Safe weight loss rate?

At 5.10” 217 lbs headed to 185lbs. Lost 12 pounds in a week and a half but haven’t lost any in the last 2 days. Is this normal or should I expect to drop weight daily? My BMR suggests around 1500 caloric intake during the week and 2340 for weekend if extreme weight loss is to be achieved. I ride 100-150 miles weekly outside/trainer so fairly active. I’ve been ending up with about 1200 calories daily intake as I am determined to make this weight come off and be MTB race ready next year.

I think what I need help with is whether or not losing weight daily is realistic or not? And if not what are realistic expectations that don’t compromise my TR workouts? Is it ok to not see a drop in weight a few days even though I am ending up in a 500-700 caloric deficit? Thanks

See the links in this post for lots of help.

I’m not convinced that losing 12 lbs in 10 days is even possible. A safe and sustainable (which is what should be aiming for ESPECIALLY) when doing anything as intense as a TR plan is 500kcal defecit per day.


No, you will not lose weight daily and you may actually gain weight from day to day even though you are losing weight overall. Simple things like water weight, which happens for a lot of reasons, but particularly due to stored up glucose, which you need to fuel your workouts, will cause you to be temporarily heavier until you use up that glucose. I would say, patience is a must. Weigh yourself at the same time everyday, but don’t look for every day to see a drop. Look at trends from week to week and see if you can see a pattern, such as you gain weight on your rest day and then lose weight for a few days after. Or you gain weight after a big ride or whatever. From week to week, you should see a decrease, but don’t freak out if you don’t because it’s a process. A good goal would be 1lb per week or a 500 calorie deficit per day.


Ok Thanks, I got excited to see 12 pounds off in 10 days but I went from a pretty crappy diet with unrestricted IPA beer consumption to a pretty strict fasting till noon, no alcohol till the weekend diet. Increased water intake, “especially when hungry”, and have ended up with caloric deficit of almost 1000 calories a day. Then on my 2nd week I’ve stalled in my weight loss even though I’m continuing my diet and exercise. Just making sure if I needed to adjust my expectations

It’s possible but definitely not advisable :hushed: I lost similar when I was at school and tea total (many moons ago) after getting hit by Pacreatitis.

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I’m sorry to tell you that a lot of the weight you have lost is water weight, and this is partly why the loss has slowed.

Please consider a defecit of no more than 500kcals and ensure you don’t drink lots of extra water without also increasing sodium/electrolytes.

Did you weigh yourself every day for a week and a half?


Yea…a 12 pound loss due to calorie restriction would require a deficit of ~42,000 calories over 12 days. To achieve that, you would have to ride in the neighborhood of 50 miles every day, while not consuming a single calorie during breakfast, lunch, dinner, on the bike, or snacks…zero.

So yea…sorry it’s water haha. Not all…but most.

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if you have a greater deficit than 300-500 calories per day, half of your weight loss will be lean muscle mass. The ideal target should be a deficit of 200-300 calories but more importantly a whole food balanced diet. You cannot perform if you don’t fuel your muscles.
Also, if you lose lean muscles, your weightless will slow down dramatically as you will burn less calories…
Weight loss and body composition is a process and will take time!

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Yes. I was dropping like 2 pounds a day but I was also riding 2hrs on the trainer multiple days plus outside rides.

I weigh everyday, to sync to my various devices. It’s not uncommon to see fluctuations up and down - previous days diet, the way your body reacts to certain foods, fibre intake (fibre out too :wink: ). I often have big jumps at the weekend, after the IPA’s and nuts and crisps. And then corresponding big drops Monday or Tuesday the following week.

Just pick a day of the week as your official weigh in day, and don’t sweat the daily changes.

Also, a 1000 calorie deficit should give circa 1kg/ 2lb per week. That’s what I worked too, 500 calories from diet, 500 from exercise. However, if I was going again, I would probably aim for less of a deficit or percentage based (15%), as on reflection I found it affected performance.

Significant weight loss, and a sustainable change in diet, is an audax not a crit!

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So would suggest an official weigh in as a weekly event? I too like to weigh in daily with my blue tooth scale bc it syncs to all my apps for tracking.

500 calorie a day max deficient is too conservative for a lot of situations. 1-1.5% body weight per week is considered fine, unless your body fat is already low (sub 10%). so, if you weight 100 pounds or already very lean, then yes, 500 calories per day max (1 lb/week). If you weight 200 pounds, bump that up to 1000 or even max of 1500. The leaner one is the more conservative one should be with the deficits, so 200 pounds and 15%ish body fat, I’d probably advise away from the 1500 number, 30% body fat… go for it.

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I prefer weighing every day and looking at a running average, if you only weigh once a week odds of catching it on a bad day are pretty high, and that can be demotivating.

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I wouldn’t not weigh in every day, but it’s the weekly trend that is the concern (and the weekly compliance/ deficit).

I pick Friday as my day, generally I find it reflects the week as a whole. And is before the weekend beers and associated poor food choices.

I’m sure it’s on one of the other threads linked, but weigh in Friday, recalculate TDEE on that weight (up, down or stay the same), and adjust deficit. I used my fitness pal to track food, and made gradual changes to my diet. Really started, and saw results, with portion control and no change of diet (from 120kg down to current 70kg-ish over 5 years (a few spells of maintenance in between, not just constant deficit))

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You need multiple data points to determine a trend. That’s why weighing yourself daily is recommended. Not because you expect to see a lot of change day-to-day but because collecting data points helps iron-out the fluctuation.

1 data point a week and you risk misinterpreting your nutrition strategy because of a day-to-day fluctuation that would’ve been identified by weighing in every day.

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Only my n=1.

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If you have a bluetooth scale, one recommendation I have seen is to weight daily but to not look at the number (maybe tape over the little display). Let it sync to your apps for tracking and then once a week or so look at the data (or a 4-7 day average if possible) so that that you still get the trend of whether you are gaining or losing weight but you don’t get caught up in one daily weight in being higher or lower than the rest.


I have a good one for this that more people need to hear. 1lb of fat can spit out about 25kcal per day. If you are 200 lbs at 10% body fat you have around 20lbs of fat. That means your fat can give up around 500kcal per day. If you restrict more than that over time, you will lose something other than fat. This is the magic pill to figuring out a top end limit you shouldnt try to exceed for loss rate. Its too bad guessing body fat is such a crap shoot. Either way its a good way to guess if you can loose .5lb per week or 3lb per week.

Thing is, dont think of it as a daily thing. Its more like a battery with a big slow battery charger. Your liver can convert all sorts of crap into usable substrate, but it takes time. Its the same reason v02max stuff is really aerobic. You use up a bunch of fast energy but it still has to be recharged over the sub ftp times via the big system wide generator (aerobic engine).

Fwiw, you didnt lose 12 lbs of fat (or muscle) in a week. You lost 12 lbs of water and glycogen. I do it way too often, and it used to be worse when i was low carb.
Step 1, Eat a normal american diet, lots of carbs lots of fat, LOTS of salt. Do some training in the heat or just generally be outside in the summer to drive up your plasma volume. Drink when thirsty.
Step 2, decide to clean up your diet, maybe even go low carb. Carbs in your body hold 3 units of water (I think, maybe 2? I dont recall. lots.) per unit of carb. Your 700 grams of liver carbs alone can be 2 or 3 kg of ‘weight’ swing when you make this change suddenly until you body adapts.
Step 3, drink way too much beer. Blow off all the rest of the water in your body, all the extra salt will go away and lots of water with it. You will now be down another 6+ lbs. You have now lost 10-12lbs in 5 days. You feel like death. You are less healthy. 0/5 stars, do not recommend.

At 5 10, 217 dont eat 1200 cal. You are not helping yourself. Eat 2200 and eat back your calories from training. Get 140 grams of protein per day and all the quality carbs you can with whats left over. Eat stuff with colors.

Website with article
relevant quote:

A 2005 study found that body fat stores can liberate, at most, about 31kcal/day to be burned. In a subsequent interview (which, unfortunately, I can’t find the link to anymore), the lead researcher admitted he botched a couple of calculations, and the limit was closer to 22kcal/day from each pound of body fat. With this information, we can use a nifty little formula that can tell you how fast you can shoot to lose fat without unnecessarily increasing your risk of losing much (or any) lean mass in the process. I’m using 25kcal/day per pound of fat because those 3kcal/day aren’t going to make a meaningful difference, and they’ll simplify the calculation a lot, as you’ll see in a second. Body weight x bodyfat percentage = total body fat x 25kcal/day per pound of fat = daily caloric deficit x 7 = weekly caloric deficit ÷ 3500 (since there are roughly 3500kcal per pound of fat tissue) = pounds of fat you can lose per week

relevant reference


Thanks for that informative insight. My caloric target on My Fitness Pal is around 2000 cal for 2lb a week weight loss. By the end of the day with exercise putting added allowed calories back in the equation I’ve been winding up anywhere between 700 to 1700 calorie deficit for the day. The lower deficit from taking in more calories and less exercise that day and the higher deficits from big training or ride days. I’ve yet to incorporate strength training but plan to. Thanks for everyone’s response