Weight Loss Per Week

So, I am trying to lose weight.

I’m trying to figure out a vague plan for myself, but when I figured that I could aim for about a pound and half per week, my mother expressed concern. I then realized that I have no clue what an appropriate rate of weight loss is. I am very aware of the dangers of drastic weight loss, even though as an end result you may still not be underweight (one of my good friends almost killed herself this way).

I doubt I’ll lose as much as my goal anyway, but what is a medically acceptable amount of weight to lose per week?

It’s tough to lose more than a pound a week, and that’s only if you’re really working at it. A pound of fat contains 3500 calories, so every day you need to expend 500 more calories than you take in. Much more than that, and you’re probably starving yourself.

If you run or walk 5 miles a day, you’ve lost 500 calories. So, it’s not tough if you exercise, which is the best way to lose weight anyway: exercise +diet. If you just diet, some of your weight loss will be protein (muscle), which you don’t want to lose. So, if you are exercising at least 30 minutes a day, 1 1/2 pounds a week is a reasonable goal.

In most cases it’s a straight metabolism calorie equation. I’ve lost up to 4 lbs per week but 2 lbs is more sustainable over time.
1: Calculate baseline calories to support your weight given your level of activity. To make the calculations easier choose a weight level mid-point between your current weight and your desired weight as a baseline weight.

2: Decide what your calorie level needs to be to stay healthy but still lose weight. (approx 1500 - 2000 calories per day or so is a good average for most medium large to large men (say 220-270 lbs) and will yield about to 2 - 2.5 lbs +/- per week of loss depending on activity level (so I have to eat less) , personal metabolism and starting weight.

The dirty little secret I have found out the hard way is that personal metabolism varies so widely that the online body weight to calorie ratio calculators I have used are wildly inaccurate (for me) and tend to significantly over estimate (by about 500 calories per day on average) my baseline calorie burn rate regardless of activity level. Everyone is different so some adjustments to calorie level may be necessary as needed.

Unless you are fairly small person 1500 to 2000 calories per day should be a good, healthy daily calorie consumption range to lose weight at a rate of about 1.5 - 2.5 lbs per week. Make no mistake you will be hungry, but not insanely so.

Many years ago when I was studying for the bar, my doctor gave me a weight loss plan that worked.

  1. Eat less. Single servings at meals, small portions, no dessert.

  2. Regular exercise such as walking a few miles every day or every other day.

  3. Weigh yourself daily, and keep a graph.

  4. Drink plenty of water.

and buy a good scale, seeingthe weight go down inspired me more than anything and it lets you measure your success or failure on a daily basis.

I think I’ve got the how to do it down, I just want to be able to set a realistic goal.

When I first start a diet, I can lose 20 pounds the first month. Thats both dieting and working out hard.

After that, it slows down to about 2-4 pounds a week, depending on how much starvation I can take:D

This figure has to be way off. Running 5 miles burns a lot more than 500 calories, as does walking it.

Why do you say that? Can you provide any cites at all? :confused:

From this page - 507 calories.

From this page - 572 calories

From this page - 424 calories.

Not really. I run about 5 miles about 3 times a week, and wear a heart rate monitor that calculates calories burned using weight and the heart rate information it gathers. I usually burn right around 500 calories, give or take a little depending on how long I run. For what it’s worth, I run for about 45 minutes, then walk another 10 or so.

Depends on your weight. If you’re around 180lbs, you’ll shed 100 calories per mile (on a flat surface) run or walked. Add clothes, and a backpack of bricks and walk uphill, and it’ll be more.

The way I do it is simply concentrate on burning off those 3500 cals a week. 45 minutes on a stairmaster = 500 cals. Read the paper while you’re doing it, and you’ve finished before you realize it.

I’ve done a combined cal-burning/diet regime that brought off 2 lbs a week. Went from 180 to 160 in 3 months. (At 5’10", I’m supposed to be 165lbs.)

Problem is, if you just stop, and revert to your previous exercise/diet regime, the weight will just come back on. You need to either fix your diet permanently or make additional exercise part of your routine.

In my case, I need 100 cals a day less to stay at 165 than to stay at 180. A couple of hours a week on the stairmaster does the trick.

If you’re starvation dieting (counting calories), I’d say that anything over 2 is potentially unhealthy.

I did an extreme excercise low carb diet a while back, and I lost 6-7 pounds a week consistently for 5 months. My doctor hated the idea of me losing so much so quickly - and with that method - but even she agreed that I was in absolutely perfect physical health because of it.

But that works on a different principle than starving yourself of calories, and it’s safe to lose that much weight that quickly doing it that way.

So exactly what was your daily intake and exercise regime to lose that amount of weight weekly?

I don’t know my intake. I never bothered to keep track. I just ate when I was hungry.

And my excercise was generally pretty extreme. Every other day, I’d do a cardio work out combined with weight lifting - I’d do a set of bench presses, jump on the stairmaster for 5 minutes, do a set of quad pushes, hop on a bike for 5 minutes… etc. Just keep going, never stop.

This was after I’d been working out for a few months, of course. If I tried a workout like that off the bat, I’d have died. It’s over an hour of constant hardcore activity.

And… every day, I’d go swimming, anywhere from an hour to 4 or 5. And usually I’d walk a few miles that night. And then sometimes I’d do misc stuff, like different ab workouts, etc.

I never really do anything I set out to do half-assed.

Of course, once I lost 150 pounds or so… (I lost somewhere between 140-160 pounds of pure weight, but since I was gaining a lot of muscle in the process, it was more like 200 pounds of fat - yeah, I was really obese) I took a look at my life, decided that it didn’t improve the quality of life in any way, and went back to being lazy. So here I am, fat again.

Fun story, isn’t it?

Originally posted by SenorBeef:

Of course, once I lost 150 pounds or so… (I lost somewhere between 140-160 pounds of pure weight, but since I was gaining a lot of muscle in the process, it was more like 200 pounds of fat - yeah, I was really obese) I took a look at my life, decided that it didn’t improve the quality of life in any way, and went back to being lazy. So here I am, fat again.

You must be young. Once you get older, being obese ruins your life and all the fun is gone. You are reduced to sitting in a chair in front of the TV with food stains on your bathrobe (you never go out), wheezing and puffing whenever you get up to make another trip to the refrigerator. When you do manage to lose weight, it is at about half the rate of what you could lose when you were younger, despite exercise. Also, you skin doesn’t shrink back like it used to. Not a pretty picture.

Get a dog. Get two. I dieted my way to the weight I wanted and it wasn’t much fun. I lost about 25 lbs in 10 weeks and then I wanted to eat real food again. The answer: Cheyenne. She makes me get up in the morning and we walk an hour, then another in the evening. Then I got Chess to keep her company while I’m at work.
By the way, in terms of distance, walking and running use the same amount of energy. So, if you’ve got the time, simply walk and watch the dogs do the running.

The one problem with calculating the calories used in a given activity is that it varies a lot based on your metabolism and muscle mass (which affects your metabolism, but is an important enough factor to merit mentioning). Remember, more muscle = more calories burned even just sitting around. Just realize that putting on muscle will keep you from changing weight a lot, but it will make it easier to burn fat.

As others have already noted, the amount of calories you burn per mile is dependent upon your weight. I used 1 mile as 100 calories as a rough estimate. Of course it’s not exactly that, but close enough for practical purposes.

As also previously noted, how fit you are and how much muscle you have influences your metabolism. This has been discussed before.

A calorie is a measure of how much heat (energy) you need to raise one cc of water 1 degree C. Hence, it’s a measure of how much energy burned to perform a certain quantity of work. The pace you perform that work is immaterial. (Except, to be complete, because I’ve found out that if I’m not complete somebody is going to jump all over me, that since walking is more inefficient than running and jogging is more inefficient that running fast, you will burn slightly more being inefficient, but the difference is minimal.) When we refer to calories, we actually mean Calories, with a capital “C,” which actually refers to kilocalories.

As already noted again, if you just diet without exercising, studies have shown a great propensity to regain the weight. I can get a cite on this, if you really want it and ask me nicely. :slight_smile:

Now, did I leave something out?

OK, here you are. The last two, particularly the last one, refers to keeping weight off by exercising.