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.
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.
By Jodi Jaffe
December 12, 2022