One of the most asked questions about weight loss is how long it will take to lose weight. Let’s face it, struggling to lose weight is also a struggle with the virtue of patience – you want results, and you want them fast. If you fail to see progress after a few days, or maybe even weeks…it’s FRUSTRATING – especially considering the unwavering deluge of fat loss ads and before-and-after videos and so on and so forth ad nauseum. And that’s part of the key to healthy weight loss – patience.
So, what is the answer to the big question: how long does it take to lose weight?
You might not like this, but bear with me…the short answer is that there’s not one clear, universally appropriate answer to achieving weight loss. Nevertheless, there is a lot more to the story and it’s worth patiently reading on to get the whole scoop, because now we’re going to answer some of your most burning weight loss questions and help you dodge the risk of falling victim to fake shakes, pills, and potions that can do more harm than good.
It will take some time, but, after all, patience is a virtue. And it’s also one of the keys to successful weight loss.
Let’s start with the basics of science-based weight-loss facts:
How you lose weight according to science
Understanding the basic science of weight loss is extremely helpful when you want to start your journey on the right foot and achieve lasting results. This will allow you to understand how to create a diet and lifestyle that promote weight loss and improved health – instead of resorting to fad diets that only work short-term. The first step is having a positive energy balance…
Positive Energy Balance
Body weight is gained when you are in a positive energy balance for a prolonged period of time. This just means that you eat more calories than you burn. The way this often occurs is when one eats a lot but doesn’t move enough. You know what happens then – the body sends the extra energy into storage. That extra energy can be stored on the stomach, thighs, love handles, and…you can already see where this is going.
Negative Energy Balance
On the bright side, if you consume less energy than you burn, you can achieve a negative energy balance, and that’s where the weight loss magic happens.
Based on what’s called the “Energy Balance Theory,” all it takes to lose weight is to create an energy deficit. If you burn more calories than you consume, you are going to drop that weight like a bad habit.
So, how long will it take you to lose a pound of fat?
So, according to what we learned above, we should be able to predict how much weight a person will lose based on their activities and the amount of calories they eat and drink. And, to a certain extent, we can, but it’s not quite that simple.
Here’s how it works…
Theoretically, if you were to eat 3,500 calories less per week, which is the equivalent — of one pound of body fat — you should be able to lose a pound of fat per week. That means, by eating 500 less per day, you should be able to lose 52 pounds in a year, right?
While this explanation has captivated the diet world for many years, it’s not the full story.
In reality, if you and your friend both cut 500 calories from your daily diet, you might not both lose one pound a week. In fact, one of you could lose weight while the other gains weight.
Why? Your gender, activity level, height, stature, body weight, diet composition, and overall health all play a role in how your body burns calories.
If you have a smaller frame and require fewer calories per day, then cutting 500 calories a day may be too much, and it may even slow down the time it takes for your body to burn calories. Your body will think it is starving and will try to conserve body fat, the opposite of what you want to happen.
For those who have a larger body frame and for people who are in the habit of overeating, cutting out 500 calories per day may not be enough to lose weight.
The good news for people with a larger body frame is, the larger your body frame, the quicker you can afford to lose weight. After all, you can burn off more fat without going into starvation mode.
Exercise, diet, and weight loss
At this point, you may be wondering whether you can eat whatever you want, as long as you exercise. And while exercise is important for good health and weight loss, it should always be coupled with a healthy diet.
The relationship between exercise and weight loss is often misunderstood. Numerous studies have concluded that exercise has, at best, a modest impact on weight loss. Although 100% of the energy we acquire each day comes from food, we only burn around 10 to 30 percent of it through physical activity.
In other words, you shouldn’t plan to out-exercise a bad diet.
Diet or exercise – which is more important?
A systematic review found that diet is the most important factor in weight loss. More importantly, when an improved diet is combined with exercise (particularly resistance training), the body becomes healthier, stronger, and is better able to maintain weight loss long-term. So, patiently keeping to a healthy diet and regular exercise routine, is the best way to lose weight and be healthy. term.
Amplifying the point, a study, conducted in 2012, looked at whether diet, exercise, or the combination of both helped overweight-to-obese postmenopausal women lose weight. The researchers found that women who combined diet with exercise lost the most weight (10.8%), compared to the group that just dieted (8.5%) or the group that just exercised (2.4%).
Of course, regular exercise is important and can help you to burn calories faster and build muscle, and it can be a great motivator to stick with a healthy lifestyle. That’s why it is often recommended for weight loss. The point is that exercise is most beneficial when coupled with a good diet.
Common barriers to weight loss
As noted in the introduction, losing weight is tied to psychology. For that reason, it’s worth reflecting on some of the most common obstacles you’ll encounter along your journey so that you can consider how you can work around them – rather than letting them stop you in your tracks. Watch out for these obstacles to weight loss…
1. Addictive foods
In one study, sugar was found to be more addictive to lab rats than cocaine. There’s a strong sense in which these findings can be generalized to humans because – like rats – our sweet receptors evolved in environments that were low in sugars (so we have yet to adapt to high concentrations).
Another study tested the addictive properties of junk foods, like fast food, soda and candy, finding that, at a neurobiological level, the neural substrates of these foods may be “… sufficient to explain why many people can have difficultly control[ling] the consumption of foods high in sugar when continuously exposed to them.” In other words, junk food can be addictive.
2. Poor diet
Since it’s almost impossible to overeat whole foods because of their fiber and bulk, junk foods are usually the culprits behind weight gain. This is supported in a study that found that larger portions of high-quality, non-processed foods lead to less weight gain than smaller portions of unhealthy options. So it’s not just about eating less, it’s about changing the types of food you eat.
Last year, we published a post about how knee pain can trap you in a weight-gain cycle. Being unable to exercise due to pain can lead to weight gain, which can lead to even more joint pain. If you are trapped in a situation like this, taking small steps to reduce your food intake and lose weight can make a big difference in the amount of pain you feel, just as it can help you to maintain your motivation. And eating the right foods, including anti-inflammatory foods, can help lessen the inflammation and pain.
Of course, as mentioned above, the idea way to lose weight is with a good diet and exercise. AposHealth helps patients get moving again which can encourage burning more calories.
One of the most challenging aspects of losing weight is the suspense. When will it happen? Will I ever have the body of my dreams? A key part of successful weight loss comes down to sticking to healthy eating habits for the long haul.
But it’s worth the wait
Your health and quality of life are worth committing to. Being mindful of what goes into your body is a great first step in the right direction. With patience and perseverance, you can be confident that weight loss will follow.
Although it can be challenging to be patient, it is worth remembering that many people have done it before you, and some of them have had further to go. As an added bonus, people who exercise and eat healthily have a lower risk of disease, better mental health, and report a higher quality of life.
In a word, patience is empowering.
If you suffer from knee or lower back pain which is preventing you from getting the exercise you want and need, AposHealth is a non-invasive treatment and has been used by over 100,000 people worldwide. Learn more about AposHealth here.