When starting a new weight loss protocol, we’re all super stoked to see the pounds drop off.
It’s exciting. It’s exhilarating. And it’s reassuring that you’re making progress and doing things right. Who wouldn’t want that?
For many people, they get lost in the idea that weight is just going to melt off. You start a new diet, or you add in a supplement, and weight is just going to be gone with the wind. All sense of reality flies out the window.
But weight loss is highly individual, and the rate at which you see results will be different for your friend.
So, instead of giving you a definitive answer as to when you’ll start seeing results, let’s explore some of the factors that contribute to the speed at which you may lose weight and what you can do to keep the progress going.
What Affects Speed Of Weight Loss?
In a perfect world, we’d all make tweaks to our lifestyle to lose weight, and boom, the weight falls off—but it’s not that simple. If it were, the diet industry wouldn’t exist. And we want to be honest with you and give you realistic expectations about what to expect.
When it comes to losing weight, there are certain factors that affect how fast or slow it comes off, some of which are not completely under your control.
Diet is undoubtedly a critical part of weight loss and is totally under your control, but it’s not the be-all, end-all.
You can have the cleanest diet in the world, but if the other factors involved in weight management aren’t on point, your diet won’t make a difference.
If you’re doing a complete diet overhaul (i.e., going from a lousy diet to a completely clean one), you’re likely to see results a lot faster than someone who was already eating relatively clean before.
And if you’re cutting carbs, the drastic drop in weight over the first couple of weeks is usually due to water loss rather than actual fat.
But regardless, what you were eating before and what you’re eating now is going to be highly indicative of how fast you can expect to see weight loss results. Whole, nutrient-dense foods fuel your body.
Unhealthy foods like sugar, processed or refined carbs, and trans fats wreak havoc on your weight. It’s pretty straightforward.
But it’s not just what you eat; it’s also how you eat. Listen to your body. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full.
When you’re in tune with your body, you’re less likely to binge or overeat, which negates anything you’re doing to achieve weight loss.
Abs may be made in the kitchen, but for weight loss to happen and be maintained, you have to be training, too.
Muscle has a higher metabolic demand than fat does, which means that even at rest, you will burn more calories.
What’s more, doing everyday tasks can be pretty laborious if you have no strength. And it’s not just about muscle strength. It’s also cardiovascular function, muscle strength, mobility, flexibility… things your body requires to maintain health and longevity and fight off chronic disease development.
But yes, exercise does help increase the weight loss process by burning calories because, at the end of the day, weight loss still comes down to calories in versus calories out. And if you want to enhance calories out, do some weight training and cardio.
3. Stress Levels
Stress is a huge killer of weight loss, and it is cortisol you can thank for that. Cortisol is inherently a catabolic hormone—it breaks down compounds—and while it may break down carbohydrates and fat for immediate energy, it also increases appetite and can cause long-term weight gain by constantly setting off your stress response.
In fact, your body actually metabolizes food slower under stress (fight-or-flight mode shuts down digestion), meaning you’re more likely to store it as fat than burn it 1.
The study found that women who reported one or more stressors during a 24-hour period burned 104 fewer calories than non-stressed women. Over time, that adds up!
You may not think sleep has anything to do with your weight loss, but it actually plays a huge part. There’s a pretty well-established link between sleep deprivation and weight gain, but why is that?
One common thought is the relationship between sleep and appetite. The hormones that control hunger, leptin and ghrelin, go a little haywire when you’re sleep-deprived.
Ghrelin promotes hunger, and leptin promotes satiety, but studies show that poor sleep can affect levels of these hormones causing you to feel hungrier and eat more.
Not to mention, sleep deprivation can also affect food preferences 2. Research suggests that poor sleep can lead to increased tendencies to reach for high-calorie and high-carb foods, which, when consumed in excess, cause weight gain.
But there’s more. Several studies show that lack of sleep leads to metabolic dysregulation 3. Poor sleep is associated with increase oxidative stress, glucose intolerance (a precursor to diabetes), and insulin resistance. And its impact on circadian rhythms may also lead to weight gain 4.
With age comes wisdom, but aging isn’t always on your side when it comes to weight loss. Aging happens, and there’s nothing you can do about it, but you can control other factors contributing to weight gain.
There’s a substantial body of research showing that body fat increases with age, even after controlling changes in body weight and physical activity levels 5.
But in contrast to body fat, skeletal muscle mass actually decreases with age beginning in your 30s, so putting a bit of extra effort in may be required.
Loss of skeletal muscle parallels changes in skeletal minerals as you age 5, so when you can ensure proper skeletal minerals, you may be able to mitigate some of the muscle loss.
Age also limits how your metabolism runs, how you burn fat and weight, how you build muscle and other factors that affect weight management.
6. Physiological Factors
There are also physiological factors that affect how you lose weight, which include:
- Resting metabolic rate (RMR) = the amount of energy expended at rest under normal conditions in the post-absorptive state (after meals)
- Thermic effect of food = gradual increase in energy expenditure after food is consumed due to the energy costs associated with the absorption and transport of nutrients, and the synthesis and storage of macronutrients
- Energy expended for physical activity = both voluntary (exercise) and involuntary movements like shivering, fidgeting, and postural control
How Long Will It Take To Lose Weight?
Being completely realistic, the weight loss journey is never a one-size-fits-all model. All things alike (food, supplements, exercise, etc.), people are still going to lose weight at a different pace.
Biochemical individuality dictates how your body responds to things, and no two people are alike, so no two people will lose weight at the same pace.
But generally speaking, if you’re making drastic changes to your life and staying consistent about them, you can expect to see some sort of results by about eight weeks.
However, if you want to speed up your weight loss, here are a few tips:
Quit snacking: People who are constantly snacking may find it difficult to lose weight. Not only because blood sugar is constantly going up and down, but because it’s hard to control how many calories you’re consuming when you’re eating so frequently. If you need to snack, opt for healthier options like low-sugar fruits, veggies, or nuts.
Eat mindfully: It seems like something that wouldn’t normally contribute to weight gain, but it does. Be present while you eat, which means turning off the TV, putting away work, and focusing solely on what you’re doing—eating. People who eat mindfully tend to eat less.
Start supplementing: Investing in a good weight loss supplement stack may be something to consider. While you don’t want to go crazy on the stims—that will actually be counterproductive to what you’re trying to do—you do want supplements that can help to naturally rev your fat burning and weight loss pathways. Take Burn Lab Pro. It’s a 100% natural fat burner using five powerful ingredients specifically formulated to boost calorie burn, suppress appetite, increase fat loss, enhance performance, and accelerate recovery.
Weight loss can take time, so if you’re not seeing results in the first couple of weeks, don’t sweat it. It doesn’t mean it’s not happening.
You know the old saying “good things come to those who wait”? Apply that here. Be patient, be consistent, and you’ll see results. And most importantly, be realistic with your expectations!
- JK Kiecolt-Glaser, DL Habash, CP Fagundes, et al. Daily stressors, past depression, and metabolic responses to high-fat meals: a novel path to obesity. Biol Psychiatry. 2015;77(7):653-660.
- SM Greer, AN Goldstein, MP Walker. The impact of sleep deprivation on food desire in the human brain. Nat Commun. 2013;4:2259.
- CM Depner, ER Stothard, KP Wright Jr. Metabolic consequences of sleep and circadian disorders. Curr Diab Rep. 2014;14(7):507.
- MS Westerterp-Plantenga. Sleep, circadian rhythm and body weight: parallel developments. Proc Nutr Soc. 2016;75(4):431-439.
- Institute of Medicine (US) Subcommittee on Military Weight Management. Weight Management: State of the Science and Opportunities for Military Programs. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2004. 3, Factors That Influence Body Weight. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK221834/