Man standing on bathroom scale and wondering how long it takes to lose weight

How Long Does It Take to Lose Weight?

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. [2] 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.

Weight Loss Basics

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. [3] 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. [2] 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

Other Factors Affecting Weight Loss

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:

  • Normal fluctuations – Metabolism may be slowed or heightened depending on your eating and drinking habits, how you use your body daily, and your overall constitution. [4] For instance, getting older can cause metabolism to slow.5 On the other hand, working out regularly and having more muscle mass can increase your metabolism.
  • Rapid weight loss – Many people working to lose weight find that they reach a plateau at some point in their journey. [3] This is due to the body’s tendency to adjust (usually slow) its metabolic rate as its caloric needs reduce. [3] Because drastically cutting calories can impair BMR, healthcare providers typically recommend creating a gradual caloric deficit to support long-term weight loss. [3]
  • Metabolic disorders – In rarer cases, metabolic disorders can interfere with how efficiently and healthily the body uses energy. Two conditions that can reduce BMR include hypothyroidism and Cushing’s syndrome. [3] If you’re concerned your weight loss goals have stalled due to a metabolic abnormality, a trusted healthcare provider can help you screen for conditions that may be the cause.


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. [4]

Everlywell Weight Loss Support


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. [6]

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:

  • Recording your progress and challenges in a journal
  • Working with a nutritionist to understand optimal calorie intake
  • Experimenting with fun physical activity options and joyful ways to move your body on a regular basis
  • Working with a mental health professional if you need help addressing tendencies to overeat
  • Getting to know your body’s needs better by understanding what a calorie deficit is, your food sensitivities, and nutritional needs
  • Building a weight loss care team who can help you stay accountable and on track to meet your body weight goals
  • Exploring healthier coping mechanisms for dealing with discomfort, like feeling sore after exercise [6]

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.

Lose Weight Sustainably With Everlywell

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.

How Much Weight Can You Lose in 3 Months?

How to Start a Weight Loss Journey: Key Steps

How to Maintain Weight After Weight Loss


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. FastStats - Overweight Prevalence. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published 2019. URL. Accessed Aug 4, 2023.
  2. Mayo Clinic Staff. 6 proven strategies for weight-loss success. Mayo Clinic. Published December 7, 2021. URL. Accessed Aug 4, 2023.
  3. Cleveland Clinic. Metabolism: What It Is, How It Works and Disorders. Cleveland Clinic. Published August 30, 2021. URL. Accessed Aug 4, 2023.
  4. Harvard Health Publishing. The truth about metabolism - Harvard Health. Harvard Health. Published April 2018. URL. Accessed Aug 4, 2023.
  5. Mayo Clinic. Can you boost your metabolism? Mayo Clinic. Published November 10, 2020. URL. Accessed Aug 4, 2023.
  6. MD RJ. What is a successful mindset for weight loss maintenance? Harvard Health. Published May 11, 2022. URL. Accessed Aug 4, 2023.
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