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Weight Loss Program Duration

Weight Loss Program Duration and Factors

Maintaining an ideal body weight range comes easier to some than others. If you are considered “overweight” or “obese”, weight loss can be tough, regardless of where you are on your journey.

Living at a higher weight means you’re at a higher risk for many serious health problems including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

Losing even just a few pounds can improve your health, so every step in the right direction counts!

When your weight is in a healthy range:

  • Your body more efficiently circulates blood.
  • Your fluid levels are more easily managed.
  • You are less likely to develop diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, gallstones, osteoarthritis, breathing problems and sleep apnea.
  • You may feel better about yourself and have more energy to make other positive health changes.

Losing weight sounds simple enough: To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you eat. And to stay at a healthy weight, you need to balance healthy eating and physical activity. But it’s not always simple. You need to learn how to maintain a healthy weight for years to come, not just for a short amount of time. There are resources available to help you on your journey.

Factors That Affect Weight Loss

Gender: Fat-to-muscle ratio greatly affects your ability to lose weight. Because women typically have a greater fat-to-muscle ratio than men, they have a 5–10% lower RMR (resting metabolic rate) than men of the same height. This means that women generally burn 5–10% fewer calories than men at rest. Thus, men tend to lose weight quicker than women following a diet equal in calories.

Age: One of the many bodily changes that occur with aging is alterations in body composition — fat mass increases and muscle mass decreases. This change, along with other factors like the declining calorie needs of your major organs, contributes to a lower RMR. In fact, adults over age 70 can have RMRs that are 20–25% lower than those of younger adults. This decrease in RMR can make weight loss increasingly difficult with age.

one night of sleep deprivation has been shown to increase your desire for high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods.

Other factors: Several other factors can affect your weight loss rate, including:

  • Medications. Many medications, such as antidepressants and other antipsychotics, can promote weight gain or hinder weight loss
  • Medical conditions. Illnesses, including depression and hypothyroidism, a condition in which your thyroid gland produces too few metabolism-regulating hormones, can slow weight loss and encourage weight gain
  • Family history and genes. There is a well-established genetic component associated with people who have overweight or obesity, and it may affect weight loss
  • Yo-yo dieting. This pattern of losing and regaining weight can make weight loss increasingly difficult with each attempt, due to a decrease in RMR

How Long Does It Take To See Weight Loss Results?

Individual weight-loss experiences and time frames can vary heavily. However, most people who start dieting by cutting out a certain amount of calories each day will see results within one to two weeks, even if it’s just one pound lost.

The more intense the lifestyle and dietary changes you undertake, the faster your weight loss results will be noticeable, and the more dramatic those results will be.

For example, if a person cuts out only 100 cal from their daily diet, they might see a weight loss of one pound or so within two to three weeks if they are already somewhat overweight. If a person cuts 500 cal from their daily diet and performs 45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per day, they could theoretically see weight loss results of one to two pounds per week for the first 4-8 weeks of their weight loss journey. In the earliest days of weight loss, the first weeks are usually the most dramatic and noticeable.

There are additional means that can help you on your weight loss journey. How quickly you see results can depend on how your body responds to these programs.

The initial weeks of a new diet or exercise regimen are typically marked by more significant weight loss results. This is usually a result of water loss, not necessarily body fat loss. Our bodies need a certain amount of water to store carbohydrates, which our bodies then use for energy later down the road. As we eat fewer carbohydrates – or as we give our bodies fewer carbohydrates to store for long-term energy by exercising more regularly – our bodies detect that they need less water. Therefore, our bodies shed that additional water weight. Many individuals find that their stomachs become flatter, or their weight loss results are concentrated around the abdomen. These early losses can feel quite dramatic because they are. Only two cups of water can translate into about one pound of bodyweight.

The initial weeks of excellent weight loss results are also important for maintaining motivation. Most weight loss journeys take months, if not years, to complete. Getting early, positive results can motivate you to stick with a dietary regimen even when the results slow down.


It’s important to note that weight loss results aren’t everything when it comes to looking great or showing results of your efforts.

While a body weight scale can be helpful when targeting certain weight loss benchmarks, it’s not always reliable. You might notice that you look a little better but haven’t lost any weight according to the scale. That could be, for example, because you packed on additional muscle but shed some body weight, so you look better even if your weight is the same.

Our clothing can significantly affect whether weight loss results are noticeable.
Clothes that conform to the body or that are more well-fitted will show off your new shape more dramatically and may help your weight-loss results seem even more dramatic than they might be. You know whether or not that pair of jeans feels looser or tighter, despite what the number on the scale says.

Keeping The Weight Off

Maintaining weight loss can take just as much effort as losing it. Keep the following tips in mind:

  • Know your triggers, roadblocks and favorite excuses. We all have them!
  • This is a long-term effort. The first months or even years after significant weight loss may be the hardest. But if you can stick it out you’re more likely to make it in the long run.
  • Learn from others who’ve succeeded and follow their example.
  • Make sure you have a social support network of friends, family and health professionals who will support your new healthy habits.
  • Find healthy ways to motivate yourself to stick with it.
  • Hold yourself accountable for the decisions you make.
  • For people trying to keep weight off, exercise is essential in addition to a proper diet. The American Heart Association recommends 200 to 300 minutes of physical activity a week to keep those extra pounds from creeping back.

In Summary

It can take anywhere from one week to several months to see noticeable weight loss results. It all depends on your daily activity level, your exercise, and your diet. Combining good exercise, a smart diet, and calorie-burning activities along with utilizing the medical expertise of professionals, can help you reach your goals.

Want to know more about how Valley Medical may help you reach your wellness goals? If you are interested in learning more about any of our weight loss programs, we’re happy to offer a consultation. Booking an appointment is unnecessary as we are a walk-in-only clinic. Simply come in at your convenience, Mon, Tue, Thu, or Fri between 9 am-4:30 pm, or Saturdays from 8 am to 1:30 pm, or you can contact us HERE with any questions.


Is a Calorie a Calorie? Not According to Research.

For years, nutrition experts have been saying that “a calorie is a calorie” – that as long as you were staying within your allotted calorie goals and exercising enough, you’d lose weight. But new research is showing that this actually might not be as true as once thought. The timing of a meal may be just as important as the amount of calories you’re eating in a day.

The Science

Recent animal studies have shown that the body may process food differently at different times of the day. Food eaten late at night can prompt weight gain more than food eaten earlier in the day due to hormone levels, physical activity, changes in body temperature, and the way food is digested and absorbed.

In a 2013 study, researchers found that overweight people who ate their largest meal after 3 PM lost less weight during a 20-week weight loss program than overweight people who ate their largest meal before 3 PM. The amount of calories they consumed, the amount of time they slept, and the amount of exercise they got was the same.

Another smaller 2015 study measured the amount of calories burned following a meal. Women who ate lunch after 4:30 PM burned fewer calories from “resting and digesting” than women who ate lunch at 1:00 PM. The amount of calories eaten and the amount of physical activity was the same. The women who ate later also had more difficulty burning off carbohydrates and had decreased tolerance to glucose – a risk factor for developing diabetes.

Late Night Snacking

It’s just not the timing of the food that makes a difference, though. People who eat late at night tend to indulge in extra-salty and extra-sweet snacks, like popcorn, chips, and ice cream, which tend to be more caloric.

So what can you do to ensure that you’re staying on track at night?

One seemingly obvious answer is to keep unhealthy, tempting foods out of the house. When you’re sitting on the couch craving potato chips at 9 PM, it’s a lot easier to hold off if they’re still on the grocery store shelf, rather than in your pantry.

Another thing you can do is make sure you’re not overly restricting yourself during the day. If you don’t allow yourself enough food to keep you satisfied during the day, you’re more likely to give in and binge at night. Make sure you’re eating a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a few satiating snacks in between.

People often think of dinner as the biggest meal of the day, but don’t fall into that mentality. Instead, make breakfast or lunch your biggest meal and go lighter for dinner. There’s a phrase that says “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper”. What this means is eat your biggest meal early in the morning, then gradually reduce the amount you’re eating as the day goes on.

Now we want to hear from you! Do you eat late at night? Or do you eat your biggest meal early in the morning? What tips and tricks do you have for staying on track late at night?

chip cravings

How to Stop Cravings When You’re Stuck at Home

For many, more time spent at home means more time spent on the couch, binge-watching Netflix or catching up on your favorite reality show (don’t worry, no judgment here). All of a sudden, you start thinking about how much you want some ice cream. Or chips. Or animal crackers. Or chocolate chips straight out of the bag.

You toy with the thought a little bit, going back and forth between “I really shouldn’t” and “Ah what the heck – we’re stuck at home anyway. I’ll get back on track tomorrow”. Some days you might give in and others you might stay strong, but regardless of the outcome, the fact is still the same: you’re having a craving.

Sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. Cravings are common and can be intense, especially when you’re restricting yourself on a weight loss plan. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to fight cravings and take back control.

Craving Versus True Hunger

To understand whether you’re truly hungry or just having a craving, it’s important to understand the difference between the two. Real hunger is caused by the body’s physical need for food. It’s often accompanied by a growling stomach or a hollow feeling. When you’re really hungry, you’d be willing to eat a plate of grilled chicken and veggies.

On the other hand, cravings have a physiological or emotional component. You may want chocolate when you feel sad or a bag of chips because you’re bored. When you’re having a craving, it’s usually for a specific (and often unhealthy) food. Cravings often lead to binge eating because you’re not actually trying to satisfy hunger. If you’re truly hungry, you should eat. If you’re having a craving, there are some things you can do to beat it.

Avoid Temptation

While this technically doesn’t help you beat a craving once you have it, one of the best defensive moves you can make is to keep any unhealthy foods that you often crave out of the house. If being home all day or sitting in front of the television at night makes you want to eat a bag of chips, don’t keep chips around.

You’re more likely to give in to the craving if you only have to walk to your pantry than if you have to get in your car and drive to the store to pick something up, especially right now.

Get Moving

Cravings tend to hit hard when you’re not busy. And since a lot of us have a lot more free time lately, cravings have reached an all-time high.

That doesn’t mean that you have to be moving all the time and should never relax, but if a craving does hit, do something to take your mind off of it. Go for a 15 minute walk or call a friend. Draw a picture or lose yourself in a book. Sometimes all it takes for the craving to go away is turning your attention elsewhere.

Reduce Your Stress

Unfortunately, stress is an unavoidable part of life all the time and now, stress may be more invasive than ever. Aside from other negative health effects of stress, it’s also a big factor in cravings.

Some people lose their appetite when they’re stressed; others experience intense cravings for comfort foods, like ice cream and pie. If you fall into the latter category, it’s a good idea to learn some stress reduction techniques that can help you manage your stress levels and the resulting cravings.

Take a hot bath, stretch for 10 minutes, do some yoga, or write in a journal. Don’t just do this when you feel a craving though. Make stress reduction a part of your everyday life.

Go for Water

Sometimes thirst shows up disguised as cravings. If you feel a craving coming on, drink a big glass of water. It may just be that you’re a little dehydrated. If that doesn’t work, drink another glass. If that doesn’t work, move on to another technique.

Eat Healthy Foods Regularly

Cravings tend to hit full force if you allow too much time to pass between meals and let yourself get too hungry. You’re more likely to give in to your cravings if you feel famished.

Cravings also strike when you’re eating a lot of processed foods, which have become a staple for many during these times.

If you’re prone to cravings, eat a well-balanced meal or snack every few hours and never let yourself get to the point where you’re feeling ravenous.