The problem is that it is difficult to predict how long it will take to lose weight. It depends on numerous factors. In this post, however, I will try to answer this question in the simplest way I possibly can.
How Long Does It Take To Lose Weight – A Question of Math
Your weight is determined by a calorie balance. There are the calories that you burn through exercise, general activity and the normal function of your body. On the other side, there are the calories that you consume through the food that you eat. When you eat more calories than you burn, you have a calorie surplus and you gain weight. When you burn more than you consume, a state called a calorie deficit, you lose weight. It’s that simple.
How long it takes you to lose weight depends on the size of your calorie deficit. To lose one pound of fat you need to have a total calorie deficit of 3,500 calories. This doesn’t have to be on any single day. It can add up gradually.
So, let’s take a certain amount of weight that you want to lose and see how long it will take with various calorie deficits.
How Long Does It Take To Lose 10 Pounds
To lose 10 pounds of fat requires you to have an accumulated calorie deficit of 35,000 calories (3,500 per pound).
So, how long does it take to lose 10 pounds of fat?
- With a 200 calories per day deficit it will take 35,000/200 = 175 days or nearly 6 months.
- With a 400 calories per day deficit it will take 35,000/400 = 87.5 days or just under 30 months.
- With a 750 calories per day deficit it will take 35,000/750 = 46 days.
Simple Math, Complex Reality
While this is simple math, the reality is more complex. The reason is that it’s very difficult to know what you calorie balance will be. You may know, to a certain degree, how many calories you consume by counting them, but you can’t really say how much you will burn.
The reason is that this depends on many different factors and these are hard to measure. For instance, the heavier you are, the more calories you burn. Why? Because your body needs to work harder to function. Taking a step when you weigh 200 pounds requires more energy than taking the same step when you weigh 150.
This is why it is often easy to lose weight in the beginning of a diet, but gets harder as you become leaner. Your body simply burns less calories naturally.
So, a person who has just 10 excess pounds will take longer to drop 5 of them than someone with 100 extra lbs, even if they do the same workouts and lead a similar lifestyle.
Therefore, it is very difficult to say with certainty just how long it will take to lose a certain amount of weight. All that you can do is estimate.
Focus On The Right Thing
The length of time which will take to lose weight is not the important thing. Why worry about something which you can’t predict with real certainty? It’s better to change your mindset and focus on the long term results and the process you need to go through.
What you need to do is simply to lose weight. As long as you see progress you know you’re doing things right. This is something that may take a while to achieve. In some cases, it can take many months. This is why it is better to not worry about a specific time frame, just the progress you’re seeing.
As long as you follow a healthy diet, workout often and hard and lead a healthy lifestyle you will lose weight. Eventually, you will get to your optimal weight, but during the way you will already look much better. So, don’t worry about how long it will take to lose weight. Focus on how to do it right.