Fast weight loss

Whenever I see someone saying they want to lose weight fast there's always someone telling them how bad that is. Why is that? I've had people jump all over me too for how I'm eating and losing weight. I don't get it. How can it be bad to lose weight fast if you're eating very healthfully? Are they just jerks who don't like seeing other people succeeding? Or is there something to what they're saying? I'm losing weight at a rate of about 15 lbs a month. I've seen others on here who are losing at the same rate. We're not crash dieting. We're just very committed and want the weight off NOW. I think if we see someone getting healthy (however they are doing it) we should be supportive. I just don't get it.
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Replies

  • StaciMarie1974
    StaciMarie1974 Posts: 4,138 Member
    Just my 2 cents...

    For many people, it can be setting up for failure. Kind of like: set a goal to lose 5 pound a week. After 2 weeks I'm not getting the results I want, I feel like I'm sacrificing everything for nothing, so I give up and go back to the old habits. Setting unrealistic goals, in general, can have this sort of effect.

    The other angle is that that a very large deficit is likely to lead to a larger amount of muscle loss (not just fat) and that can have negative long term effects.

    Keep in mind that its all relative. If you have 100+ pounds to lose, you can safely lose at a faster pounds per week pace than someone with 20-30. Its often the 20-30 that want to do it overnight.
  • sexymamadraeger
    sexymamadraeger Posts: 239 Member
    That's a good pt! I still have 100 lbs to go and I'm sure the more fat you have the faster it goes. It will slow down eventually.
  • abatonfan
    abatonfan Posts: 1,123 Member
    This is only my two cents and personal experience.

    Red flags do go up if I notice that people are losing a lot of weight per week when they do not have much to lose in the first place. A few months ago, I weighed at least 210 pounds. After moving houses over the summer, I stepped on the scale in September and noticed that I lost 20-30 pounds. I did not think much about it, and I assumed that it was because I was only eating one big meal a day.

    As I became more involved in school and got back onto a normal eating schedule, I continued to lose up to 6 pounds per week without giving a single thought to calorie counts. In addition, I was becoming a lot more thirsty, had to run to the bathroom every 1.5 hours, and did not have the energy to listen to a 1.5-hour lecture without falling asleep during that period.

    I soon began to lose my hair, and my hair stylist noticed immediately. She told me to get to the urgent care, as she suspected that something was off with my thyroid. Turns out, I am a type 1 diabetic and was in the middle of diabetic ketoacidosis. If I were to wait even 24 hours to seek help, the ketoacidosis could have killed me.

    With that extreme weight loss, I lost not only a ton of fat, but a ton of muscle also. As soon as I was placed on insulin and had the energy to eat again, I gained almost 20 pounds in 2 weeks.

    I don't want anyone else to experience the same horrors that I have went through. A lot of the times, weight loss that extreme in such a short amount of time does not have an underlying cause, but those who follow diets that prompt those results can face issues with regaining some of the weight when they reach maintenance or experiencing the elusive "starvation mode" many MFP'ers talk about and really messing up their metabolism.
  • Dear SESXYMAM, One of the main reasons you need to be very cautious of losing weight so fast is EXTRA SKIN! It's serious, no joke and happens to millions of people who don't lose slowly. After I had my first son, I gained 90 pounds and lost it in 6 and a half months and guess what happened. I now have some loose skin on the bottom side of my stomach. The only thing that can be done about it is a tummy tuck. Thank God it isn't massively horrible, but I hate revealing it. I did hear a trainer say that if you're going to lose weight fast in spite of the warnings take three capsules of fish oil a day and do yoga or strength train. Good luck hun.
  • sexymamadraeger
    sexymamadraeger Posts: 239 Member
    Oh my gosh! That's scary about the diabetes. Yikes. I'm glad you caught it in time and are ok.

    Yes, I'm worried about loose skin too. I'm doing weight training to hopefully take care of some of it. I hadn't heard about fish oil. I should try that too. I never intended to lose weight so fast. I drastically changed my eating because I was sick all the time. IBS and possibly food allergies. I stopped eating processed food and I eat a very balanced natural diet and drink only water. The weight started falling off because I'm not eating crap anymore.

    What I'm talking about is the people who jump all over you for even thinking of losing weight so fast. Like it's this horrible thing. I just read someone's post saying they wanted to lose 30 lbs in 3 months and you wouldn't believe the comments. Some of them are just mean. I thought people were supposed to be encouraging. And what if the girl who posted really can lose 30 in 3 months? Lots of people do it in a healthy way.
  • StaciMarie1974
    StaciMarie1974 Posts: 4,138 Member
    There is sometime pettiness & backlash in these message forums, and its sad because that probably scares away people who could really benefit from the site.

    There are many weight loss mantras. In the end, each person has to find their own path (sometimes going thru a maze of dead ends for a few years before finding the way out) and in reality there is no rule that works for everyone.
  • anewlife4me8610
    anewlife4me8610 Posts: 91 Member
    I dont know what the stigma is about fast weight loss...some folks say if you lose it fast you will gain it faster...some say if you lose it fast you are not doing it right...I think any attempts at battling to get your BMI down is smart action!
  • For me, when I had more weight to lose (50lbs) I could lose 5 pounds a week and still eat, as long as I exercised. Now that I have 10 lbs left to lose and weight 130, I would have to eat less than 1,000 calories to lose like that-- which isn't sustainable. Frankly, I think it depends on the person and where he or she is at. When people tell you not to lose too quickly, they are probably just pointing out that a huge deficit isn't sustainable and can be really discouraging (and lead to binging on a cheeseburger). :D Good luck!!!
  • 4theking
    4theking Posts: 1,196 Member
    Larger deficits can also cause hormonal problems. The more weight you have to lose the less likely that is the case but there is still cause for concern. When your body does adapt to reduced calories, and it will, what will you adjust your calories to if they are already low?
  • cheripugh1
    cheripugh1 Posts: 357 Member
    I know I just had to go on a much lower calorie diet, (800-1000) Dr. orders and he is watching closely... I am concerned that there will be those who find fault but that is their problem... I have to keep my protein up, that is the most important and like you I have a great deal to lose and what I was doing (1200-1500) just wasn't working.

    I am with you on this one, saying what someone thinks, even giving links to back up what they think is fine, but to slam dunk others is just wrong and it does scare many away who need to be here.
  • WBB55
    WBB55 Posts: 4,131 Member
    Whenever I see someone saying they want to lose weight fast there's always someone telling them how bad that is. Why is that?

    This is not the case for everyone, just giving you my experience.

    I lost 100 lbs. And since then I've had 4 surgeries, 3 metal plates, and 2 bone grafts because my bones were so stressed and brittle from the weightloss that I kept breaking myself. I had skin hanging over my knees, and don't even get me started on how "deflated" the girls were... I was anemic and suffering from tons of malnutrition issues. 6 YEARS LATER, I'm still struggling to add bone density and recover from the damage I did to my body. When you eat at a huge deficit over the long term, malnutrition is a true risk. Not a guarantee, just a risk. That's why it's important to have your weightloss monitored by a doctor, especially if you're doing it long term/have a lot to lose.
  • Robin_Bin
    Robin_Bin Posts: 1,046 Member
    Whenever I see someone saying they want to lose weight fast there's always someone telling them how bad that is. Why is that? ... I think if we see someone getting healthy (however they are doing it) we should be supportive. I just don't get it.

    Experience.

    Take a look at the people on this site who have been successful for the long term. You'll see that most of them did not get into the shape they wanted quickly. Most people who lose quickly also regain quickly. There are multiple reasons for this… usually they boil down to the fact that when you lose quickly, you're often not learning a sustainable lifestyle -- something you can continue doing for the foreseeable future. So, once the person goes back to old habits or can't keep up the new structures, the weight comes back. There are health studies indicating that yo-yo dieting and weight changes can be even worse for you than being a bit overweight.

    The other part of the concern is that fast loses are often not done in a healthy way. People cut out so much of a balanced diet that they are no longer eating nutritiously. Or they exercise in an extreme manner that causes injuries. If someone's actually getting healthier, I'm all for that, but I don't want to encourage someone who considers weight loss as more important than overall health. A healthy body composition and diet is certainly part of being healthy, but not the only consideration.

    There are exceptions of course. If you are eating and exercising in a way that you can see continuing for more than a decade, and the weight is just coming off quickly as a side-effect of this healthy new way of life, go for it! But that is true for very few people. If it were that easy to change your lifestyle, there wouldn't be so many of us with health and weight issues.

    For some people, the initial changes are easy, and the first weight loss is quick. For others, the start is much slower. As others here will suggest, focus less on the number and more on your fitness/health.

    Best wishes!
  • maz504
    maz504 Posts: 450
    I think people have less of a problem with someone losing weight quickly than they do with someone who is not eating enough. A lot of times people who do lose at such high rates are eating like <1000 calories a day, at which point it's incredibly difficult to meet your micro and macro nutritional needs (and no, taking a multivitamin isn't the answer - you pee most of that out before you can absorb it.)

    If you're losing weight quickly because you have a lot to lose and are meeting your nutritional goals and maintaining a healthy diet, then I don't think many people have an issue with it. The bigger you are, the faster you will lose weight, particularly in the beginning.
  • kgeyser
    kgeyser Posts: 22,505 Member
    Oh my gosh! That's scary about the diabetes. Yikes. I'm glad you caught it in time and are ok.

    Yes, I'm worried about loose skin too. I'm doing weight training to hopefully take care of some of it. I hadn't heard about fish oil. I should try that too. I never intended to lose weight so fast. I drastically changed my eating because I was sick all the time. IBS and possibly food allergies. I stopped eating processed food and I eat a very balanced natural diet and drink only water. The weight started falling off because I'm not eating crap anymore.

    What I'm talking about is the people who jump all over you for even thinking of losing weight so fast. Like it's this horrible thing. I just read someone's post saying they wanted to lose 30 lbs in 3 months and you wouldn't believe the comments. Some of them are just mean. I thought people were supposed to be encouraging. And what if the girl who posted really can lose 30 in 3 months? Lots of people do it in a healthy way.

    No, the people who only have 30 lbs to lose and do it in three months are not doing it in a healthy way. If you have a lot of weight to lose, big losses can happen. But for only 30 lbs, 1 lb per week is realistic and healthy. Your body can only handle so much of a calorie deficit before you risk damaging your health. Muscle loss, hair loss, mental fogginess, tired all the time, fainting - these are all things that happen when you try to have too large of calorie deficit. Not to mention that it's not sustainable and most people who try it end up derailing and quitting.

    I have 10 lbs left to go, and 0.5 lbs per week is realistic. I don't have the fat stores to sustain the larger calorie deficit that I did when I had 45 lbs to lose. It's just not physically there for my body to draw from. If I tried for a larger deficit, I would be losing muscle and end up looking like rubbish. Once that muscle is gone, it's twice as hard to get it back, especially for a woman. This is why people encourage people to lose at a realistic, healthy pace. It's not because they are jerks, jealous, or haters, it's because of the science of weight loss. People are trying to give the person the tools to succeed.
  • Birder155
    Birder155 Posts: 223 Member
    Dear SESXYMAM, One of the main reasons you need to be very cautious of losing weight so fast is EXTRA SKIN! It's serious, no joke and happens to millions of people who don't lose slowly. After I had my first son, I gained 90 pounds and lost it in 6 and a half months and guess what happened. I now have some loose skin on the bottom side of my stomach. The only thing that can be done about it is a tummy tuck. Thank God it isn't massively horrible, but I hate revealing it. I did hear a trainer say that if you're going to lose weight fast in spite of the warnings take three capsules of fish oil a day and do yoga or strength train. Good luck hun.

    Speed of weight loss has no bearing on whether or not you'll get loose skin.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    What I'm talking about is the people who jump all over you for even thinking of losing weight so fast. Like it's this horrible thing. I just read someone's post saying they wanted to lose 30 lbs in 3 months and you wouldn't believe the comments. Some of them are just mean. I thought people were supposed to be encouraging. And what if the girl who posted really can lose 30 in 3 months? Lots of people do it in a healthy way.

    I have mixed feelings about this. A pretty high percentage of the "can I lose X pounds in Y days" posts I've seen are from people who really aren't that far from goal or are quite young (like 18) or often both. Given that, it's hard not to have your alarm signal go up a little that the person is inclined to do it in a crash diet kind of way. Also, I've seen a lot of examples where the plan is really not doable in a healthy way, if at all (I've got a BMI of 25 and want to lose 30 in two weeks, can I?) and even where people have been pretty nice about saying "probably not," and the person has overreacted and accused everyone of being negative. If I have my mind made up that I'm trying something and don't want people to caution me, I don't ask an internet forum if I can do it, you know?

    One thing I never get is why it's so important to, say, lose 75 in 5 months. If it turns out that you have 75 to lose and lose 35 in the first 5 months, you are going to feel so much better anyway and probably energized to lose the remaining weight. Why set it up so that's a failure rather than the huge win it is? Pick a healthy goal per week, do what you can to achieve it, and if you exceed it and are heavy enough that that's not unhealthy, great! When I started I was aiming for about 2/week and lost more like 3 for a while, but I think it would have been kind of self-defeating to think that I had to lose 12/month or some such. Instead, I did the opposite and told myself that no matter what happened I wanted to focus on moving more and setting healthy eating habits and getting a handle on my calories--of course I hoped to lose significantly and would have been adjusting if I wasn't losing, but I wanted to commit to doing all the healthy things I could control even if the scale didn't response (since I think it's common for fat people to have deep-seated insecurity about their ability to lose).

    All that aside, why I said I have mixed feelings is that of course I've set personal goals (2 lb/week to start) and had ideas in my head of how much weight I wanted to lose after one month or 3 months or by July and the like, and found these motivating, since when you have huge amounts of weight to lose it helps to realize that after only a few months you will have made substantial process. And I know myself enough to know that if I don't make a goal I'm not going to be derailed. Too often the responses to the posts you are talking about sound like someone is going to flake out if they set an ambitious goal and don't make it. But still, why are they posting the question or seeming to suggest that losing isn't worth it if a particular goal can't be met. It's probably not setting them up to have the patience necessary or to deal with the fact the scale sometimes doesn't respond so consistently.
  • 1princesswarrior
    1princesswarrior Posts: 1,242 Member
    I'll weigh in on this.

    There are several problems with losing weight fast. As already mentioned you do lose more muscle and lean body mass, including bone density with fast weight loss.

    Also, many people cut calories to the extreme to lose weight fast. Most people will drop immediately to 1200 calories when that is not necessary to lose weight. That leads to them being hungry all the time, which eventually leads to giving up and/or binging because it is not sustainable for most. In addition, they add a lot of exercise. Couple that with 1200 calories and all of a sudden they are not fueling their bodies properly and feel light headed, grumpy, weak, nauseous, and can even lose their hair and develop brittle nails (I did).

    Starvation mode as it is thrown around here is a load of crap. What happens as you lose weight is you also lose muscle mass. As you become smaller you require less energy (i.e. less food) to maintain or lose your body mass so you don't need to eat as much. Over time if you do not strength train and you continue to lose muscle you will slow your metabolism because muscle burn requires more energy than fat.

    Healthy weight loss as the medical community defines it is 1-2 lbs per week unless one is super morbidly obese and requires medical intervention and is put on a medically supervised diet. This is usually when the risk of death is greater than the risk of losing weight too quickly.

    I hope your plan is something that is sustainable for the rest of your life because that's great that you lose the weight quickly but then how will you transition to maintenance? What happens when you have to eat more and you gain a few pounds back because you've created such a huge deficit?

    Also with all due respect. You are losing weight because you created a caloric deficit, not because you cut all "crap" out of your diet. I eat the same crap I've always eaten, just in smaller amounts and not as often. I'm not going to give anything up to be at a healthy weight because I don't plan on gaining it back, this is a lifestyle change for me. I've got around 30 lbs left to lose and I don't care how long it takes me because I'm going to start lifting heavy and eating at a smaller deficit. We live in a society where we want everything and we want it now, it is that mindset of entitlement that led many of us to think we could eat what we wanted and not pay the price and I personally believe it is that mindset that leads many to weight loss failure but that's just my opinion.
  • perseverance14
    perseverance14 Posts: 1,364 Member
    If you are in obese range and losing, there is more leeway, but 15 lbs. is still a lot. The reason not to lose too fast is because you lose more of your muscle that way. You will end up skinny fat, without the tone or body strength you could have had if you went slower, which is a skinny version of what you look like fat, not the toned body you might be picturing.

    I went faster when I was in obese range, but I have slowed it down now that I am out. I am one point away from normal BMI and it is not easy for me to not give in to temptation to eat a little less and get there faster, but then I think of the cost. I started lifting weights at 41 lbs. down to keep the muscle I have and burn the fat instead (you can't gain muscle in a deficit with the exception of some very small newbie gains that can be had if you never lifted heavy before). It helps shift the balance in favor of burning the fat instead of burning your muscle.

    It is a fact you do not just lose fat, weight you lose is made up of water/fat/muscle, and without doing any strength/resistance training to prevent it, 25-30% of your weight lost will be muscle, also a fact.
  • WBB55
    WBB55 Posts: 4,131 Member
    weight you lose is made up of water/fat/muscle, and without doing any strength/resistance training to prevent it, 25-30% of your weight lost will be muscle

    This was also my experience.
  • LivingtheLeanDream
    LivingtheLeanDream Posts: 13,345 Member
    Whenever I see someone saying they want to lose weight fast there's always someone telling them how bad that is. Why is that? ... I think if we see someone getting healthy (however they are doing it) we should be supportive. I just don't get it.

    Experience.

    Take a look at the people on this site who have been successful for the long term. You'll see that most of them did not get into the shape they wanted quickly. Most people who lose quickly also regain quickly. There are multiple reasons for this… usually they boil down to the fact that when you lose quickly, you're often not learning a sustainable lifestyle -- something you can continue doing for the foreseeable future. So, once the person goes back to old habits or can't keep up the new structures, the weight comes back. There are health studies indicating that yo-yo dieting and weight changes can be even worse for you than being a bit overweight.

    The other part of the concern is that fast loses are often not done in a healthy way. People cut out so much of a balanced diet that they are no longer eating nutritiously. Or they exercise in an extreme manner that causes injuries. If someone's actually getting healthier, I'm all for that, but I don't want to encourage someone who considers weight loss as more important than overall health. A healthy body composition and diet is certainly part of being healthy, but not the only consideration.

    There are exceptions of course. If you are eating and exercising in a way that you can see continuing for more than a decade, and the weight is just coming off quickly as a side-effect of this healthy new way of life, go for it! But that is true for very few people. If it were that easy to change your lifestyle, there wouldn't be so many of us with health and weight issues.

    For some people, the initial changes are easy, and the first weight loss is quick. For others, the start is much slower. As others here will suggest, focus less on the number and more on your fitness/health.

    Best wishes!

    ^^ this....I've been on mfp 2 yrs, took a year to lose the weight, (20lbs) I'm still keeping it off and feeling great :-) I probably could have shed it in 1/2 the time but never at any time did I feel I was on a 'diet' (spent 20 yrs faffing about trying every darn diet and always ended up gaining it all back) - I am educated now to eat better, watch portions and get lots of exercise.

    wishing you all the best in your journey :-)