Pennington Biomedical Research Center has a great weight loss predictor.

Found at their site. You may need a java upgrade.

It produces a very nice chart, showing how a weight loss program will taper off after so many months. Cutting back on calories has never been a straight line of success, which is why so many diets fail.

The trouble is, as you can see from the graph, there are decreasing losses that come with calorie restriction / extra exercise. At some point, the cutting back is simply about maintenance. A few articles in recent years have emphasized that your calorie burning slows down several dozen, or a couple hundred, calories a day, after you’ve lost some weight. This is in addition to the fact that, if you are 10% less in size than you were, you don’t need those extra calories you did when you were bigger. So you need less, because you weigh less, and you need less because the body goes into famine mode and burns the calories you do eat more efficiently.

This doesn’t mean that weight loss is hopeless. It’s simply that it’s harder than a simple model might suggest. (For example, “just eat less!”) It’s eat less, maybe exercise more, and be ready to maintain your loss at a point where you think you can.

In the Pennington model, I’m not sure what happens after month 12. They should really study when the maintenance number becomes the “new normal”, and you can more easily lose more again.

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