When Will the Diet Effects Be Visible?


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Consistency is key when you’re trying to lose weight, even when you feel like progress is slow. You will need more than a week to notice the effects of a diet, although just a week of eating in a caloric deficit (i.e., eating fewer calories than you burn) can feel like an eternity.

How long should you expect it to take to notice you’re shedding the pounds? This is a legitimate question that every person on a diet has put at least once. Sure, we know there’s rarely instant gratification associated with a healthier lifestyle and weight loss. To answer that question, let us dig a little deeper than the number you see on the scale.

Is there a difference between losing weight and losing fat?

Alexia Lewis, a registered dietitian and the personal trainer explains: “The scale reflects all of you: fat, muscle, bones, organs and body fluids,”  So when your scale weight drops, you could be losing any of these elements. Most people who want to lose weight are really after fat loss, not just general weight loss, Lewis points out.

“If you reduce carbs and salt, then you will probably lose quite a few pounds quickly and be less bloated,” says Lewis. “You will be able to see this type of weight loss on the scale and in how your clothes fit fairly quickly.”

How should I know if I am losing fat or water weight during diet?

Lewis affirms ” There’s no surefire way to know if you’re losing fat or water weight, but if you drop a substantial amount of weight in a few days, chances are good that it is mostly water weight,”.

Jamie Nadeau, RD. adds: “Losing excess water weight initially can actually be helpful and very motivating when you’re first starting,”.

“Although it’s important to note that if you’re trying a short-term ‘crash diet’ and you lose 5 pounds in the first week, it’s water weight, and it will come right back as soon as you go back to your normal habits.”

Weigh yourself once a week

It was noticed that women tend to see a weight fluctuation before and during the first few days of their menstrual cycle.  Nicole German Morgan, RD affirms: “The average weight fluctuation during a menstrual cycle may be about 1–5 pounds. However, the weight should normalize after the first few days into the menstrual cycle,”. There are many other factors that can cause water weight gain and loss, that’s why it’s recommended to weigh yourself only once a week. Nadeau affirms: We all have a very unique weight range that fluctuates every single day, so I always encourage people to think about moving that entire weight range down versus focusing on just one number,”.

When could you see the difference going on a diet?

In terms of how your body looks, “it usually takes 4 weeks for your friends to notice weight loss, and 6–8 weeks for you to notice,” says Ramsey Bergeron, a certified personal trainer. “Your friends who don’t see you every day are much more likely to see a change than someone you’re around all the time,” he adds.

Stay strong and motivated and the results will come in about a month!

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