Lose weight fast. How to do it safely.

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SmartyMommy

Joined: Apr 10
Posts: 240

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Posted: 09 Dec 2010, 15:17
http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/lose-weight-fast-how-to-do-it-safely

This article was an interesting read. I was trying to figure out how many calories my body absolutely needed everyday (I was finding it easier to eat less and less and I didn't want to get unhealthy). I found this article and I have been following it somewhat. Not completely. I use a minimum of 1200 calories and try not to go over 1400. I usually only get in 30 min of exercise, not the whole hour. However I have been more active during the day.

I've actually been able to lose some weight this last month! I honestly can't believe it! I've managed to kick some really bad habits in the but and learn to eat to live not live to eat! To get here I just said that I was going to make some major changes. If I didn't change anything, my weight wasn't going to change either. I haven't been as lazy and I've had a lot of motivation. I have to give some credit to my mom. We started this together and we weigh in once a week with each other and go over the our goals that we made. Which were:

Eating under 1500 calories (I try to stay under 1400)
Drinking 64 oz of water
Exercising everyday
Not eating after 7 (since those were our craving times)
No sweets or treats (more mine than my mom's)

Anyway, I'm not to my goal yet and have some pounds to shed still, but I'm the furthest into this than I've ever made it before, which gives me hope. I have also failed before and know my weaknesses, which will also help I hope!

Good Luck to everyone on getting to their goal weights and living better!
an00bis

Joined: Jun 10
Posts: 641

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Posted: 09 Dec 2010, 15:52
Wow.

I found an even faster way to lose weight.
Click here to read about it!

That article is idiotic. Figures that their source is the biggest loser doctor.

Following the ideas presented there, you will get yourself a one way ticket to instantaneous "skinny fat". Woo hoo, if you're in a hurry to look like a fat person at 140 pounds, that article is definitely for you.

Seriously? Exercise 7 days a week? Cardio every day? Caloric deficit of over 1000 calories per day? I guarantee you that anyone using this method to lose weight will never have a body like Georges St. Pierre, or even me.

I thought the main idea behind losing weight was to look great and be healthy? This will give you an awful fat-to-muscle ratio, and a terrible body type. Fail on both objectives.

If you think my post is too abrasive, harsh, or offensive, you're:
A) Wrong.
B) Too sensitive.
C) Not going to receive an apology for pointing it out.
SmartyMommy

Joined: Apr 10
Posts: 240

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Posted: 09 Dec 2010, 16:23
Why so negative? If there are things about that article that aren't good feel free to point them out and perhaps even back it up with a source. Surprised at the rudeness though. I've been on Fat Secret for a while and have been very pleased with how positive and willing people are to give encouragement and help each other. Kind of sad to see that reply though.
an00bis

Joined: Jun 10
Posts: 641

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Posted: 09 Dec 2010, 16:39
It's nothing against you, I just hate terrible articles. I disagree with a massive caloric restriction, I disagree with the need to work out every day, or even a full hour on a work out day, and I disagree with this being the optimal method overall.

The problem is that the article focuses 100% entirely on "weight loss" as opposed to "fat loss". It's deceiving. You don't want weight loss, you want fat loss. Otherwise, amputation would be just as viable an option. The word "safe" is also deceiving. Will this kill you? Absolutely not, but that's not exactly what my definition of "safe" is. You can survive on 500 calories a day as well, but would you recommend that for your kids?

Quote:
Short periods of high severity dieting (more than 1000 kcals per day below maintenance level) are not too muscle wasting, but prolonging them for more than a few days will certainly cause one to lose a good deal of muscle.

http://www.simplyshredded.com/layne-norton-the-most-effective-cutting-diet.html

Quote:

Imagine if you cut 1000 calories from your diet and perform 3 x hour long cardio sessions per week.

The body wants to keep you alive. It sees the above as a signal to SLOW your metabolism and PRESERVE energy. When your fat loss stalls in 2 or 3 weeks, where can you go from here?

* More cardio?
* Even less food?
* Pills?

You’re stuck in a rut and there’s no SENSIBLE way out!

When I’m trying to explain this to people I often tell them to visualize a staircase.

When you start your cut, you’re standing at the top. Each step down is a drop in body fat until you reach your goal body fat percentage, which is the floor.

The point is this: you MUST take one step at a time.

http://www.musclehack.com/fat-loss-secret-how-to-never-stall-again/

Quote:

Hormonal Fluctuation Model

A higher testosterone to cortisol ratio correlates with increases of maximal strength performance

Hakkinen KA, Pskarinen A, Alen M, Kau hanen H, Komi PV (1987). Relationships between training volume, physical performance capacity, and serum hormone concentrations during prolonged training in elite weight lifters. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 8 (suppli): 61-65.

* 30% drop in Testosterone/Cortisol Ratio is proposed to be too extreme for effective recovery of performance after training
* Changes of less that 10% in Testosterone/Cortisol Ratio is proposed to be too small and lead to lesser performance improvements
* Performance should be optimal if period of training can be adjusted to lower T/C ratio between 10-30% that is followed by a period of recovery.

Glutamine/Glutamate Ratio and Overtraining

* GN/GT ratio >5.88 = Normal
* GN/GT ratio >3.58 <5.88 = Adaptation
* GN/GT ratio <3.58 for <2 weeks = Over Reaching
* GN/GT ratio <3.58 for >2 weeks = Over Training

http://www.exrx.net/ExInfo/Overtraining.html
(cortisol is a catabolic hormone which wears away muscle. Cortisol = bad).

Quote:

Overtraining is a physical, behavioral, and emotional condition that occurs when the volume and intensity of an individual's exercise exceeds their recovery capacity. They cease making progress, and can even begin to lose strength and fitness. Overtraining is a common problem in weight training, but it can also be experienced by runners and other athletes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overtraining

Some of these sources may be from bodybuilding sites, but the idea is the same. No one is more concerned with proper weight and fat management than bodybuilders. Both of those sites are from natural (non-steroid) bodybuilders only, so their bodies work just the same as yours. I shouldn't have to justify that, but for some reason people frown upon bodybuilding as though they're different people.
If you think my post is too abrasive, harsh, or offensive, you're:
A) Wrong.
B) Too sensitive.
C) Not going to receive an apology for pointing it out.
k8yk

Joined: Jan 09
Posts: 4,546

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Posted: 09 Dec 2010, 16:39
I think an00bis is being a bit dramatic. At your weight, 1400 calories sounds quite reasonable for weight loss.

There is a general misconception among dieters that the best way to looks great in a bikini is to weigh as little as possible. That is simply untrue. We've all seen someone who is very thin but doesn't look healthy. That's due to a poor muscle/fat ratio.

The other problem is that when you lose weight really fast you can end up with loose skin and loss of muscle tone. That's no good either. Hence the term "skinny fat"

There's definitely a balance between seeing progress and overdoing it. Can you workout 7 days a week? Sure. I wouldn't weight train every day. Some cardio though? Sure. But just remember that sleep and rest are also important. And also remember that it is good for your metabolism to occasionally relax your eating and have a bit more. If we are super strict all the time, it's easy to burn out. And to keep the weight off, you will need to maintain new habits for life.

Good luck! Don't be discouraged Smile. I'm sure that's nobody's intent.
My blog, This is not a Diet:
http://notsobigk.wordpress.com
Follow me on Facebook for tips, recipes, advice, exercise ideas and more:
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an00bis

Joined: Jun 10
Posts: 641

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Posted: 09 Dec 2010, 16:42
k8yk wrote:
I think an00bis is being a bit dramatic. At your weight, 1400 calories sounds quite reasonable for weight loss.


I didn't even consider her plan in my response. I just read the article, and it grossed me out. Read it, it's dumb.
If you think my post is too abrasive, harsh, or offensive, you're:
A) Wrong.
B) Too sensitive.
C) Not going to receive an apology for pointing it out.
k8yk

Joined: Jan 09
Posts: 4,546

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Posted: 09 Dec 2010, 16:52
No way, I don't read articles with dumb titles like that Wink
My blog, This is not a Diet:
http://notsobigk.wordpress.com
Follow me on Facebook for tips, recipes, advice, exercise ideas and more:
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SmartyMommy

Joined: Apr 10
Posts: 240

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Posted: 09 Dec 2010, 17:23
Well, thanks for the more reasonable comments Smile I really do enjoy Fat Secret and the community it offers. I've learned a lot. My thing is that I am not a professional, and in many cases professionals disagree. So sometimes it is hard to find the "correct" answer in life (not just in dieting).

I suppose the best solution is to never get overweight in the first place, but since I have managed to gain unnecessary weight, I'm in the boat to figure out how to get healthy again. I know that the slower the better. That makes sense. However, we want to know how fast we can go and still be healthy. It's been kind of fun to see my results, and it motivates me to do better.

The American Dietetic Association does book reviews. They review a book that follows the diet plan on the "Biggest Loser" show and the dietitian that reviewed the book made this statement:

"In general, the Biggest Loser diet is a healthy way to lose weight, become stronger and lead a healthier life. The tips and success stories from the television show's participants are very motivating, showing that people can make dramatic improvements to their health if they are willing to work hard and change their long-term eating and exercise habits.
My only recommendation would be that readers consume a minimum of 1,200 calories to 1,400 calories per day along with a multivitamin to obtain the necessary nutrient intake."

http://www.eatright.org/Media/content.aspx?id=10445&terms=minimum+calorie+intake

I've found that a minimum of 1200 is said a lot, so I feel I'm still being healthy and losing the right portions of me (no appendages Smile)

As far as losing to fast and having loose skin, haven't had that problem and actually my stretch marks that I got from when I was pregnant are a lot less noticeable (I gained way too much while I was pregnant!).

Still haven't figured out what is wrong with daily exercise. I ran everyday in high school during track and cross country. Plus the article said a mixture of cardio and strength if I remember right.

Another thing the article stated were the harms of overdoing it as well as fad diets, the biggest loser doctor was NOT the only source. Anyway, to be fair I really don't think the article was overboard. It would be a lot of work to do it. I think I agree with the book review as far as the 1200 calorie minimum goes, but other than that, it had good information on nutrition and weight loss.

As far as the fat/muscle ratio goes, I'm not seeing how this article doesn't have good info. I guess I just feel that an00bis is trying to pin this to a starve yourself diet article and giving all the precautions for that, when I really don't think it is.

For me a daily routine is how I need to maintain this for life. If its not daily I have a tendency to let my rest days turn into rest weeks or even months. I do occasionally miss a day, but a daily sweat is not overdoing it (especially at 30 min a day). As far as maintaining this for life. As soon as I get to my goal weight, I'll just find the calorie intake that maintains. Hopefully I can find that without having to write everything down, but I'll probably do it for a while to ensure I don't gain what I've lost back. At least that is the plan for now, but I have to get to my goal before I do that Smile

Bottom line: beside the fact that the min that the article stated (which it even mentioned was lower that what most dietitians suggest at 1200), I guess I'm not seeing the flaws or seeing why "it's dumb".
sherilyn70

Joined: May 10
Posts: 548

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Posted: 09 Dec 2010, 17:29
Personally I don't like to have more than a 1,000 calorie deficit. It doesn't feel healthy and the energy levels were way too reduced when I did more. I eat 1200 calories on the days that I don't do exercise. I eat more on the ones that I do to cover that deficit I created with the exercise. I'm averaging 950 calories a day deficits right now and still losing 1.5 - 2 pounds per week (of course I probably under estimate exercise and overestimate my food). Anything faster than that really isn't healthy.
SmartyMommy

Joined: Apr 10
Posts: 240

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Posted: 09 Dec 2010, 17:40
I've heard that too, and according to Fat Secret my deficit isn't really ever over 1000, but I am losing closer to 2.5 - 3 lbs a week so I'm obviously not being accurate on my exercise. However, I feel like I'm still being healthier than before I started dieting. Heck I would eat whatever I wanted. You can't tell me that is healthy. While the BEST way to lose weight would be as slow as possible, I still feel happy about my weight loss, and don't feel like I'm being unhealthy about it.
AnnaPo

Joined: Aug 10
Posts: 142

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Posted: 09 Dec 2010, 17:53
Just had to read the article after all this discussion.... And actually, a lot of the article made sense, talking about much of what regulars to this forum have found successful: restricting calories (not below 1200), exercising more, and making sure the change is sustainable.

It was geared towards people who want to lose weight in a pinch, for an event, say. For a couple of weeks doing a ton of cardio probably will burn more calories than mixing in weight training as the article suggests. The article does go on, however, to point out that once your event is over that it's important for your health in the long run to add strength training to your routine.

Agreed, the article is imperfect, but to be quite frank, if you have people googling "lose weight fast", much better that they should pull up this article than something espousing pills, fasting, etc.
SmartyMommy

Joined: Apr 10
Posts: 240

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Posted: 09 Dec 2010, 18:19
That is exactly what I thought as I read the article. Not sure why it got such a bad wrap. Like I said, I thought it was and interesting read, and was able to tweak it a bit for me.
Ed Endicott

Joined: Sep 10
Posts: 140

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Posted: 09 Dec 2010, 18:30
I've read that article as well and I agree an00bis is being a bit dramatic (I've noticed that on a lot of his posts - don't take it personally). My "sweat spot" for the first 70 lbs was AN AVERAGE of 1300 calories per day with my exercise - average being the key word). Lately I've been noticing that the weight loss is slowing. I expected that but I wanted a little more info.

I went out and bought an Omron full body digital scale that measure body fat, visceral fat, RESTING METABOLIC RATE, body age, etc. I figured even if it was wrong, if it was consistent, I'd have a specific benchmark.

The scale indicates that based on my body makeup, my resting metabolism is 1921 calories per day.

My goal when I started was to train myself to consume 2000 calories per day once I got to my target weight. Based on what I am learning, the 1300 calories was a terrific jump start to my plan. I'm down to about 2 calories per week so I am bumping up my intake to 1500 calories for the next 20 lbs, and then I will be bumping up again to 1800 calories until I reach my goal. At my goal, I will bump up to 2000 calories - I will still have a slight deficit to play with, but my target is actually 10 lbs less than my current goal.

As far as cannibalizing muscle and body fat, etc. I'm actually heavier than I should be based on my size because of the muscle composition in my body. Body fat percentage continues to decline, and resting metabolism is climbing based on the exercise I am doing (lots of cardio as well as circuit training which incorporates weight training with cardio).

You have to find what works for you - I think the article is a good start and I for one happen to agree with it.
an00bis

Joined: Jun 10
Posts: 641

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Posted: 09 Dec 2010, 20:36
Alright, I'm going to try and hit all the major things I disagree with from the replies that have come in. I'm not doing this to be an argumentative ass, I just want to point out why I think you're setting yourself up for future failures. Take it or leave it. I've found in the past that a lot of people that don't regularly post read through these threads and message me later. If I can genuinely help people, I don't really care if you find my diction too derisive.

Quote:
I think the article is a good start


This quote is going to sum up a major point I have here. "Good start" is an interesting thing to say. I read on the forums almost every day about how someone is "walking" to lose the weight. That's also a "good start".

The thing is, losing fat when you're extremely overweight and losing fat when you're moderately overweight are two completely different ideas. The methods for losing fat when you are moderately overweight (or even at a good weight, but just want to get cut/lean) will work for any phase of obesity. However, not everything you do to lose weight when you're obese will transfer over when you have less fat. If you are 400 pounds, mostly covered in fat, anything you do will make you lose weight (except eating more cake). I don't mean to say that going from 400 to 300 isn't commendable, it certainly is.... but it's also much, much easier than going from say 12% body fat to 8% body fat (for males). You burn so many calories just staying alive, as long as you're eating a moderate diet (like, right at your basal metabolic rate plus a little extra) you're going to have no problem losing the weight. Every time you sneeze, you practically lose a pound. That's why everyone thinks 'walking' is so effective. It's a great "start" especially if you are too immobile to do more intense activities, but it will not be enough to make you lose fat when you're at a lower body fat percentage.

An article was posted on the forums a few days ago summing up some scientific finds in regards to weight loss. Most of them were very obvious, but one that you might be interested to note is that you tend to lose more body fat than muscle the more obese you are. So yes, if you're 400 pounds, no matter what you do, you'll probably be burning straight fat. There's no need to look for energy elsewhere. If all it took was "walking" to keep losing fat after you get down to a "slightly overweight" weight, then everyone on this forum would have brad pitt's body from Fight Club. Instead, you see a ton of "skinny fat" people-- people with no definition, who are just smaller versions of their former overweight selves. You're doing nothing to improve the fat to muscle ratio with all that 'cardio'.

I've had about 2 dozen people message me over the past few months (all of them being people that have lost a significant amount of weight so far) asking why their weight loss is slowing, just like you mentioned Ed. In every case, they were doing extreme amounts of cardio, not providing enough rest days between work outs, and eating way too few calories for their weight. You'll notice that this is the exact method outlined in that article. I told all of them approximately the same thing. I tweaked their diets based on foods they liked, but mostly told them to cut out all that nonsense "walking" and "running" they were doing and told them to have very short, high intensity bursts of exercise. The ones that actually listened to me, have started losing weight and are continuing to do so.

Cardio 7 days a week, you don't see why that's bad? Cardio is a temporary calorie burn, but it induces extreme catabolism, promotes only type 1 muscle fiber recruitment (thin, stringy, unimpressive muscle) and forces no muscular overcompensation. Each time you do it, if you are not extremely overweight, you're losing a chunk of muscle along with any fat you may burn. Now, I know you may jump on me saying, "but aren't you the guy that keeps telling everyone to take protein after a workout? I'll just chug a whey shake and I'll be fine!" Not really. The longer your body is producing catabolic hormones, the more muscle deterioration you're experiencing. If you're on a caloric deficit, protein synthesis slows, as does recovery time. You also cannot force a lot of overcompensation (otherwise people could bulk just as quickly on a caloric deficit as a surplus). Most people that do cardio do it for long periods of time. Here's the problem with that:

You start running, your muscles start being worn away (just like with weight training and all other exercise). You stay in catabolism for a long time in order to 'get a good cardio work out'. Protein synthesis is slowed, and when you finally stop working out, you take protein but it's not as effective, and you've just spent so much time wearing away muscle. Sure, recovery kicks in, but due to your caloric deficit, it can't completely undo the damage done by your cardio work out. Basically, you're just slowly chipping away at your physique. (Keep in mind, this applies to moderate body fat percentages)

Doing it 7 days a week is even crazier. Your body takes so much longer to recover from a work out when you eat less calories, and now you're going to work it to death? Smartymommy, you said that you ran every day in high school. Did you eat on a caloric deficit too? One that was over 1000 calories lower than your intake?

You said that the article mentioned both strength and cardio. Yes, it said that doing 7 days of cardio was great, and that weight lifting after you lose all that weight was a great thing. So, they are advocating a shotgun approach here --- lose a lot of weight really quickly. Don't worry about where it's coming from, just cut it. Then, when you look like a smaller, undefined version of yourself, fix it with weight training. Nowhere in the article does it mention that you'll have to have a slight caloric surplus in order for this weight training to have any effect. They don't tell you that you have to put some weight back on before you can fix the skinny fat problem. Well, with any decent bulking, comes some extra fat. So how will you cut it? Oh, just cardio again? This is one of the biggest problem weight lifters see from inexperienced people... someone just going in circles of putting on fat and muscles, then cutting both.

Do you know what method cut people use to get in shape? They perform very short, but extremely intense bursts of exercise a good number of times per week. This can take the form of weight lifting, for sure, but other high intensity exercises apply. The difference here is that they're short. When I, or any of the extremely lean people I know start a cut, we generally spend about 30 minutes in the gym at most on any given day. That's it. Any more than that, and you're just letting your body's muscles be chewed out. Your diet and caloric deficit is what cuts the fat, your exercise should just be there to preserve muscle (because shorter interval high intensity exercise increases protein synthesis) and boost your metabolism.

When you are in a caloric deficit, your metabolism is naturally slowing. Exercise is what's supposed to counteract this trend. By constantly losing muscle, you're taking 2 steps forward and one step back in this struggle of high vs low metabolism.

Quote:
For a couple of weeks doing a ton of cardio probably will burn more calories than mixing in weight training as the article suggests


For most people, I would actually agree with this. For people that weight train correctly, I would not. The problem is that you can't really mess up cardio. You run, it's tiring, but you keep doing it. Sure you can mess around with heart rates zones here and there, but overall, you'd have to be a pretty big idiot to do it completely wrong. Weight lifting is not the same way. Ask most people what they do when weight lifting, and you'll here these answers most commonly:

A) Light weight, high reps to get toned!
B) 3 sets of 10 reps of exercises with split body or full body routines
C) split body routine with 12, then 10, then 8 reps for each muscle group.

Person A is the biggest moron of all of them, and they're hopeless. B and C are the most interesting ones to analyze. Has anyone asked themselves why 10 reps? Why 3 sets? Or why do that pyramid scheme of 12, 10, 8? How do you determine what weight?
I could do 3 sets of 10 reps of curls with a 5 pound dumbbell all day long. How do you know what's right?

If you can't answer these questions for me with an intelligent, scientific answer, then you aren't weight training properly (unless you're doing it by accident, in which case, good job!). What is the logic behind 10 reps? 10 fingers means 10 reps? That's just idiotic. If you hang around enough weight lifters, some will advocate 4-6 reps, others will spout out 8-12. So, if you're part of the group that can't answer these basic questions, then yeah, I'd agree that cardio would probably burn more calories in the short term, because you're weight training incorrectly. 10 is not a magic number.

For those that train properly, the calories burned from overcompensation blow cardio out of the water. I'd challenge any of you heart-rate-monitor-junkies to try it.

Lastly, ed, there is no such thing as "heavier than I should be" because there is no "should". Your body fat percentage speaks volumes. I encourage you to measure it regularly and notice difference with this method and a proper method. You'll be astonished.

I promise and guarantee you 100%, that appropriately cutting will produce a better, healthier body much quicker than this 'method' of extreme caloric deficits and no-rest cardio overhaul.

I know because I've done both, and the difference is profound. I too was once skinny fat, but now I'm ripped. It's an easy choice for me.

Anyway, I'm getting tired of typing here. I encourage everyone to read the second article I cited in my previous post. It explains a great deal.

If you think my post is too abrasive, harsh, or offensive, you're:
A) Wrong.
B) Too sensitive.
C) Not going to receive an apology for pointing it out.
SmartyMommy

Joined: Apr 10
Posts: 240

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Posted: 09 Dec 2010, 22:06
That is very informative and I learned a lot, thank you! You are right, I didn't have any deficit when I was running in high school, I wasn't trying to lose weight of coarse. That was kind of an "ah ha" moment. I had never honestly heard that it was bad to do cardio as your workout, I have heard that a mixture is the best, but never that doing cardio everyday was a bad thing.

I still don't think that 30 min of exercise is a bad goal though. I mean, you have to remember most people aren't trying to get ripped, they are trying to lose extra weight.

Are you saying I will plateau if I continue with my dieting or just someone who does what the article says?

I already knew the problem with cutting calories too much. I think my point is that by tweaking the numbers a bit (1200 cal limit) and not exercising quite that much will still give good results.

As far as a "good start"... someone already mentioned that the "extreme" part of the diet in the article is to lose weight for an event, and then after adjusting to a more sustainable plan. You have to take everything it says and not just what you want and make it look terrible. Heck, if this is what gets someone jump started, its better than the alternative of doing nothing!

To be clear. I didn't post this article because I thought it was THE way to lose weight, just one way and I do think it needs tweaking, at least for me.
an00bis

Joined: Jun 10
Posts: 641

      quote  
Posted: 09 Dec 2010, 23:24
SmartyMommy wrote:

To be clear. I didn't post this article because I thought it was THE way to lose weight, just one way and I do think it needs tweaking, at least for me.


I know, I get that. At no point was I trying to comment on anything you were doing. I'm merely trying to discredit the article.

Quote:

Are you saying I will plateau if I continue with my dieting or just someone who does what the article says?


This is an important question to ask. Many people have found out the hard way that just because something is working now doesn't mean it will work in the future. I'm glad you asked. Following the article, you'll either reach your goal weight while still appearing fat, or you'll plateau. You're right, it definitely did mention that this was in regards to 'getting ready for a big event'. That doesn't change the muscle loss facts. It's always harder to put on muscle than it is to cut fat. In general, the rule of thumb is that you can cut fat 4 times faster than you can put on muscle. You're doing so much more damage by dropping the scale so fast.

As for you...
First off, I think your plan for weight loss sounds reasonable. Based on your exercise diary, I see that you're decently active. I think eating 1500 calories would be a great amount for you, but the only real problem I see is that you're not really reaching that number on any day. In fact, the closest you got was 1400, and some days it was even at 800. I'm assuming you filled in everything, because I see some pretty precise measurements throughout your food logs. I've only checked a few of your days, but the foods you're eating seem pretty good. There are no treats, as your diet suggests, so you're defaulting to a lot of healthy things. Great!

So, back to this whole calorie thing. 1500 is a great goal. Why did you put "try to stay under 1400"? When I first started out, I had this sort of mentality where I had a goal caloric number that seemed very reasonable for my weight, but every day I'd try to see if I could just undershoot it a good amount and still be happy. Every day, I kept telling myself "a 750 calorie deficit is great, but wouldn't 1000 be better? What about 1100!"

I'm just making sure you don't have this mentality. If I remember right, you mentioned that you're aware starvation is bad. Good. You don't have to starve yourself to reach a plateau though. I think you may hinder your progression with the way you're eating now. I'll try and explain why as best I can.

Your metabolism is a constantly changing thing. If you eat more food, your metabolism will adjust and burn more to compensate. Excluding any medical conditions, it will never let things get so out of whack to where you're either losing an absurd amount of weight in a short period of time or you're gaining too much too quickly. People that eat a lot, have high metabolisms, contrary to what people usually say. Anyway, because it's constantly changing, eventually your body adapts. If I start a diet at 200 pounds and I eat 1800 calories a day, I may lose weight for a really long time. Months may go by, and I may still keep losing. Eventually though, there will come a point when I need to reduce my caloric intake in order to keep losing weight. My body will adjust to the 1800 and keep me in maintenance. Let's say this happens when I reach 180 pounds. It's not necessarily true that 1800 calories is "too many for a 180 lb person to lose weight", it's just that being in a caloric deficit of a certain amount will force adaptation. Someone else at 180lbs that has not had a prolonged calorie deficit may lose very well eating 1800 calories daily.

My point is that progression is key. If you want to get really slim, you cannot eat the same amount for the entire duration of your diet (99/100 times). Unless you're that 1 lucky person out of so many, you will have to counteract the general adaptation syndrome with progression. There are tons of ways to progress. You could either add more exercise, change your exercise type, alter your macronutrient intake, or decrease your calories. You seem to already be exercising every day, and overhauling what you eat isn't very pleasant, so your only viable options are:
A) Further caloric restriction
B) Altered exercise

Do you see a problem with choice A? If you're already eating 1300 calories on most days, how can you restrict any more? It is 100% possible to diet and get to your goal without ever being hungry, but not if you start at such a low number. There are so many obese people that start dieting by eating like a skinny person. It's just not sustainable. You said earlier, if I remember right (there was a lot to read, so forgive me if I'm confusing you with someone else) that you find your current method completely sustainable. That's excellent. What happens when your body adapts though? You may have to restrict calories to a point where it's no longer sustainable. It just depends on how far your goal is and how long your body takes to adapt to your current caloric reduction.

The other option is altered exercise. I bet you know what's coming... do mostly weight lifting. OK, before you start throwing things at your monitor, listen as to why it's so heavily recommended:
You doing dance is great. Don't stop, I think it's awesome. I wish I could do it. However, you cannot progress with it. If you dance your hardest for 50 minutes straight, then that's what's going to happen every time. Your body will adapt to that. Eventually, it will no longer provide as much of a metabolic boost as it did when you first started. Now consider weight lifting. You lift weights. You get stronger. You lift heavier weights, and the exercise becomes more intense. This is progression at its best.

So, you may wonder, "won't I get more endurance when I dance, so I can dance for longer next time?" Well, potentially, yes, but that means you'll be in a catabolic state for even longer. It's the same problem with cardio. In order to progress, most people just run for longer, not harder. That's more time spent with your muscles under attack. With proper weight training, you increase the intensity in the same period of time.
Ok, I'm done with that.

To answer your original question as to what I think in regards to you possibly plateauing? I can't be certain, because what you're doing seems completely viable for now. I do think you're definitely at that cusp though, it is all going to come down to how far away your goal is versus how long it takes for your body to adapt to this level of stress on it (caloric deficit plus your level of exercise intensity).

Personally, what I would do to guarantee no plateau in your position is this: (You don't have to follow this, I'm just putting myself in your shoes)

A) Increase your caloric intake to 1700-1800. This will cause temporary weight gain through water retention and food weight. It will not be a reflection of fat gain. It takes a while to put on genuine weight.
B) Your metabolism will eventually wake up and get a boost due to the extra calories.
C) Continue dancing, but add weight lifting. Increase protein intake. Constantly strength train with increased intensity in each work out, but keeping them short so as to reduce catabolic hormone production and force overcompensation and recovery as soon as possible.
D) Do no cardio to start, aside from dance
E) If ever there is a 2 week stall, reduce carb intake (since it's your most abundant macronutrient) by 30 grams, keeping protein high. This will be your progressive caloric reduction.
F) Next time you stall, add 1-2 sessions of HIIT cardio (15-20 minute session max, to minimize catabolism. This is a rep/set approach to cardio), and don't reduce caloric intake.
G) Alternate E and F until goal weight is reached.

The weight lifting will not allow for adaptation (especially if you cycle split body/full body work outs every few months), the diet will be the primary fat burner, and the increased protein along-side weight lifting will preserve muscle, ensuring that he majority of your weight loss is fat.

Obviously, I'm not some Godly ruler of all things fat loss. It's not fair for anyone to expect someone to just do everything they say. My point in writing all that out was not to make you do things my way, but to show you my reasoning behind everything --to explain to you how progression can be implemented. Even if you don't do things this exact way, at least you'll be aware of approximately what types of steps could be taken to never truly plateau. There are so many other things that could come into play here. I didn't even skim the surface of proper nutrition and exercise, I feel that would be way too preachy of me. If you take anything away from this, let it be the idea of progression through increased intensity.
If you think my post is too abrasive, harsh, or offensive, you're:
A) Wrong.
B) Too sensitive.
C) Not going to receive an apology for pointing it out.
harringtonkt

Joined: Nov 06
Posts: 40

      quote  
Posted: 10 Dec 2010, 01:13
Hi SmartyMommy- I appreciated your sharing of the article. It was a big eye opener for me when I discovered that weight loss is all about the numbers. I think that the article has good basic information and then extends a healthier hand toward people that are determined to lose weight quickly.
As far as some comments, I know that it is impossible to talk with my husband about weight loss. He wants to gain muscle and I want to lose fat (Also the fact that he has never had to struggle to lose weight). Those are 2 very different approaches to living healthier.
I think your progress has been amazing! Keep at it.
Ed Endicott

Joined: Sep 10
Posts: 140

      quote  
Posted: 10 Dec 2010, 08:26
SmartyMommy wrote:
I still don't think that 30 min of exercise is a bad goal though. I mean, you have to remember most people aren't trying to get ripped, they are trying to lose extra weight.


This is exactly my point. If you are looking to get ripped, then yeah, following an00bis' plan makes perfect sense. My personal goals are not to be ripped - they are to be healthy and in shape. I have no problem being lean, flexible, and healthy as opposed to being big and bulky and being so inflexible that I can't touch my toes or grab my hands behind my back from all the bulky muscle (but that's a different conversation). I come from a background of cycling, mountain biking, skiing, and rock climbing. It's what I used to do and what I'm currently getting back into - bulky folks don't do well doing any of that (especially rock climbing).

No matter how you look at it, a doctor is not going to treat you based on body fat percentage or food intake. They are going to look at your blood test results and your WEIGHT.

I've recently been taken off blood pressure and cholesterol medication. Weight was not a factor - blood pressure and fat lipids in the blood stream were the factor. A balanced, low fat, low calorie diet, is what accomplished this task. My last overall cholesterol level was 130. My triglycerides were 130 as well.

My next goal is to get off of a CPAP that I've been on for two and a half years. The indications to get off the treatment (before the insurance company will pay for a new sleep study) is at least a 10% WEIGHT reduction and/or a decrease in neck girth. I've met both criteria with flying colors. My appointment is scheduled in January - it would be scheduled sooner but my doc is booked until then.

If you are doing this to lose weight, and to do it safely (the title of the article) then it's perfectly relevent and effective. If you are doing this to be a bodybuilder or to be ripped, then no, the article doesn't apply to you - that should be a given.

There are also small factors you need to keep in mind.....BURNING MUSCLE IS NOT ALWAYS A BAD THING (I know I'm going to get flamed for that one). Your stomach is a muscle. You want to shrink it, you have a choice - burn the muscle, or get it altered by stapling, bypass, lap banding, etc. Keep in mind there are more muscles than just abs and triceps and biceps - there is also smooth muscle that will need to reduce in size.

Prior to 10 years ago I was a very avid cyclist. I'm getting back into that with my first century ride in about 11 years scheduled for June. I walk to the Light Rail train every morning and evening on my way to and from work. I consider it cardio and believe it or not, I will burn more calories walking (per the heart monitor) in a half hour than I will burn on the bicycle trainer in a half hour (both being a moderate pace).

With relation to training, I used to do a TON of it for cycling. Yes interval training is more beneficial as an00bis points out, but recovery training is also a key part to that. Interval training three times per week with easy or moderate non-interval training in between days is an effective way to train as well. Easy training being walking or an easy pedal on a bike - this will NOT eat muscle.

It's like the fat caliper police - folks that harp on using fat calipers to measure their progress because "that's the best way to go". The problem is, fat calipers measure subcutaneous fat (fat under the skin). They don't measure visceral fat (the fat that surrounds your organs) so they aren't getting the complete picture of what's going on. You will not burn visceral fat without exercise - and you will burn subcutaneous fat faster than visceral fat even without cardio.

The best thing is to look at all angles and keep an open mind. Pay attention to your body - everyone has a different genetic makeup and your body will react differently than another persons. The important thing is to keep at it and keep learning about yourself.
an00bis

Joined: Jun 10
Posts: 641

      quote  
Posted: 10 Dec 2010, 10:22
Ed Endicott wrote:
SmartyMommy wrote:
I still don't think that 30 min of exercise is a bad goal though. I mean, you have to remember most people aren't trying to get ripped, they are trying to lose extra weight.


This is exactly my point. If you are looking to get ripped, then yeah, following an00bis' plan makes perfect sense. My personal goals are not to be ripped - they are to be healthy and in shape. I have no problem being lean, flexible, and healthy as opposed to being big and bulky and being so inflexible that I can't touch my toes or grab my hands behind my back from all the bulky muscle (but that's a different conversation).
No matter how you look at it, a doctor is not going to treat you based on body fat percentage or food intake. They are going to look at your blood test results and your WEIGHT.



Weight training will not make you big and bulky on a caloric deficit. If it does, the entire field of health science is going to want to study you in a lab. The original poster is a woman, so it's doubly true for her.

The idea behind weight training instead of doing insane amounts of cardio isn't to build muscle, but to preserve it. Otherwise, you'll get the whole skinny fat thing going. Following my plan won't necessarily get you ripped, it will just guarantee a lack of stalls and a preservation of muscle.

I got several personal messages in my inbox this morning from people that have read this post. I'm going to quote one, but keep the person anonymous.

Quote:

...
I believe I am what many refer to as "skinny fat." Although my weight loss has been slow overall (220 to 135 in about 2.5 years), the bulk has been lost doing a combination of long (30-70 min) sessions of cardio coupled with calorie deficits in food. Not knowing any better, in the beginning I did strictly cardio, pretty much all elliptical. This worked well in the beginning since I had so much to lose.

I now do some interval training for 45-60 minutes 2-3 times a week, but I am still doing a good bit of cardio as well (elliptical 30-60 minutes a time usually at least 4 times a week) and rarely do any weight lifting. As a result, I look great in clothes but not so great under them, with most of my fat in my stomach and not much muscle definition.
...
I have little muscle. In fact, despite being only 135 lbs. and 5'8", my body fat percentage is 24-25%.


This is exactly what I'm trying to address here. This person asked me for help, and she's got a lot of work ahead of her to correct this problem. Notice how she did pretty much what this article is suggesting, and what you seem to be defending?

"Don't take it personally", but you're making a few terrible assumptions:
A) Weight training means looking bulky
B) People don't care if they wind up having no definition

The truth of the matter is, it takes a hell of a lot of work to get bulky, and some terrible supplements if you're a female. Most people do want some definition, and they're usually unhappy with their results if they wind up like the person I quoted above.

I don't feel it's beneficial anymore to argue over this point. Feel free to respond, and I'll go ahead and take it into consideration. I just wanted to show that what I'm saying actually has a factual basis, and your proof comes from the people that have lived it.

If you think my post is too abrasive, harsh, or offensive, you're:
A) Wrong.
B) Too sensitive.
C) Not going to receive an apology for pointing it out.
SmartyMommy

Joined: Apr 10
Posts: 240

      quote  
Posted: 10 Dec 2010, 10:47
Thanks for all the comments. I am trying to keep an open mind. Best way to learn I think. Thanks everyone for the suggestions and comments. As for weight training, I do sit-ups and push-ups a lot of days (which I never add because it lasts a total of 5 min maybe) and Pilate type stuff some days. However, I don't picture myself lifting. For one I don't have a weight set and for two I don't want to look ripped. I think Pilates will give me that nice toned look so perhaps I can replace some days with that...

Like I said though I try to stay between 1200-1400 (hence the average of 1300ish). I won't go below 1200 unless I get to the end of the day and have to eat way to much in one meal to do it, which happens sometimes (and in that case I try not to go below 1050 as the article suggests). As for that ONE 800 day. It was the day after Thanksgiving and I had a HUGE salad which filled me up and I didn't see the point in eating if I wasn't hungry. It was kind of funny actually, I got to the end of the day to put food into fat secret and realized I had only eaten that much. I was extremely surprised because I wasn't hungry.

Anyway. I want to be healthy about this. I can totally see where eating disorders spout from, it can be a bit addicting losing weight, and once you get used to eating less, it does become easier. However, I know my other side which is eating what ever and how ever much I want which is not good either. I'm just trying to keep a balance. I think part of me wants to lose this weight ASAP so that get to my goal while I'm still motivated. Christmas and New Years will be hard with all the goodies... we will see how it goes Wink



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