Is this rate of weight loss OK?
June 11, 2015 1:48 PM   Subscribe

I'm losing more weight than I anticipated, and while weight loss was in my plans, I want to make sure this rate of loss is OK.

After years of trying to lose a significant amount of weight, I made a sort of psychological breakthrough recently and my rate of weight loss has dramatically increased.

I lost 15 pounds from my high of 265 over the course of a couple of years, but since last month (26 days ago) I've lost 20 pounds, down from 250 to 230. Height is 6' 1".

My plan at the beginning of last month was a conservative attempt to lose just one pound a month after averages are taken.

I'm definitely not saying this to be in-your-face or anything, but I'm kind of scared because I've never been here before. The last time I weighed my current weight I was in high school, and it's been almost 20 years now. Is this rate of weight loss OK?

I don't feel hungry, my stomach feels like it's shrunk a bit, and I'm generally eating a lot less. I had already been exercising quite a bit, probably well above normal amounts of exercise.

Anything I should know about where I'm headed? Bad signs to look out for? Thank you!
posted by circular to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You'll level off, I just got my first "too thin" comment and it is something to be aware of but well under 200 is ok for 6'1''. I think finding a new stable weight is just tricky, but reverting to overeating is so much worse an option. Do you have a physical any time soon?
posted by sammyo at 1:59 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: but since last month (26 days ago) I've lost 20 pounds, down from 250 to 230. Height is 6' 1".

This is fine. Most of that was water and glycogen. The next 26 days will not be nearly as dramatic.

My plan at the beginning of last month was a conservative attempt to lose just one pound a month after averages are taken.

Why? You could easily be doing two pounds a week at your size. It wouldn't even be hard. A pound per month is really slow and there is no reason I can think of to do that unless you want to be really slow for the sake of slowness. I bet you drop at least 10 lbs a week until you hit 200 without breaking much of a sweat.

People in war zones have a starvation response, not people in industrialized civilization dropping a few pounds a week. You're fine. Keep up the good work.
posted by Tanizaki at 1:59 PM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]

Best answer: If you're concerned that you're losing weight too quickly, is there any reason *not* to go check in with your doctor? I'm sure it's unlikely that you have a potentially serious medical condition that is contributing to your weight loss, but only your doctor can tell you for sure.
posted by pie ninja at 2:00 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Are you:

* Ensuring that you're getting at least the RDA of protein (56g for most adult men) daily?
* Getting the major vitamins through modest consumption of low-calorie fruits and vegetables, or by at least taking a multi-vitamin?
* Keeping at least a tiny bit of healthy (unsaturated) fat in the diet?
* Staying well hydrated?
* Feeling OK?

Then you're fine. 20 pounds in the first month is not shocking due to the loss of water weight associated with diminished glycogen reserves, nor is a ~4 pound/week loss for a tall, active but overweight man unhealthy as long as the above prerequisites are taken care of.
posted by eschatfische at 2:01 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: 1-2 pounds a week is usually what people consider good for a healthy normal weight loss. Slightly more if you start out bigger, slightly less if you're smaller. So at first you can drop a lot because of water weight and just having less food in your system and then it levels off. If you're concerned your doctor can probably give you some sensible nutrition talk and make sure you're eating right. Just making sure you're getting enough proteins and fats and vitamins and fiber is where I'd focus any concerns you have.
posted by jessamyn at 2:03 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Keep in mind that the "1-2 pounds a week" number is accurate for reasonable weight loss efforts, but is better taken as a "steady-state average".

In other words, at the beginning of weight loss, your rate will be higher due to water weight loss. This is how people advertise "lose 10 pounds in one week!" This is not sustainable in the long term, but it is a nice boost at the beginning. You will find that if you start to have a caloric excess, weight will come back faster than the caloric excess would predict (ie, consuming 3500 calories extra per week would result in gaining more than one pound a week) for exactly the same reason. The number is meaningful only after initial water weight loss. Further, weight loss is generally not a steady activity - some weeks, you will lose no weight and some weeks you will lose several pounds. Losing 3 pounds a week after losing 0 pounds is not a bad thing, and is, in fact, to be expected.
posted by saeculorum at 2:10 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I'm 6'5", and recently went from 255 to 215. My weight loss was similar to yours--a big initial drop, then leveling off (and a little rebound, back up to 225, but steady now). I wasn't radically dieting, just making small tweaks, and it took 2 years to lose the rest of the weight.

Oddly, I noticed very little perceptible change in my waistline at first, even after losing 20 pounds. Belt notches didn't change, nothing. The weight loss was coming from somewhere, but not from that big mass of fat that I was trying to get rid of. But then that, too, started dropping off slowly.
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:19 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: This is all super helpful, thanks everybody. It looks like I'm well within "OK" here; just ran the nutrition numbers on my current eating and it seems fine too. I really appreciate the information.
posted by circular at 3:37 PM on June 11, 2015

Best answer: I've lost a significant amount of weight twice in my life; once in 2010 and once now (still a work in progress) but when you're as heavy as you and I were; the initial drop in weight is normal. Both times I have lost, 20/25lbs went within a month and then it slowed down to about 2lbs/1.5lbs a week, which is normal healthy weight loss. The inital weight that comes off is a huge detox to your body. It's a GOOD thing. A lot of it was water weight as well, which we tend to hold onto when we are eating too many carbs, etc.

I think you're doing everything right. The initial loss is shocking, but it's normal with your starting weight. It does/will level off :)
posted by Sara_NOT_Sarah at 5:52 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My father has lost close to 80 lbs in six months. I've been concerned, but:
He started at over 300 lbs.
He's been to see his doctor (who is very happy about all this).
He hasn't strained or stressed any joints or muscles.
He's happy, still eating well, just a lot less.

If the above is true for you, then you are probably fine. Check in with your doc, he'll probably be enthusiastic.
posted by domo at 7:30 AM on June 12, 2015

Best answer: I have also lost a lot of weight over the last couple of years. Initial weight loss does tend to be dramatic (and deceptive, since it's partly energy stores you are losing, rather than fat). It should level off, and don't get disheartened as the losses get smaller - you're still losing the same amount of fat and size.
posted by intensitymultiply at 12:49 PM on June 12, 2015

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