Official Weight Loss Thread


Depends on ambient temperature and what you’re doing.

If it’s hot out, or you were exercising, and your body was trying to down-regulate temperature, then your existing body heat would warm up the incoming liquid and then it wouldn’t have to work so hard to cool off, any more… and there would be no need for thermogenesis (burning calories to create heat.)

The usual circumstance, however, is that your body is generating heat to keep your temperature up at 37 degrees, because the ambient temperatures is considerably lower… so the heat lost to the drink needs to be replaced by the body burning additional calories. You’ve created additional thermal load, and the body burns calories to create heat to compensate for it.


I think that infographic is provides a better guideline than any particular measurement.

The “right” amount to drink is affected by body size, amount of water in your food, activity level, ambient humidity… Too much water for a sedentary person in a humid place is too little for an active person in a desert… but they’d both learn which way to adjust based on simple observation.


can people post their weight loss, in how long, percentage of soylent a day, and any exercise done? i myself am about 50% soylent, no exercise, no weight loss, been doing soylent since 1.0, plan on easing myself into 100% 2.0 and add rowing to get some weight loss going


As mentioned above I’d like to lop off about 25 pounds, and I’ve been thinking about sharing my weight loss journey here (or on a blog I link to here) if 2.0 plays out well. I’m trying my first 100% soylent day today since I have a shift at work this afternoon, and assuming I can survive without flipping out and ordering a pizza at 6 PM (for the student workers, of course!), I think I’ll be moving forward with my plan.


The current science suggests you should:

Cut the calories until until you see weight loss happening.
Keep it up until you lose the weight you want to lose.
Then start the exercise and get back onto normal calories.

A little exercise doesn’t help much in weight loss, and may actually make it harder.
But exercise is critical to prevent regaining the weight you lost when you stop eating a “restricted” diet.


Agreed in general–you can’t outrun your fork, and too much exercise can be counterproductive if you’re losing weight. However, I like exercising 4-6 times a week for my mental health, heart fitness, and muscle mass.


I think exercise can be good in limited amounts. Also, low impact exercise is probably good.

I lost 7 kilograms in two weeks during my trip to Tokyo just from walking (I walked on average 8 hours per day). My motivation was that I only had two weeks and this was my one chance to see as much of Tokyo as possible!

So, from personal experience, walking is good.

Aggressive weight lifting, well, I don’t think I ever really lost weight while going to the gym. I did build some strength though, which is always good.


Citation needed.

sigh we really just had this argument. You need both. People can’t maintain the caloric restriction necessary without some exercise, plus your body will cannibalize muscle if you’re sedentary.



TL; DW: Exercise is great for health, neutral for weight loss. You just need 30 extra minutes of brisk walking a day to fulfill most health benefits, something like a tough gym regimen is for getting big muscles, not for being more healthy. Getting exercise beyond daily walking or jogging is not a contributory factor to weight loss, contrary to popular belief.


Honestly I think that’s BS.
Also, “starvation mode” is BS.


I think this common belief may actually cause a significant amount of harm for those trying to lose weight. Someone that puts a lot of effort into way too much exercise and then fails to see results is likely to get discouraged. Looking at it as a cost/benefit analysis that person may see the cost as much higher than what they had originally expected in order to realize the benefit of weight loss. And decide it just isn’t worth it. Whereas the real cost is lower than what they’re assuming but because everyone knows that exercise is necessary for weight loss they don’t know realize their error in the decision making process.


@hasen apparently doesn’t know…

I do know that I’ve never lost weight from only restricting calories. Only when I restrict calories and do at least minimal exercise. It’s really not that hard to just go for a walk people.


I’m sorry I drive you to sighs. I don’t recall arguing with you. I try not to argue, I try to just present what I’ve found.

Anyway, here are some citations.

Exercise never leads to as much weight loss as people predict:

Why? Because people don’t exercise as much as they think, and the little they do prompts their appetites and they allow themselves to eat more.

People typically overestimate the number of calories they’ve burned through exercise by about 30%, but when they go to their next meal, they’re willing to eat a little more, based on what they believe they’ve burned off. Plus, they’re hungrier because of the exercise.

Meanwhile, here’s a systematic review of studies which compared diet-only and exercise-only to combined diet-and-exercise:

Key take-aways: “weight loss is similar in the short-term for diet-only and [combined diet-and-exercise]…” In other words, for the first three to six months, as long as you diet, you’ll lose weight, whether or not you exercise. The diet works by itself, and adding exercise does not improve the result… “but in the longer-term weight loss is increased when diet and physical activity are combined…” in the longer term, exercise helps a lot. It helps you keep the weight off that you’ve lost in those first few months, even while continued dieting helps you continue to lose weight.

Perhaps you hadn’t restricted them as much as you thought. It’s very well-established that reducing calories works. In fact, I just read a study looking into the effectiveness of obesity drugs versus diet versus exercise for maintaining weight loss. It was a review of 20 studies… and in all 20 studies, the initial weight loss was successfully done by via diet alone (

But those are controlled studies with strict diets. It’s easy to go on a diet on your own and eat more than you think. We’re all notoriously bad at estimating our intakes! Lisa Young from NYU recently did a great study asking actual dieticians to estimate the calorie breakdown of some common meals, and the results were revealing:

In Ms. Young’s study, most of the dietitians accurately estimated the calorie and fat content of a glass of milk: the average was within five calories of the actual calorie content. But when asked to estimate the fat and calories in a hamburger and onions rings, the average estimate was 863 calories and 44 grams of fat. The actual content was 1,550 calories and 101 grams of fat.

The dietitians estimated that the tuna salad sandwich provided 374 calories and 18 grams of fat, but the sandwich contained 720 calories and 43 grams of fat.

The porterhouse steak dinner in Ms. Young’s study contained 1,860 calories and 125 grams of fat, but the dietitians on average estimated 1,239 calories and 64 grams of fat.

Ms. Young’s lasagna contained 960 calories and 53 grams of fat; the average of estimates by the dietitians was 694 calories and 35 grams of fat. The Caesar salad contained 660 calories and 46 grams of fat. Here again, the dietitians were on the low side: the average of their estimates was 439 calories and 24 grams of fat.

This study is old - from 1997 - but it’s been replicated. And even when dietitians are reminded of the study, their estimates when they look at a meal are very, very varied. Non-dietitians can expect to do worse, not better. This is why most people who diet but fail to lose weight probably didn’t diet nearly as hard as they thought.

Personally, I’ve done well on weight loss just from dieting, but only when I’m actively measuring my food, or doing soylent (where measuring becomes trivially simple). I’ve also had great results when doing a very, very harsh calorie reduction (reducing calories by 50% or more - so much that, even with personal bias and error, I’m still down sharply on total intake.)

My diets are always more effective when I’m not exercising, in part because when I exercise more, I have a greater appetite, which makes it harder to diet. It’s also partly because the exercise tends to push the body towards an anabolic state - and it’s hard to lose fat (a catabolic action) while in an anabolic state. Also, exercise which is more intense than a fairly low threshold tends to push the muscles out of fat-burning and into carb-burning. That’s not bad, per se, but if your goal is to burn body fat, pushing your muscles out of fat-burning mode isn’t the best plan.

Of course, there’s never a point where I’ve stopped going for walks. As you say,

Also, I have dogs, and they demand it! But when people talk about adding exercise for weight loss, they usually don’t mean going for walks. They usually mean something more intense, like taking up rowing. That’s literally what @antimann77 said, he was going to “add rowing to get some weight loss going.”

But I guess I agree with you; walking is a good adjunct to a diet for weight loss. But I think more intensive exercise is best held off for a few months; focusing time and energy on getting the calorie intake under control is a lot more effective in the beginning, and is a valuable skill to develop.

Good luck, everyone! Keep at it!


I did actually mention walking in my previous comment.

Low impact physical activity is not only good for weight loss but necessary to maintain good health.

Walking is my favorite form of physical activity.

But I think that specifically for weight loss, the only thing you need is caloric restriction. You burn calories by merely existing. If you don’t get these calories from food, your body has no choice but to draw from its energy reserves.

There’s a lot of FUD about your body eating up on muscles instead of fat, and your body going in starvation mode where it will burn less calories if you don’t eat.

That part specifically is what I referred to when I said “I think that’s BS”.

Actually I heard the opposite: that you lose muscles if you exercise without eating enough calories.


If you want to maintain muscle mass, just make sure to eat plenty of protein. Calorie restriction with low protein diets is a sure fire way to lose muscle mass.


Like I (think I) said, citation needed. :smile:


I didn’t mean you specifically, just that I participated in an argument on this board very recently. :smile:

Here’s the thing: I never said exercise alone worked. I said diet AND exercise.

If you are actually careful about your calories and make sure you intake the same each day (say, by using Soylent) then you’ll lose more weight with exercise.

The problem with calorie restriction only is that you can only restrict so much before it’s harmful and counterproductive. I tried 1600 Calories/day of Soylent for two days last week and was starving after that. I went back up to 2k Calories, and if I hadn’t would have soon ended up binging on something.

In fact, the minimum calories a middle aged male should take in is 1500 (or 1200 with medical supervision.) If your BMR is 2,000 calories/day that means you shouldn’t have more than a 500 calorie deficit, which is basically 1lb/week.

A) That’s so slow people get frustrated
B) You’re starving all the time, which leads to binging
C) One night out where you binge is enough to regain that weight

Meanwhile, if you eat 1,600 calories and exercise for another 500 (which can be a couple walks a day) you’re burning weight faster, should be less hungry and are less likely to gain it all back in one night.

One of the studies linked in the other thread actually pointed out this effect: In the short term, 3-6 months iirc, people lost more weight with diet alone. In the LONG term, however, people lost more weight with combined diet and exercise. The other factor in the short term study is that calorie intake was strictly controlled, so there were no opportunities for bingeing.

Oh, now that I scrolled down and re-read I think you’re quoting that study with a misinterpretation. In the long term, they didn’t start with calorie restriction and then add exercise… they did the combination the whole time. It leads to more, longer lasting weight loss.

Which is my point.

Yes, exactly this. Another reason why, in the real world, diet alone doesn’t work. (Although I was pretty meticulous about doing it, the time I stuck to it the longest I was in college… so lots of walking across campus and such.)

So, basically you’ve never lost weight from calorie restriction alone. :smile:

I think you need both, and frankly if you’re going 100% Soylent it’s not too hard to get the calorie intake under control. :stuck_out_tongue:


A couple hours of walking! Who has time for that?


Not a couple hours a couple walks.

Two half hour walks at a brisk pace (around 3.5mph) is 450 calories for me.

I do shorter walks (10-15 minutes) at work when I need a break from staring at the screen. :smile:


Or if you really walk 3 mph and weight 180 lbs you only burn about 270 calories per hour.