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How Long Does It Take To Lose Weight? The Scientific Ballpark

How Long Does It Take To Lose Weight

If you are thinking about beginning your weight loss journey, you may wonder how long it could take you to do so. There is nothing wrong with asking this. It is natural to wonder how long it takes to lose weight since knowing can help you set realistic expectations. Knowing the timeframe can also keep you motivated.

So, if you want to know how long it takes to lose weight, we have the perfect article for you. Keep reading to have the answers to all the questions you have.

How Exactly Does Weight Loss Work?

Allow us to debunk how weight loss works. When people mention losing weight, they likely mean losing fat. However, weight loss is different from fat loss!

While fat loss only refers to just losing body fat, and retaining muscle tissue and water weight, weight loss is more all-encompassing. When you lose weight you lose everything including your muscle mass and water weight. 

Depending on what your end goal is, you will need a plan. But, what’s even the point of creating a plan if you do not understand the science behind how weight loss works?

The Science Behind Weight Loss

To put it simply, weight loss happens when you lose more calories than your intake. Meaning if you eat 500 calories, you will only lose weight properly if you lose 500+ calories. 

When you create a calorie deficit, it forces your body to burn fat. Otherwise, your body just burns the fuel you get from food, and your fat remains stored. 

A common misconception about calorie deficit is that you will need to cut down on food to create it. That is not true at all! You absolutely must eat nutritious foods and not cut down on anything. Rather you will need to work out so that what you eat is being spent.

Other habits like sleep and stress affect how many calories you lose, so do not worry if the numbers are not too high for you at the beginning. On the other hand, you could even face the opposite as well. You might notice a huge drop in your weight as you will be losing water weight and inflammation.

Factors That Affect The Rate Of Weight Loss

You may already be aware that stress is one of the worst enemies of weight loss. It interferes with your cortisol production and shuts down all your non-essential functions like metabolism. Hence, the only way to fix it is to reduce your stress and get some deep sleep.

But what are the other factors that hinder your weight loss journey?  While some of the elements may differ from person to person, here are some examples to get you started.

  • Poor nutrition
  • Refined sugar consumption
  • Family history
  • Genetics
  • Hormone messaging
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Inactivity

How Much Weight Loss In A Week Is Healthy?

If you are planning to set weekly goals for yourself, you will need to know how much weight you can lose in a week and still be healthy. After all, this will help you avoid going to extreme lengths and getting ill.

Well, a healthy amount would be 1-2 lbs or 0.5-1kg per week, which is a perfectly realistic goal too! However, don’t be astonished if you lose more than this in the first week or two. During the beginning stages of your journey, you will be losing water weight. But, this will stabilize after a week.

Even if you want to lose weight faster, do not try to do so as you might get malnutrition and exhausted, and become at a higher risk of gallstones. Moreover, it might imbalance your hormones. This can result in you having a reduced metabolism, meaning you will lose weight slower. It can also lead you to crave more food and binge eat and store the calories more than usual, resulting in a fluctuating weight.

How Long Does It Take To Lose Weight?

It all depends on how much you are losing in a week and how consistent you are with your diet and exercise. 

Realistically, if you want to lose 20 lbs it will take you 20-40 weeks. Although that sounds like a long time, it is good for your health. And, you must remember that weight loss is not a journey that is always linear. Sometimes you will feel like you are not losing much weight, while at other times you will lose weight faster!

Your weight might vary quite a bit from day to day. This can be because of your menstrual cycle, how much you ate, or what you ate; more carbs, salt, and sugar can all make your today’s weight vary a lot from yesterday’s or tomorrow’s weight. 

The best thing to do in such cases is to weigh yourself weekly or monthly instead of every day. That will give you a more accurate measure.

Tracking Your Weight Loss Journey

While obsessing over the numbers on the scale is a no-go, keeping track from time to time might give you the motivation you need to keep going. You can do so by using scales, tape measures, calipers, or even trying on clothes from time to time to see how they fit. If you want high-tech measurements, you can also use the weighing devices they use at gyms!


So, if you’re wondering how long it takes to lose weight, the answer isn’t as straightforward as you may think. It varies from person to person but comes down to how much you can lose in a week. People should normally not be losing more than 0.5-1kg in a week, you just have to multiply that by however much you want to lose. 

But, do not get disheartened if you do not meet your weekly goals as weight can fluctuate due to various reasons. Additionally, with that being said, we hope we were able to help. Good luck reaching your desired weight goal!

You can also read: How Long Should You Hold A Yoga Pose? 4 Best Practices

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Hello, I am the founder of Health and Stamina and a full-time health and fitness blogger. Bringing you the most talked-about health and fitness issues from reliable sources. 

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