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Losing Weight Too Fast?

by (165)
Updated about 19 hours ago
Created August 31, 2012 at 2:39 PM

Something that has given me a lot of pause with going 100% paleo and lowering my carbs has been the losing weight too fast thing. Conventional wisdom says not to lose more than 2 lbs a week. I have about 60 lbs to lose (I think, I'll revisit when I get to 30 lost). I've seen people lose over 20, sometimes more, doing the 21DSD or the Whole30. I'm a nursing mom, but my son is just over 2 years old so I'm not as concerned about my milk supply diminishing.. I think it would take a pretty big force of nature to make it dwindle now that it is so established. My period does make it drop a bit but that is about to end so I want to get into the right headspace here and get moving.

Because I'm getting my kids involved, I'm doing a lot of paleo baking (even though I personally am not crazy about replacing baked grains with baked nuts and I want to increase nutrition, but I'd rather get the nasty shit out of all of our diets and then focus on getting the good stuff increased). I know that I can keep my carb content up to keep the weight loss at a pretty good amount, but I also really like the idea of not having to count everything I'm putting into my body and letting it do what it needs to do. I understand a lot of people advocate for tossing out the scale and just listening to your body.

Is losing weight so fast "healthy"? Or will I see sagging skin? I'm not too terribly active, I work on my feet (sometimes wearing my 2 year old on my back) for 8 to 12 hours a week and starting in 1 1/2 weeks I'll be doing 1 hour ballet and 1 hour pilates a week to boot. Sorry for the long post, I just want to make sure I do this right and don't lose myself in the rapid weight loss game (like losing it and putting it right back on). I've had a few people in my life tell me that this is an extreme way of eating, and a fad diet, which I completely do NOT agree with.. I've followed WAPF for a few years before this and understand all of the benefits to it. I think SAD is extreme. :P

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825 · September 01, 2012 at 5:22 AM

The more obese you are, the more weight you tend to lose, just naturally. I lost a ton of weight a few years ago using a ketogenic diet which ended up averaging at 15lbs lost a month or 3-4 a week. I went from about 220 to 180 this way and then 180 to 150 more slowly on low GI, small portion eating. I never had a single problem with excess skin. I do see it in some drastic weight loss transformation stories, but mostly on the order of a 400lb woman turning to 200 through gastric surgery. Nature is pretty good at keeping us looking decent. :)

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165 · August 31, 2012 at 6:16 PM

What if you are eating nutrient dense foods and it just so happens you're also under 1,000 calories a day and aren't having any hunger cues?

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26182 · August 31, 2012 at 5:58 PM

@greymouser. I know people who try to get by on less than 1000 calories a day in hopes to loose weight fast. They do not have an eating diorder, and they are starving themselves. They are making a decision to forgo health in the name of getting to a healthier weight. I don't agree with them, but that's who Miked is talking about.

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19120 · August 31, 2012 at 5:40 PM

IF is intermittent fasting, not intermittent starving. Assuming you're actually starving, it took ~3 days to get to that point. If you are fasting 3 days at a time, you probably have an eating disorder. Please don't do that.

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26182 · August 31, 2012 at 5:07 PM

Also, it's an average, not a rule. Paleo peeps are above average achievers!

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26182 · August 31, 2012 at 5:06 PM

I am not capable of speculating on that as a solution. Research it, or check with your child's pediatrician. I think you have of be pretty aggressive in the fat loss for it to be a concern.

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165 · August 31, 2012 at 4:51 PM

This is the first time I have heard that danger in regards to losing weight during breastfeeding. If you are keeping your dietary fat and water intake up would that offset it?

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165 · August 31, 2012 at 4:48 PM

Thank you! :) My kids love their baked goods, and so far so good with anything baked that is paleo.

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165 · August 31, 2012 at 4:48 PM

See, I thought the excess skin was from losing weight too fast? My BMI is 34.1 and the normal is 24.9, 20% over bmi is 29.88 (unless I'm doing my math wrong which is completely possible).. so it is normal then? I mean, I know I see on those weight loss tv shows that the more obese you are the more weight they want you to lose but I didn't know if that was necessarily healthy or just being done for the money.

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165 · August 31, 2012 at 4:44 PM

That's a great idea, focusing on one piece of fruit versus two. THAT I could do.

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1578 · August 31, 2012 at 4:13 PM

What about those who IF?

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1115 · August 31, 2012 at 3:47 PM

Additionally, the rapid initial weight loss is mostly water. The 1-2 lbs/week thing refers to steady-state fat loss.

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19120 · August 31, 2012 at 3:11 PM

I can address two things:

Is losing weight so fast "healthy"?

Many people who are extremely overweight (more than 20% over BMI [even though BMI is BS, it's still an OK metric in general cases]), will lose weight much more quickly ... at first, as they transition into a healthy eating and exercise routine. This rapid lose will decelerate as they near reasonable weights.

At weights closer to a realistic goal weight 1-2 lbs a week is genenerally considered very good.

I suggest you eat densely nutritious foods, and get what exercise you can -- at first, especially walking.

Or will I see sagging skin?

Sagging skin is a condition that exists, but virtually no one develops this disease.

For e.g., the one spot people tend not to develop subcutaneous fat is the back of the hand. Pinch a flap of back-hand skin - see how it's about 2-4 milllimeters thick? When you reach your goal weight, if you have folds and folds of skin that pinches just as thin, then you are one of the rare people that have "extra skin."

Having said that, morbidly obese people who lose weight sometimes get extra skin removed, which may or may not recede over time. After that much weight loss (say, 100 or more lbs), I'm not going to hold it against someone if they use surgery to get to the end of their pursuit faster.

If you are 200ish and want to get to 140lbs or thereabouts, I wouldn't worry too much about this possibility. Your body will continue to normalize as you continue to eat and act healthy.

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165 · August 31, 2012 at 4:48 PM

See, I thought the excess skin was from losing weight too fast? My BMI is 34.1 and the normal is 24.9, 20% over bmi is 29.88 (unless I'm doing my math wrong which is completely possible).. so it is normal then? I mean, I know I see on those weight loss tv shows that the more obese you are the more weight they want you to lose but I didn't know if that was necessarily healthy or just being done for the money.

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825 · September 01, 2012 at 5:22 AM

The more obese you are, the more weight you tend to lose, just naturally. I lost a ton of weight a few years ago using a ketogenic diet which ended up averaging at 15lbs lost a month or 3-4 a week. I went from about 220 to 180 this way and then 180 to 150 more slowly on low GI, small portion eating. I never had a single problem with excess skin. I do see it in some drastic weight loss transformation stories, but mostly on the order of a 400lb woman turning to 200 through gastric surgery. Nature is pretty good at keeping us looking decent. :)

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1115 · August 31, 2012 at 3:47 PM

Additionally, the rapid initial weight loss is mostly water. The 1-2 lbs/week thing refers to steady-state fat loss.

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205 · August 31, 2012 at 3:17 PM

Greymouser addressed some of the more technical aspects of your question, so I will only say - keep doing what you are doing, it is obviously working. It is quite a challenge trying to maintain a paleo household with growing children so I applaud you. You are doing great!

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165 · August 31, 2012 at 4:48 PM

Thank you! :) My kids love their baked goods, and so far so good with anything baked that is paleo.

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26182 · August 31, 2012 at 4:42 PM

Expert say 1-2 lbs is sustainable. This is very different than healthy.

There is a danger to loosing significant fat loss during breast feeding as fat is used to expell toxins from the body. But it sounds like this is naturally occurring weight loss, so that is a minor concern.

Just FYI, you will level off and go through stages where you loose less weight. I think it's easier to shoot for 1 - 2% of total body mass per week. I.e. a 200 lb person couple expect to burn 2-4 lbs whereas that same person, at 150 lbs could expect 1-3 lbs. also the closer you get to 20% body fat, the harder it will be to loose weight.

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165 · August 31, 2012 at 4:51 PM

This is the first time I have heard that danger in regards to losing weight during breastfeeding. If you are keeping your dietary fat and water intake up would that offset it?

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26182 · August 31, 2012 at 5:06 PM

I am not capable of speculating on that as a solution. Research it, or check with your child's pediatrician. I think you have of be pretty aggressive in the fat loss for it to be a concern.

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20908 · August 31, 2012 at 3:35 PM

If you're losing weight too fast because you're starving yourself, that's unhealthy. If you're losing weight too fast because you're eating an nutrient rich paleo-style diet, that's fine. The conventional wisdom about "don't lose weight too fast" is there because people normally did it by starving themselves and that's bad. It's not really the fast weight loss that's the problem, it's the methods that achieve the fast weight loss that's the problem.

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165 · August 31, 2012 at 6:16 PM

What if you are eating nutrient dense foods and it just so happens you're also under 1,000 calories a day and aren't having any hunger cues?

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26182 · August 31, 2012 at 5:58 PM

@greymouser. I know people who try to get by on less than 1000 calories a day in hopes to loose weight fast. They do not have an eating diorder, and they are starving themselves. They are making a decision to forgo health in the name of getting to a healthier weight. I don't agree with them, but that's who Miked is talking about.

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1578 · August 31, 2012 at 4:13 PM

What about those who IF?

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26182 · August 31, 2012 at 5:07 PM

Also, it's an average, not a rule. Paleo peeps are above average achievers!

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19120 · August 31, 2012 at 5:40 PM

IF is intermittent fasting, not intermittent starving. Assuming you're actually starving, it took ~3 days to get to that point. If you are fasting 3 days at a time, you probably have an eating disorder. Please don't do that.

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825 · August 31, 2012 at 3:30 PM

I started with around 50-60 to lose (depending on muscle gain) and I have to say I've averaged 1lb a week since the initial ~7lb drop from water weight when doing my first Whole30. The only way to figure out if the weight is dropping too fast is to see if it actually does that for you. Women tend not to get as much drastic loss due to hormones, water retention due to time of month, and a few other factors I won't pretend I actually understand. You can definitely eat fruit and tinker with the carb amounts (not necessarily at the gram level, more "one piece of fruit a day vs two") if you feel you are going too fast, but personally I think that's a nice problem to have. ;)

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165 · August 31, 2012 at 4:44 PM

That's a great idea, focusing on one piece of fruit versus two. THAT I could do.

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