How Long Does It Take to Lose Weight?
- How long does it take to lose weight? There’s no simple answer to this question, because the time it takes to lose weight depends on many different factors.
- Age, gender, height, and other individual characteristics all have an effect on how long it takes to shed excess pounds, but there are some general guidelines that can apply to most people who are trying to lose weight or make small changes to their lifestyle in order to be healthier overall.
- Here are some factors that play into how long it takes to lose weight and tips on how you can more effectively manage your dieting efforts.
If you want results fast – start slow
There’s no doubt about it: we live in an instant-gratification world. But sometimes patience is more than just a virtue—it can help you lose weight.
When trying to shed pounds, many people start out with aggressive goals and unrealistic timelines. But true sustainable weight loss takes time.
A lot of people who lose fast aren’t able to keep it off long term (if they ever see those results again at all).
If you’re trying to lose weight slowly but surely and your efforts aren’t making much of a difference after several weeks, slow down even further and focus on small changes that can still have big results over time—even if they seem minuscule now.
The Diet Myth
Dieting has become an integral part of our culture. We might not be in love with dieting itself, but we know that it’s necessary if we want to lose weight.
The media has reinforced these feelings by publishing success stories and providing us with lists of super foods and workout routines that will help us achieve bikini bodies—whatever that means.
Changing your mindset about food and incorporating regular physical activity into your daily routine is a more sustainable long-term solution than restrictive diets.
In order to find out how long it takes for people to get back on track after falling off the wagon, I went looking for some statistics.
What I found was that most studies show that it takes six months or longer for people who are trying to lose weight after being derailed from their goal by illness, injury, or other extenuating circumstances.
In other words, if you are determined enough (and patient) then there is no excuse why you cannot make progress towards achieving your goals no matter what life throws at you!
No one sets out on their weight-loss journey expecting it to fail. You probably didn’t go into your first diet with that mindset either.
But, if you’re like most people who have embarked on these endeavors, you realized that losing weight isn’t easy; there are plenty of factors working against you.
If your initial efforts don’t last for long and more-than-likely resulted in no significant weight loss at all, don’t be discouraged.
Setting realistic expectations can help you stay on track, but having an idea of how long it will take for you to lose weight may also help keep your spirits up when the going gets tough.The truth is, the length of time needed to lose weight depends on several factors:
starting point (how much do you weigh?), your lifestyle (are you eating healthy and exercising regularly?), goal (want to lose 5 pounds or 100 pounds?) as well as genetic predisposition (do some people naturally burn calories faster than others?).
This is why doctors use the body mass index chart to determine a person’s ideal range before labeling them underweight, overweight or obese.
Small Changes Add Up
There are small things you can do everyday—like cutting out sugar and flossing—that make huge differences in your life.
I used to hate brushing my teeth. My mouth would burn every time I did it and so I eventually stopped doing it.
One day my dentist told me that skipping out on brushing had caused massive dental problems for me (over $7000 worth).
He asked if I wanted him to fix them for free, but only if I started brushing again. So now I brush my teeth every single day without fail; it’s something I don’t want to lose!
And you shouldn’t either! Start doing little things that make you feel good. Everyday. Even if they seem like small victories they add up over time into big wins!
Weigh Yourself Regularly
There’s no magic number for how often you should weigh yourself. But since weight loss is generally slow and steady (that is, about 1 to 2 pounds per week), you shouldn’t need to step on a scale every day.
Once a week will do just fine for most people. Weigh yourself first thing in the morning and don’t step on it again until after you eat breakfast and drink plenty of water.
Before stepping on it, take off your shoes and socks and empty your pockets of any change. You want your weight reading as accurate as possible—there’s nothing more discouraging than seeing something like 1 pound come up when you had hoped for half that!
The information on nutrition labels can be pretty confusing. If you’re trying to lose weight—or even maintain it—you have to consider how many calories are in food and whether those calories fill you up.
If you’re consuming too many calories but not getting full, your body will keep looking for more energy. This is when your metabolism will slow down and lead you to overeat.
Read nutrition labels so that you know what’s in your food and can avoid consuming empty calories that don’t make your body feel satisfied.
Eat Slowly and Chew Well
When you eat too quickly, it’s easy to consume more food than you need. That can mean packing on extra pounds (or calories) without even realizing it.
Make an effort to chew slowly and savor your food so that you’re not over-stuffing yourself with unnecessary calories before feeling full.
Also keep in mind that smaller portions often help people lose weight. So, if you are going out for dinner, split an entre´e with someone else at the table rather than ordering your own meal.
If you don’t feel like cooking at home and there is nothing satisfying on the menu, order a side salad instead of fries as a starter for instance. You’ll be less likely to overeat this way!
Exercise Every Day
If you’re trying to lose weight quickly, you’ll want to incorporate some form of exercise into your daily routine.
And since more calories are burned with greater intensity of effort, you’ll want to limit slower forms of activity such as walking.
As a general rule, aim for five days of more strenuous exercise and two days less intense each week (more on why in our diet tips below).
Keep in mind that working out every day can be hard for many people—even if it’s just 15 minutes at a time—so find what works best for your schedule.
Exercise is important even if you’re just trying to maintain your current weight or have 5 pounds or less that you’d like to lose.