How long does it take to lose weight?

Losing weight is a personal experience, how quickly you lose it depends on your body, your lifestyle, and the changes you make. Just as everyone puts on weight at different speeds, we all lose it differently too. 

Some people believe that the older you get, the harder it is to lose weight. However, a study published in the research journal, Obesity, looked at the effect of age on weight loss and weight loss maintenance. The researchers found that participants aged over 60 had greater initial weight loss, regained less weight, sustained more weight loss and had more clinically significant weight loss after three years. 

Age might affect weight loss due to muscle mass and lifestyle. Sometimes as we age our muscle mass decreases. The maintenance of muscle cells takes more energy than fat cells. So, people with more muscle than fat typically have a faster metabolism. Many of us decrease our physical activity as we age, sometimes expending less energy than we take in. You must consider this when exploring your options. Research shows that whatever route we take in a weight loss journey we all need similar behavioural strategies to maintain the weight loss.

The authors of a study titled Maintenance of Lost Weight and Long-Term Management of Obesity explain the weight loss plateau and why many people struggle to lose as much weight as they wish. Typically, people who commit to a healthier diet and lifestyle with an aim of losing weight achieve the initial goal of weight loss rapidly. However, after several months the weight loss stalls, and they progressively regain the weight.

They estimate that for each kilogram of weight lost, calorie expenditure reduces by around twenty to thirty calories per day. However, appetite increases by around one hundred calories per day above the level prior to the weight loss. The result of this is a reduction in motivation due to feelings of failure. Many people beat themselves up feeling like they have a lack of willpower. 

The greater the weight loss, the harder the battle to maintain a reduced calorie intake. In addition, the physiological regulation of appetite is not part of your conscious awareness. Therefore, unconscious signals to the brain that increase appetite during weight loss might mean you do things completely out of and quicker than your conscious awareness (unconscious bias) such as increasing your portion sizes over time. 

Maintaining reduced calories as you lose weight, and your appetite grows requires persistent effort. Although someone who maintains their weight loss after one year might have a calorie intake of only one hundred calories per day less that someone who loses weight and then regains it. The calculations conclude that weight loss maintenance takes around three hundred to five hundred calories per day of continued effort to counteract the slower metabolism and increased appetite. 

How long will it take me to lose weight?

How long it takes you to lose weight depends on how much you change your diet and lifestyle. Taking the above research into consideration; unless your aim is to lose weight for a specific reason without concern of weight regain later, it seems more relevant to consider how you will maintain the weight loss. 

Hypnosis is a tool you can use as a behavioural strategy to maintain weight loss. We know that you will need to consume three to five hundred less calories per day than you desire to maintain weight loss. With a hypnotherapist you will learn how to manage this longing. In my sessions we will explore the foods you crave and use hypnosis to help you feel drawn towards healthier options. As an example, I might use a suggestion to help you reach for a glass of water every time you feel compelled to open the fridge or cupboard. 

Mindfulness is a useful tool to help you reconnect your mind and body. When you crave food the mindfulness techniques you learn in the session with me will help you to investigate what is going on inside of you, mentally and physically. You will learn how to take a moment to consider what you feel and make a controlled choice. 

Hypnotherapy is a great way to help you lose weight and hypnosis is the behavioural strategy you need to maintain the weight loss once you reach your goal.

References

Svetkey, L.P., Clark, J.M., Funk, K., Corsino, L., Batch, B.C., Hollis, J.F., Appel, L.J., Brantley, P.J., Loria, C.M., Champagne, C.M. and Vollmer, W.M., 2014. Greater weight loss with increasing age in the weight loss maintenance trial. Obesity, 22(1), pp.39-44.

Mcguire, M.T., Wing, R.R., Klem, M.L., Seagle, H.M. and Hill, J.O., 1998. Long-term maintenance of weight loss: do people who lose weight through various weight loss methods use different behaviors to maintain their weight?. International journal of obesity, 22(6), pp.572-577.

Hall, K.D. and Kahan, S., 2018. Maintenance of lost weight and long-term management of obesity. Medical Clinics, 102(1), pp.183-197.

Bolocofsky, D.N., Spinler, D. and Coulthard‐Morris, L., 1985. Effectiveness of hypnosis as an adjunct to behavioral weight management. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 41(1), pp.35-41.

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Farnham GU9 & GU10

Written by Juliet Hollingsworth

Farnham GU9 & GU10

Juliet is a trauma-informed therapist. Her passion is helping people reach their potential through a combination of hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and transpersonal psychology. Juliet works online and face to face with clients across the world. (DHP Clinical Hypnotherapy & Psychotherapy. MSc Consciousness, Spirituality & Transpersonal psychology.)

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