Losing weight is a frequent objective, whether it's for your own health or to prepare for a special occasion.

You might be interested in learning what a healthy weight loss rate is so that you can set reasonable expectations.

The variables influencing how long it might take you to lose weight are discussed in this article.

The process of losing weight

When your daily caloric intake continually falls below your daily caloric expenditure, weight loss results.

On the other hand, weight gain comes when you continually consume more calories than you expend.

Your total daily calorie intake is determined by the foods and drinks you consume.

But your daily calorie expenditure—also referred to as your energy or caloric intake—is a little more complicated.

The three following primary factors make up calorie expenditure:

metabolic rate while at rest (RMR). The amount of calories required by your body to continue performing routine biological processes like breathing and blood pumping is represented by this number.

Impact of food on temperature (TEF). Calories required to digest, assimilate, and metabolize food are referred to here.
Heat-producing impact of an action (TEA). When you work out, you burn off these calories. 

Thermogenesis from non-exercise activity (NEAT), which accounts for the calories expended for activities like yard labor and fidgeting, can also be included in TEA.

You maintain your current weight if the number of calories you consume and expend is the same.

Create a negative calorie balance by consuming fewer calories than you burn, or by increasing your activity level in order to lose weight.

Influencing factors for weight reduction

Your weight loss progress is influenced by a number of variables. Many of them are beyond your power to control.


You can lose weight more easily or more slowly depending on your fat-to-muscle ratio.

Women often have a higher ratio of fat to muscle than males, hence they have a 5–10% lower RMR than men of the same height (2Trusted Source).

This indicates that on average, women burn 5–10% fewer calories while at rest than men. As a result, males tend to lose weight more quickly than women when eating a diet with the same number of calories.

In an 8-week study with more than 2,000 participants on an 800-calorie diet, for instance, it was discovered that men lost 16% more weight than women, with relative weight reduction of 11.8% in men and 10.3% in women (3Trusted Source).


Alterations in body composition, whereby fat mass rises and muscle mass falls, are just one of the numerous physical changes that come with age.

A reduced RMR is a result of this adjustment as well as other elements including the decreasing calorie requirements of your primary organs (4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source).

In actuality, RMRs for people over the age of 70 can be 20–25% lower than for people under that age (2Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).

With ageing, weight loss may become more challenging due to this decline in RMR.

a proportionate reduction of weight of 11.8% for men and 10.3% for women (3Trusted Source).

Starting place

How rapidly you can anticipate losing weight may also depend on your starting body mass and composition.

It's crucial to realise that different relative weight losses (in %) can correlate to the same absolute weight losses (in pounds) in various people. In the end, losing weight is a challenging task.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Body Weight Planner is a helpful tool for estimating how much weight you can lose depending on your starting weight, age, sex, and the number of calories you consume and burn each day (7Trusted Source).

Although a heavier individual may lose twice as much weight, a person who weighs less may lose an equivalent percentage of their body weight (10/250 = 4% versus 5/125 = 4%).

Shortfall in calories

In order to shed pounds, you must generate a calorie deficit. Your rate of weight loss is influenced by the size of this calorie deficit.

As an illustration, losing more weight over the course of 8 weeks is likely to be accomplished by ingesting 500 fewer calories each day as opposed to 200.

The calorie deficit you create should not, however, be excessive.

You'd risk developing nutrient shortages by doing this, in addition to the fact that it would be unsustainable. In addition, you may be more prone to lose muscle mass than fat mass when you lose weight.


Unheralded yet essential for weight loss, sleep is a habit.

The amount of weight you lose and how quickly you lose it can both be considerably hampered by chronic sleep deprivation.

The urge for high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods like cookies, cakes, sugary beverages, and chips can increase after just one night of sleep loss, according to research (8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source).

A calorie-restricted diet participant was randomly assigned to sleep for either 5.5 or 8.5 hours each night in one trial that lasted two weeks.

Those who slept 5.5 hours each night shed 55% less body fat and 60% more lean body mass than those who slept 8.5 hours (10Trusted Source).

As a result, type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and several malignancies are all significantly increased by persistent sleep deprivation (11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).