Seeking answers…

I started MFP 2 weeks ago after being a
on vacation for 3 weeks. I am determined to be very aggressive for a few weeks then taper back. My beginning weight was 235 pounds and I’m 65 years old. My starting plan is 1,000 calories a day. 35 protein, 35 carbs, and 30 fat. I typically walk 2 miles 3-4 times a week. I logged every single bite. First week I lost 9 pounds. This week I maintained. I knew I would lose more the first week due to excessive eating on vacation. But I thought I would lose 1.5-2 pounds this week. What gives??!

Replies

  • llioness22
    llioness22 Posts: 1 Member
    edited July 31
    I appreciate both of your comments. I also started 2 weeks ago. I am 64y female and have been ranging from 1000 - 1200 calories and a 40-30-30 daily plan. Have exercised daily in the pool for 30 minutes and walking on off days. I feel better, tighter and more energy, but the scale has not moved. I will keep working and making health and long term goals foremost. Also will step up exercise. Hard not to be really discouraged!
  • springlering62
    springlering62 Posts: 5,432 Member
    Another thing you mentioned is you started after “being on vacation” three weeks.

    If you did a long car ride, air travel, or even cut loose eating while on vacation, you were probably at peak weight. My experience has been that vacation weight falls off really quick. That might have also contributed to an “artificially fast” weight loss.

    Also, if you ate at “maintenance”, well, maintenance is maintenance. That’s the calories required to maintain the current weight. So in that case, why would you be surprised if you didn’t lose weight?

    Agree with @Lietchi, 1000 is way way too low.

    Losing weight may improve your health. Losing weight badly will cause it to deteriorate in 1001 different ways.

    Lose slower and be down by this time next year, or hammer it. Binge, hammer harder, binge, and ultimately be up another 5 or 10 next year. Or worse, have newly developed heart or other issues from under-eating, not to mention muscle loss. We need those muscles at this age.
  • springlering62
    springlering62 Posts: 5,432 Member
    And don’t forget, bumping up exercise causes temporary water gain. Especially if you’re sore and doing the OMG Duck Walk.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 25,689 Member
    Lietchi wrote: »
    It's extremely common for people who experience rapid weight loss at the start to have a stall shortly after. Rapid weight loss at the start is predominantly water weight, often followed by a period where the body 'recalibrates' its water weight level.
    It doesn't mean you're not losing fat, it just means fat loss is masked on the scale.

    Also, only consuming 1000 calories is very (too) aggressive. Aside from making muscle loss very likely (even more with a very low protein goal of 35gr) an aggressive calorie deficit is stressful for the body, which can make you retain water.

    As a general rule, it's not a good idea to focus on short term results on the scale, you need to look at a period of at least one month to judge your progress. Weight loss is not linear.

    I was thinking that was 35% protein, not 35g? 35% of 1000 calories would be 87.5g protein, which is likely a little low for an average-height non-active young-ish person losing weight, and maybe too low if active, older, vegetarian, or trying to lose fast.

    @tucknan01, it's true that sometimes we older, possibly non-tall women have lower calorie needs than other demographics might expect . . . but 1000 calories is really low, probably too low for sustaining best odds of continuing good health.

    I'm your age (66), lost from obese to healthy weight at age 59-60, have been in a healthy range since. Based on personal experience, I'd strongly encourage you to get a calorie goal from MFP for 1.5-2 pounds a week loss, and stick close to that. If your life is high-stress in other ways, I'd urge you to go with 1.5 pounds.

    (Cutting calories and new exercise both are stressors, even though positive interventions. Stress is cumulative - all psychological and physical stresses add up. I can't speak for you, but one thing I notice in myself as I age is that I'm slightly less resilient than I was when I was 20. I need to manage stress better now, or I pay a bigger price. That, even though I'm healthy and active. YMMV.)

    Personally, despite being in your demographic, I would never consider eating as few as 1000 calories, even as a jump start. I admit I'm mysteriously a good li'l ol' calorie burner for our demographic, but even 1200 plus all exercise calories - what MFP recommended - turned out to be too low for me, left me losing weight too fast, then feeling weak and fatigued after a few weeks, even though I was active and reasonably healthy (just fat) at the start. No one needs that, and the impacts of over-restriction can be much worse. I was lucky.

    I agree with the others that you're mostly looking at changes in water retention. Some of that first 9 pounds was fat loss; some was a drop in water retention. There's no great way to know how much was fat, how much water. (No, those home scales that purport to tell us are not accurate).

    For sure, some was fat, if you were eating only 1000 calories daily. This week, you almost certainly have some compensatory rebalancing of water retention, which is common. You may retain more water because you are probably eating too little, creating stress; stress increases cortisol (hormone in body); cortisol is one trigger for water retention. Water retention masks fat loss on the scale.

    Do not try to game or defeat water retention changes, unless your doctor is treating you for a relevant condition. For most of us, water retention shifts are part of how our healthy body stays healthy. I get that the scale impact can be frustrating, but our bodies know what they're doing. We should let them. Bodies can be 60%+ water, so there will be multi-pound shifts, pretty routinely.

    For now, think of it this way: You've averaged 4.5 pounds per week, over your first two weeks. That fast loss probably won't continue - shouldn't, because not healthful! But it will also be more accurate to think of your weight changes as "on average over 4-6 weeks", not one day or one week to the next.

    Also, repeating myself: Get a calorie goal from MFP based on your personal data (height, weight, age, etc.), and eat close to that - not dramatically below - the overwhelming majority of days. Do that for the first 4-6 weeks, look at your average loss rate, then adjust if needful to dial in the desired sensible loss rate (using the assumption that 3500 calories = roughly 1 pound of fat, i.e., a change of 500 calories daily will roughly be likely to change weight loss rate by 1 pound per week, ignoring effects on energy level).

    With your details (age & weight), if you're average-ish height (5'4"-5'6" kind of thing), we'd expect you to burn around 2000 calories daily, without the walks. Eating 1000 plus the unfueled exercise is going to estimate out to a fast loss rate (2+ plus pounds per week), and 1000 calories may not be enough total nutritional intake, even with adjusted percentages, in a situation where we need certain absolute amounts of protein, fats, fiber, micronutrients.

    Please stay healthy as you lose fat. Fast loss is not necessarily better. It's riskier to health, and to long-term success.

    Wishing you excellent long-term outcomes, regardless of how you choose to proceed!
  • azuki84
    azuki84 Posts: 199 Member
    if only our bodies were a simple math equation lol
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 25,689 Member
    azuki84 wrote: »
    if only our bodies were a simple math equation lol

    They're plenty dang close enough, in a sensible range of behavior, to make this weight management approach practical. Many people here are examples of that idea proving out.
  • Lietchi
    Lietchi Posts: 4,467 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Lietchi wrote: »
    It's extremely common for people who experience rapid weight loss at the start to have a stall shortly after. Rapid weight loss at the start is predominantly water weight, often followed by a period where the body 'recalibrates' its water weight level.
    It doesn't mean you're not losing fat, it just means fat loss is masked on the scale.

    Also, only consuming 1000 calories is very (too) aggressive. Aside from making muscle loss very likely (even more with a very low protein goal of 35gr) an aggressive calorie deficit is stressful for the body, which can make you retain water.

    As a general rule, it's not a good idea to focus on short term results on the scale, you need to look at a period of at least one month to judge your progress. Weight loss is not linear.

    I was thinking that was 35% protein, not 35g? 35% of 1000 calories would be 87.5g protein, which is likely a little low for an average-height non-active young-ish person losing weight, and maybe too low if active, older, vegetarian, or trying to lose fast.

    @AnnPT77 : true, I probably read that too quickly.
  • tucknan01
    tucknan01 Posts: 2 Member
    Thank you for each of your comments… I appreciate your time in helping me understand this journey.
    Please let me clarify that 35 proteins daily is a percentage not intake.
    I totally understand that the first 9 pounds was mostly water weight. That is why I stated I had been on vacation. I did not eat terribly… but certainly not healthy and more salt than what I am accustomed to. I expected a big loss the first week.
    What I still don’t understand is the second week. If weight loss is a science (as some say) of calories in/calories out, why did I not have a loss at all?
    I don’t plan to stay at 1,000 calories for long. I know that is not healthy and definitely not sustainable. But honestly I have not been hungry at all. I have had cravings but not
    hunger. I just want to understand more about what my body is doing. As to water retention. I take a diuretic twice a day as prescribed by my doctor. I had to start it when I went on high blood pressure medicine. I went off blood pressure meds about 3 months ago. He cut my diuretic in half but wanted me to stay on them for the time being. I would think that
    would somewhat regulate my fluid retention. It baffles me. I have had great success with WW in the past. I’m hoping this app is the kickstart I need. Hopefully this next week my body will have adjusted and I’ll have a loss.
    Thanks again!!
  • Lietchi
    Lietchi Posts: 4,467 Member
    tucknan01 wrote: »
    Thank you for each of your comments… I appreciate your time in helping me understand this journey.
    Please let me clarify that 35 proteins daily is a percentage not intake.
    I totally understand that the first 9 pounds was mostly water weight. That is why I stated I had been on vacation. I did not eat terribly… but certainly not healthy and more salt than what I am accustomed to. I expected a big loss the first week.
    What I still don’t understand is the second week. If weight loss is a science (as some say) of calories in/calories out, why did I not have a loss at all?
    I don’t plan to stay at 1,000 calories for long. I know that is not healthy and definitely not sustainable. But honestly I have not been hungry at all. I have had cravings but not
    hunger. I just want to understand more about what my body is doing. As to water retention. I take a diuretic twice a day as prescribed by my doctor. I had to start it when I went on high blood pressure medicine. I went off blood pressure meds about 3 months ago. He cut my diuretic in half but wanted me to stay on them for the time being. I would think that
    would somewhat regulate my fluid retention. It baffles me. I have had great success with WW in the past. I’m hoping this app is the kickstart I need. Hopefully this next week my body will have adjusted and I’ll have a loss.
    Thanks again!!

    Because your weight reflects much more than just your fat mass. Your body weight also reflects your water weight (which is more than half of your total body weight! Even a diuretic cannot eliminate water weight fluctuations, they are perfectly normal), food waste in your digestive tract... Which is why you need to look at the longer term trend (at least one month/monthly cycle) instead of focusing on short periods:
    - short term fluctuations = fluctuations in water weight and food waste
    - long term trend = evolution of fat mass (and potentially muscle mass)
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,852 Member
    "What I still don’t understand is the second week. If weight loss is a science (as some say) of calories in/calories out, why did I not have a loss at all?"

    I've just come back from a long and hard bike ride and am 2lbs lighter than when I set off.
    Clearly I didn't burn 7,000 calories in a few hours so of course you would look at water weight loss, a five mile climb got me sweating pretty hard!

    Try changing your language and mindset to fat loss instead of weight loss and it will become an awful lot clearer. You didn't lose 9lbs of fat in your first week of a very aggressive approach and you would have lost some fat in your second week despite your weight being stable.

    Day to day or even week to week thinking really isn't how to approach a long term project, that thinking leads to massive frustration and stress for no good purpose.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 25,689 Member

    "What I still don’t understand is the second week. If weight loss is a science (as some say) of calories in/calories out, why did I not have a loss at all?"

    The thing to do then, IMO, would be to pursue a more in-depth understanding.

    A good start would be to read this, if you haven't already:

    https://physiqonomics.com/the-weird-and-highly-annoying-world-of-scale-weight-and-fluctuations

    Other MFP-ers talk about their personal experiences with that phenomenon here:

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10683010/the-weird-and-highly-annoying-world-of-scale-fluctuations/p1

    Repeating others: Fat loss is absolutely about calories in/calories out, but even that is more nuanced than "just eat more/less". Bodies are dynamic, and calories in influence calories out. (For example, undereating reduces energy, causes fatigue; fatigue reduces calories out via reduced movement, perhaps subtle.)

    Bodies are made up of water (over half), lean tissue (bones, muscles, etc.), and fat. For many people - even some fat ones - the fat portion may be the smallest fraction.

    Big multi-pound weight shifts over a week or few - without an explanation in dramatic calorie changes or activity changes - are extremely likely to be water shifts.

    Fat loss, when in a consistent sensible calorie deficit, happens in tiny numbers of ounces daily, steadily. It is often masked on the scale by water weight changes.

    For completeness, muscle gain is gradual, plus ultra slow on the same time scale - many weeks to many months to see a few pounds of muscle gain, even under ideal conditions.

    You have fat loss in week 2: Very high odds, on the assumption your logging is accurate. You're not seeing it because water shifts are making it play peek-a-boo on the scale.

    Don't try to game the water retention via drugs or supplements. Just try to understand it. Working to understand how this stuff works, expecting it, accepting it - that will serve you best in the long run. Otherwise, you're setting yourself up for frustration and stress (stress can increase water weight!) . . . and we often see people here rage-quit over that frustration and stress.

    Don't do that. Understand it.