Person stepping on bathroom scale to check how much weight was lost in 3 months

How much weight can you lose in 3 months?

Written on May 23, 2023 by Theresa Vuskovich, DMD. 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.

Table of contents

Everyone's 3-month weight loss journey is unique.[1] Factors including your starting weight, age, genetics, medical conditions, and medications can affect how quickly you lose weight.[1] Prior to creating a weight loss plan, it is important to understand the science behind weight loss, the factors influencing weight loss, and practical strategies to reach a healthy weight. In this article, you will learn about these topics to answer the question, "How much weight can you lose in 3 months?"

Understanding weight loss

Although excess weight primarily results from consuming more calories than you burn, some people have a more difficult time losing weight and are more prone to obesity.[1] Factors affecting weight loss include fixed and non-fixed variables.[1] Your sex, age, genetics, and certain medical conditions are fixed factors affecting how quickly you lose weight.[1] On the other hand, other variables are in your control, such as your environment and your adherence to a weight loss plan.[1]

Let's first discuss the effects of your physiological characteristics on weight loss. Your energy requirement, or how many calories you need to function, varies based on your sex and age.[1] Women (assigned female at birth or AFAB) have a higher percentage of fat in their bodies from puberty to menopause than men (assigned male at birth or AMAB).[2]

The amount of fat-free mass (FFM) in your body determines how many calories you burn, with FFM burning more calories than adipose (fat) mass.[2,3] Since women carry more fat, they typically burn fewer calories than men of a similar age and height.[2,3] Additionally, age affects your weight loss ability.[3] As you age, your FFM decreases, reducing your calorie needs.[3]

Your genetics also plays a role in how you lose weight.[1,4] Genes affecting your metabolism can make losing weight more difficult.[1,4] Additionally, your genetics impacts your gut microbiome, the type of bacteria present in your intestine, and your gut microbiome may affect your ability to lose weight.[1,5] More research is needed to fully understand how genes affect the gut microbiome and how the gut microbiome affects weight loss.[1,5]

Aside from your physical characteristics, other factors can have a more significant influence on your 3-month weight loss journey. The key to losing weight successfully involves adhering to your weight loss plan and establishing an environment encouraging a healthy lifestyle.[1,6,7] Weight loss occurs more easily when healthy foods are readily available and you live in an environment conducive to physical activity.[7]

Everlywell Weight Loss Support

Losing 1 to 2 pounds weekly is considered healthy

According to the Mayo Clinic, losing 1 to 2 pounds weekly is considered healthy.[8] As a result, healthy weight loss in 3 months ranges from 12 to 24 pounds. However, as previously discussed, many factors influence how much weight you can lose in 3 months.[1-7]

Remember that your health is not based solely on the number on the scale. Weight loss must support your overall health. "Clinically meaningful" weight loss means losing 5% of your starting weight and is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes.[9,10] The Everlywell Heart Health Test evaluates your heart disease and diabetes risk, ensuring that your weight loss goals align with your overall health.

Planning for successful weight loss

Weight loss relies primarily on calorie control along with increased physical activity, according to the Mayo Clinic.[8] Making permanent lifestyle changes can help you lose weight in the long term.[8] However, no one weight loss strategy works for everyone. Your unique physical characteristics, environment, and internal motivations all play a role.

When planning for a successful 3-month weight loss journey, the Mayo Clinic suggests:[8]

  • Identifying your inner motivation: Determine what motivates you, whether it is to improve your health or run a marathon. Make a list you can easily access when you feel tempted.
  • Setting realistic goals: Remember that your body has limits when it comes to losing weight and adapting to a new healthy lifestyle.
  • Finding healthier foods: Experiment with different fruits and vegetables to see which ones you like the most. Prepare meals using healthy recipes incorporating these foods.
  • Participating in physical activity: Try cycling, swimming, walking, or yoga. Choose an activity that you enjoy, fits your schedule, and meets your physical limitations.

Incorporating Everlywell into your weight loss journey

Everlywell's Weight Care+ program is a 3-month program combining GLP-1 prescriptions with regular clinician care, lab testing, and support for related conditions to support your weight loss goals. When you join the Weight Care+ program, you will have virtual care visits with a healthcare professional who will evaluate your medical history, order any appropriate lab testing, and help you design a personalized care plan. If you join the program, a healthcare professional will determine whether you qualify for medications based on their clinical judgment. Your healthcare provider wants to ensure you reach your 3-month weight loss goals safely.

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  1. Dent R, McPherson R, Harper ME. Factors affecting weight loss variability in obesity. Metabolism. 2020;113(154388):154388. doi:10.1016/j.metabol.2020.154388.
  2. Wu BN, O'Sullivan AJ. Sex differences in energy metabolism need to be considered with lifestyle modifications in humans. J Nutr Metab. 2011;2011:391809. doi:10.1155/2011/391809.
  3. Hopkins M, Casanova N, Finlayson G, Stubbs RJ, Blundell JE. Fat-Free Mass and Total Daily Energy Expenditure Estimated Using Doubly Labeled Water Predict Energy Intake in a Large Sample of Community-Dwelling Older Adults. J Nutr. 2022;152(4):971-980. doi:10.1093/jn/nxab434.
  4. Bray GA, Krauss RM, Sacks FM, Qi L. Lessons Learned from the POUNDS Lost Study: Genetic, Metabolic, and Behavioral Factors Affecting Changes in Body Weight, Body Composition, and Cardiometabolic Risk. Curr Obes Rep. 2019;8(3):262-283. doi:10.1007/s13679-019-00353-1.
  5. Cuevas-Sierra A, Ramos-Lopez O, Riezu-Boj JI, Milagro FI, Martinez JA. Diet, Gut Microbiota, and Obesity: Links with Host Genetics and Epigenetics and Potential Applications. Adv Nutr. 2019;10(suppl_1):S17-S30. doi:10.1093/advances/nmy078.
  6. Kim JY. Optimal Diet Strategies for Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance. J Obes Metab Syndr. 2021;30(1):20-31. doi:10.7570/jomes20065.
  7. Neve KL, Isaacs A. How does the food environment influence people engaged in weight management? A systematic review and thematic synthesis of the qualitative literature. Obes Rev. 2022;23(3):e13398. doi:10.1111/obr.13398.
  8. Weight loss. Mayo Clinic. Published December 7, 2021. Accessed May 10, 2023.
  9. Ryan DH, Yockey SR. Weight Loss and Improvement in Comorbidity: Differences at 5%, 10%, 15%, and Over. Curr Obes Rep. 2017;6(2):187-194. doi:10.1007/s13679-017-0262-y.
  10. Piché ME, Tchernof A, Després JP. Obesity phenotypes, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Circ Res. 2020;126(11):1477-1500. doi:10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.120.316101.
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