It depends on many factors, but here's what you can expect.
There is no way to predict exactly how long it will take to lose weight. But it is good to understand what factors can affect weight loss and why. This knowledge can explain what to expect and help you hang in there if you feel frustrated with how fast you are losing weight. Here are some insights on how weight loss works, and why dropping restrictive diets is one of the best ways to see results.
Slow, steady weight loss is generally better
You may have heard that a healthy weight loss is one to two kilos per week. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) People who lose weight at this rate are more successful at keeping the weight off (the ultimate goal). And while many people would like to lose weight faster, modest weight loss has also been shown to result in health benefits, such as improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood sugar.
Why Some People Lose Weight Faster
One to two kilos per week is also a pace that is reasonable for many, as it should not require extreme eating or exercise habits. That said, there are several factors that affect the rate of weight loss. One is simply how much weight you need to lose.
In a nutshell, overweight people generally lose weight faster, which is partly calorie driven. The larger the deficit, the faster the weight loss, which is why people who have 40 kilos to lose weight usually lose weight faster than those who only have 15 kilos to lose. But when you lose weight, the deficit shrinks, which is why the weight loss decreases the closer you get to your weight goal, no matter where you started.
While calories play a role, the concept that weight loss is solely driven by "calories in versus calories out" is outdated. It is also a bad predictor of how fast you will lose pounds. This is because the quality, balance and timing of the calories you ingest also play important roles in how weight is lost. For example, simply reducing your calorie intake while still consuming a lot of processed foods or eating a large portion of your calories in the evening may not cause you to lose weight as quickly.
Too few calories can stop weight loss
If you are tempted to eat as few calories as possible - do not do it. Reducing calories too low can have a negative effect on weight loss - as your body can go into survival mode, save calories and resist weight loss. This is especially true when you eat fewer calories than required to maintain a healthy weight.
For example, if it takes 2000 calories to support your ideal weight and you lower your intake to 1, or even below 200, it is likely that you will either resist weight loss or lose too much muscle mass as part of your weight loss. The latter can weaken immune function, increase the risk of injury and reduce the risk of weight loss. Basically, it is a myth that you need to eat to lose weight. You just have to stop eating more than is necessary to maintain a healthy weight goal.
The calorie equation is complicated
Metabolism, which is basically how your body burns calories, is an important factor in the weight loss puzzle, and it is complex. Appetite regulating hormones also play a role in weight loss. Both can be affected by factors such as poor sleep, stress and the composition of your intestinal microbiome, the collection of microbes found in the digestive system.
Research shows that gut microbiota can actually affect both sides of the calorie balance equation; which means that it affects how we use calories from the food we eat and how we burn or store them. For this reason, like genetic factors, weight loss - and how fast you can lose pounds - is not that simple.
Weight fluctuations are normal
It is also important to know that weight loss is not always linear. It is normal for your weight to change from day to day, even hour to hour. When you step on a scale, you measure everything that matters - not only your muscle, bone and body fat, but also the volume of water (which can change quickly and wildly), undigested food (although everything will later be burned) and "waste" in your body. If you bind water due to PMS or an extra salty meal, your weight on the scales will be higher, even if you have lost body fat at the same time.
Do not worry about temporary or predictable fluctuations. On the other hand, if you see a steady increase in your weight, rather than an up-and-down pattern, or if your clothes are consistently getting tighter, take an objective look at your habits. Have you ordered takeaway more often (which can mean extra hidden calories) or snacks often due to stress? If so, you can address these issues and then continue to see results.
Be patient, not discouraged
No one can realistically predict exactly how much weight you will lose in a given time frame. The truth is that focusing on healthy, balanced habits you can stick to is much more important. Countless people are losing weight with quick fixes that resulted in me regaining all (or more) of the weight they lost. That kind of jojoing is not good for your health, and it just is not worth the mental pain.
If you are on a weight loss journey, the best thing you can do is focus on the bigger picture, be consistent with healthy habits (which does not mean being perfect) and be patient. You know if you are going in the right direction. And even if it takes longer to get there, it is much more likely that you will keep the weight off for good and feel much happier along the way.