised to not scrape at the upper limits there.
• Posts: 1,038 Member

Or the example Lyle uses of the guy trying to get to competition levels of bodyfat who needs to lose less than 1 pound per week.

Also keep in mind, those would be the maximum amounts, if you want to ensure you're not losing LBM you'd be advised to not scrape at the upper limits there.

Sure, or using our person going from 205-125lb example above who has 80lbs to lose but only 60lbs of that is fat, they want to lose at a ratio of 1/4 pound lbm to 3/4 pound fat. (I'm not sure if it's possible to specifically control that ratio?!)
• Posts: 30,886 Member
edited May 2015
Zedeff wrote: »
And then there is this: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15615615

Which says 31 calories per pound of fat maximum rate at which fat can be lost, can be higher in individuals who exercise and/or take PEDs.

Which, if correct, is a much better thing to base your deficit on than just your total weight.

I agree and I base my own goals off of this.

It's interesting that you point this out though. Your own previous challenge against TimothyFish asked if his advice should apply to a 200 lb person at 8% BF. That's 16 lbs of fat, or 3472 calories of fat energy per week. They certainly COULD lose 1 lb/week to start, which supports what TimothyFish was saying.

They can easily do that (the maintenance calories are reasonably high).

Can they do that and not lose more lean mass and less fat in the ratio than otherwise?

I'd like to see studies on this, as my own experience losing 1-1.5 lb/week while in the healthy weight zone (and while eating a healthy diet, lots of protein, and strength training) made me nervous about this.

I'll also note that the second link Chrysalid gave had additional cautions re lean people and further suggested that athletes focus on losing weight in the off season, which is inconsistent with the idea here that it's ideal for someone to be on a significant deficit AND working out a lot. (And it recommends less fat and more carbs than seems to be popular with the same people pushing the high deficits, amusingly.)

I happen to agree that the chart isn't that useful for larger people or people with lots of body fat, but the idea that it's sensible for someone at 118 to lose 2 lb a week is mind-blowing.

My numbers (I'm 125 lb)--assuming 150 min/week of exercise (which is pretty moderate, and I'll pick running), my maintenance is probably about 1800/day. So -2 lbs/week means eating 800 calories while doing that exercise.

Is that possible? Probably, since Chrysalid says it's just about how tough you are and I could probably handle it for a few weeks.

Is it smart? I can't imagine that it is.

Is it healthy? (again, ironic that Chrysalid pretends to be Ms. Healthy Eater) -- I think anyone claiming so is basically disordered.

Will it help me get to my goals faster? I suspect not, as I suspect I'd lose lean mass, regress in my strength goals, and run my next half marathon slower than my last. If you have a study that indicates otherwise, though, I'll read it.

And as for whether I'm typical of MFP, the vast majority of the posts about fast losses or where people get told to be more conservative deal more with people like me currently than someone 350 lbs or a 6'5 guy.

I knew I could lose faster when I was obese, and so I did.

The problem with the chart in part is that the "if you want to lose X lb" thing is meaningless. I've seen 5'3 people who want to lose 20 lbs to get from 180 to 160 told that they should go slow since they want to lose only a little even though 160 is still going to be well into the overweight category.
• Posts: 8,911 Member

Or the example Lyle uses of the guy trying to get to competition levels of bodyfat who needs to lose less than 1 pound per week.

Also keep in mind, those would be the maximum amounts, if you want to ensure you're not losing LBM you'd be advised to not scrape at the upper limits there.

Sure, or using our person going from 205-125lb example above who has 80lbs to lose but only 60lbs of that is fat, they want to lose at a ratio of 1/4 pound lbm to 3/4 pound fat. (I'm not sure if it's possible to specifically control that ratio?!)

Going over the maximum fat conversion number by 1/3 would make it 1/4 lbm 3/4 fat. Though I don't know why you would purposely do that.
• Posts: 1,038 Member

Or the example Lyle uses of the guy trying to get to competition levels of bodyfat who needs to lose less than 1 pound per week.

Also keep in mind, those would be the maximum amounts, if you want to ensure you're not losing LBM you'd be advised to not scrape at the upper limits there.

Sure, or using our person going from 205-125lb example above who has 80lbs to lose but only 60lbs of that is fat, they want to lose at a ratio of 1/4 pound lbm to 3/4 pound fat. (I'm not sure if it's possible to specifically control that ratio?!)

Going over the maximum fat conversion number by 1/3 would make it 1/4 lbm 3/4 fat. Though I don't know why you would purposely do that.

Just had a read on that bodybuilding link you posted; the guy's basically saying that the fatter you are the higher your ratio of fat to lbm loss will be. So if I read that right you lose more fat at the beginning and more lbm the closer you get to your ideal weight.
• Posts: 30 Member
I agree on 1-2lb aweek. This is the healthier way of loosing weight, no matter what size and weight. This is re-educating your eating habits
• Posts: 8,911 Member

Or the example Lyle uses of the guy trying to get to competition levels of bodyfat who needs to lose less than 1 pound per week.

Also keep in mind, those would be the maximum amounts, if you want to ensure you're not losing LBM you'd be advised to not scrape at the upper limits there.

Sure, or using our person going from 205-125lb example above who has 80lbs to lose but only 60lbs of that is fat, they want to lose at a ratio of 1/4 pound lbm to 3/4 pound fat. (I'm not sure if it's possible to specifically control that ratio?!)

Going over the maximum fat conversion number by 1/3 would make it 1/4 lbm 3/4 fat. Though I don't know why you would purposely do that.

Just had a read on that bodybuilding link you posted; the guy's basically saying that the fatter you are the higher your ratio of fat to lbm loss will be. So if I read that right you lose more fat at the beginning and more lbm the closer you get to your ideal weight.

Yes he said that. You probably can't avoid losing some amount of LBM, even when staying within that maximum deficit. Going lower than that max number should theoretically reduce the amount of LBM lost, which is easier the higher your maximum number is.

Someone really obese, like 250 pounds 40% bf, would have over 3000 calories from fat max per day, they could do a 2000 calorie deficit and probably lose almost no LBM because they're well under their maximum number of fatloss, while someone reasonably lean would need to lower their deficit to almost nothing to get the same effect.
• Posts: 1,038 Member

Or the example Lyle uses of the guy trying to get to competition levels of bodyfat who needs to lose less than 1 pound per week.

Also keep in mind, those would be the maximum amounts, if you want to ensure you're not losing LBM you'd be advised to not scrape at the upper limits there.

Sure, or using our person going from 205-125lb example above who has 80lbs to lose but only 60lbs of that is fat, they want to lose at a ratio of 1/4 pound lbm to 3/4 pound fat. (I'm not sure if it's possible to specifically control that ratio?!)

Going over the maximum fat conversion number by 1/3 would make it 1/4 lbm 3/4 fat. Though I don't know why you would purposely do that.

Just had a read on that bodybuilding link you posted; the guy's basically saying that the fatter you are the higher your ratio of fat to lbm loss will be. So if I read that right you lose more fat at the beginning and more lbm the closer you get to your ideal weight.

Yes he said that. You probably can't avoid losing some amount of LBM, even when staying within that maximum deficit. Going lower than that max number should theoretically reduce the amount of LBM lost, which is easier the higher your maximum number is.

Someone really obese, like 250 pounds 40% bf, would have over 3000 calories from fat max per day, they could do a 2000 calorie deficit and probably lose almost no LBM because they're well under their maximum number of fatloss, while someone reasonably lean would need to lower their deficit to almost nothing to get the same effect.

So in general, presumably it would be a good principle that someone should concentrate on the 'move more' (calorie burning) type of exercise if they fall into the obese/overweight category, and then focus their energies more on resistance training once they're within a certain range of their goal?
Presumably for an overweight person carrying their bodyweight around is going to do something for preserving LBM anyway.
• Posts: 8,911 Member
Looks that way.
All of that assuming the study is correct. It's 10 years old and I didn't really see anything newer talking about the same stuff.
• Posts: 8,911 Member
Another thing. Where did the 1.5% even come from? The first thing you linked referenced a different paper but that paper just talked about it as a matter of fact rule, with no indication where they got that number from themselves.
• Posts: 1,038 Member
Another thing. Where did the 1.5% even come from? The first thing you linked referenced a different paper but that paper just talked about it as a matter of fact rule, with no indication where they got that number from themselves.

Yeah, I don't know where it came from originally. I tried to find a 'trail' myself but couldn't. But it seems to roughly correspond to the 31cal per pound of body fat rule, so perhaps it was derived from that and simplified?
• Posts: 4,925 Member
edited May 2015
peleroja wrote: »
MrM27 wrote: »
kimny72 wrote: »
peleroja wrote: »
1.5% is 1.5 lbs for a 100 lb person. That is three times the 0.5 lbs that some people keep pushing.

Okay, and are you trying to say that's a good thing? Because I'm a 118 pound person who would have to cut my calories to 700-900/day to lose 1.5lb/week...which doesn't seem like a great idea to me.

I know nothing about "the chart" but to me it seems pretty unlikely that 1.5% would be healthy for someone my size. I mean...I've been there eating less than 1000 calories a day and dropping weight like crazy but I was sick, both mentally and physically, while I was doing it.

Not if you are exercising you wouldn't. If you aren't getting your 150 minutes a week of exercise, you really should be. The fact that you can lose weight without exercise doesn't mean you should be losing weight without exercise.

But wouldn't that still mean she would have to eat 1200 cals per day PLUS burn 400 calories with exercise? That would def make me sick and miserable

The point is that it is possible and not out of reach, even for a 100 lb person. But many of us are not aiming to be 100 lbs. Even if 0.5 lbs makes sense for a few people, it is excessively low for some of the rest of us.

So it's possible in your opinion for a 105 lb woman to lose 2 lbs per week of fat to end up at 99 lbs after 3 weeks?

You are missing the point. But I might ask you, do you think a female who falls below the 5th percentile in weight should be used for the reason that the 50th percentile human is told that they should be losing at a 0.5 lb per week rate?

First, you're wrong, because my estimate of 700-900/day to lose 1.5 pound/week definitely includes exercise. I only burn a couple hundred calories on a 5K run at my size, so it takes me about 10K/an hour run every day to bring my TDEE up to 2000 calories, for example (and would then be able to eat 1000 calories/day to lose 2 pounds/week...and a 10K run on 1000 calories a day is, well....)

Then, get back to me when you've been eating a few hundred calories under your BMR every day for a couple months, well under a thousand a day, and tell me it's "not out of reach", lol. Oh, you can do it, but you'll feel awful and you certainly won't be giving your body the right macro and micronutrients. It's pretty fun when you start passing out and stuff too

I'm not trying to say that no one should lose over a pound or two a week; but I am saying it's pretty irresponsible to recommend more rapid weight loss to relatively light people (who are more numerous than you seem to think.) If your TDEE is high enough to cut more than 1000 calories a day and still give you adequate nutrition, awesome. But for a lot of us, it's just not. And it's certainly not a failing.

Just trying to offer another perspective - because while I can easily understand that people heavier than I can lose weight more rapidly, you don't seem to understand that it goes the other way for people too. I'm not an exception or a special snowflake.

You're the one who said 1.5 lbs. I gave an answer for 1.5 lbs. Why change to 2 lbs mid argument? 1.5 is 750 calories per day. 2000-750 is 1250, so above the 1200 limit, while 2 lbs would not be without additional exercise. The point is, the chart is wrong. I would prefer that people just say 1%. That would be 1lb for a 100lb person, but 2lbs for a 200lb person and wouldn't have people telling a 150lb person that they are losing too quickly because they are losing more than 0.5 lbs per week.

Question: Would you suggest a 200 pound 6 foot bodybuilder at 8% bodyfat to loose weight at the same rate as a 5'4'' 200 pound obese woman?

I don't think much of anything bodybuilders do is healthy. I don't think someone with 8% bodyfat needs to be trying to lose weight at all.

And they certainly shouldn't be loosing weight.
• Posts: 4,925 Member
MrM27 wrote: »
MrM27 wrote: »
kimny72 wrote: »
peleroja wrote: »
1.5% is 1.5 lbs for a 100 lb person. That is three times the 0.5 lbs that some people keep pushing.

Okay, and are you trying to say that's a good thing? Because I'm a 118 pound person who would have to cut my calories to 700-900/day to lose 1.5lb/week...which doesn't seem like a great idea to me.

I know nothing about "the chart" but to me it seems pretty unlikely that 1.5% would be healthy for someone my size. I mean...I've been there eating less than 1000 calories a day and dropping weight like crazy but I was sick, both mentally and physically, while I was doing it.

Not if you are exercising you wouldn't. If you aren't getting your 150 minutes a week of exercise, you really should be. The fact that you can lose weight without exercise doesn't mean you should be losing weight without exercise.

But wouldn't that still mean she would have to eat 1200 cals per day PLUS burn 400 calories with exercise? That would def make me sick and miserable

The point is that it is possible and not out of reach, even for a 100 lb person. But many of us are not aiming to be 100 lbs. Even if 0.5 lbs makes sense for a few people, it is excessively low for some of the rest of us.

So it's possible in your opinion for a 105 lb woman to lose 2 lbs per week of fat to end up at 99 lbs after 3 weeks?

Fish, are you going to answer the question above without trying to question me on something I never said?

My point had nothing to do with a 100 pound woman losing 2 pounds a week. My point was that it is possible to have a calorie deficit that would allow for 1.5 pounds loss without dropping below 1200 calories. For a 100 pound woman, I would think that 1 pound a week would be more appropriate. But the reason I asked you the question is because anyone below 108 lbs is below the 5th percentile. Given that recommendations like 1-2 pounds are based on the general population, what applies to them may not apply to a 100 pound woman. But people keep talking about this 0.5 pound weight loss as if it is gospel, presumably because it might make sense for someone below one hundred pounds. It doesn't seem to matter that some people have a healthy weight that is significantly higher than that.
• Posts: 651 Member

Or the example Lyle uses of the guy trying to get to competition levels of bodyfat who needs to lose less than 1 pound per week.

Also keep in mind, those would be the maximum amounts, if you want to ensure you're not losing LBM you'd be advised to not scrape at the upper limits there.

Sure, or using our person going from 205-125lb example above who has 80lbs to lose but only 60lbs of that is fat, they want to lose at a ratio of 1/4 pound lbm to 3/4 pound fat. (I'm not sure if it's possible to specifically control that ratio?!)

Going over the maximum fat conversion number by 1/3 would make it 1/4 lbm 3/4 fat. Though I don't know why you would purposely do that.

This isn't true.

If you've burned all you can from fat and then need to burn more, you'd be burning protein. This is less dense (in calories) than fat and thus you'd burn proportionally more of it. Just to make up numbers as an example, if someone had a maximum daily burn of 1000 calories (32 lbs of fat) and in fact burned 1300 calories, that's 300 calories from muscle. At approximately 4 calories per gram with an 87% density (assuming the same as fat, as a pound of fat tissue is not a pound of triglycerides) then those 300 calories would account for 86 grams of muscle atrophy, compared to 129 grams of fat loss.