How Long Does it Take to Lose Weight?

One of the main questions, when you start the weight loss journey, is how long does it take to lose weight?

Well, at least one answer is definitely correct – you can’t lose weight overnight.

Weight loss is a process that needs a lot of effort and giving up some bad habits. (1)

Food variety and a healthy diet is very important as well as exercising which speeds up your metabolism, burns fat and increases muscle mass.

When will you notice some changes?

When you first start with your diet, you usually focus on the results; you want to see a smaller number on the scale, your waist to be thinner, and other people to say they notice you are on a diet.

But, the answer to the question depends on several factors.

3 factors that affect how long until you lose weight:

1. Your weight for starters

If you are in the overweight or obese category, you can lose about 10 pounds in just a few days.

So, if your weight is bigger you can lose more pounds more easily in the first days.

2. The type of your diet

Some diets start with a big calorie restriction (Atkins or the South Beach diet) so losing weight in that first phase is faster.

During that phase, you can lose 5 pounds in just a few days, if you are a bit overweight, but not obese.

Therefore, with this kind of diets, the first results will come soon.

3. The intake of carbs

Restriction and cutting out carbs, in the beginning, will result in getting rid of a lot of water.

That process will give you the feeling of looking thinner.

If you tend to retain water, getting rid of excess water can make you drop a few dress sizes.

But, don’t start thinking that getting rid of excess water is the same as getting rid of fat tissue.

So, totally cutting out carbs is not the best solution.

Especially if you do that without the right adjusting of your diet so that your body has all the necessary nutrients for good functioning.

2 Very Important Suggestions

1. How often should you step on the scale?

Don’t weigh yourself every day, especially multiple times a day.

You can step on the scale once a week, always on the same day at the same time.

That’s how you’ll get a weekly result which will show you whether you progress or not.

Why shouldn’t you weigh every day?

Weighing every day shows a very small difference and sometimes you may weigh more because of PMS, a lack of sleep, heavy meal, water, etc.

So, it doesn’t show if you follow your diet plan and progress.

2. Set up your goals

Many girls want to drop a dress size and that’s their goal.

Some girls want to get to a certain number of pounds.

And some want to reduce certain part of their body.

You will see the first results on the scale.

Namely, seeing you’ve lost a few pounds can be a good motivation although you can’t see it on your clothes or in the mirror.

The next change you will notice is the clothes.

You won’t drop a size right away, but you ‘ll see how your clothes are looser than before.

If you continue following your diet plan you will drop size for sure.

Last, you will see the change when looking in the mirror.

The changes start very soon, but they will be visible when you lose fat on your belly or your thighs.

And you will achieve that if you have a healthy diet and you exercise.

So, how long does it take to lose weight?

Let’s say that a moderate weight loss is 1-3 pounds per week, so let’s see how long it takes to lose 40 pounds.

If you eat healthily, exercise regularly you can aim to lose 3 pounds per week.

For example, if your goal is to lose 40 pounds, you’ll need about 3 months to achieve this goal. (2)

Weight loss calculator

There’s another way to calculate how many pounds you need to lose and how much time you’ll need to do that.

This is not my favorite method, but it’s worth mentioning.

I’m not particularly fond of it because there are many factors that can affect the final result.

You can search for different weight loss calculators on the Internet.

Weight loss week after week

Weight loss results

You can read here what to expect in the first 4 weeks of weight loss:

Week 1

Most of you can see on the scale that you are losing weight (even a few pounds).

You will feel better, but you won’t see the change in the mirror.

Week 2

You will see the change in the mirror and you will feel differently.

It will be easier to exercise and the clothes will be looser.

Week 3 

You can feel that the weight loss process has started and you need to continue what you’ve been doing.

If you follow your diet and exercise plan your body will look better and you will see the results.

Week 4

You will probably drop one dress size by then and you will be motivated to continue with the progress.

After 4 weeks your diet plan becomes a routine and it’s not hard to follow it.

This is a good way to implement healthy dietary habits and change your lifestyle.

Be aware that after a certain time you may reach weight loss plateau.

Find out how to overcome this here.

How long until buying new clothes?

Weight loss

There isn’t anything better than buying a new item of clothing and realizing you dropped one size after a few weeks.

That’s the moment when you feel how your hard work paid off and you stay motivated to continue making progress.

But, when it comes to when to buy new clothes, the answer isn’t simple.

If you are tall it’ll take more time to get smaller clothes than if you are short.

Some experts say that you need to lose 10-12 pounds before buying new clothes.

But, you can’t get rid of fat tissue on different body parts at the same time.

Unfortunately, there are some areas such as the thighs or the belly that require more time to lose fat.

You may need to buy a smaller bra first and then a smaller pair of pants.

For example:

  • To drop a pants size you need to reduce your waist and hips for 1-2 inches.
  • To drop a blouse size you need to reduce your waist and chest for 1-2 inches.
  • And to drop a dress size you need to reduce your waist, hips, and bust for 1-2 inches, depending on the type of dress.

But, dropping a size isn’t the biggest advantage when it comes to losing weight.

You will notice many positive changes if you continue following your diet plan and exercising.

When will people notice that you’ve lost weight?

The most important change for girls is the one in the mirror.

Many girls start a diet to be healthier, but mainly they want to look better and more attractive to their partners.

Also, girls want other people to notice if they’ve lost weight and that’s important.

If you want people to see that you are losing weight you need to lose 5-10 pounds.

And if you want other people to start seeing you as more attractive you need to lose more: 15-20 pounds.

So, what’s the bottom line?

To make a change and get rid of extra weight you need to start working on that because it takes time.

Remember that you need to lose weight gradually to stay healthy.

As time goes by you will change your habits too and when you reach your ideal weight you won’t gain back weight, you will continue eating healthily and working out.

Losing 1-3 pounds per week is considered to be an optimal and healthy weight loss.