Weight loss isn’t always easy as it takes time and patience. But with the right weight loss program for women in place, dropping weight can feel like a breeze.
If you’re wondering how long does it take to lose weight, slow and steady is generally best!
How Long Does It Take to Lose Weight?
The answer to the question “how long does it take to lose weight” depends on numerous factors, such as how much weight you'd like to lose and how fast you want to lose it.
A safe weight loss rate is 1-2 pounds per week, which gives you the best chance of maintaining lost weight for life.
Using this guideline, consider the following weight-loss goals:
- 5 pounds: 2-5 weeks
- 10 pounds: 5-10 weeks
- 15 pounds: 7-15 weeks
- 20 pounds: 10-20 weeks
- 25 pounds: 12-25 weeks
- 30 pounds: 15-30 weeks
- 35 pounds: 17-35 weeks
- 40 pounds: 20-40 weeks
- 45 pounds: 22-45 weeks
- 50 pounds: 25-50 weeks
- 60 pounds: 30-60 weeks
- 70 pounds: 35-70 weeks
- 80 pounds: 40-80 weeks
- 90 pounds: 45-90 weeks
- 100 pounds: 50-100 weeks
You can drop weight faster than this if you’d like to, under medical supervision, but a slow, steady rate of weight loss helps prevent you from feeling deprived, keeps your energy high, and increases your chance of keeping lost weight off long term.
How to Choose a Goal Weight
It’s sometimes difficult to determine what a good goal weight is…
Because everybody is different and muscle weighs more than fat, so a number on a scale doesn’t always tell the entire story of how healthy you are.
The best way to calculate your goal weight is to use one of the following strategies:
- Choose a weight you feel most comfortable with
- Pick your lowest adult weight
- Use the Hamwi method
- Choose a weight that puts you within a healthy body mass index (BMI) range
Knowing more about each method helps you decide which one is right for you!
The Hamwi method is a way to estimate your ideal body weight based on your height and frame size.
Hamwi body weight calculations for men and women are as follows:
Hamwi Method for Men:
- Medium frame: 106 pounds for the first 5 feet of height PLUS 6 pounds for each additional inch over 5 feet
- Subtract 10% for a small frame
- Add 10% for a large frame
Hamwi Method for Women:
- Medium frame: 100 pounds for the first 5 feet of height PLUS 5 pounds for each additional inch over 5 feet
- Subtract 10% for a small frame
- Add 10% for a large frame
When using the Hamwi method, if you are 5 feet 5 inches tall your ideal body weight is 125 pounds plus or minus 10%, which equates to 113-138 pounds.
Body Mass Index Charts
Finding your ideal body weight using body mass index (BMI) guidelines lets you know which body weight range keeps your chronic disease risks low.
Calculate your BMI by multiplying your weight in pounds by 703, dividing by your height in inches, and dividing by your height in inches again.
Note: A healthy BMI is 18.5 – 24.9.
To determine which body weight is right for you based on your height, use the following guidelines from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's (BMI) charts:
- 5 feet tall: 97-123 pounds
- 5’1”: 100-127 pounds
- 5’2”: 104-131 pounds
- 5’3”: 107-135 pounds
- 5’4”: 110-140 pounds
- 5’5”: 114-144 pounds
- 5’6”: 118-148 pounds
- 5’7”: 121-153 pounds
- 5’8”: 125-158 pounds
A healthy weight loss goal is to achieve a body weight within these ranges to lower your risk of developing a chronic disease, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
A “Feel Good” Weight
A healthy goal weight is personal and based on what’s best for you, as everyone is different.
Sometimes choosing a weight you feel the most comfortable with is the right choice.
This might be your lowest adult weight or a weight that allows you to look and feel your best.
How Does Your Body Gain or Lose Weight?
You can gain or lose weight depending on various factors, including your:
- Total daily calorie intake
- Daily calorie expenditure
Burning more calories than you consume is the key to effective weight and fat loss.
Expend 500 more calories than you eat daily to drop about 1 pound per week, or burn 1,000 more calories than you consume to shed 2 pounds per week.
Creating this type of calorie deficit is safe and helps prevent hunger during weight loss.
For best results, combine healthy eating with a fat-burning exercise program.
Ways to Boost Your Metabolism
There are numerous ways you can boost your body’s metabolism to increase the calories you burn throughout the day, even during periods of rest.
#1 – Drink More Water
Studies show that drinking water helps boost your metabolism and aids in weight and fat loss.
More specifically, drinking more water throughout the day and 2 cups of water before meals gives your metabolism a boost and helps you eat fewer overall calories.
Aim to ingest 12 cups of water daily for women.
#2 – Choose Strength Training
Strength training exercises, whether it’s weight training or using your own body weight as resistance, helps boost muscle mass and your body’s metabolism.
Why? Because muscle burns more calories than fat even at rest.
Work weight training into your daily routine or do body weight exercises, such as:
- Traditional planks
- Shoulder touch planks
- Plank jacks
- Wall squats
- Calf raises
Combine strength training with cardiovascular exercise as part of your regular routine to maximize calorie burning.
#3 – Consider Caffeine
Studies show that caffeine increases your energy expenditure. Caffeine boosts energy, making it easier to stay active.
But how much caffeine should you drink for weight and fat loss?
According to research, 3 or more cups of coffee or tea daily should do the trick.
#4 – Boost Fiber
Your body burns calories breaking down fiber, but fiber isn’t fully absorbed by the body.
Therefore, fiber helps increase your body’s metabolism for weight loss without adding extra calories.
Women need at least 25 grams of fiber daily to optimize health and make weight loss easier.
Choose fiber-rich foods to complete your weight loss meal plan. Examples include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, peas, beans, other legumes, nuts, and seeds.
Taking a fiber supplement can help too!
#5 – Focus on Protein
Increasing protein in your diet also helps boost your metabolism, based on numerous research findings.
Protein helps you feel full longer, making it easier to eat less food for weight loss.
It allows you to maintain or build lean muscle, which further boosts your body’s metabolism.
Choose lean meat, turkey, chicken, fish, seafood, eggs, tofu, seitan, legumes, low-fat dairy foods, nuts, and seeds as your protein sources.
Other Weight Loss Tips and Tricks
The majority of Americans are overweight or obese. You probably already know that eating a healthy diet and exercising daily is the key to effectively dropping excess weight.
But thinking outside the box is what counts to get and keep lost weight off for good.
#1 – Don’t Eat While Distracted
Make mealtime relaxing, eat slowly, and don’t get distracted while you eat.
Studies show that not paying attention during mealtime can cause you to eat extra calories.
In other words, if you’re distracted by the television, social media, work, or a stressful situation, you might eat more calories than usual.
Pay attention to your body’s satiety cues, or focus on whether you feel full while you eat.
Drink water before each meal and avoid eating when you’re in a hurry, as satiety takes time to set in.
#2 – Find 500 Calories to Cut
Find 500-calorie foods you can cut from your diet to drop about 1 pound per week, or eliminate 1,000 calories daily to lose 2 pounds each week.
The following foods(s) provide about 500 calories:
- 1 Big Mac
- 3 cans of beer
- A large order of fast food fries
- A 3-ounce package of potato chips
- 2 cups of ice cream
- 2 large candy bars
- 3 cans of soda
- 2 slices of pizza
- 4 mozzarella sticks
It doesn’t take much to add up to 500 calories, especially when you cut out the junk food.
#3 – Stay on Your Feet
Sitting down too much is a chronic disease risk factor, so avoid sitting as much as possible during the day.
In addition to daily workouts, find ways to stay on your feet whenever possible.
Walk instead of drive when you can, climb stairs any chance you have, do daily indoor and outdoor house chores, and stand instead of sit often.
Try a standing desk vs. a traditional desk at home or work.
#4 – Find Your Inner Strength
You’re stronger than you think and when you set your mind to do something, even losing weight, you can make it happen.
Decide that achieving your dream weight and figure is more important than enjoying sweets and other unhealthy foods.
Enlist the support of friends, family, or a health coach to keep you accountable and boost your chance of success.
#5 – Set Goals and Record Accomplishments
Research shows that setting goals increases your chance of successful weight loss in a short amount of time.
Everybody is different, but a goal of dropping 1-2 pounds per week is a good starting point.
Write down weekly weight loss (and other healthy lifestyle) goals and record your accomplishments in a journal.
You might try the following healthy living goals:
- Sleep at least 7 hours each night
- Avoid (or cut back on) alcohol
- Don't smoke
- Drink 2-4 cups of water when you first wake up
- Drink 12 cups of water (or water plus coffee or tea) daily
- Drink 2 cups of water before each meal
- Eat 5-6 small meals/snacks every day
- Try intermittent fasting 1-3 days each week
- Fill half of each plate with vegetables at mealtime
- Fill half of each plate with protein foods and fiber-rich starches
- Exercise at least 30 minutes daily
- Take time to yourself every day
While weight loss and healthy living goals are highly individualized, these few general goals can help you get started!
#6 – Relieve Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
Having a healthy mind is crucial for effective weight loss.
Stress, anxiety, and depression can alter hormones and increase your appetite, or cause you to eat because of emotional reasons vs. truly being hungry.
These mental health disorders are common, as anxiety affects over 18% of people in the United States.
If depression or anxiety get the best of you, check in with your doctor for treatment options.
To help de-stress, try easing up on an overbooked schedule, getting a massage, walking outdoors, or doing yoga or tai chi.
#7 – Consider Hormone Therapy if Necessary
With age, women’s hormones may fluctuate, which can decrease metabolism or boost your appetite. In fact, thyroid disorders are common among women in the U.S.
Women are five to eight times more likely than men to develop thyroid problems, which can decrease your metabolism, hinder weight loss, and even lead to unwanted weight gain.
If you have menopause symptoms or suffer from extreme fatigue, check-in with your doctor to have your thyroid and estrogen levels checked to determine if hormone therapy or taking synthetic thyroid is right for you.
#8 – Replace Sweets with Fruit
Sweets and other forms of added sugar can pack on unwanted pounds quickly. Instead, choose fruit containing natural sugars plus fiber.
Fruits are often lower in calories, contain more essential nutrients, and keep you full for longer time periods.
Aim to eat about 2-3 one-half cup servings of fruit daily during weight loss.
#9 – Avoid Regular and Diet Sodas
You probably already know that regular soda isn’t the healthiest choice, but you might be surprised to learn that diet beverages are also associated with weight gain.
Studies show that drinking diet soft drinks can increase your waist circumference, BMI, and fasting blood sugar.
Why? Because consuming sweet-tasting soda without the energy of sugar can leave you feeling deprived and increase cravings for sugary foods.
#10 – Join a Research-Backed Weight Loss Program
Participating in a research-backed weight loss program, such as Fit Mother 30X (FM30X), is an excellent way to increase your chance of weight loss success.
Why? Because you’ll receive:
- Healthy weight loss menus
- Fat-burning workouts
- Health coaching from medical experts
- Fit mom community support
- Weekly newsletters
- Nutritious, mouth-watering recipes and more
Studies show that joining a weight loss program is associated with greater weight loss vs. trying to drop weight on your own.
Your new friend & nutrition coach,
Erin Coleman, R.D.
Writer, The Fit Mother Project
Erin is a registered dietitian who earned a nutritional science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she worked as a health educator for the department of internal medicine.
Her published work appears on hundreds of health, fitness, nutrition, and medical websites – including doctors’ offices, rehab centers, urgent care clinics, and hospitals.