Am I over doing it?
July 23, 2007 12:13 PM   Subscribe

After reading this thread, I'm a little worried I might be over doing the diet and exercise.

I've been trying to change the way I eat and exercise for more than a month now. Two weeks ago I finally committed fully. I'm a 33 year old male, 5' 10" with an average build (I guess). When I started I weighed around 200 pounds. The last two weeks I've started tracking my progress as I've stepped up my diet and exercise.

The last two weeks:
Starting two weeks ago I weighed 193 pounds as of this morning I weigh 184 (9 pounds in two weeks). I've been drinking diet shakes for breakfast (sometimes skipped) and lunch (sometimes with half a sandwich) and eating a "sensible" dinner. In addition every day I do one of those BeachBody cardio DVDs (takes about 45 minutes but includes stretching before and a two minute cool down followed by stretching at the end). I also ride a stationary bike every day for about 30 minutes while watching TV. I'll skip one or both of these activities at least one day a week. I'm really happy and motivated by the progress I've made but after reading this thread, I'm worried i might be over doing it. Is that the case? Is my rapid weight loss simply because I'm at the beginning of weight loss? Should I keep on this track or change things up?
posted by bytewrite to Health & Fitness (10 answers total)
I wouldn't be too concerned. It sounds as though you're eating healthy, and working out a reasonable amount, which is good. Just make sure that you aren't starving yourself and that you're getting all the nutrients you need.
posted by chrisamiller at 12:25 PM on July 23, 2007

It sounds like you're losing "water weight". As long as you're getting proper nutrition and feel fine, I would definitely not worry. Consider supplementing the great work you're doing now with some basic anaerobic exercise like weight-lifting or a Pilates DVD to minimize any catabolic effects - if your diet falls short in some fashion, your body will happily eat your muscles.

A fancy scale that measures your body fat, muscle, and water content might be useful both for providing motivation and making sure your water content isn't doing anything weird. If you go that route, just be sure to take the measurements under exactly the same conditions each day.
posted by 0xFCAF at 12:26 PM on July 23, 2007

You've shed the water weight. Check back in two weeks. If you're still losing weight at that rate you may want to eat a little more--it does sound like you're eating too little and you should be approaching a "diet" not as something you do temporarily to shuck of the pounds, but a way you'll be eating the rest of your life.
posted by schroedinger at 12:35 PM on July 23, 2007

The weight loss will probably tail off and your diet and workouts don't ring any alarm bells as being too severe. Keep a check on the healthy eating and exercise routine, and let the weight loss take care of it's self.
posted by fire&wings at 12:36 PM on July 23, 2007

My only concern is that it sounds like you are eating far too few calories, but then again you weren't very explicit with your diet information. A breakfast shake, half a sandwhich, and a "sensible" dinner? More information would be great, but generally your metabolism will actually slow down and make weight loss harder after a bit if you eat too few Calories.
posted by Loto at 1:05 PM on July 23, 2007

Response by poster: Loto: I was thinking I may be eating too few calories as well. Lately I've been eating about 1200 calories a day. What would be a good amount to consume?
posted by bytewrite at 1:37 PM on July 23, 2007

First, you need to find out your BMR plus how many calories you consume due to activity. Here is a calculator that will help you out.

Next, determine how much weight you want to lose a week. I try to stay in the 1-2lbs range when losing weight. The more you try to lose, the more likely it is you will lose muscle mass as well as fat. To lose one pound of fat, you need a 3500 kcal deficit in your eating. What that means is, to lose two pounds a week, you'd eat 1000 kcal less than the number you got in the first part.
posted by Loto at 2:02 PM on July 23, 2007

From what I read, 1500 is the minimum recommended calories for the average man. Below that and you'll slow your metabolism and lose muscle. 1800-2000 is the range that's normally given for steady weight loss, supplemented by regular exercise.

It's not a race. Remember, you want this to be a lifelong change to your eating habits. If you crash diet then once you reach a good weight you will more than likely be desperate to indulge yourself and return to your old eating habits. Take your weight loss easy, hey?

I'm in your exact same situation, really. I've been slowly chipping away at my weight. I did some major undereating to get from 230 to 185, and at that point I was dying for regular food. I blew my diet for a couple of months and went back to 195. At that point I decided I wanted to do this right, and just started eating healthily and exercising.

I make myself eat about 1800 calories a day now, give or take, and I load up on protein so I burn fat and not muscle. I think you know that's the right thing to do. I'm sure it feels great to be losing so much weight so quickly, but that's just not sustainable, and it doesn't teach you good habits that'll keep you trim and fit in the long term.

So, rather than cut out 1000 or more calories a day, instead just trim about 500 from your maintenance diet, and exercise regularly. That'll get you 1lb of weight loss per week from diet, and hopefully you'll burn some fat and build some muscle from the exercise. Net result: you'll be trim, in shape, and healthy. A crash diet will get you trim, but not in shape or healthy!
posted by Khalad at 2:38 PM on July 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

It sounds a little low but if you're feeling good you can go with it for a while longer. You may be feeling an initial need for some "results". If/when you do start feeling run down, add a few hundred calories (mid-afternoon snack maybe) and you'll feel positively gluttonous and still lose weight.
posted by MiffyCLB at 5:39 PM on July 23, 2007

It sounds pretty sensible. You might be very slightly below the recommended number of calories (1200 against 1500) but that's only a small difference.

Weight can fluctuate dramatically in the early stages of a diet due to water changes. You'll probably find things settle down to a slower rate of loss later on.

I wouldn't change anything radically if you're feeling OK.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 11:10 PM on July 23, 2007

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