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How long should I wait to see results when trying to lose weight?

When embarking on a weight loss journey, it's natural to wonder how long it will take to see noticeable results. The amount of time it will take to see results when trying to lose weight will vary from person to person. It's important to remember that weight loss is a highly individualized process, and several factors can influence the rate of progress. Here are some points to consider:

  • Initial weight and body composition: Generally, individuals with higher initial body weights may experience more significant weight loss in the early stages of their journey. This initial drop in weight may include water weight and glycogen stores before the body starts to burn fat for energy.

  • Caloric deficit: Weight loss occurs when there is a calorie deficit, meaning you are consuming fewer calories than your body needs for daily functioning. The size of the calorie deficit, which can be achieved through a combination of dietary changes and exercise, plays a role in the rate of weight loss.

  • Sustainable and healthy approach: Gradual weight loss is often recommended for its sustainability and long-term success. A safe and realistic goal is to aim for a weight loss of 0.5 to 2 pounds per week. However, keep in mind that everyone's journey is different, and individual results may vary.

  • Body composition changes: While the number on the scale may not change significantly at first, you may notice other positive changes in your body composition. This includes losing inches, increased muscle tone, improved energy levels, and enhanced overall fitness. These changes can be equally as important as weight loss.

  • Non-scale victories: It's essential to focus on non-scale victories and improvements in overall health and well-being. These can include increased energy levels, improved sleep quality, enhanced mood, better cardiovascular fitness, and improved markers of health such as blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

  • Patience and consistency: Sustainable weight loss takes time and patience. It's important to approach weight loss as a long-term lifestyle change rather than a quick fix. Consistency in following a balanced, calorie-controlled diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and adopting healthy habits will yield more sustainable and lasting results.

Remember, weight loss is not a linear process, and progress can vary from week to week. Plateaus and slower periods of weight loss are normal and can be overcome with adjustments to your approach. It's essential to focus on overall health and well-being rather than getting fixated on a specific timeline.


  1. Hall, K. D., & Kahan, S. (2018). Maintenance of Lost Weight and Long-Term Management of Obesity. The Medical clinics of North America, 102(1), 183–197.

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