Question about rate of weight loss

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I started with MFP and I set my settings to get me 1 lb per week of weight loss. Now at almost two months in, my average is closer to 2 lb per week - I'm at 15 lb lost and will likely hit 16 by the 8 week mark. Now, I'm not complaining that it's working even faster than I planned, but I am surprised. What factors might be contributing to this faster than expected loss?

(When I exercise, I generally eat back most of my bonus calories, so I don't think that's it.)

Replies

  • JaydedMiss
    JaydedMiss Posts: 4,286 Member
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    how much of the weight was lost right in the first month has it slowed?
  • jemhh
    jemhh Posts: 14,261 Member
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    • Eating fewer calories than you log (on accident or on purpose)
    • Burning more calories than you think, whether through exercise or in your daily life
    • Starting out with a lot of water weight due to high sodium/carb intake and your body shedding water once you get those things down to more moderate levels.
  • cchhiipp22
    cchhiipp22 Posts: 37 Member
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    JaydedMiss wrote: »
    how much of the weight was lost right in the first month has it slowed?

    It's been pretty consistent. I'd lost 8 in the first month and it's gonna be about 8 this month as well.
  • StaciMarie1974
    StaciMarie1974 Posts: 4,138 Member
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    7-8 weeks is enough data to work with, so I'd guess you chose sedentary when you're really more active. (Or similar, you chose lightly active and you're heavily active.)

    Your activity level is used by MFP to estimate how much energy you'll use in a day, before exercise.

    Another option is you tend to over-log your food. Rounding up consistently on portion sizes. Or you have a higher than average muscle mass, meaning your body burns more calories.
    cchhiipp22 wrote: »
    I started with MFP and I set my settings to get me 1 lb per week of weight loss. Now at almost two months in, my average is closer to 2 lb per week - I'm at 15 lb lost and will likely hit 16 by the 8 week mark. Now, I'm not complaining that it's working even faster than I planned, but I am surprised. What factors might be contributing to this faster than expected loss?

    (When I exercise, I generally eat back most of my bonus calories, so I don't think that's it.)

  • cchhiipp22
    cchhiipp22 Posts: 37 Member
    edited February 2017
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    jemhh wrote: »
    • Eating fewer calories than you log (on accident or on purpose)
    • Burning more calories than you think, whether through exercise or in your daily life
    • Starting out with a lot of water weight due to high sodium/carb intake and your body shedding water once you get those things down to more moderate levels.

    1) Possible. I try to estimate high when logging so I don't overeat. But I don't think I'm estimating/under-eating to the tune of an extra 500 calories/day, which as I understand is what it would take to lose the second pound per week, right?

    2) I guess it's possible, but I'd be surprised. I selected "lightly active" and felt like that was on the optimistic side. I'm not sedentary, but certainly not heavily active.

    3) Hard to say, though my loss has been consistent the whole time, as opposed to a big loss up front then a slowing.
  • cchhiipp22
    cchhiipp22 Posts: 37 Member
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    In any case, thanks for the ideas! I'll keep an eye on it.
  • lulalacroix
    lulalacroix Posts: 1,082 Member
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    I'm in almost exactly the same boat. I have weight loss planned for 1 pound per week and have lost 14 since this year started which is just over 2 pound loss per week.

    I do some exercise, but it is not really the type that burns a lot of calories. Some days I eat over my calorie allotment and some days I eat under, so it is not due to a lot of under eating.

    The only thing that really makes sense to me is that I burn more calories than estimated. But seriously, I am not complaining. My weight loss will slow at some point.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,865 Member
    edited February 2017
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    cchhiipp22 wrote: »
    I started with MFP and I set my settings to get me 1 lb per week of weight loss. Now at almost two months in, my average is closer to 2 lb per week - I'm at 15 lb lost and will likely hit 16 by the 8 week mark. Now, I'm not complaining that it's working even faster than I planned, but I am surprised. What factors might be contributing to this faster than expected loss?

    (When I exercise, I generally eat back most of my bonus calories, so I don't think that's it.)

    You're more active than whatever you set your activity level to....possibly eating less than you think you are.
  • Sheisinlove109
    Sheisinlove109 Posts: 516 Member
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    I think when you begin a program your lose water weight and I can't speak for everyone...but when my hubby stops drinking diet soda and cutting down a little he loses a lot quickly. Be happy with your results, sounds like you're working hard.
  • cchhiipp22
    cchhiipp22 Posts: 37 Member
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    sunsweet77 wrote: »
    Be happy with your results, sounds like you're working hard.

    I'm definitely happy with the results. Thanks! :) Trying to work hard but sustainable.
  • Chadxx
    Chadxx Posts: 1,199 Member
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    Also, what MFP gives you is an estimate. Each person's body is a little different.
  • Francl27
    Francl27 Posts: 26,371 Member
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    Activity makes a huge difference - my TDEE can change by 1000 calories depending on how active I am during a day!
  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 13,978 Member
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    It really doesn't matter why your deficit is proving larger than you think it is.

    This is usually a good problem to have because it gives you the flexibility of eating more food while losing at an appropriate rate.

    Since it sounds like one pound a week was an appropriate goal for you, start eating 350 to 500 calories more a day.

    Conversely exercise a little bit less. Or eat back instead of a hundred percent a hundred and 10% of your exercise calories as an example.

    Either your base caloric expenditure is higher than you thought, or your exercise is burning more than the calculators are estimating, or you're loging higher amounts of food than you're actually eating and absorbing.

    In any case do remember that Loss rates higher than 0.07% of your body weight a week have the potential of resulting in higher loss of lean mass than necessary.
  • annacole94
    annacole94 Posts: 997 Member
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    The easiest way to correct on MFP is to just bump up an activity level. :) After 8 lb in 2 months, intentionally slowing the rate of loss a little might be a good thing, unless you have a lot to lose.
  • lynn_glenmont
    lynn_glenmont Posts: 10,028 Member
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    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    There may not be an identifiable reason.

    I lost substantially faster than MFP thought I would, and I don't know a definite reason. I'll guarantee it's not daily life activity in my case - I absolutely am sedentary outside of intentional exercise (which I eat back). But I had to set my MFP profile to "active" (not just "lightly active"), in order to get MFP to even come close to an accurate calorie estimate for me.

    My advice: Just take your bonus calories and be grateful. ;)

    Longer, pedantic comment:

    Any decent calculator is based on research with a reasonably large sample population. The calculator gives you the mean (average, loosely) number of calories for a person of your characteristics, based on that research. Behind the scenes, there was a distribution of caloric needs around the mean - some individual people higher, some lower.

    I've seen some bell curve charts for this type of research (nope, didn't bookmark). The curve's relatively tall & narrow: Most people are fairly close to the mean (small standard deviation is another way to say this). But, by definition, in a normal distribution, 68.27% of individual data points are within one standard deviation of the mean, and 95.45% within two standard deviations.

    Based on one such study's results, and using (for illustration) an average calorie expenditure of 2000 daily, one standard deviation is about 160 calories. So, almost 5% of those for whom the calculator says 2000 would be expected to have a TDEE under 1680, or a TDEE above 2320.

    Any one person's odds of being one of those people? Small (less than 1 in 20 chance). One's odds of meeting one of those people, especially somewhere like the MFP forums? Pretty high.

    Calculators give us a starting point. Personal experience gives us a more accurate answer, assuming our tracking is as accurate as we can manage.
    https://examine.com/nutrition/does-metabolism-vary-between-two-people/

    P.S. A rational (safe, healthy) loss rate should be set based on your actual loss, rather than the calculator estimates. Why? Because, regardless of reasons why, you're actually burning what you're actually burning. ;)

    Thanks for this; I'm in the exact same boat. I work a desk job, log even short walks as exercise, used a food scale from the very beginning, always double-checked the entries I used, set myself as lightly active, with a goal of 1 lb a week loss, and averaged 2 lbs a week for almost 4 months (at that point I intentionally boosted my daily calories to slow things down, as I was approaching the borderline between moderately obese and overweight -- I started out toward the low end of severely obese). Finally, a year later, I reset myself to active so that MFP's concept of my maintenance level would be reasonably close to what it actually is.

    The information on the standard deviation for TDEE data is interesting. I had assumed my situation was some combination of having a little more muscle than the formula assumes for a woman of my age and BMI; not being post-menopausal at an age that the formula probably assumes I am; being a bit of a fidgeter (if nobody's in the kitchen while I'm waiting for my coffee to brew, I'll do some dance steps :smile: ) ; and just being a bit of a statistical outlier. Had no idea what the size of the standard deviation was.

    But I'm sure not complaining.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,969 Member
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    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    There may not be an identifiable reason.

    I lost substantially faster than MFP thought I would, and I don't know a definite reason. I'll guarantee it's not daily life activity in my case - I absolutely am sedentary outside of intentional exercise (which I eat back). But I had to set my MFP profile to "active" (not just "lightly active"), in order to get MFP to even come close to an accurate calorie estimate for me.

    My advice: Just take your bonus calories and be grateful. ;)

    Longer, pedantic comment:

    Any decent calculator is based on research with a reasonably large sample population. The calculator gives you the mean (average, loosely) number of calories for a person of your characteristics, based on that research. Behind the scenes, there was a distribution of caloric needs around the mean - some individual people higher, some lower.

    I've seen some bell curve charts for this type of research (nope, didn't bookmark). The curve's relatively tall & narrow: Most people are fairly close to the mean (small standard deviation is another way to say this). But, by definition, in a normal distribution, 68.27% of individual data points are within one standard deviation of the mean, and 95.45% within two standard deviations.

    Based on one such study's results, and using (for illustration) an average calorie expenditure of 2000 daily, one standard deviation is about 160 calories. So, almost 5% of those for whom the calculator says 2000 would be expected to have a TDEE under 1680, or a TDEE above 2320.

    Any one person's odds of being one of those people? Small (less than 1 in 20 chance). One's odds of meeting one of those people, especially somewhere like the MFP forums? Pretty high.

    Calculators give us a starting point. Personal experience gives us a more accurate answer, assuming our tracking is as accurate as we can manage.
    https://examine.com/nutrition/does-metabolism-vary-between-two-people/

    P.S. A rational (safe, healthy) loss rate should be set based on your actual loss, rather than the calculator estimates. Why? Because, regardless of reasons why, you're actually burning what you're actually burning. ;)

    Thanks for this; I'm in the exact same boat. I work a desk job, log even short walks as exercise, used a food scale from the very beginning, always double-checked the entries I used, set myself as lightly active, with a goal of 1 lb a week loss, and averaged 2 lbs a week for almost 4 months (at that point I intentionally boosted my daily calories to slow things down, as I was approaching the borderline between moderately obese and overweight -- I started out toward the low end of severely obese). Finally, a year later, I reset myself to active so that MFP's concept of my maintenance level would be reasonably close to what it actually is.

    The information on the standard deviation for TDEE data is interesting. I had assumed my situation was some combination of having a little more muscle than the formula assumes for a woman of my age and BMI; not being post-menopausal at an age that the formula probably assumes I am; being a bit of a fidgeter (if nobody's in the kitchen while I'm waiting for my coffee to brew, I'll do some dance steps :smile: ) ; and just being a bit of a statistical outlier. Had no idea what the size of the standard deviation was.

    But I'm sure not complaining.

    Things like that may be the real-world reasons behind the differences among individuals (i.e., may explain the range of values measured by the standard deviation).

    I'm muscular for a 61 y/o woman, probably eat more high-TEF foods than average, am hypothyroid but happier/healthier when medicated to the speedier side of normal, haven't been a yoyo dieter much over the course of decades unlike a lot of women my age, do pretty intense exercise when I work out so may get some decent EPOC, etc. But I know none of those are individually huge factors, so there's really no way of knowing why.

    I'll just take my extra calories and eat them (now in maintenance) ThankYouVeryMuch. ;) I only hope it continues: I feel very lucky.