Medically reviewed on Aug 7, 2023 by Jordan Stachel, M.S., RDN, CPT. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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More than 73% of US adults are overweight or obese and struggle with their body size, making weight loss a cardinal concern for many Americans.1 Maintaining a healthy body weight can drastically improve both physical and mental health, but before you start your weight loss journey, it can be helpful to have an understanding of how the body sheds weight and what your successful weight loss results might look like.
In fact, if you’re looking to shed a few pounds of body fat, you may be wondering, how long does it take to lose weight?
Health experts recommend aiming for a weight loss rate of 1 to 2 lbs. per week.  So, if you weigh 180 lbs. and your goal weight is 130 lbs., a healthy timeline for reaching your weight loss goal is about 25 weeks, if you are losing weight at a rate of 2 lbs. per week.
That said, other variables can affect how long weight loss results take, from your metabolic rate to your mindset. For an understanding of how successful weight loss works, we cover the basics and factors that could affect your journey below.
The simplest formula for understanding weight loss is often described as “calories in, calories out.” This means that if you expend more calories than you consume through food and drink, you’ll lose weight.
Your body is constantly expending energy (a.k.a., calories) for all sorts of activities—from strenuous ones, like walking to the post office, to sedentary ones, like composing an email. Your basal metabolic rate, or BMR, describes your body’s caloric needs when it’s at rest.  By learning your BMR, you can determine the minimum amount of calories your body expends every day, and in turn, determine how many calories you should consume to lose weight.
As mentioned, the recommended rate of weight loss is typically 1 to 2 lbs. each week.  This pace is thought to be more stable for the body to adapt to. It’s also conducive to creating lifestyle habits and a balanced diet that can help you keep the weight off in the long term. Read about the most effective weight loss pill options
While your BMR and the daily activities you participate in contribute to your “calories in, calories out” weight loss formula, there are additional factors that can affect body weight loss. With an understanding of how these factors impact you specifically, you can adopt strategies and lifestyle habits for losing weight to maximize your weight loss timeline and potential.
Let’s explore these factors below.
Your metabolism encompasses the highly complex chemical processes that influence how your body takes in and expends energy (both caloric energy and oxygen).3 And metabolism isn’t static: it differs between people. It can also be affected by internal and external changes, including:
What is a balanced diet and how does it impact weight loss? Calorie intake and what you eat plays a role in promoting weight loss, even beyond the caloric content of food. For instance, in combination with physical activity and weight training exercise, a high-protein diet full of nutrient dense foods may accelerate weight loss by increasing your metabolism. 
Losing weight sustainably can be as much a matter of mindset as it is of calorie reduction. In fact, Harvard Medicine reports that individuals who maintain high self-efficacy—a belief in your ability to achieve your goals—are better positioned to meet health goals large and small. 
This is important to know because many people struggle with committing to health goals that promise long-term results rather than short-term gains. To cultivate a lifestyle that supports the optimistic mindset you need for losing weight, you might try:
Much of the time, discovering and cementing habits that will eventually help you maintain a healthy weight means making significant adjustments to your life—and change can be hard. But by celebrating each incremental milestone, you can start training your mind to recall your ultimate goal: creating the foundation for a healthy body, mind, and life by maintaining a healthy weight.
Settling on a weight loss timeline and the supportive habits you’ll need to reach your goals can seem daunting. But equipped with a trusted care team and a clearer understanding of how your body functions, your goals are far from unattainable.
With Everlywell, you can find a variety of tools for weight loss and well-being that can help you build a better foundation for health. From checking in virtually with weight loss experts, to accessing online weight management services that can connect you to additional resources, Everlywell lets you take an individualized, convenient, and comfortable approach to wellness.
Start building a weight loss and health optimization plan that works for you by visiting Everlywell today.