250 calorie deficit, good idea or a motivation buster?

Hey everyone,

So a little background I have a whole host of health problems, it's a big barrier to me losing weight however I'm still going to try. I struggle to consistently stick to a 500 deficit, the bigger my deficit the worse my symptoms can be. I'm thinking of switching to the 250 just to see how it goes, perhaps for a few weeks, and see where I am at the end of it. I would really appreciate any advice or personal experience anyone has had with a smaller deficit. I am making lifestyle changes rather than dieting in the hope that despite my challenges I can keep it off once I lose it. I have just under 3st to lose to get to a healthy weight. Thank you for reading :).

Replies

  • mariomicro
    mariomicro Posts: 74 Member
    What are your stats? What is your TDEE? Are you sedentary? Do you have to lose weight? Fat? What is your body fat percentage? Unless you're morbidly obese, 500 cal deficit is too high. The slower, the better.
  • nitalieben
    nitalieben Posts: 680 Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    Direction is more important than speed - the time will pass anyway, a sustainable weight loss uses that passage of time but an unsustainable rate of loss leads to no progress.

    Another alternative to a small deficit if, like me, an everyday deficit bores and frustrates you is an irregular deficit with the other days eating at maintenance. Some days I find it easy to generate a significant deficit doing such simple things as skipping breakfast or making low calorie choices. Some days I don't but over time I can make my weight drift downwards without making the process feel onerous.

    Indeed. Do whatever is sustainable for you long term. If a 500 calorie deficit is not sustainable, certainly, take the slower road, the end destination would be the same. You'd just take a little bit longer to get there and you'd be less likely to backtrack ;) Best of luck to you.
  • Deviette
    Deviette Posts: 979 Member
    edited October 2020
    With such a small deficit you're going to have to accept that movement will come very slowly. Especially if you're someone who has periods/monthly cycles then you're going to need to wait at least a month to allow for monthly variation on weight. That said, I'm not saying it's a bad idea to take it slow and make that work for you if that's what your health conditions require. Patience; consistency in logging; and trusting the process are required. Slow will get you there in the end.

    I'm actually well on board with what's suggested above by @sijomial (eating around maintenance and having a couple of days with a larger deficit), depending on how the deficit affects your health on those much lower days. This is basically what I do. I have two days a week (sometimes three) when I'm a lot more active than the rest of the week (and I tend to be less hungry too), on those days I rock up a deficit that sits me at around 300kcals average for the week. As long as I can stick something below to at maintenance for the rest of the week, it means I'm losing weight. And I find it much easier to adhere to a very small deficit on the other days and trying to grit it out and be consistent to the same deficit every day.
  • Deviette wrote: »
    With such a small deficit you're going to have to accept that movement will come very slowly. Especially if you're someone who has periods/monthly cycles then you're going to need to wait at least a month to allow for monthly variation on weight. That said, I'm not saying it's a bad idea to take it slow and make that work for you if that's what your health conditions require. Patience; consistency in logging; and trusting the process are required. Slow will get you there in the end.

    I'm actually well on board with what's suggested above by @sijomial (eating around maintenance and having a couple of days with a larger deficit), depending on how the deficit affects your health on those much lower days. This is basically what I do. I have two days a week (sometimes three) when I'm a lot more active than the rest of the week (and I tend to be less hungry too), on those days I rock up a deficit that sits me at around 300kcals average for the week. As long as I can stick something below to at maintenance for the rest of the week, it means I'm losing weight. And I find it much easier to adhere to a very small deficit on the other days and trying to grit it out and be consistent to the same deficit every day.

    Yes, I agree I will definitely experiment with lower-calorie days. Do you use a spread sheet or something to keep track of yours?
  • Lietchi
    Lietchi Posts: 4,017 Member
    In the app there is an option to look at a weekly view of your calories instead of a daily view: tap on the pie chart in your food diary and then choose "Calories" and "week view".
  • Jacq_qui
    Jacq_qui Posts: 360 Member
    I read, on here probably, that the best diet (weight loss plan?) is the one you stick to.

    Absolutely nothing wrong with 250 deficit, but remember there is less room for error - either yours (logging) or any estimated calorie burn from added in exercise.
  • heybales
    heybales Posts: 18,831 Member
    I put my comments on your Fitbit forum topic - pretty much what has been said here.
    You won't get nearly the nice support there as here on MFP.
  • Deviette
    Deviette Posts: 979 Member
    Deviette wrote: »
    With such a small deficit you're going to have to accept that movement will come very slowly. Especially if you're someone who has periods/monthly cycles then you're going to need to wait at least a month to allow for monthly variation on weight. That said, I'm not saying it's a bad idea to take it slow and make that work for you if that's what your health conditions require. Patience; consistency in logging; and trusting the process are required. Slow will get you there in the end.

    I'm actually well on board with what's suggested above by @sijomial (eating around maintenance and having a couple of days with a larger deficit), depending on how the deficit affects your health on those much lower days. This is basically what I do. I have two days a week (sometimes three) when I'm a lot more active than the rest of the week (and I tend to be less hungry too), on those days I rock up a deficit that sits me at around 300kcals average for the week. As long as I can stick something below to at maintenance for the rest of the week, it means I'm losing weight. And I find it much easier to adhere to a very small deficit on the other days and trying to grit it out and be consistent to the same deficit every day.

    Yes, I agree I will definitely experiment with lower-calorie days. Do you use a spread sheet or something to keep track of yours?

    I do, but that's because I'm an excel nerd. I have an activity tracker so mine uses an In, Out and calculated daily deficit. Then I have a daily average for the week calculated by the total of the week's deficit.

    For a little bit more complexity I also track my daily weight so to match my expected weekly loss with my actual weekly loss. I means I'm able to adjust my assumptions on if my tracker is being fair on the amount of calories it's giving me, and for non tracker exercise.

    But as has been said above, you can track a weekly consumption in the app, if you find that easier (I just like to geek out with excel)
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    edited October 2020
    Deviette wrote: »
    Deviette wrote: »
    With such a small deficit you're going to have to accept that movement will come very slowly. Especially if you're someone who has periods/monthly cycles then you're going to need to wait at least a month to allow for monthly variation on weight. That said, I'm not saying it's a bad idea to take it slow and make that work for you if that's what your health conditions require. Patience; consistency in logging; and trusting the process are required. Slow will get you there in the end.

    I'm actually well on board with what's suggested above by @sijomial (eating around maintenance and having a couple of days with a larger deficit), depending on how the deficit affects your health on those much lower days. This is basically what I do. I have two days a week (sometimes three) when I'm a lot more active than the rest of the week (and I tend to be less hungry too), on those days I rock up a deficit that sits me at around 300kcals average for the week. As long as I can stick something below to at maintenance for the rest of the week, it means I'm losing weight. And I find it much easier to adhere to a very small deficit on the other days and trying to grit it out and be consistent to the same deficit every day.

    Yes, I agree I will definitely experiment with lower-calorie days. Do you use a spread sheet or something to keep track of yours?

    I do, but that's because I'm an excel nerd. I have an activity tracker so mine uses an In, Out and calculated daily deficit. Then I have a daily average for the week calculated by the total of the week's deficit.

    For a little bit more complexity I also track my daily weight so to match my expected weekly loss with my actual weekly loss. I means I'm able to adjust my assumptions on if my tracker is being fair on the amount of calories it's giving me, and for non tracker exercise.

    But as has been said above, you can track a weekly consumption in the app, if you find that easier (I just like to geek out with excel)

    Sounds like we are using a similar spreadsheet. Mine has grown, admittedly to a ridiculous level, in the 2 years I have been using it. It tracks 3, 6, 12, and running rate of losses. It has updated running weight columns that allows me to see how much fat loss I might be masking. It recalcs my TDEE daily based on results daily 2 different ways. It compares Apple numbers to MFP numbers. Etc. Etc. Etc.

    One of the most important thing it did for me was near the beginning of its use. When I went up on the scale it told me how much my logging would have to be off for that result to be true. That desensitized me to scale fluctuations (mostly). Now I don't even look at that column anymore.
  • Given you can’t have a larger deficit due to other health problems, then you don’t really have a choice.
    Remember the story of the turtle and the hare; slow and steady wins the race.
    Not that this is a race, just a good analogy that with a smaller deficit it will take longer, but it’s a more sustainable approach.

    Take care
  • Deviette
    Deviette Posts: 979 Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    Deviette wrote: »
    Deviette wrote: »
    With such a small deficit you're going to have to accept that movement will come very slowly. Especially if you're someone who has periods/monthly cycles then you're going to need to wait at least a month to allow for monthly variation on weight. That said, I'm not saying it's a bad idea to take it slow and make that work for you if that's what your health conditions require. Patience; consistency in logging; and trusting the process are required. Slow will get you there in the end.

    I'm actually well on board with what's suggested above by @sijomial (eating around maintenance and having a couple of days with a larger deficit), depending on how the deficit affects your health on those much lower days. This is basically what I do. I have two days a week (sometimes three) when I'm a lot more active than the rest of the week (and I tend to be less hungry too), on those days I rock up a deficit that sits me at around 300kcals average for the week. As long as I can stick something below to at maintenance for the rest of the week, it means I'm losing weight. And I find it much easier to adhere to a very small deficit on the other days and trying to grit it out and be consistent to the same deficit every day.

    Yes, I agree I will definitely experiment with lower-calorie days. Do you use a spread sheet or something to keep track of yours?

    I do, but that's because I'm an excel nerd. I have an activity tracker so mine uses an In, Out and calculated daily deficit. Then I have a daily average for the week calculated by the total of the week's deficit.

    For a little bit more complexity I also track my daily weight so to match my expected weekly loss with my actual weekly loss. I means I'm able to adjust my assumptions on if my tracker is being fair on the amount of calories it's giving me, and for non tracker exercise.

    But as has been said above, you can track a weekly consumption in the app, if you find that easier (I just like to geek out with excel)

    Sounds like we are using a similar spreadsheet. Mine has grown, admittedly to a ridiculous level, in the 2 years I have been using it. It tracks 3, 6, 12, and running rate of losses. It has updated running weight columns that allows me to see how much fat loss I might be masking. It recalcs my TDEE daily based on results daily 2 different ways. It compares Apple numbers to MFP numbers. Etc. Etc. Etc.

    One of the most important thing it did for me was near the beginning of its use. When I went up on the scale it told me how much my logging would have to be off for that result to be true. That desensitized me to scale fluctuations (mostly). Now I don't even look at that column anymore.

    Last time I lost weight I had a spreadsheet that grew and grew in complexity over the 10 months I was using it. When I came back this time I thought about using it again, but looking at all of that guff I had around it seemed too daunting so I started a new one. That and I've seriously upgraded my excel levels in the 2 years since then, so I'm looking at much less complicated ways to producing the same results.

    I really like that one you mentioned at the end there, I hadn't considered something like that, but I like it
  • girlwithcurls2
    girlwithcurls2 Posts: 2,236 Member
    It's absolutely a good plan. Just be prepared to ignore the scale (your weight, not the food scale) for a while if the ups and downs bug you. Daily fluctuations can make it seem as if you're not getting results. Stick to it and be patient. You have the right attitude! :smile:
  • domeofstars
    domeofstars Posts: 480 Member
    I think its a fantastic idea if you have the patience for it. You're more likely to keep the weight off in the long run as well if you aim for a slower weight loss too, and less likely to lose lean muscle mass.