the science of losing weight

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  • the science of losing weight
  • Premier Icon SaxonRider

    I started swimming on Thursday of last week, at the same time as cutting my daily calorie intake to about 1750 per day, including a cut in carbs.

    I started at exactly 15 stone (95kgs), with a view to getting back down to 12 stone (75 kgs) by June-ish, and when I stood on the scales this morning, had apparently lost a couple of pounds already.

    Now, you’ve got to understand that I have been exactly 15 stone for months, and the scales have not shifted even the slightest bit when I have stood on them. Yet today the needle was definitely a couple of pounds under.

    My question is: is this ‘real’ weight loss? Or is it some phenomenon that occurs early in the whole diet/exercise period that isn’t really indicative of anything substantial? What pitfalls must I be aware of?

    For your further information, the swimming I have done so far consists of 20 minutes worth of non-stop lengths, varying strokes. I also commute by bike 15 minutes each way to work on weekdays.


    I find swimming and calorie control better than anything else in my diet regime.
    I do all sorts of other things, including Body Pump classes, running, no carbs etc etc.
    Nothing works like swimming for me.

    I can lose 0 pounds some weeks and 5 pounds in other weeks following 95% the same diet and exercise plan. Makes no sense to me but I just keep plugging away. I’ve lost just shy of 5 stone over the last two years and have about 1 stone to go. (I hope)

    My weight varies from day to day, and i put it down mainly to the amount of food/water i’ve got in my system.

    Best to weigh yourself once a week imo and see how you get on rather than day to day as you may find it goes up and down a bit. Weigh yourself at the same time of day too 🙂

    Premier Icon the-muffin-man

    Weigh yourself in a months time then you’ll see if the weight loss is substantial. IME weight can fluctuate by a couple of pounds from day to day.

    I started running in January and was 14st 4lbs, I am now 13st 5lbs – enough difference to know there has been genuine weight loss, and I feel thinner too!

    Premier Icon jam bo

    most scales aren’t very accurate.

    Premier Icon Mad Pierre

    Had you just had a good sit on the throne? 😉

    As others said: weigh yourself once a week at the same time – not every day


    most scales aren’t very accurate.

    you’re right but most are repeatable, which if your using the one set is good enough.

    I can weigh half a stone more at night than I do after a good Tomtit in the morning.


    most scales aren’t very accurate.

    Accuracy isn’t as important as repeatability. imo.


    Best to weigh yourself once a week imo and see how you get on rather than day to day

    A lot of people say this, and yes, to a certain extent, you’re more likely to see bigger weight losses, but you can still get tripped up by fluctuations due to dehydration, food intake etc.

    I weigh myself at least once a day, usually twice or more, and I find it gives me a far better understanding of why my weight fluctuates, what causes it, how exercise and hydration effects it…

    Having an understanding of what’s going in, what’s coming out, and what I weigh at any given time makes it easier to spot trends… (IMHO of course)

    Premier Icon zilog6128

    Depending on how much you’ve reduced the carbs from and to, your body could well be holding onto less water. It is common for people to lose up to half a stone or so in this way the first week of a low carb diet. I would also agree with the others above, in that I would probably ignore anything up to 4lbs or so as “fluctuation”.

    Best thing to do is keep doing what you are doing and weigh yourself at the same time (first thing in the morning) on the same day each week. I’m at a fairly constant weight now, still trying to loose a few more kgs, but my weight fluctuates by up to 2kgs each week (same weigh-in time etc). The monthly or yearly trend is down though so I don’t panic at the slight increases.

    Also worth noting that exercise can add weight, I find after hard bouts of running or cycling I weigh more the next day. Your body holds on to water to help with repair. It’ll take a while but the long-term trend should be downwards.

    The best thing you could do is measure around your waist (around the belly button, not your trousers!) and check that each month as well. Oh, and take a photo of yourself now, as something to look back on in the future. Trust me, glad I did that two years ago. I can’t remember being THAT fat, but I was and the photo serves as a reminder of how much I’ve achieved and how I don’t want to go back to that!

    I can weigh half a stone more at night than I do after a good Tomtit in the morning.

    7lbs worth????? Wow

    That is the same weight as:


    How often do you swim a week? I’m interested in losing a similar amount of weight myself and tone my body up a bit more

    Premier Icon molgrips

    Or is it some phenomenon that occurs early in the whole diet/exercise period that isn’t really indicative of anything substantial?

    Your body stores a certain amount of ‘carbs’ (actually glycogen) bound up with water. So your carb stores weigh about 2-3kg I think.

    If you deplete those and don’t eat loads of sugary stuff to compensate, you’ll see a few lbs weight loss more or less instantly. It’s not fat loss though 🙂

    As above, your belt is the best gauge.


    mlc’s picture is important too.
    Cut out the sugar. It’s tricking your body into changing the way it treats the fuel you put in it.
    Don’t think you eat sugar? read the packet. Pretty much everything that isn’t fresh has sugar added to it. Especially diet foods. Soup, horse burgers, cereal, yogurt. They all have sugar added to them.


    I jumped on the scales in the gym and one set says im 88kg, 85 on another and 81 on another. When I first started at the gym they all read the same. Big issues with calibration.

    Anyway, normally people will experience quick weight loss as you have shocked your body into a new routine and diet. You’ll find that you will continue losing weight but at a decreasing rate as your body gets used to your routine. It takes about 4 weeks for you to notice a difference, 8 weeks for family/friends to notice and 12 weeks for the world to notice. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

    It sounds to me like you’ve cut your calories by to much to quickly as well. At 15 stone 1750 calories would be below your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). Your BMR should be 2100 cal and your TDEE (Calories to maintain current weight) would be 2550 cal. To reach your goal you should be consuming 2015 calories. You should be dropping your calorie intake and diet on a weekly bases- say 100 cals over a week and keep it up until you reach 2015 cals. After that you can drop it more if you are comfortable.

    By cutting to that low figure straight away you’re shocking your body and coupled with exercise you are even more in deficit. People doing this will do themselves no favours. You’ll feel tiered, hungry and run down. I can’t imagine you can sustain that and after a while you’ll run out of energy to swim. Essentially you are starving yourself.

    So much wrong with your method! Let me know if you want any help.

    *Lots of assumptions in this- just trying to help. I changed my lifestyle a year ago and haven’t looked back.*


    Soup, horse burgers, cereal, yogurt. They all have sugar added to them.

    I found one cereal with no sugar. Sainsbury’s Wholegrain Mini Wheats.

    Premier Icon SaxonRider

    Thanks to all of you for your responses.

    @indd: I swim every day, but starting next week, will be forced to drop to 5 days a week, as for 2 I will be travelling and so unable to get to the pool.

    @ska-49: Can you send me an e-mail, please? I have included an e-mail address in my profile.

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