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Calorie Count Blog

When the Weight Loss Honeymoon is Over


By +Carolyn Richardson on Feb 17, 2011 10:00 AM in Dieting & You

By Carolyn Richardson and Mary Hartley, RD

You lost five pounds the first week.  The enthusiasm got you to the second week and you lost four pounds again.  How is it then that now, in the first half of the second month, you’ve lost only three pounds?  Nothing’s wrong with you.  But, at this point, it’s official: the weight loss honeymoon is over.  And now the real work of dieting begins. 

While the medical community (and Calorie Count) recommends a loss of no more than two pounds per week, most people disregard the advice.  They want to lose weight faster.  And many do lose faster in the first few weeks of their weight loss journey but, as time goes by, the pounds are harder and harder to drop. 

Initial Weight Loss

Some of you lose weight so quickly in the beginning because your calorie deficit is so extreme. Let’s face it, if you go from eating 2500 calories a day and sitting on the couch for 12 hours to eating 1600 calories a day and with light activity, you’re going to see major results at first.  After all, your body is missing more than 1000 of the daily calories it needed to maintain your starting weight.

But, more importantly, your quick weight loss may have been largely due to water weight.  Excessive intakes of sodium and carbohydrate cause water retention, and so when you start to eat more nutritionally balanced meals, you may lose pounds of water, not fat.   And if you have reason to sweat, we’re talking even more water weight gone. 

Take that big first month number in stride.  And prepare to have a piece of humble pie.

Expectations

Because of your quick start, you may have come to expect a repeat performance of those results week after week.  But that’s simply not realistic.  Still, you’re not alone.  Studies show that women almost always set their weight loss goals way too high, and then go on to lose much less weight than they expected.  But there's a twist!  The well-adjusted women realized they felt better with any amount of weight loss, and so they chose not to be dissatisfied with their below-goal results.  They simply adjusted expectations and carried on. What else can a reasonable person do?

Long-term weight loss is just that: a long-term goal.  The experts knew what they were talking about when they set the recommendation to an average of ½ to 2 pounds a week.  Some weeks you’ll only lose a pound and other weeks you’ll lose three.  Relax.  This is supposed to be about a lifestyle change, so don’t set your short-term expectations too high.

Read this Calorie Count blog, Realistic Expectations for Weight Loss.


Your thoughts…

Are you still on your honeymoon?  Do your expectations match reality?



Comments


This definitely happened to me.  I went from losing 10 lbs a month to losing 3 to 4 lbs per month, then I got stagnant and wasn't losing anything for about 6 weeks.  We were recently shut down due to snow and I actually put on a little weight- being home with constant kitchen access all day, plus being cold, plus being off my routine, kinda messed me up a bit, but I'm pulling it back together.  It was hard to go from dropping so much weight to dropping so little but I figure that the closer I get to my goal weight means that's less weight I have to lose, so proportionately it makes sense that I would be losing less weight.  Just gotta stay positive!



Well that's been my problem!  I have been on a honeymoon!  Now it is time to get to work!  I always get one or the other down.  Either eating correctly or exercise.  Now I have the exercise habit (which I think is the most difficult) so  now it's getting the nutrition down. 



I've lost 106 lbs. and I've got about 6 lbs. to go to reach my goal. It's been tough getting the last few to go. It's taken 4 months to lose 4 lbs. My eating habits are good and I workout 5 to 6 days a week. I also quit smoking about a month ago. I also NEVER eat junky foods or go out to eat.



You talked about "most women" tend to lose..........   How about us guys.  What's the typical weight loss pattern?



Thanks for the information cause I lost 10 lbs in two months now i am kind of stuck. So I am going to step my game up now!



This is why I don't weigh myself more than once a week, if that.  It's too easy to get caught up in the "why am I not losing more weight???" panic.



This is just what I needed to see today.  I lost so fast the first two weeks, then got a little off track thinking 'wow this is too easy'...and surprise!  IT'S NOT!  So now I am prepared to step it up and get serious again. 



When I retired about 8 months ago I resolved to walk at least one hour or four miles a day, at least 5 days a week. I wanted to lose about 25 pounds but I set my goals in 5-pound increments - lose the first five and keep them off for at least a month then concentrate on the next five. I know this will be long-term - I want to keep my new weight for the rest of my life. I have lost 17 pounds as of today and feel so much better about myself. I'm feeling so good that I recently started a workout regimen with a personal trainer.



Okay that is where I am right now.  I'm on Weight Watchers and in 7 weeks I've lost 12 lbs. but now it seems like I'm stuck....I've pulled out my exercise bike and my biking dvds and now I plan to get serious, too.  This was a very good article to read, too. 



GUYS Perspective: It's basically like the article read. I started at 218 and am now at 203. I have 20 more to go before reaching my target. The last few weeks have yielded few results (maybe a pound per week if that). But here's the good news: Not Gaining is still a WIN ... so I'm looking at it that way. One can't just throw up their hands and give up because the results have been skimpy. Considering that no weight is being gained is a huge deal especially when your diet and/or exercise plan has fallen off target. What I'm going to do is revamp my routine a little bit... make sure I'm getting some activity and keep on plugging on.

Good luck everyone!!!!



This is exactly what I needed to read today, I lost 10 pounds the first 2 weeks of making changes to my diet, and when I didn't lose a pound this week, I was ready to give up. The only reason I'm still going is because I know 10 pounds in 2 weeks is a lot and as long as I don't gain anything I should be happy. 



The first 3 weeks of my regime, I lost 13 lbs. In the following 2 weeks, I lost 0 lbs. I changed my workout regime from all cardio, to 50% cardio and 50% weights and I went down two lbs. the following week. 



Same has happened to me-have shown HUGE variances a couple of times-like 10-12 pounds! What I finally learned to look at was not even the numbers, just a gradual change in weight downward, so if I weigh in at my weekly support group and have gained a pound or two, then I don't freak out, just try harder. I  learned to look for trends, not necessarily particular numbers!



Having been of the roller coaster all my life I can understand the honeymoon period. This time however i have made a change that I know will last and expected the initial big loss. I have been using calorie count for a little over 17 weeks now and my weight loss has slowed down. But instead of getting depressed about what didn't happen I look at my results so far. 49 pounds off!!! Yes some weeks were big and others were small. but if you are like me and need still need to loss another 70 pounds you have to keep in mind just what it took, and how long it took to get as big as I am. There is no time frame for me, it is a life style change and i know that eventually I will reach my goal. Keep the big picture in mind and count the small losses as much as the big. I have not felt this good in years and that alone keeps me on track.



Thank you for writing this article, I needed to hear it even though I already knew it.  I weigh myself every day and probably shouldn't do that.  I have lost 17 lbs. since Jan 4.  I am kinda at a standstill although nothing has changed as far as diet and exercise.  It took years to gain this weight so I guess I expect too much.



I weigh myself every two weeks. When the numbers don't show a big movement, I remind myself to think about how I feel, how my clothes are fitting, and how long I have kept the weight I have lost off.   For me, using how my clothes fit is a wiser assessment of my progress then getting hung up on what my scale is reading. My own mantra is: a healthy lifestyle is a journey not a race.



This post is perfectly timed. I lost ~ 12 pounds in the first two and a 1/2 weeks (much water) and noticed an amazing difference really fast. Now this week no change in weight, and a few bad eating days due to a wedding and stuff that left me feeling really bloated. Yesterday I recommitted to the plan to eat well. Accomplishing that was important and I hope it is a step in the right direction rather than going on the downward slide. I am trying to view this as a slow process, and using these backsliding days to learn about my own behavior in terms of why I overeat and what circumstances I need to avoid.



I burst out laughing when I saw the Honeymoon article. It is exactly how I am feeling this morning. I didn't lose any weight this past week even though I counted calories. (maybe my food scale is broken) I was thinking,'God how I hate dieting'. Giving up caffeine this week, bran for breakfast- out of milk, -28 with windchill to -40- I don't want to even get out of bed!

But here I am with a big smile, chased my bran with a few prunes and lets see what happens today. Laundry Vacuuming and cleaning are looking like a great reason to put my step counter on.



Original Post by: nvanhout

This post is perfectly timed. I lost ~ 12 pounds in the first two and a 1/2 weeks (much water) and noticed an amazing difference really fast. Now this week no change in weight, and a few bad eating days due to a wedding and stuff that left me feeling really bloated. Yesterday I recommitted to the plan to eat well. Accomplishing that was important and I hope it is a step in the right direction rather than going on the downward slide. I am trying to view this as a slow process, and using these backsliding days to learn about my own behavior in terms of why I overeat and what circumstances I need to avoid.


Right on the money!! A scale only weighs...anything. It doesn't tell you if you lost/gained fat, lost/gained water, gained muscle, lost muscle, etc... It's like an abusive relationship. I tossed my scale years ago and don't miss it. Now my clothes, that's the real yardstick. They never lie to me.



lost 30 pounds a year ago and have been holding the same for a year now



I am getting ready to go on vacation and it seems like my eating has left with out me.  I am already in vacation eating mode.  I know it will take a week once I return to get back to normal eating.  I am half way to my goal and the weight is definitely slowing.  I keep telling myself that is okay since I am lifting and toning, but it is hard to really believe that not loosing 4 pounds a week is okay.  This has always been my problem.  My expectations for maintaining are not realistic.



This was a great article, and I know I am striving towards long term, I have only lost 6 pounds over the past 5 weeks, but I am on track for my goal. I shoot for at least 30 mins of hard cardio 5 days a week, and will put in some weights here in the next couple of weeks. I am also working on making it permanent so i would rather learn new food eating techniques and make a plan that will stay with me for long term rather than shoot for big numbers right away. so only 25-30 more pounds to go, and I have 27 weeks to do it LOL :) big formal party coming up then



I was logging on to see if there were any articles on weight loss stalling.  I've lost over 30 lbs since August, but absolutely stalled the last 6 weeks!  This couldn't have come at a better time.  I guess I've found my maintenance calories for the weight I'm at now, but I've got to ramp it up with excersize if I'm going to get closer to my goal weight.  It was great while it lasted LOL!  But now it's crunch time...



BTW, my doctor was thrilled with my weight loss, but when I mentioned I had to buy all new clothes and gave away my old ones, he said "Better hold onto some of them...you don't know where you're gonna end up..."  

Talk about BUZZKILL!!

For some reason, that's been sticking in my mind ever since he said it.  Couple that with my weightloss stall, and you've got a great set-up for going off the program...after all, if your doctor doesn't think you can sustain your weight loss, maybe you can't! 

However...I am still striving to achieve my goal.  And I'm not going to let anyone put a damper on my success. 



Oh youarethisclose to getting there...stay with it, you're gonna make it!  Good luck!!



Sorry, that was for philfan1!!



I like toss the scale-  you are right on calling it an abusive relationship!!!



I started my weight loss journey in October 2009 and lost 105 pounds from then until August 2010 when I took a planned break for 6 months. I wanted to accomplish 2 things with this break:

1. Prove to myself that I really had made a lifestyle change - in that six months I had a net gain of 3 pounds - not bad for going through my birthday, 8 total days in the hospital (my soon to be daughter-in-law had an appendicitis at 8 months pregnant and then a c-section a month later - both causing a 4 day stay at the hospital), and the holidays. During this time, I only weighed myself every couple of weeks or so and I only weighed/measured food if I thought I was getting out of control with the portion sizes. Absolutely, NO calorie counting and/or additional exercise outside of what I was doing routinely when I quit counting.

2. To give my body a chance to adjust to that weight, considering it the new norm so that when I started again, it would be like starting from fresh. It worked too, on Feb.8 I started back to serious counting, logging, etc. and since then have lost almost 6 pounds.

If you look at my weight log however, I never lost more than 4 pounds in any one week and I only had 1 - 2 weeks where I had a no gain. There was absolutely no time when I was keeping strict count that I had any gain. I feel sorry for those folks who have unexpected gains that can't be accounted for either by illness, less movement, more food, or in a woman's case hormones. I can certainly understand the frustration and am extremely grateful it has not been the case for me. (Knock on wood)

Blessings on the journey to a new and healthier you!

Sunni



Very good advice...I reached my goal about 6 months ago. It took about 1 year to lose 84 pounds, but the first 40 I lost in only 3 months. So as you can see, it took much longer to lose the last 44 pounds. It is discouraging, but everyone needs to keep in mind that it all takes time and weight loss does slow down. It's definitely hard, though...everyone wants to lose the weight quickly!


Wow..funny how life works!.I  woke up today so  frustrated with my diet, and myself, with my weight loss. Then I received this e-mail!. Made me feel so much better.

Four  weeks ago we started a Biggest Loser competition at work, first week I lost 9 pounds! I was in the lead!!.

Two  weeks later, next weigh in, I was at 8 pounds ( gained a pound back).

To be honest,  Super Bowl week,  I made a TON of ribs ( some foods I can cook for others and resist..but not ribs..LOL)..so I knew I cheated, plus we were snowed in for a few days. Salad and tuna sandwiches don't cut it on below zero days! So I was happy I gained only a pound back!

But then I went hard core the next week , little to no fat, low calories and only lost a pound in a week. 



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I never had that "honeymoon" period. Every pound has been difficult to lose and slow to come off. In some ways, I guess it's helped me keep my expectations in check, but man oh man would I LOVE to lose 4 lbs in a week, even if it's just for a week!



Great article. Staying in the right mindset is SO important for success. Getting to the place where you can look at what seems a setback, acknowledge it, and stay (or get back) on track, is a major step.  The weight trend line was really, really, helpful for me (almost daily weigh-ins, so fluctuations were common).

Down 60 pounds now, and at goal and maintaining.  Just as the real work for weight loss begins when the initial euphoria ends, there's also a mindset change that has to happen to keep it off and not go back to old habits.  Losing more slowly has helped there, because it made healthy eating and exercise more a part of "what I do" and less  of "what I have to do.



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Original Post by: t0066jh

You talked about "most women" tend to lose..........   How about us guys.  What's the typical weight loss pattern?


I think guys hit plateaus also; but it has been my observation that guys tend to lose weight much faster than women......and I am jealous  lol 

Must be your testosterone levels that make the weight loss faster.

Good luck!!



Gosh what a horrible thing to say and do to someone!!  I hope your doctor is worth is weight in gold, because based on his comment I WOULD FIRE HIM (if he were my doctor).

Try to ignore his comment and get rid of those close.  Maybe you can think of it this way.......should the pounds creep up on you again at some time in the distant future, you will want new clothes in the correct size that are in style.

Just keep your eye and mind and heart on the goal and keep moving forward. Like the tortoise and the hare, you will win the race.

Good luck and many blessings!!!

 



The above message was intended for hobbbs, but the quote function is not working....l



This is a wonderful article.  Intellectually I know that we all reach plateaus when dieting/exercising; but emotionally I have been a bit frustrated and a little nervous lately because I have finally hit my plateau after 4.5 months. So this article came at just the right time for me also.

I made it through the holidays without gaining weight and I was happy.  But January came, and my weight loss slowed down.  I weigh myself every 7 - 10 days so as not to make myself crazy.  I keep working out and love weight training.  I turned 60 in October, but I am no stranger to wieght training.  After 15 years of being away from it, I am back in the saddle and still love it as much as I did in my 40s.  I just need to be more careful now when I lift the heavy weights.  I know I am burning more calories as I build muscle and I also balance my weight training workouts with walking and stretching on the altermate days.

guitardefector made the comment that the scale does not measure fat loss and many other variables and that is ABSOLUTELY CORRECT.  Even though my scale does not show the 2 -3 pounds loss per week that it once showed, I still continue to lose inches.

I have lost 30 pounds so far and would like to lose 25 more.  I will keep my eye focused on the goal and thanks to the support and comments of other members of CC and the CC staff, we will all make it.

Donna

 

 

 

 

 



Original Post by: naco2222

The above message was intended for hobbbs, but the quote function is not working....l


LOL!  Yeah, I figured.  Fortunately, he IS worth his weight in gold, so I have to keep him :-)    He also has a weight issue, and we've talked for years about how hard it is to lose the extra weight.   It just took me by surprise because he is the first person to actually say it to my face.  There may be others who think it, though, and it wouldn't surprise me if they did.  I just hope I CAN keep myself on the right path.  Time will tell...



Original Post by: hobbbs

Original Post by: naco2222

The above message was intended for hobbbs, but the quote function is not working....l


LOL!  Yeah, I figured.  Fortunately, he IS worth his weight in gold, so I have to keep him :-)    He also has a weight issue, and we've talked for years about how hard it is to lose the extra weight.   It just took me by surprise because he is the first person to actually say it to my face.  There may be others who think it, though, and it wouldn't surprise me if they did.  I just hope I CAN keep myself on the right path.  Time will tell...


Laughing  Gosh I know what you mean and you are right......it probably is a thought and valid fear of everyone who struggles with their weight  -- me included.

But I would rather not verbalize it (LOL)  There are times when denial is actually good coping mechanism.  I would prefer to think that I will keep off the weight; get rid of the larger sizes, and take my chances on a bright, slimmer and healthier future. Wink

Good luck and God bless all of us as we move forward on our journey.

 



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I do keep a log of everything I eat, and the calories too.  I should exercise more, and that usually means walking, but the weather in the northeast has not been cooperative for the past few weeks.  Now that the sidewalks are clear, I hope to get back on track.  To answer your questions,

Yes, No, Yes, Yes, No, Yes, No, Yes, No, and YES!



Sealed  LOL

Well at least you have sense of humor, hobbbs..... btw, I love the pic of your dog.  I know the weather in the northeast can really put a crimp in one's workout schedule.  I used to live in the northeast and now reside in sunny Florida.....ok, ok, I do not mean to rub it in.  But we have our rainy season and the hurrican season to contend.  Here's a suggestion...buy the Sweatin' to the Oldies dvd and dance in front of the tv during cold and inclement weather.

At least you will get your heart rate going.  Frankly those dances are harder than they look and you really get a good workout.

Sealed



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I'm not looking forward to the honeymoon stage being over. :/

I've lost 10 pounds in the last 2 weeks..6 pounds in week one and 4 pounds this week. I've been working out really, really hard at the gym every single day (the last two days I've been burning over 1,000 calories doing cardio and then also doing weights) so I hope if I continue with this much exercise I will continue to lose a lot of weight each week.



Original Post by: rachelwert

I'm not looking forward to the honeymoon stage being over. :/

I've lost 10 pounds in the last 2 weeks..6 pounds in week one and 4 pounds this week. I've been working out really, really hard at the gym every single day (the last two days I've been burning over 1,000 calories doing cardio and then also doing weights) so I hope if I continue with this much exercise I will continue to lose a lot of weight each week.


i hate to burst your bubble but it WILL slow down.  i do super intense cardio, burning 1200+ calories per session, plus i alternate with weightlifting every third workout, but still my weight loss slowed.  it happens to everyone.  i find it helps to think of it as a percentage.  if i need to lose 60 lb and i lose 10 in one month, that's 1/6 of my weight loss goal.  if i'm down to needing to lose 8 lb and i lose 2 in one month, that's 1/4 of my weight loss goal, which is better.  the closer your body gets to a healthy weight the slower the weight drops off because it's less that you really need to lose.  we also have to be careful when we're closer to a healthy weight not to drop the caloric intake too low or our bodies will cling to every calorie it gets and then the weight loss will really slow down!  it isn't like when we're overweight and you can cut the intake way low because you've got that energy reservoir you're toting around.  we've gotta make sure we're getting our carbs for energy, protein for muscle building, and healthy fats for vitamin absorption or our bodies will turn traitor on us because we're not treating them properly!  



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