If you’ve set out to lose weight for personal or health reasons, it’s reasonable to ask yourself: How long does it realistically take to lose weight? Diet culture and its obsession with before-and-after photos set the expectation to see transformations overnight, but that’s simply not how it works. Below, registered dietitians share how weight loss occurs and how long it takes to lose weight—which, spoiler alert, is not a universal timeline.
How weight loss occurs: The magical secret to losing weight seems to change with whatever fad diet is trending, but in reality, physiologically, there’s one way to do it. (That’s not to say other factors can’t impede, but we’ll get to those later.)
“Weight loss occurs when there is a sustained calorie deficit, leading the body to utilize stored fat for energy,” explains Crystal Scott, R.D., a registered dietician with Top Nutrition Coaching. “This typically happens through a combination of reduced calorie intake and increased physical activity.” In other words, weight loss happens when you eat fewer calories than you burn, and the body turns to fat stores for fuel. The more you work out, the more burning takes place, and the more likely weight loss becomes.
Excerpted from Prevention