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How long does it take to notice weight loss?

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How long does it take to notice weight loss?

Losing weight can be incredibly challenging. It requires a significant amount of work and commitment. And when you begin dedicating yourself to your weight loss program, you may find yourself skipping drinks with friends and ignoring those delectable, but far-too-rich desserts. These sacrifices make it natural to want to know when you’ll begin to see results.  The good news is that you’ll likely notice some subtle signs quite quickly.

We’ve put together this guide to help you better understand how weight loss works, the changes you can expect to see in your body, and why it’s important to be patient when you follow a weight loss plan. 

Where do you notice weight loss first?

If you’re wondering how to start a weight loss journey, know that there isn’t a specific place on your body where you’ll notice weight loss first. Everyone’s body shape, size, and composition are different, meaning everyone’s weight loss experience is also different. So the question—how long does it take to see weight loss—is nearly impossible to answer fully.

For example, if you’d like to lose 5 pounds, your weight loss won’t be as noticeable as that of someone who wants to lose 50 pounds. Your body isn’t going to look as different when you’ve reached your target body weight as the person who has a different goal. 

However, you may notice changes in your body that aren’t as obvious to your friends and family. 

Looser clothing, more energy, and less bloating are all positive signs.

How does weight loss occur?

On a simple level, weight loss happens when you use more calories than you consume. 

A calorie is a unit of energy found in food. Everything you eat contains a specific number of calories. Additionally, every action you perform uses energy or calories. You probably know that exercising burns calories but so do other things you do every day such as eating, sleeping, typing, cooking, cleaning your house, and so on. You also need calories for breathing, pumping blood, repairing damaged cells, and other necessary bodily functions.

It takes a deficit of about 3,500 calories to lose one pound of body fat. To lose weight, you must create a calorie deficit where you’re using more calories than you’re consuming. Your body will then begin to use stored fat for energy instead. 

This is where it gets tricky. 

If you don’t consume enough calories, you’ll run low on energy and won’t be able to perform daily tasks or exercise to keep yourself healthy. 

Let’s look at an example:

  • You typically eat 2,500 calories per day.

  • You’d like to lose 10 pounds.

  • You start eating more fruits and vegetables and cut out mindless snacking.

  • These actions cut 500 calories per day from your total.

  • That’s 3,500 calories per week.

  • Therefore, you would lose about 1 pound of fat every 7 days.

  • In 10 weeks, you should meet your goal weight.

Now, it’s very important to note that this is an extremely simplistic example to help you gain an understanding of how calories work. In reality, many other factors contribute to the rate at which you lose weight. These include:

  • How frequently you exercise

  • The amount of quality sleep you get each night

  • Your starting weight and general health

  • Your age

  • Your gender

  • Medications you’re taking

  • Your genetics

What should you expect in the first month?

Although there are many factors involved in weight loss patterns, there are some basic expectations you can expect to see as you begin trying to lose weight. We’ve broken them down by week here to give you some ideas of how weight loss occurs.

  • First week – The first week of your new regiment will likely be the week in which you lose the most weight. The actual amount will vary depending on your approach. For example, if you typically eat a lot of high-sodium processed foods, and the first step to a healthier you is cutting back on these foods, you’ll notice changes right away. Your body will begin to de-bloat and you’ll lose excess water weight.

  • Second and third week – Continued healthier eating, along with the incorporation of regular exercise, will typically result in steady weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week. 

  • Fourth week (and beyond) – This is when your weight loss will likely become noticeable to you and those around you. You’ll also find some of those healthy eating and physical activity habits feel more natural now that you’ve grown accustomed to them.

How can you tell if you’re losing weight?

When you’re on a weight loss journey, it can be difficult not to get caught up in the number on the scale. However, this isn’t always the best indicator that you’re losing weight. In fact, worrying too much about what the scale says can actually stall your progress. You should aim to weigh yourself no more than once per week or even once every other week. 

Instead, try focusing on how you feel and these other signs:

  • Your clothes are looser – This is often one of the first things you’ll notice when you’re trying to start losing weight. Once you’ve gotten past the first few weeks and your body has flushed out bloat and started burning excess fat, your clothes won’t feel as tight. 

  • You feel more energized – When you lose weight, your body doesn’t have to do as much work. You’ll also have an easier time breathing as healthier bodies use oxygen more efficiently. 

  • Exercise is easier – As your weight goes down, so too does the pressure on your joints. This makes exercise feel easier. You might even eventually find that exercise is no longer a chore, instead, it’s something you look forward to because you know it will make you feel better.

  • Your hunger levels have stabilized – A sure sign that you’re getting the nutrition you need and not filling up on empty calories is feeling less hungry. Eating the right foods stabilizes your body and helps regulate your hormone levels so that you don’t experience wild swings in hunger.

  • You’re sleeping better – Even a small amount of body fat percentage loss can improve your sleep. If you find that you’re sleeping through the night, waking feeling refreshed, and feeling energized throughout the day, you’ve likely been losing weight.

Don’t sabotage your progress by falling into these common traps:

  • Focusing on the number on the scale – There will be weeks where you lose weight and weeks where you don’t. If you only focus on the number on the scale and lose sight of how much better you feel, you’ll become frustrated and slip back into old habits.

  • Unachievable goals – Be realistic with your goals. Setting a weight loss goal of losing 5 pounds per week, for example, isn’t sustainable or realistic. You’ll only end up harming your mental and physical health striving for unhealthy, rapid weight loss.

  • Targeting a specific clothing size – If you’re fixated on making your body fit into a specific size of clothing, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment if that doesn’t happen. Instead of worrying about becoming a certain size, focus on feeling healthier, having more energy, and acquiring good habits. 

What are the stages of losing belly fat?

Many of us have one spot on our body we’d like to lose weight from. For some of us, it’s our thighs. For others, we just want to get rid of extra belly fat. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to pick a spot on your body from which you lose weight. Weight loss involves your entire bodily system working together.

Fat loss comes from creating a calorie intake deficit through healthy eating and exercising. That being said, strength training can help tone your body, giving it a leaner appearance overall. Furthermore, building muscle mass boosts your metabolism, meaning you’ll burn more calories throughout the day.

Following a weight loss plan for sustainable results

Losing weight takes time, patience, and a lot of hard work. You might even need to figure out how to break a weight loss plateau. However, if you want to maintain your weight loss and remain healthy, a sustainable weight loss plan is a must. Some of the many benefits of following a weight loss plan include:

  • Incorporation of sustainable healthy lifestyle changes

  • Reduction of disease risk, such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers

  • Higher likelihood of maintaining weight loss

  • Assurance that your body is getting the nutrition and energy it needs

  • Structure to help you understand what are the best food for weight loss for you and the role of food and exercise in your health

It’s important to remember that there are many weight loss plans out there. Some aren’t healthy or sustainable. To avoid falling into one of these poorly structured plans, you should always do your research and talk to your doctor about which will be the best choice for you.

Need help getting started?

Approaching weight loss on your own is intimidating. It’s also difficult to be patient when you want to see results right away. Many people get frustrated when they don’t see the changes they want as quickly as they think they should. 

Luckily, Found is here to support you as you navigate your healthy weight loss journey. Our prescription medications, online community, and health coaches can keep you on track and provide reassurance when frustration hits.

Take our quiz today to see if Found is the right partner for you.

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