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Optavia weight loss - any known risks?

Old 04-20-23, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
16 lbs of fat loss would equal a deficit of 56,000 Calories. If that was over 5 weeks, that's a deficit of 1600 Calories per day.

That's a huge deficit! I would be extremely wary of any program that prescribes that much Calorie restriction.
Originally Posted by Road Fan
What is that calculation based on?
It's based on the reported calorie content of 1 pound of body fat = 3500 Calories

16 lbs of fat * (3500 Calories/lb of fat) / 35 days = 1600 Calories / day
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Old 04-21-23, 03:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan
Actually, moving back to real food was always my plan but I need to do it in a way that has some discipline, because I am the ultimate re-binger!
I hear you there. I get my discipline from tracking my food intake and following a balanced diet. I just use a Fitbit fitness tracker to log calories in/out and a Fitbit bathroom scale that automatically tracks my weight and body fat. I don't count calories all the time because that becomes a bit tedious after a while, but I take snap-shots over a few weeks to check that I'm on track, especially if my weight starts to creep back up. When I started doing this about 5 years ago I initially lost 12 kg (taking me from borderline overweight to ideal) and have been able to hold it there consistently ever since. The most weight I've put back on is around 5 kg (usually after Christmas when I eat whatever I feel like for several weeks). That then takes me 3 or 4 months to gradually remove. I don't try to lose weight any faster than that.
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Old 04-21-23, 03:28 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
It's based on the reported calorie content of 1 pound of body fat = 3500 Calories

16 lbs of fat * (3500 Calories/lb of fat) / 35 days = 1600 Calories / day
Hence why it takes so long to genuinely lose weight without affecting your energy levels and mood. I never try to lose more than 1kg (2.2 lbs) per month, so based on your figure, that would be a deficit of roughly 250 calories/day, which in my experience is sustainable, but definitely requires some discipline. A 1600 calorie/day deficit is totally unsustainable.

I think genuine weight loss requires a lot of patience and a long-term mentality. Your diet needs to be sustainable for the rest of your life - which for me rules out any commercial diet plan that targets rapid weight loss.
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Old 04-21-23, 04:41 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
25% of VO2max seems quite low for maximal fat oxidation. The reported range is typically 45-65% of VO2max.

You might have rode over the word, "Subcutaneous"


The study I linked was showing how different substrates and sources of those substrates are called upon as power and energy levels over time increase


At 50% VO2 max, fat is still being burned at a high percentage, which varies of course from individual to individual. Between 25-50%, more of the fatty acids were from intramuscular triacylglycerides. (I always wondered why top ultraendurance cyclists have less of striated muscle look to their legs and kind of a chubby look....LOL). The lipids of concern in weight loss are the subcutaneous ones.


The challenge for weight loss is being able to doe "it" day after day after week and month. In my experience, low intensity and lower carb, higher fat, and higher protein diet is sustainable although this is not something to do if racing or even trying to build. At best, it would be an off season or early season strategy, especially in the cold.


The crossover from fat to CHO listed in that study is kind of high at 65%, this transition is trainable. Some would say that is a low power because they are thinking percentage of FTP. Lets say a rider has a VO2 max of 400 watts and an FTP of 300 watts, 65% of VO2 max is 270 watts or 90% of FTP. At a more extreme level of utilization, 340w FTP (85% of VO2 max is pretty high) gives just about 80% of FTP. 80-90% of FTP is Tempo. Of course 25% at only 100 watts gives 360 calories per hour but nearly all of that would be subcutaneous fat and if we are touring or hiking, it would be a pound of fat. In one day. I have done that for weeks. That was basically the gist of my point.


Lipids as a fuel source for energy supply during submaximal exercise originate from subcutaneous adipose tissue derived fatty acids (FA), intramuscular triacylglycerides (IMTG), cholesterol and dietary fat. These sources of fat contribute to fatty acid oxidation (FAox) in various ways. The regulation and utilization of FAs in a maximal capacity occur primarily at exercise intensities between 45 and 65% VO2max, is known as maximal fat oxidation (MFO), and is measured in g/min.
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Old 04-21-23, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
I hear you there. I get my discipline from tracking my food intake and following a balanced diet. I just use a Fitbit fitness tracker to log calories in/out and a Fitbit bathroom scale that automatically tracks my weight and body fat. I don't count calories all the time because that becomes a bit tedious after a while, but I take snap-shots over a few weeks to check that I'm on track, especially if my weight starts to creep back up. When I started doing this about 5 years ago I initially lost 12 kg (taking me from borderline overweight to ideal) and have been able to hold it there consistently ever since. The most weight I've put back on is around 5 kg (usually after Christmas when I eat whatever I feel like for several weeks). That then takes me 3 or 4 months to gradually remove. I don't try to lose weight any faster than that.

Self-correction: I need to do it in a way that I am able to discipline.
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Old 04-21-23, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62
You might have rode over the word, "Subcutaneous"


The study I linked was showing how different substrates and sources of those substrates are called upon as power and energy levels over time increase


At 50% VO2 max, fat is still being burned at a high percentage, which varies of course from individual to individual. Between 25-50%, more of the fatty acids were from intramuscular triacylglycerides. (I always wondered why top ultraendurance cyclists have less of striated muscle look to their legs and kind of a chubby look....LOL). The lipids of concern in weight loss are the subcutaneous ones.
Okay, I see what you're getting at, but I'm not sure it's that important where the fatty acids (FAs) are coming from. The body seems to do a good job of distributing FAs where it wants to--and transporting them to the bloodstream when needed.

Nor is it clear (to me) that max. transport of subcutaneous FAs occurs at 25% of VO2max, only that most of the FAs at that level are coming from subcutaneous tissue. Maybe the transport continues at a high level or even goes higher, supplemented by the FAs stored in muscle. (Andy Coggan made a passing reference to this effect in a recent podcast, saying that at high heart rates, blood flow is shunted towards working muscles and away from subcutaneous tissue, thus reducing the transport of FAs into the bloodstream, but he didn't specify how high the heart rate needs to be to cause this shunting.)

The pertinent section of the article:

At 25% VO2max, FAox [fatty acid oxidation] comprises >90% of energy expenditure and more specifically plasma FAs provide the largest energy contribution, where muscle glycogen and IMTG [intramuscular triglycerides] contribute very little. At exercise intensities <65% VO2max muscle glycogen and IMTG oxidation increase considerably to as much as 50% of energy expenditure

When approaching 65% of VO2max, since 50% of energy is coming from glycogen+IMTG, that presumes the other 50% is coming from somewhere else (subcutaneous FAs?).
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Old 04-21-23, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Okay, I see what you're getting at, but I'm not sure it's that important where the fatty acids (FAs) are coming from. The body seems to do a good job of distributing FAs where it wants to--and transporting them to the bloodstream when needed.

Nor is it clear (to me) that max. transport of subcutaneous FAs occurs at 25% of VO2max, only that most of the FAs at that level are coming from subcutaneous tissue. Maybe the transport continues at a high level or even goes higher, supplemented by the FAs stored in muscle. (Andy Coggan made a passing reference to this effect in a recent podcast, saying that at high heart rates, blood flow is shunted towards working muscles and away from subcutaneous tissue, thus reducing the transport of FAs into the bloodstream, but he didn't specify how high the heart rate needs to be to cause this shunting.)

The pertinent section of the article:

At 25% VO2max, FAox [fatty acid oxidation] comprises >90% of energy expenditure and more specifically plasma FAs provide the largest energy contribution, where muscle glycogen and IMTG [intramuscular triglycerides] contribute very little. At exercise intensities <65% VO2max muscle glycogen and IMTG oxidation increase considerably to as much as 50% of energy expenditure

When approaching 65% of VO2max, since 50% of energy is coming from glycogen+IMTG, that presumes the other 50% is coming from somewhere else (subcutaneous FAs?).
In my experience, low intensity and lower carb, higher fat, and higher protein diet is sustainable

Nobody can do 50% of VO2 max for 30 days straight. Not even close. RAAM riders' power drop down to a very low steady state and that is only 10 days.

The source of FA isn't so important and is too much a detour for me to want to discuss.

I've lost 20 pounds of fat in 3+ weeks more than once and it stayed off. Both times were all day low intensity efforts that were sustainable. 50% of VO2 max would be 175-200 watts for me, typically. By the time I get to day 5, 100-130 watts is about all I can hold. So, why not just start with 100-130W on day 1 and not get sore, tired, and develop sleeping problems. Some tourists and thru hikers do go 10-12 hours per day and almost w/o exception they report not being able to replace all of the calories and their fat goes away, sometimes at a pound per day. Anytime I have done long backpacking or long touring, upon return I crush all my cycling times especially on climbs because my power is high and weight is low.

The idea that someone should not exercise when on any diet would be a huge red flag to me. If a diet required that, I wouldn't do it.
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Old 04-21-23, 11:03 AM
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n my experience, low intensity and lower carb, higher fat, and higher protein diet is sustainable

Nobody can do 50% of VO2 max for 30 days straight. Not even close. RAAM riders' power drop down to a very low steady state and that is only 10 days.[/QUOTE]


I would suggest that pros in a grand tour are doing more than 50% or more of VO2max, every day. They are at the extreme, of course. 20 years ago, I was doing multi-hour spirited rides day after day, taking a rest day only occasionally. About 20-25 hours per week. This ability is trainable.

Originally Posted by GhostRider62
II've lost 20 pounds of fat in 3+ weeks more than once and it stayed off. Both times were all day low intensity efforts that were sustainable. 50% of VO2 max would be 175-200 watts for me, typically. By the time I get to day 5, 100-130 watts is about all I can hold. So, why not just start with 100-130W on day 1 and not get sore, tired, and develop sleeping problems.
These days, I'm no longer doing long rides every day. I'm riding ~15 hours per week, my average power is around 55%, with an energy burn > 8000 Calories. If I'm not mindful about eating enough food, my weight can drop quickly (I am quite lean to start with). That level of effort is quite sustainable for me. If I were to increase to 20+ hours, my average power would likely drop somewhat.
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Old 04-21-23, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
in my experience, low intensity and lower carb, higher fat, and higher protein diet is sustainable

Nobody can do 50% of VO2 max for 30 days straight. Not even close. RAAM riders' power drop down to a very low steady state and that is only 10 days.


I would suggest that pros in a grand tour are doing more than 50% or more of VO2max, every day. They are at the extreme, of course. 20 years ago, I was doing multi-hour spirited rides day after day, taking a rest day only occasionally. About 20-25 hours per week. This ability is trainable.



These days, I'm no longer doing long rides every day. I'm riding ~15 hours per week, my average power is around 55%, with an energy burn > 8000 Calories. If I'm not mindful about eating enough food, my weight can drop quickly (I am quite lean to start with). That level of effort is quite sustainable for me. If I were to increase to 20+ hours, my average power would likely drop somewhat.
They are not riding all day. The total time was under 80 hours last year over the 22 days. You would be surprised to look at lots of power files from them. The power is almost bimodal. When they are hot to trot or not climbing, the levels are eyepopping but when in the peloton without a chase, they are not making huge power.....200-225 watts sitting in would be typical. 500-600 watts for 5 minutes is not an unusual output for tour riders to put it into perspective. I have researched and lived the decline in power over many weeks of ultra endurance.

I really don't feel like arguing to be honest. I respect you but this is a pointless matter.

If someone want to lose a ton of weight, consider what I wrote. Keep the intensity down and keep at it for months. Don't do HIIT. Do what you can do day in and day out given your work and family commitments. If you have time and enjoy long hikes. Do that and keep sugar down.
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Old 04-21-23, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62
If someone want to lose a ton of weight, consider what I wrote. Keep the intensity down and keep at it for months. Don't do HIIT. Do what you can do day in and day out given your work and family commitments. If you have time and enjoy long hikes. Do that and keep sugar down.
Good advice, assuming people have the time available to exercise for hours at low intensity, and they find the activity enjoyable enough to keep doing it.

The only important thing is Calories burned, and there are just two levers to pull: time and intensity. There is no single formula, as "all roads lead to Rome". If high intensity is enjoyable, do it. If dawdling along at low effort is enjoyable, do that. If the activity interests you enough to do it consistently, it is a good activity.

If I had to do low intensity rides all the time, I would get bored out of my mind, and I would quit. That would not be sustainable for me.

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Old 04-23-23, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62
In my experience, low intensity and lower carb, higher fat, and higher protein diet is sustainable

Nobody can do 50% of VO2 max for 30 days straight. Not even close. RAAM riders' power drop down to a very low steady state and that is only 10 days.

The source of FA isn't so important and is too much a detour for me to want to discuss.

I've lost 20 pounds of fat in 3+ weeks more than once and it stayed off. Both times were all day low intensity efforts that were sustainable. 50% of VO2 max would be 175-200 watts for me, typically. By the time I get to day 5, 100-130 watts is about all I can hold. So, why not just start with 100-130W on day 1 and not get sore, tired, and develop sleeping problems. Some tourists and thru hikers do go 10-12 hours per day and almost w/o exception they report not being able to replace all of the calories and their fat goes away, sometimes at a pound per day. Anytime I have done long backpacking or long touring, upon return I crush all my cycling times especially on climbs because my power is high and weight is low.

The idea that someone should not exercise when on any diet would be a huge red flag to me. If a diet required that, I wouldn't do it.
One thing here I think I understand now: the information about subcutaneous FA seems also to apply to intermuscular (and intramuscular?) FA, that the same mechanisms seem to reduce them. I'm glad to understand that.

Now I have two bikes set up on trainers, with matched saddle positioning and very similar saddles. They are my pair of nicely supple Ideale 80s, one is an Ideale TB 80 Speciale Competition, and the other is an Ideale TB 80 Type - Record, with the smaller oval badge with the word "Garantita" on each side of the nose. I like those two! I don't know how old they are, but they are very nice perches for pedaling. I'm m trying to starting with 30 min/day (did 15 yesterday and today to get things dialed in), hoping to do 45 on Friday. For the time being I'll just stay with conversational pacing. I've taken a few walks recently about 8000 steps, so I think I primarily need to start more endurance-like work. I do still have some muscular strength left, it seems!

Anybody have a reasonable equivalency between minutes of conversational pace riding and steps taken in long walks? I don't think pure distance is a good basis for alignment, and same for scaling speed. Any agreement on that? What about scaling cycling energy against walking energy, to find a calories used comparison? Has anybody done this here?
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