What is a realistic healthy weight-loss pace?

Starting Weight: 78.0 kg
Ending: 77.7 kg

It doesn’t take an expert, which I don’t even claim to be, to know that there is no definitive answer as to how fast you should lose weight in a healthy manner. I say “healthy” because I am not even going to discuss unhealthy or dangerous methods. But even with healthy weight loss, how fast you should be losing depends on your diet and exercise routines that you can and are willing to do. For example, some people may love a vegan diet, while others demand some meat. Some people can jog for 90 minutes, and others only have 30 minutes to get in a workout. These considerations are likely going to affect the pace of your weight loss, meaning that what is realistic for you is going to be different than what is realistic for someone else.

Since everyone is different, I am going to focus on what I am doing temporarily. I have faltered a bit recently and decided it is time to maximize my efforts by using a snacks-only diet plus running 90 minutes a day. It should take far less than a month on this schedule to drop from 79.1 to 75.0 kg, which is 4.1 kg (about 9 pounds). Even in the first 2 days, I have already lost 1.1, getting down to 78.0.

For this discussion, keep in mind what “non-exercise portion” means. It is the approximate 23 hours before I finish each tracking day by running 90 minutes. The non-exercise portion is not expected to show weight loss or at least significant weight loss. It may even show a gain. But the exercise portion is where the weight loss kicks in.

I am trying to imagine a scenario where I routinely break even on the non-exercise portion of a day on the snacks-only diet and then lose 1.0 kg when adding a 90-minute run. Is this even realistic? Maybe I am destined to gain back some on the non-exercise portion simply because not doing that would result in an unrealistic amount of fast weight loss.

If I were to break even on the non-exercise portion on average and also lose 1.0 kg on average, that would be a weight loss of about 14 pounds in a week and 60 pounds in a month, assuming no break days at all. That is an extreme amount of weight loss over a short period of time.

Here is where it suddenly seems like gaining a little on the non-exercise is not just natural, but maybe even desirable. Would it even be healthy to lose 14 pounds a week or about 60 pounds in a month? I really don’t know the answer to this, but it doesn’t sound particularly normal. Under my old diet, I was pulling about 11 pounds of weight loss per month until losing most of that extra weight. This would be an enormous 5 times more than that previous amount, which I thought was rather good, itself.

I am going to keep tracking this. But when looking at things from that perspective, I am not even going to bother being upset if I gain on the non-exercise portion. These numbers seem to suggest that it is the body’s natural way of avoiding excessively fast weight loss.

I also have to keep in mind that I am no longer seriously overweight and am now only a few pounds over my theoretical ideal weight. So losing a large amount fast is more difficult for me at this point in time.

The last 2 days have averaged a loss of .55 kg, or about half of what I would expect to see if breaking even on the non-exercise portion. That would amount to 7 pounds a week or a crazy 30 pounds a month since it is about a pound per day. Even this wild pace is likely unrealistic in the long run but may be realistic for short-term spurts of weight loss when you are on your A game. If I can keep this A game up, then I’ll have lost the 4.1 kg in only 7 to 9 days. Then, I can ease back on the running instead of going 90 minutes all the time. I’ll ease back even if it takes longer than 7 to 9 days since the pace is less important than just reaching the goal.

For now, it is still too early to determine the likely pace under this system. But by the time I would get a decent estimate on the average, I probably will have already achieved my goal. I can say that one pound a day may actually be a realistic scenario, but that sure is a lot of weight. I have done it the past 2 days, but can I sustain that for 10 days or two weeks? I doubt I can even test it for a month because I will reach my goal by then and will start to see natural diminishing returns since that happened before when reducing to 75 kg. This new system may allow me to get below 75 kg, but the pace is likely to slow down either around that point or soon enough.

Day 1: 79.1 to 78.6 (lost .5 kg); non-exercise portion – gained .6
Day 2: 78.6 to 78.0 (lost .6 kg); non-exercise portion – gained .4
Day 3: 78.0 to 77.7 (lost .3 kg); non-exercise portion – gained .6 (these are today’s results)
average: .43 kg of weight loss; non-exercise average – gained .53 kg

Today is a little complicated because I kind of cheated for the 2nd snack, including having a can coke. To try to make up for that, I used that as both the 2nd and 3rd snack. This seemed to at least help a little, as I was at 79.0 kg after the 3rd snack. But that was after walking for about 45 minutes, which probably helped a little, too.

Like yesterday, I have peed very little in the hours after running. So the 1.0 kg is hopefully mostly water weight. At any rate, this is not a total disaster. I just have to be more careful than usual the rest of the day. Just like 2 days ago, I have made a mistake and need to recover the best I can.

I had a small 4th snack, but the water and coffee that I have been consuming got my weight up to 79.4 kg. I am still peeing very little. Anyway, it is interesting to test all these things, and we’ll see what happens by morning. My non-exercise weigh-in will be at about 9. Regardless of what happens on a single day like this, it is clear that I have a winning formula. Just how fast it is is not that much of a concern. But it would be mighty interesting if it turns out I can lose about a pound a day during times of maximum effort. It wouldn’t even have to be all the time.

Things just aren’t getting better yet. Despite only taking a little coffee over the next couple of hours, my weight stayed at 79.4. Yet again, I only had a small pee. At least one more snack will be necessary, and probably more like 1 1/2 snacks all together.

One bright thing occurred. I was 79.4 after the next snack and bathroom. Maybe the tide is finally turning. I was down to 79.3 a little later and then about 79.0 at 11:15 at night. That left about 10 hours until the official weigh-in.

I am not happy with today’s course of events. The cheating earlier forced me to almost starve the rest of the day to make up for it. This lack of discipline is all my fault, but I at least resolved to fix it and appear to have successfully done that.

Overnight, I finally lost a good portion of weight that had been added during the day. I was at 78.7 when getting up, and that was with roughly 3 hours to go before the non-exercise weigh-in. Being .7 over with about 3 hours to go puts me in a similar spot as the past 2 days, where I was .6 or .4 over (.5 average) before running.

It is becoming more and more apparent that exercise is causing a completely different weight cycle. While I can ony theorize that water is staying in my body longer, the reason is less important than the fact that the system is still working great so far. After today’s run, I’ll be back in the 77 range from a start of 79.1 only 3 days ago. That includes today.

The key is to understand that non-exercise portions make it appear as if you are gaining weight, but that you should not be discouraged by that because the true daily measure occurs after you finish exercising.

There is one other thing you need to understand, and that is you may generally appear to be gaining weight the day after substantial exercise if you do not exercise that very next day. This is also not a problem if you understand what is going on. I’ll discuss this in the next blog post.

Over the next 3 hours, I did not lose that much weight at all, coming in at 78.6 kg. So I gained about .6 today before exercise.

This is going to be the last day that I can do non-exercise-portion tracking for a while due to scheduling issues. But I can still do daily tracking that shows a combination of 90-minute runs and the snacks-only diet. This is the part that really counts. Non-exercise tracking is extra information.

The day did not end very well, but I still lost .3 kg, finishing at 77.7. On a day where I fouled up my diet, this is pretty darn good. Now, I just have to get back to even better discipline.

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Here are my recent daily and overall stats for the snacks-only diet with and without exercise:

Day 35 – lost .2 kg
Day 36 – lost 1.0 kg
Day 37 – gained .6 before exercise; lost .5 including exercise
Day 38: gained .4 before exercise; lost .6 kg including run
Day 39: gained .6 before exercise; lost .3 kg including exercise

“No Exercise Days” (or non-exercise portion before running) when no exercise the day before – lost .1 kg – 34 days
Exercise Days: lost 3.7 kg – 6 days
30-min Days: lost .3 kg – 1 day
90-min Days: lost 3.4 kg – 5 days
Non-Exercise Portion On Days After Exercise: gained 1.5 kg – 4 days

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