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Very large deficit but feeling fine.....??

saramelie77saramelie77 Member Posts: 49 Member Member Posts: 49 Member
For those who lost a LOT of weight, your opinion please!

Stats:
Women
5'4
40 yo
Highest weight :253
Current weight : 226
Been counting calories for 26 days, lost 15 pounds so far
Calculated TDEE with my own stats
Fairy active+ job on my feet all day (3x week each: jog/walk intervalles 30 min, weight training 20 min, swimming 40 min, walk 30 min+ other activities here and there like hiking, step, etc)

I aim at 1400 cal/day, and my TDEE stands at about 3000 right now, so a deficit of about 1600/day

I feel perfectly fine eating that amount. I eat of "everything", but try to keep it balanced.
I don't feel deprived at all, no cravings, high energy, etc

Yet, I read everywhere here that a "good" deficit is around 500 cal/day. And that is justified by "no point feeling miserable, this is unsustainable, etc". I'm not miserable at all.

So why is a large deficit FOR AN OBESE PERSON still presumably bad?

I'm so tired of carrying this extra weight around, and I have a cardiac problem probably related to it, so I don't want it to take 2 years to lose another 85 pounds!

If I feel great, energetic, not deprived, would it make sense to stay at 1400 until maintenance and then slowly add up calories to figure out my maintenance goal?
At this rate I'm expecting to be at 143 by may 2022.

Thanks
Ps: I also take a medication to help with my mood and it tends to lower appetite as a side effect, which could explain the "feeling great" despite the large deficit

Replies

  • MahhafooznitMahhafooznit Member Posts: 24 Member Member Posts: 24 Member
    Good work at what you accomplished already.
  • saramelie77saramelie77 Member Posts: 49 Member Member Posts: 49 Member
    Thanks Ann, good thoughts. I tend to be "go big or go home!", and this can easily backfire. So, yes, maybe I need to slow it down a bit with a smaller deficit.... I'll admit that I'm liking this -0.5 almost every day a little too much.......

    Open to more opinions though!
  • wunderkindkingwunderkindking Member Posts: 1,203 Member Member Posts: 1,203 Member
    The big thing I want to add is that at some point you're going to have less of a deficit just because you can no longer lower your calories further. Which means loss is going to slow down ANYWAY.

    Wouldn't it be less upsetting to choose that and continue to have things be as easy as they can, than to have it whack you in the face with metabolic adaptation or, even if not that, just pure 'I no longer have any space to have a deficit this big' that is entirely beyond your control?
  • saramelie77saramelie77 Member Posts: 49 Member Member Posts: 49 Member
    Wunderkindkind, not sure I understand your last phrase. For sure, I totally get that my deficit will get smaller as I myself get smaller, so less weight loss with the same amount eaten because of reduction of TDEE. But why would/could it "whack me in the face"?
  • saramelie77saramelie77 Member Posts: 49 Member Member Posts: 49 Member
    Good work at what you accomplished already.

    Thanks!
  • cmriversidecmriverside Member Posts: 31,827 Member Member Posts: 31,827 Member
    Wunderkindkind, not sure I understand your last phrase. For sure, I totally get that my deficit will get smaller as I myself get smaller, so less weight loss with the same amount eaten because of reduction of TDEE. But why would/could it "whack me in the face"?

    I believe she was referring to metabolic adaptation whacking you in the face - and different people have different beliefs about the actual effect of this.


    I think we all have some amount of adaptation happen when we cut calories by 500-1000 calories below our maintenance number. It's not irreversible, though. A week or two at maintenance and hormones reset. Here's a good thread about diet breaks, and one about adaptation:

    Refeeds and Diet breaks:
    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10604863/of-refeeds-and-diet-breaks/p1

    Metabolic Adaptation:
    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/1077746/starvation-mode-adaptive-thermogenesis-and-weight-loss/p1


    With the amount of weight you need to lose, you will likely be fine at a "Lose 2 pounds per week" setting - for a while. I did it for a while, but after about three months (nearly 30 pounds loss during that time, with 50 more to go...) I crashed. Hair started falling out, my skin and nails were dry and cracked, I couldn't make it through a workout. I raised calories at that point. I waited too long. Just be aware of your body and what it's saying.
  • saramelie77saramelie77 Member Posts: 49 Member Member Posts: 49 Member
    Ok, good to know. Thanks!
  • MsCzarMsCzar Member Posts: 570 Member Member Posts: 570 Member
    Those sound like a bit like my stats. My starting (first 4 months) calorie deficit was even greater, but I was far less active. It took me several months to build up to my now current 30 minute daily workout in an otherwise fairly sedentary day. I always felt fine and never hit a wall or became discouraged. Of course, YMMV.

    After dropping the first 50lbs., I increased my calories into the 1200-1500 range and that's where it remains now. I continued to lose another 30lbs. at a slower rate. At times, it was a bit disappointing to see the numbers on the scale drop at an agonizingly slow pace, but at that point, I was fitting into 'normal' sized clothes and was more or less happy with my progress. Plus, I was making much healthier food choices, formed good habits and never felt hungry or deprived.

    Occasionally when I feel the need, I take deficit breaks for 1-3 weeks and eat at the top of my maintenance calories. That really helped me get through the holidays. I regained 4 lbs. November-December, but those quickly melted away as soon as I resumed deficit eating.

    The only issue I can see with the 'go big or go home' mindset is that it's great while it's great. But not so much when it isn't. Maybe pivot into 'go big and then go slow.' I would strongly recommend you have a plan to either increase your deficit calorie intake or shift to maintenance rather than 'go home.' Your body will probably let you know when it's time to ease off and course correct.
  • saramelie77saramelie77 Member Posts: 49 Member Member Posts: 49 Member
    Thanks MsCzar! Interesting to read diverse experiences.

    I do intend to slow down my weight loss when I get to a "normal" weight. I understand this current rate is not sustainabl, even if I wish so.... So I'm thinking the smart way to do it would be a deficit for a loss of 2+ pounds now until 180, then 1.5 until 165, then 1 until 150 and maybe 0.5 until 143.

    I know the less you weigh the more finicky it becomes with both weight loss and appetite (body trying to get you back up to original weight). I will never "starve" myself just to see a big loss on the scale, I'd rather take it slow then.

    I also intend to switch soon to more strength training and less cardio, which will likely increase my calories needs (??) But for now the gym in not a option for me (Covid), so I'm maintaining with what equipment I have available at home. Maybe in a month. I'm not trying to get skinny, I'm aiming to get healthier 🙂

    So I guess I wanted to hear "yeah, that's perfectly fine to stay at high deficit all the way", even if I know better...! Denial I guess 🤣🙄
    edited June 5
  • LietchiLietchi Member Posts: 2,766 Member Member Posts: 2,766 Member
    Thanks MsCzar! Interesting to read diverse experiences.

    I do intend to slow down my weight loss when I get to a "normal" weight. I understand this current rate is not sustainabl, even if I wish so.... So I'm thinking the smart way to do it would be a deficit for a loss of 2+ pounds now until 180, then 1.5 until 165, then 1 until 150 and maybe 0.5 until 143.

    I know the less you weigh the more finicky it becomes with both weight loss and appetite (body trying to get you back up to original weight). I will never "starve" myself just to see a big loss on the scale, I'd rather take it slow then.

    I also intend to switch soon to more strength training and less cardio, which will likely increase my calories needs (??) But for now the gym in not a option for me (Covid), so I'm maintaining with what equipment I have available at home. Maybe in a month. I'm not trying to get skinny, I'm aiming to get healthier 🙂

    So I guess I wanted to hear "yeah, that's perfectly fine to stay at high deficit all the way", even if I know better...! Denial I guess 🤣🙄

    While muscle does burn a bit more calories than fat, it takes time to build muscle mass (even more do when in a steep calorie deficit, but at least strength training will help you preserve existing muscle mass).
    And strength training burns less calories than most cardio (despite what some fitness trackers say - treat rate is a bad basis for calculating calorie burns for strength training).
    Also, just so you know, starting strength training can lead to stalled weight loss short term, due to increased water retention in the muscles.

    Not saying you shouldn't start strength training, but just some things to keep in mind 🙂
  • MsCzarMsCzar Member Posts: 570 Member Member Posts: 570 Member
    FWIW - I increased my deficit calorie amount around 200 lbs.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 21,636 Member Member, Premium Posts: 21,636 Member
    Thanks MsCzar! Interesting to read diverse experiences.

    I do intend to slow down my weight loss when I get to a "normal" weight. I understand this current rate is not sustainabl, even if I wish so.... So I'm thinking the smart way to do it would be a deficit for a loss of 2+ pounds now until 180, then 1.5 until 165, then 1 until 150 and maybe 0.5 until 143.

    I know the less you weigh the more finicky it becomes with both weight loss and appetite (body trying to get you back up to original weight). I will never "starve" myself just to see a big loss on the scale, I'd rather take it slow then.

    I also intend to switch soon to more strength training and less cardio, which will likely increase my calories needs (??) But for now the gym in not a option for me (Covid), so I'm maintaining with what equipment I have available at home. Maybe in a month. I'm not trying to get skinny, I'm aiming to get healthier 🙂

    So I guess I wanted to hear "yeah, that's perfectly fine to stay at high deficit all the way", even if I know better...! Denial I guess 🤣🙄

    Just for adding to your thought process, a couple of rules of thumb one sees around here are:

    1. Maximum loss of 0.5-1% of current body weight per week, with a bias toward the lower end of that, which becomes a very strong bias when getting within (various people think various things) 50 or 25 pounds or thereabouts of a healthy goal weight
    2. A calorie deficit that does not exceed 20% of current maintenance calories, again maybe tapering even more in those last XX pounds.

    Of course one might lose faster than that at first if very obese, such as when weight itself causes significant health risk, and/or one is under very close medical supervision (like in a formal weight loss program with regular blood tests and such).

    I'm not saying what you should do, just passing on what is common guidance in MFP threads (and elsewhere, but you'll find lots of different opinions in different places).

    As actual advice:

    * You say your priority is health. Fast loss is not necessarily the healthiest loss: Bodies get good at what we train them to do. Train your body to thrive, in a well-nourished, properly-fueled state, rather than training it to limp along at minimum calories, doing whatever it can to limit energy expenditure (including less vital-to-life automatic bodily processes like hair growth, maintaining body temperature, etc.) because it senses continuing famine.

    * Do some strength-challenging exercise now. A good bodyweight program can be done at home, and will provide the stimulus to convince your body to hang onto relatively more of existing muscle as you lose weight, rather than burning some of it because disuse creates conditions where it's optional tissue (especially in a "famine"). Muscle is slow/difficult to (re-)gain, so keeping as much as possible is a really good plan. Fat people tend to have more muscle than similarly-active thin people, just from moving that bodyweight through the world. Keep as much as feasible. (The reward for strength exercise is not directly higher calorie burn by any meaningfully large amount. The reward is a better quality of life, better overall health, and oh, yeah, probably a more attractive appearance.)

    * Consider not just losing the weight, but using the weight loss process to experiment and learn how to stay at a healthy weight permanently by establishing new, sustainable eating and exercise habits that are enjoyable enough to continue forever.

    * Once you reach goal weight, you won't have the scale drop as a reward, so getting attached to that for motivation isn't really a long-term advantage. Consider trying to find a way to make the process your goal: Checking the boxes for good nutrition, managing calorie level to be appropriate, fueling enough to have high energy, getting regular strength & cardio exercise, etc. Those are forever skills and motivation.
  • PAV8888PAV8888 Member Posts: 8,840 Member Member Posts: 8,840 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Just for adding to your thought process, a couple of rules of thumb one sees around here are:

    1. Maximum loss of 0.5-1% of current body weight per week, with a bias toward the lower end of that, which becomes a very strong bias when getting within (various people think various things) 50 or 25 pounds or thereabouts of a healthy goal weight
    2. A calorie deficit that does not exceed 20% of current maintenance calories, again maybe tapering even more in those last XX pounds.

    Of course one might lose faster than that at first if very obese, such as when weight itself causes significant health risk, and/or one is under very close medical supervision (like in a formal weight loss program with regular blood tests and such).

    I'm not saying what you should do, just passing on what is common guidance in MFP threads (and elsewhere, but you'll find lots of different opinions in different places).

    As actual advice:

    * You say your priority is health. Fast loss is not necessarily the healthiest loss: Bodies get good at what we train them to do. Train your body to thrive, in a well-nourished, properly-fueled state, rather than training it to limp along at minimum calories, doing whatever it can to limit energy expenditure (including less vital-to-life automatic bodily processes like hair growth, maintaining body temperature, etc.) because it senses continuing famine.

    * Do some strength-challenging exercise now. A good bodyweight program can be done at home, and will provide the stimulus to convince your body to hang onto relatively more of existing muscle as you lose weight, rather than burning some of it because disuse creates conditions where it's optional tissue (especially in a "famine"). Muscle is slow/difficult to (re-)gain, so keeping as much as possible is a really good plan. Fat people tend to have more muscle than similarly-active thin people, just from moving that bodyweight through the world. Keep as much as feasible. (The reward for strength exercise is not directly higher calorie burn by any meaningfully large amount. The reward is a better quality of life, better overall health, and oh, yeah, probably a more attractive appearance.)

    * Consider not just losing the weight, but using the weight loss process to experiment and learn how to stay at a healthy weight permanently by establishing new, sustainable eating and exercise habits that are enjoyable enough to continue forever.

    * Once you reach goal weight, you won't have the scale drop as a reward, so getting attached to that for motivation isn't really a long-term advantage. Consider trying to find a way to make the process your goal: Checking the boxes for good nutrition, managing calorie level to be appropriate, fueling enough to have high energy, getting regular strength & cardio exercise, etc. Those are forever skills and motivation.

    I love 💕 my "Auntie" Annie who's not old enough to be my internet granny!

    Could change a word or two; but (Auntie Annie not being a meat eater) the pulses, veggies and potatoes of her arguments are pretty solid! 😹
    edited June 5
  • saramelie77saramelie77 Member Posts: 49 Member Member Posts: 49 Member
    Thanks Ann!

    Nine buffer, is RMR the same as BMR? For my current size and activity level, what would you suggest as an acceptable deficit?
  • saramelie77saramelie77 Member Posts: 49 Member Member Posts: 49 Member
    And..... Re-reading your answers, I decided to stop focusing sooooo much on the scale and weigh myself once a week instead of once a day, and to increase my calories by a couple hundreds (1500-1600). If I can still lose 1.5 to 2 pounds a week eating more,, I'd be stupid not to do it!
    Thanks again!
  • cmriversidecmriverside Member Posts: 31,827 Member Member Posts: 31,827 Member
    And..... Re-reading your answers, I decided to stop focusing sooooo much on the scale and weigh myself once a week instead of once a day, and to increase my calories by a couple hundreds (1500-1600). If I can still lose 1.5 to 2 pounds a week eating more,, I'd be stupid not to do it!
    Thanks again!

    1500 is SO much easier than 1200. I mean, that extra 300 calories is HUGE.

    You may or may not lose two pounds per week - but I'd bet most weeks you'll be close to two pounds. Don't let daily weigh-ins scare you, most of us do that when we're in weight-loss mode. It helps by instructing you on normal daily weight fluctuations. If you just weigh once a week, you may be weighing on your high day (or your low day, no way to know.) It's always going to go up and down, weight loss isn't linear (cue someone posting their graph...)

    If you are going to exercise, add that to your Exercise section and eat even more on those days. Like start with a couple hundred more for an hour of moderate exercise - see how that goes, adjust after a month. Whatever you decide, stick with it for at least a month so you can answer that question of, "How much should I eat?"
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