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do you naturally reach equilibrium?

I've been on MFP for 45 days now, very pleased with the results thus far. Started at 155 lbs, hovering around 147 right now.

When I set my goal, I didn't know what to base it on. According to my age and height a healthy weight range is somewhere between 120 and 150. Not exactly precise, is it? I've been down to 138 within the last few years (gained it all back tho'), but haven't seen the 120's since I was in my twenties (I'm 45 now). So I just decided hey, I'd be happy to get down to 140, then decided to set it to 135 since the maintenance folks suggest you might fluctuate by about 5 lbs or so.

But how do you really know what your goal should be? Or, more precisely, what it *could* be? (I was reminded of this by the guy who said he couldn't even remember being at his goal weight, and I thought about how I was 128 when I was 22 yrs old and wondered if it was humanly possible for me to ever see that weight again).

I've been thinking about the fact that, as you lose weight, your daily caloric requirements decrease. So if you keep up the same target for calorie deficit, eventually your weight loss will slow and stop as your daily caloric intake now reaches your maintenance level, instead of being a deficit. Everyone suggests using TDEE-20% for your deficit, so does that mean that the point at which TDEE-20% becomes your new TDEE is the "perfect" weight for you?


  • The_Enginerd
    The_Enginerd Posts: 3,982 Member
    You would adjust your goal periodically as you lose weight. MFP prompts you every 10 lbs lost to do so. The TDEE-20% is a guideline for a healthy rate of weight loss, nothing to do with ideal weight.

    As far as what your "ideal" weight should be, it's personal and depends on your goals and build. Are you happy with what you see in the mirror kind of thing (provided you don't have body dysmorphia or an ED)
  • ChasingStarlight
    ChasingStarlight Posts: 424 Member
    No, your starting TDEE depends on your start weight- it is not really relevant to your goal weight. You go by how you look and feel. There is no perfect weight you will hit.

    Of course you could hit your 20s weight again if you keep trying. I'm 40 and have had 3 kids and I lost 50+ pounds and got to 104 (I was naturally around 100 when I was 20). I got down that low again because I could- why stop at not fat when I could be thin?

    But it doesn't look the same when you are older. My face looked very gaunt., although any clothes i put on looked awesome. I have put some back on and this time I am not going to go so thin.

    Go by how you look and feel. As you lose, you'll have to recalculate your TDEE.
  • walleymama
    walleymama Posts: 174 Member
    Ah, I haven't hit the 10 lb loss mark yet so didn't know MFP did that.

    I will stop when I feel good in my body, but I'm interested in the mathematics of it all.

    Clearly, you cannot lose weight forever without reaching an unhealthy point. So I'm trying to figure out where that point is in terms of caloric goals, etc. (not for my own self: I don't want to be skinny; this is purely about the kinetics of it all) I mean, I know I could aim for 1200 calories per day but I would be hungry so that tells me my body needs more than that. Right now I'm eating around 1350 net calories per day, but with exercise my total calories is around 1600 and I don't feel deprived.

    I'm just curious about the kinetics of calorie intake and weight loss around the point of "normal" weight.

    I am in a running program and only halfway through. By the time I'm done I'll be running 10 km. My caloric needs will increase as I approach that goal, but I'm losing weight so they will also decrease a bit. At some point I'll reach equilibrium, but that of course can always be tweaked by added more exercise (thus allowing me to eat more or have more of a caloric deficit) or just lowering my net intake.

    My guess is that one's "normal" weight is ultimately determined by the weight at which you can maintain TDEE without feeling hungry or deprived. Which means that satiety and your body's signals around eating and hunger are part of the mechanism that attempts to maintain weight homeostasis. No real surprise there I suppose. But we know those can be thrown out of whack, too.
  • bcattoes
    bcattoes Posts: 17,299 Member
    I've always thought that eating the TDEE of the weight you'd like to end up was a good idea for people who don't have a lot to lose. Then you only have to adjust for the variances between your body and the calculators.
  • Mr_Knight
    Mr_Knight Posts: 9,532 Member
    I get what you're asking, and it's a good question.

    IMO there isn't one answer - it depends on the physical goal of the person. Someone wanting to be very fit is going to end up at a different weight, body comp and TDEE than someone who's goal is simply to be slim. Once the goals are clearly defined, then the answer will present itself in terms of calorie kinetics.
  • walleymama
    walleymama Posts: 174 Member
    I've always thought that eating the TDEE of the weight you'd like to end up was a good idea for people who don't have a lot to lose. Then you only have to adjust for the variances between your body and the calculators.

    That is an excellent suggestion. I never thought to calculate TDEE at my goal weight. Thank you!