Written by Megan Ayala. Last Updated: May 16, 2022
Does it take 4 weeks to notice weight loss? Let’s find out…
A common question you may come across on the internet is, “how long does it take to notice weight loss?” Well, there isn’t a simple answer to this question because people have very different weight loss experiences and accounts. However, it is not uncommon for many people to start noticing results in as fast as 1 to 2 weeks when following a good diet and/or fitness program.
How soon you start seeing results depends on various factors such as the plan you are using to lose weight and how much weight you plan to lose. Within the first 1 or 2 weeks, it’s pretty easy to lose around 5 to 10 lbs of body weight. This makes a significant difference in how you look in the mirror. However, the goal isn’t to stop at the 2-week mark!
As soon as you reach the 3-week (21 days) mark, you’ll begin to notice that you are adapting to a healthier lifestyle and practicing good eating habits as well. From here, it’s usually much easier to continue with your weight loss journey! After the first 3 weeks, you will start to notice daily changes as long as you adhere to the plan you initially set out.
So, onto the big question: “Does it take 4 weeks to notice weight loss?”
The short answer is: you can start to notice your weight loss as early as 1 or 2 weeks, but in most cases, it takes at least 4 WEEKS to start seeing substantial results from your fitness/weight loss program.
What’s a Realistic 4-Week Weight Loss Goal?
- 1 What’s a Realistic 4-Week Weight Loss Goal?
- 2 How Long Does it Take to See Weight Loss Results?
- 3 How Long Should the Diet Phase Last?
- 4 What to do if I Don’t Start Seeing Results in 4 Weeks?
- 5 How Much Weight do You Need to Lose to Notice a Difference?
- 6 Can You Lose Weight and Gain Muscle at the Same Time?
- 7 How To Build Muscle While Losing Fat
- 8 What Works Better?
- 9 Conclusion
It’s crucial to note that many people experience a significant rebound in weight immediately after completing their diet or fitness program. Soon after getting to your desired weight, you need to ensure that you go back to maintaining a healthy amount of daily calories and keeping your cravings under control.
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By keeping up with strict dietary guidelines, you are less likely to starve yourself to levels that boost your appetite aggressively. If you fail to follow these guidelines like many people do, you can expect to see a rebound in body weight as soon as you are done with your diet or fitness program.
We recommend losing a maximum of 10% of your body fat per diet phase. This will help you to keep your weight down and avoid making a lot of effort for nothing.
How Long Does it Take to See Weight Loss Results?
After doing a lot of research on forums and message boards on the internet, we made an incredibly interesting discovery. We found out that people tend to notice their weight loss at totally different rates based on how much they weight at the beginning of their diet and/or fitness program. These rates ranged from 10 to 40 lbs before people began to notice their weight loss.
With this information, we proceeded to try to calculate the average time it takes for people to notice weight loss results. Well, can you guess what we found out?
Interestingly, we found that most people need to lose at least 10% of their body weight to start noticing weight loss results. So, people that began their weight loss journey at 300 lbs and dropped to 270 lb starting noticing results. Similarly, people at 250 lbs started noticing weight loss after losing around 20 to 25 lbs, bringing their weight down to 220/225.
Surprisingly, this is almost an exact 1:1 ratio of the maximum amount of weight (10%) that we recommended you should aim to lose per diet phase!
How Long Should the Diet Phase Last?
This isn’t a particularly difficult question to answer, but how many people ignore how long their diet program should be? Too many, from what we can tell. Many people experience a significant drop in motivation when they diet for more than 12 weeks (4 months). And, based on our research, 12 weeks seems to be the time when diet fatigue starts to set in for most people.
Knowing how long your diet phase will last allows you to easily plan your fat loss goals per week to ensure you stay on track.
Say you weight 300 lbs, based on our 10% recommendation; this means that the maximum amount of weight you should be aiming for is 30 lbs. Now, you just need to divide 20 by 12 weeks to figure out the amount of weight you need to lose every week.
- 30/12= 2.5 lbs per week
As you can see, this is an extremely easy way to make sure you stay on track and avoid pressuring yourself to lose weight all year round.
What to do if I Don’t Start Seeing Results in 4 Weeks?
Typically, by week 4 you’ll have lost some weight if you are following for diet and fitness program. If you find that after this period of time you aren’t noticing any weight loss, there are a couple of things you can do:
1. Take Progress Pictures to Ensure You’re Tracking Both Your Body Weight and Appearance
Many times, especially for people with more weight to lose, you may not notice any significant changes on the scale for the first few weeks. This can be attributed to your body losing fat and building muscle mass at the same time. This improvement will not be visible on the scale, but this should not discourage you. Taking progress pictures helps you compare how you look, which is as crucial as how much you weigh.
2. Begin Taking Measurements
Relying on graphic images may have its shortcomings because of lens and camera adjustments. But, there is another method you can use to track progress; taking measurements.
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While you may gain some muscle mass in your lower back and abdomen, your waist line is not likely to remain the same if you’re actually losing weight. A simple measuring tape is all you need to take regular measurements for tracking your progress.
3. Make Sure You Stay Active and Track Your Calories Correctly
A major issue with people who are trying to lose weight without any meaningful progress to show for it is failure to count calories correctly. If you’re working out, doing cardio, and just eating a bunch of sugary foods every chance you get, all of your hard work will be for nothing! Instead of leaving it up to chance, begin tracking how much calories are in the meals you are consuming.
Also, you need to make sure that you’re active and moving more. If you go to the gym 3 times a week, but sit around watching TV for the remaining days of the week, losing weight and seeing results is going to be hard. You should do your best to stay active every single day of the week.
How Much Weight do You Need to Lose to Notice a Difference?
This number can vary depending on various factors such as how tall you are, how much you actually weigh, and your current body fat percentage.
- Someone who has only 20% body fat will notice a fat loss a lot quicker than someone who has 35% body fat.
- Similarly, if you’re 7′ tall; you can lose less weight than someone that’s 6′ tall, and you’re going to notice the difference faster.
- Also, if you weigh 200 lbs and lose 20 lbs, there’s going to be a big difference in fat loss. However, if you’re 275 lbs and lose 20 lbs, the weight loss is not going to be as noticeable.
So, as you can see, there are many factors to consider. In general, a 5 to 10% reduction in body weight will create noticeable change. This amount of change is relative to how much you currently weigh. If you weigh more, you’re going to have to lose more weight.
There is an easy way to calculate how much body weight you need to lose to notice a difference. Here it is:
Let’s assume you’re 200 lbs.
- 200×5%=5 lbs
- 200×10%=10 lbs
- Someone that’s 200 lbs would need to lose 10-20 lbs to notice a difference.
If you’re 300 lbs, it’s going to be slightly more.
- 300×5%=15 lbs
- 300×10%=30 lbs
- So if you’re 300 lbs, you’ll need to lose between 15-30 lbs to show a noticeable difference in your body size and appearance.
These are just estimates you can use to help you stay on the right track. You still have to take your current body fat percentage, as well as your height and gender, into account. Hopefully, it helps!
Can You Lose Weight and Gain Muscle at the Same Time?
This is a common question that people ask; is it possible to lose body fat and gain muscle at the same time? As always, the answers to such tricky fitness questions depend on various factors.
But, to make the answer as simple as possible; it’s absolutely possible to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. This process is known as Body Recomposition and has proven to be effective in the bodybuilding industry.
Although it’s possible to build muscle and lose fat at the same time, a lot of variables have a role to play for this to happen. If you’re interested in doing both, read on to find out more!
How To Build Muscle While Losing Fat
When your objective is body recomposition, there are various things you need to consider.
- To lose body fat, you must burn energy.
- To build muscle mass, you must store energy.
- Based on these facts, you must be in a calorie surplus to gain muscle and a calorie deficit to lose fat.
While the initial two points are try, the 3rd point is NOT true. This is why:
- You can eat at maintenance and use body fat stores to build muscle mass. This is how you can build muscle and lose fat simultaneously.
- Similarly, you can lose fat without being in a calorie deficit. You can eat at maintenance and use cardio/weight lifting to create a calorie deficit.
Here is an example:
Say you’re 200 lbs at 25% body fat. This equals 50 lbs of stored body fat. There are 3,500 calories in every pound of fat, which equals to 175,000 calories stored in the body to build muscle mass.
So, when someone tells you that you can’t lose fat and gain muscle at the same time, remember all the stored fat you have in your body. You don’t need to eat more to build muscle mass. It may help you to build more muscle mass, for sure, but it’s not necessary if your main objective is to lose fat.
What Works Better?
Now that you know that it’s possible to lose body fat and build muscle at the same time, this brings up an important question; is it better to focus on one goal at a time, or should you attempt to lose fat and build muscle mass simultaneously? As with all good answers, it depends!
If you have 10% body fat, there is no reason for you to try and build muscle while losing weight. You should use this opportunity to build muscle using a standard muscle-gaining diet.
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However, if you have 30% body fat, you have plenty of body fat available to invest in your muscle growth. However, we do NOT recommend trying to bulk up if you have a high body fat percentage. You should focus on training hard to lose the fat, and the muscle mass will come with consistent training.
So, based on your objectives, we recommended on swallowing what you can chew. Avoid over-exerting yourself in order to make actual and irreversible progress for the future.
Well, we now hope that you have a better understand of how long it takes to notice the results of weight loss. Following a strict diet and staying active are some of the things that can really help you lose weight at a faster rate.
Ultimately, the fruits of your labor, although elusive, will be visible to not just you but everybody else. Good luck!