Page Description: Weight loss is a trending topic for most people today. Before now, weight loss became a trending topic only when summer was approaching. People want to showcase their abs, toned muscles, flat belly, and curves on the beachside. However, times have changed. Weight loss is no longer associated with summer. Nowadays, most people lose weight for its health benefits, while some lose weight to boost their confidence, feel good about themselves, and lead a healthy lifestyle.
One primary concern of most people who embark on the weight loss journey is how to lose weight quickly. However, there’s more to losing weight than the pace of weight loss. This article covers all the basics you need to know about weight loss and how quickly you can lose weight.
Weight loss refers to a drop or reduction in the body’s weight. Your body weight equals your body mass, a combination of bone, muscles, fat, and water. Healthy body weight is calculated using the body mass index BMI, the ratio of body mass to height.
There are two extremes of BMI, low and very high BMI. A low BMI is anything below 18.5, associated with malnutrition and other serious diseases. A very high BMI is anything above 30, associated with obesity and other critical health risks. We have standard and high BMI between low and very high BMI. A normal BMI is within the range of 18.5 to 25, while a high BMI is within the range of 25, indicative of overweight and increased risk of health problems.
Water makes up 60% of the body mass. The remaining percentage of the body mass consists of bones (12%-15%), fats, and muscles –made up of proteins. Note that the makeup of the body mass is different for males and females.
Ideally, a healthy male’s body consists of 15% bones, 8% to 19% body fat (3% essential fats), and 40% to 45% muscles, while a female’s body comprises 12% bone, 27% fat (12% to 15% essential fat), and 30% to 35% muscle. Remember, half of each of these components has 50% of water.
When most people talk about losing weight, they usually talk about losing body fat. However, as we’ve explained, body weight comprises constituents other than fat, which means that losing weight is not just about losing fat but also muscle and water loss. That is why you can see a lean person who is overweight.
Losing weight comes with numerous health benefits, which include:
- Improved heart health: Losing weight reduces the pressure on the artery and relieves the heart of the pressure to pump more blood, thereby enhancing blood flow. Weight loss also reduces LDL cholesterol which puts the heart at risk of heart-related diseases.
- Improved physical health: Losing weight relieves your body from the stress and workload of being overweight. It also reduces the weight and pain you might experience in your joints and muscles, making you more flexible and active. Once your body is relieved from weight, it automatically spikes your energy level, making you stronger and more energetic.
- Regulate blood sugar: losing weight reduces adipose tissue and increases insulin sensitivity, which helps to body effectively regulate blood sugar.
- Enhanced sex drive: gaining weight increases SHGB levels, reducing free testosterone and libido. So, working out will reduce the level of SHGB in the body, increasing testosterone level and libido.
- Lowering blood pressure: Obesity and overweight are often associated with high blood pressure. So, working out and reducing your body mass will automatically reduce your blood pressure.
- Reduced risk of some types of cancers: although the link between cancer and weight gain isn’t fully established, studies carried out by the American Cancer Society show that being overweight leads to about 11% of some cancer types in women and 5% in men. Hence, losing weight is a sure way of preventing these cancer types.
- Improved self-esteem: People feel more confident when they are in shape. So, weight loss helps to improve your self-confidence and self-esteem.
- Decreased stroke risk: losing weight decreases the pressure on blood vessels and prevents blood clotting that leads to stroke.
How long does losing weight take?
There is no specified time frame for losing weight. Weight loss is a slow and steady process that works differently for different people, especially if you want it to last long. Understandably, you’ll want to see minor changes as you begin your weight loss journey. However, be patient.
The timeline for losing weight varies from person to person due to factors like starting weight, level of activity, calorie intake, age, commitment, body fat, muscle percentage, and consistency. Categorically, men lose weight faster than women, young people lose weight faster than older people, and overweight people lose weight faster than others.
It takes up to four weeks of commitment and consistency to notice a significant change in your body weight and about six to eight weeks for those around you to see. So, don’t give up if you are just starting. Stay consistent and committed to every activity, from exercise to your diet. Keep pushing.
How do you know that you’ve started dropping weight? Although weight loss takes time, early symptoms of losing weight aren’t always noticeable until you get to some stage. However, there are obvious changes that show that you are making progress. Here’s a list of some of them.
- Reduced appetite for food
- You urinate a lot
- Lower blood pressure
- Improved mood
- Your clothes start becoming loose
- Slight muscle tone
- Increased endurance for setting strenuous activities
- Reduced waistline, breast, arm, and thigh measurement (varies for different people)
- Reduced face and body fat
Weight loss isn’t fat loss, but fat loss is part of weight loss. Remember, weight loss results in a drop in the percentage of your body composition, including water and muscle. That attests to the frequent urination and toning of the muscles–you’ve got to lose water because it makes up most of your body composition.
There are two main phases of weight loss, rapid weight loss, and slow weight loss.
- Rapid weight loss
The first stage of weight loss is rapid weight loss, which occurs within the first four to six weeks of your weight loss journey. At this stage, the body loses mainly water, reserved carbs (glycogen), protein, and very little fat.
The rapid weight loss comes with obvious signs like frequent urination –water takes up to 60% of your body weight. So, if you are losing water, your body has to feel it. Also, because of a change in diet that reduces our calorie intake, the body begins to burn reserve carbs stored in the liver and muscles. After the body has burnt or used up its stored carb, it starts losing fat.
Low carb diet is more helpful in weight loss than a low-fat diet because the lower your carb intake, the more the body burns calories. So, if you are on a weight loss journey and not looking to lose just fat, a low-carb diet is ideal for a start.
- Slow weight loss
The second phase of weight loss is the slow weight loss which takes place after the first six weeks of the weight loss journey. At this stage, the rate at which your body drops in mass slows down, and the changes in weight loss become less noticeable.
In the second phase of weight loss, the body starts to burn fats in a process known as ketosis. Fat burns slower than carbs which is the reason for a declined speed. Eating foods and snacks rich in protein at this stage is advisable. You can’t be burning fat and still eating fat. It’ll lead to little or no changes at all.
The second stage of weight loss can be frustrating because you might not notice any sign that shows a change is happening. You might notice frequent hunger and a spike in your cravings. However, don’t give up.
Motivate yourself, change your exercise and routine to more engaging and fun activities, and continue your diet. With time you’ll notice that you are accustomed to a healthy lifestyle that will start reflecting on your body.
A healthy weight loss is losing about 0.45kg to 1.36 kg per week. Although the first stage of weight loss is rapid, it is not as fast as you think. Rapid weight loss threatens your health and should be tackled if noticed.
Your body has a limit to its endurance. Body endurance can be increased gradually by adding a little more workload, one step at a time. If you go about starving yourself of food and water to lose weight quickly, you’ll be harming yourself. Plus, weight loss is a long-term journey, don’t rush the process.
It calls for concern if you lose weight faster than the recommended weekly weight. Rapid weight loss is a symptom of severe illnesses like cancer, HIV/AIDS, abdominal infection, diabetes, dementia, and celiac diseases.
Rapid weight loss also puts you at risk of some health problems such as:
- Muscle loss
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Irregular menstruation in women
- Low energy level
Weight loss isn’t a seasonal journey. Instead, it’s long-term. Don’t beat yourself up about losing weight within a short time. Take your time, commit to the process, and stay consistent. That’s the only way to win the weight loss race.
Bear in mind that weight loss isn’t a one-way journey. In some weeks, you’ll lose a reasonable amount of weight, while in some other weeks, you might not lose anything. Don’t be discouraged. Keep pressing on, and you’ll get the result someday.
The Different Stages of Losing Weight: Fat Loss vs. Weight Loss
How Long Does It Take to Lose Weight
10 Signs of Weight Loss to Look for