How Long Does it Take To See Weight Loss Results on the Scale?

stepping on scale

The average time it takes to see a difference on your weight loss scale is 1-3 weeks. This can vary greatly from one person to the next. Depending on your metabolism, eating and activity habits, and where you are starting. However, we stronger recommend people avoid trying to see their number changing every day as you can’t see your true number on the scale.

Many people can relate with one another that at one point in their life, they decided to go on their weight loss journey. Although the fundamentals of weight loss are the same for everyone, the speed at which people see results can be vastly different – from a few days to weeks to a couple of months. 

Everyone would rather see results as soon as possible, especially to stay motivated and to stay consistent in their routine since they know it provides positive outcomes.

There are many factors that can affect your weight loss progress including:

  • Diet & nutrition
  • Metabolism
  • Exercise

Let’s go over a few factors that affect the speed you’ll see that number drop on the scale. 

Factors Affecting Your Weight Loss Progress

Diet/ Nutrition

An individual’s diet can have a major influence on how quickly you see weight loss results. Some diet plans can result in accelerated weight loss relative to others, which may restrict someone’s food intake. 

Decreasing carbohydrate intake has a huge impact on weight loss. So, those diets that heavily restrict carbs will lead people to see rapid weight loss. Restricting carbs leads to rapid water loss as well – and since your body requires water to store carbohydrates for energy, this causes a cascading effect. You first lose the carbs, then your body sheds the additional water that isn’t needed to store carbs.

Your diet is one of the largest impeding factors when it comes to seeing your hard work pay off on the scale. Keep in mind, any diet that restricts your calorie count to less the calories you burn will make weight loss visible. But, partaking in this method weight loss in excess can result in biological complications or disorders.


It’s no secret that everyone’s genetics are unique, with some being luckier than others to be blessed with a fast metabolism.

What is your metabolism?

In simple terms, your metabolism is the rate at which it processes compounds, including burning fat for energy, digesting food, and retrieving stored energy in the form of carbs or fats for energy needs. 

The higher or faster a person’s metabolism, the faster they will burn through calories, making it harder to put on weight. People with a slower metabolism will find it harder to keep weight off.

Overweight individuals that have a fast metabolism will find that exercise will be much more effective compared to overweight individuals with a slower metabolism. 


The type of exercise, as well as the amount of time spent exercising, are both factors that influence how rapidly you see the number on the scale go down. As a general rule, 20 minutes to two hours of cardiovascular exercise is preferred for those who wish to lose weight, since these exercises burn many calories without requiring additional calories to build muscle as weight lifting does.

When wanting to lose weight and build muscle, individuals will want to carefully moderate what foods they choose to consume, prioritizing protein and fat over carbs to lose body fat.

When a person engages in cardio exercise, they don’t necessarily need to worry about consuming lots of protein to build muscle. Rather, they can simply run, swim, bike, or perform another activity they enjoy and burn calories to force their body to consume stored fat.

Keep in mind, countless other variables determine how quickly you see results such as starting size, daily activities, and more. But, we’re now going to discuss how long until you see results.

Initial Weeks

First off, the more intense the lifestyle and dietary changes an individual undertakes, the faster their weight loss results will be noticeable, and the more dramatic those results will be.

If a person only cuts out 100 calories from their diet, it might take about 2-3 weeks until they see a weight loss of one pound or so. If a person cuts 500 calories from their diet and performs 45 minutes of cardio per day, they could see a weight loss result of 1-2 pounds per week for the first 4-8 weeks of their journey. The first weeks of weight loss are usually the most dramatic and noticeable.

The initial weeks of a new diet or exercise regime are marked by significant weight loss results. But, this is because of water loss, not necessarily body fat loss. As we begin our weight loss journey, our bodies shed that additional water weight that we no longer need due to a decreased intake of carbs that we talked about earlier. These early losses can feel quite dramatic because, well, they are. Only two cups of water can translate into about one pound of body weight.

These initial weeks are great for maintaining motivation. Most weight loss journeys take months, if not years, to complete. Getting this early wave of positive results can motivate one to stick with their exercise and the dietary regime even when results start to slow down.

Results in Specific Areas

Although there’s no way to target weight loss results in specific areas of your body, you will notice results in some areas quicker than others. Once water weight is gone, you’ll most likely lose fat at a proportionally equal rate everywhere instead of burning through the fat deposit in one area first, then moving to another fast deposit after. 

This can still cause some areas of the body to lose more visible weight more rapidly than others. For example, if someone’s stomach holds most of their extraneous fat, but their arms hold only a little bit, most of your weight results will be concentrated in the stomach area. 

Other Factors Affecting Results

Weight loss results aren’t everything when it comes to looking the way you want or seeing results as fast as possible.

Should You Use A Scale To Measure Your Results?

Honestly, scales aren’t all that reliable. The scale doesn’t tell you what pounds were lost because of your diet and exercise (i.e., water, fat, lean tissue, etc.). 

Because of this, your weight loss scale should only be used from time to time to take note of your progress – if at all. You may notice you look better and feel more confident in your body, yet the scale hasn’t dropped. This could be because you packed on additional muscle but shed some body fat. 

Improve Your Posture

Standing up straight with correct back posture will stretch out the body’s tissues and prevent fat deposits from seeming as concentrated compared to if you’re slumping more hunch. PRactiving good posture when on your weight loss journey not only makes your results seem more significant,t but you’ll also do yourself a favor by preventing the onset of back problems. 

There’s No One Size Fits All

All in all, it can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to see noticeable weight loss results. Depending on your diet, metabolism, exercise regime, and other factors, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to seeing results rapidly. The best area for you to focus on is building healthy habits and allowing your body the time to adapt at a healthy pace! 🙂

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