When you first set out on a new weight loss journey, it’s likely that one of your main motivators will be the thought of the shapely new bod that awaits you.
We all love to look in the mirror or step on the scales and find that we’ve slimmed down and lost weight, but when most of us first begin our transformation, it’s easy to feel unsure of what to expect.
What is a normal weight loss timeline? How long does it take to lose weight? And does losing 10 pounds make a difference in appearance, or will you be losing all this weight for nothing?
If you find yourself starting out at the gym and getting to grips with a new diet, it’s natural you should ponder over when your weight loss will become noticeable. Below, we’ll take a look at when you should be able to see changes in your weight and your figure.
Okay, so how long does it take to notice weight loss?
The answer, a little disappointingly, is: it depends. For some people, one good week of eating right and exercising at a moderate level will be enough for observable weight loss both on the scales and in the mirror.
Then again, for others it may take weeks to notice a change due to factors including metabolism, the way in which you measure your fitness goals, and the type of exercise you do.
Despite the differences in weight loss that can occur between individuals (stop comparing to your friends, ladies!), it’s important to remember that although it may take time to properly notice your weight loss, your body will thank you for the extra care you’ve been taking of it.
Not all health rewards are immediately visible, but they’re all valuable!
Okay then—now let’s run through the factors that can help answer the all-important question: when do people notice weight loss?
When do people notice weight loss: important factors
Your weight at the outset
Your starting weight and size will influence the time it takes for you to notice a difference in your body. If you’re higher up on the body mass index (BMI)—particularly if you register as ‘obese’—you may well notice rapid changes in your weight once you switch to a healthy regime.
The flip side of this, however, is that you may not notice much of a difference in the mirror at the outset compared to a person with a low or medium BMI who lost the same amount of weight.
Your height will factor in too; ten pounds lost from the body of somebody who is six foot four will look inconsequential compared to ten pounds somebody who stands at only five foot four.
The type of diet you stick to
Many diet plans, such as the Atkins and South Beach diets, are designed to ensure you shed a lot of weight quickly at the outset.
Also Read: Does Calorie Counting Work?
The first few weeks of these diets will see you slimming down quite rapidly, which of course can be very motivating. Some beginners can lose up to five pounds in their first week!
In truth, however, the weight lost in this opening week is mostly water weight lost through restricting carbohydrates as opposed to fat that’s been burned.
Limiting your intake of carbs
Restricting carbohydrates can lead to you losing a noticeable amount of weight in a short period. This is because your body uses water to store the carbs you consume, and without them, you shed the excess water weight.
In reality, what this means is that you can see rapid results after only a week of carb-cutting, however the results won’t be long-lasting as you’ve not yet burned much actual fat. To do that you have to keep at it for longer!
How often you weigh yourself
There are two schools of thought on this matter. The first is that it’s better to weigh yourself at longer intervals, for example once per week. This is thought to help boost your morale by showing you larger amounts of weight lost, accumulated over the week.
Alternatively, you can weigh yourself daily, which studies have shown can actually lead to increased weight loss, presumably due to the fact that daily weigh-ins would help to maintain your enthusiasm and diligence.
How you measure your weight loss
There are several ways to measure your progress, and these will impact how you notice your weight loss. For example, if you hop on the bathroom scales—particularly ones which are super sensitive and can show small increments of weight lost—you’ll be able to see your weight gradually ticking down.
Also Read: 6 Easy Habits To Help You Lose Weight
The downside for scales is that they don’t account for muscle gained, which weighs more than fat. This could mean your weight stays the same, even as you lose fat.
If you decide to simply judge your weight loss by the fit of your clothes, you may not know much about the numbers behind your weight loss, but will simply notice your tops and dresses fitting better.
Dropping dress sizes
Dropping a dress size or two is many people’s goal at the outset, and is a clear signifier you’re losing weight. It’s important to remember, however, that different people lose weight at different rates; no two bodies or metabolisms are the same.
Some people may lose fat first from their thighs, while others lose it from their tummy or their arms.
When is weight loss noticeable: the big picture
It’s important to remember as you chase your weight loss goal that no matter how long it takes, you’re doing a good thing for your body and making a big difference to your health overall.
However, it’s definitely amazing to see results unfold before your very eyes. Here’s where you can roughly expect to be at various stages on your journey…
In your first week you can lose up to five pounds if you put the work in and get your diet right. It’ll be tough, but what a head start!
Two weeks in you’ll begin to see minor improvements to your body in the mirror; a little less fat here, a little more toned there…
After three weeks, your changing physical appearance may begin to be noticed by others. Prepare yourself for compliments!
By week four, you may well have achieved the Holy Grail of weight loss: dropping down a whole dress size.
How long to lose weight ultimately?
Everybody is different, but the above weight loss timeline will be pretty accurate for many people beginning their weight loss journey. The key, of course, is to be consistent with your daily exercise and to keep up a healthy, balanced diet. All you need is the motivation to keep going and you’ll see results in no time.
Ladies, you’ve got this!
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