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Caloric deficits as you approach your goal weight

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Given that a large person has a higher caloric maintenance requirement than a smaller/lighter person, then as you are losing weight, your maintenance caloric requirement will decrease. This means that as you approach your goal weight, your daily caloric deficit becomes smaller. Am I right so far?

In theory, you should stop losing weight when your daily calorie goal - which started out as a deficit - becomes your maintenance calories. Am I right so far?

This may matter more when you have a lot of weight to lose, as I'm guessing the difference in maintenance between two people who are 20 lbs apart in weight is not that significant.

I've been thinking about this because it suggests that 1) your weight loss will slow as you approach your goal (because your actual deficit is becoming smaller) and 2) you can set your end weight based on your daily caloric goals (within reason) and never need to climb back up to your maintenance levels (a process which seems to generate much discussion on the maintenance board).

Comments?

Replies

  • Sued0nim
    Sued0nim Posts: 17,456 Member
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    You slow your rate of weight loss as you approach maintenance ..from 2lb to 1.5lb to 1 to 0.5lb

    Because MFP automatically adjusts your calories every 10lbs or so this helps you get a manageable amount of calories

    Also a 250 cut to maintenance level is not as big a leap

    And also you then have to find your true maintenance TDEE...mine was higher than I expected

    Transferring to maintenance and finding your balance is not a huge difference from dieting at a low cut ...you keep doing the same thing but maybe you can have an extra banana or so

    But no I don't think many people keep cutting until their TDEE becomes their weight loss calories
  • walleymama
    walleymama Posts: 174 Member
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    Ah yes, I forgot that MFP adjusts your caloric goals as you lose weight. In my case, I'm already at the lowest I can go (1200) so it won't cut me below that.

    It's the mathematics of weight loss that intrigues me.

    I'm curious because I'm unsure what my goal weight could be. I know I feel pretty good at 140 lbs (I'm just shy of 5'6"), but wonder if I could get even lower. My daily caloric goal is currently set to 1200, but I exercise most days so I eat well enough. My TDEE is about 1600 (at my current weight of 150 lbs). How much weight would I need to lose to have my TDEE be 1200? If I stayed at 1200 where would I plateau out? (This is a theoretical question as I'm interested in being fit, not skinny).
  • Sued0nim
    Sued0nim Posts: 17,456 Member
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    Your questions are weird

    At 5'6 I highly doubt you have a TDEE of 1600 ...you would have to be intensely lazy for that
  • Kalikel
    Kalikel Posts: 9,626 Member
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    walleymama wrote: »
    Ah yes, I forgot that MFP adjusts your caloric goals as you lose weight. In my case, I'm already at the lowest I can go (1200) so it won't cut me below that.

    It's the mathematics of weight loss that intrigues me.

    I'm curious because I'm unsure what my goal weight could be. I know I feel pretty good at 140 lbs (I'm just shy of 5'6"), but wonder if I could get even lower. My daily caloric goal is currently set to 1200, but I exercise most days so I eat well enough. My TDEE is about 1600 (at my current weight of 150 lbs). How much weight would I need to lose to have my TDEE be 1200? If I stayed at 1200 where would I plateau out? (This is a theoretical question as I'm interested in being fit, not skinny).

    I don't know, but I have thought about this, too. When will I stop? Will I keep going until I hit a certain number or look? Or will it all even out and just get too dang hard and I'll say, "Enough! Here is good!"

    I'm thinking that with the way it will slow down and my slower metabolism, I'll just hit a point where I'll stop losing and that will be what I maintain.

    I'm sure there are math formulas, but no math can apply to everyone and predict what will happen.

    It's interesting to wonder about, though. :)
  • Sued0nim
    Sued0nim Posts: 17,456 Member
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    That's kind of disordered thinking

    If your goal is health and looking a certain way that is

    At no point should thermodynamic adaptation equal your weight loss calories unless your weight loss calories are set to a decent TDEE for your target weight that is

    But talking about 1200 and 1600 calories for an adult woman of 5'6 ? Seriously?
  • Nony_Mouse
    Nony_Mouse Posts: 5,646 Member
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    rabbitjb wrote: »
    Your questions are weird

    At 5'6 I highly doubt you have a TDEE of 1600 ...you would have to be intensely lazy for that

    ^^This. I guestimated my TDEE as a couch potato who does some yoga at 1850, which gave me 1350 cals a day with a 500 cal deficit. It's actually probably a bit higher b/c my average weekly loss on that was just over a pound.

    You'd have to be damn skinny and sedentary to have a TDEE of 1200 at 5'6" I would think.
  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 14,004 Member
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    If I understood correctly what your op asks... for sure. You pick the TDEE of an active person at your goal weight and eat at that. When you loss stops you maybe eat at the tdee of a lightly active person at goal weight while adjusting exercise a little bit too.

    If you still haven't reached goal by the time weight loss stops again, you re-evaluate.

    However, if you have reached your goal, you will have a pretty seamlessly transition to maintenance with the bonus of having had a lot of practice eating at that level throughout your loss.

    Having said that, your whole eating 1200/cal for the rest of your life thing does not sound either normal or something people would want to do.

    The whole idea behind what I described is to be losing while eating a much higher number of calories so as to minimize adaptive thermogenesis.
  • Orphia
    Orphia Posts: 7,097 Member
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    walleymama wrote: »
    Given that a large person has a higher caloric maintenance requirement than a smaller/lighter person, then as you are losing weight, your maintenance caloric requirement will decrease. This means that as you approach your goal weight, your daily caloric deficit becomes smaller. Am I right so far?

    In theory, you should stop losing weight when your daily calorie goal - which started out as a deficit - becomes your maintenance calories. Am I right so far?

    This may matter more when you have a lot of weight to lose, as I'm guessing the difference in maintenance between two people who are 20 lbs apart in weight is not that significant.

    I've been thinking about this because it suggests that 1) your weight loss will slow as you approach your goal (because your actual deficit is becoming smaller) and 2) you can set your end weight based on your daily caloric goals (within reason) and never need to climb back up to your maintenance levels (a process which seems to generate much discussion on the maintenance board).

    Comments?

    Are you saying that instead of getting to your "goal" weight, you actually have a goal weight a bit higher and you keep your calorie limit at that setting so you don't go down in weight then back up?
  • walleymama
    walleymama Posts: 174 Member
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    First, I'm sorry if my questions were unclear. I'm a bit of a numbers geek, and these questions were meant to be theoretical. Basically, I was wondering if you could use TDEE as a guide for setting your weight goal (I think PAV8888 and Kallkell understood what I was getting at...).

    But...I made a mistake when I said my TDEE was 1600. Sorry, I was getting my numbers mixed up. It's actually 2110, or 1860 sedentary. I'm 5' 5.5" (to be precise) and 47 yrs old (female).

    So yeah, even if I lost 20 lbs, I would not have a TDEE as low as 1200. So that means that setting a weight goal by dialling your caloric intake to your goal TDEE probably isn't the most efficient way to lose weight.

    I was trying to avoid the "transition into maintenance" issues, which I find a bit complicated with the whole storing-up-your-glycogen and associated water gain thing (people say set your goal 5 lbs below where you want to be, but who wants to gain 5 lbs after all that hard work, ha ha). But more importantly, I don't know what a realistic goal is for me. I was happy when I made it from 154 to 138 lbs the first time around, but now that I'm at it again (having gained weight over the last year by getting slack with my eating habits) I'm wondering if I could go even lower than that without feeling deprived.

    I guess I'll have to wait until I get down to those numbers to find out!
  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 14,004 Member
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    You will have to accept a weight range and if you have been low carbing a refeed gain as soon as you stop. If you lost water weight due to glycogen depletion and it is still depletes of course you will gain it again! Time to get one of the handy dandy apps Ive been "pushing" that help you look at your weight as a trend as opposed to a number....

    Weightgrapher.com
    Trendweight.com
    Libra for android
    Happy scale for iphone