Ever feel like it's taking for-freakin'-ever for you to drop the weight you're trying to lose? You're not alone.
While healthy weight-loss guidelines say you should aim to lose one or two pounds per week (whether you have five or 50 pounds to lose), there could be weeks, or even months, when the scale doesn’t budge, says Tori Holthaus, RDN, founder of YES! Nutrition, LLC.
"How long it takes to lose a given amount of weight depends on so many factors, like whether you've lost weight before, health conditions, how much weight you actually need to lose, and your sleep and stress levels," she says.
"I lost 25 pounds over the course of five months."
"When I graduated from college I came home heavier than I had ever been in my life. I knew I needed to do something about it. I stepped on the scale and weighed 172 pounds. I was shocked. Now I weigh 150 pounds, [and I'm] finally at a healthy weight for being 5'8". For me, accountability was key to reaching a healthy weight. I found a virtual coach who motivated me every day by sending messages of encouragement, checking in to make sure I worked out, and answering any questions that I had. I also told my mom and friends about my goals, and I didn't want to let them down." —Taylor Jensen, 24, 25 pounds lost
"It took me one year, plus three months to lose what I regained."
"I've lost 86 pounds—and it happened in stages. It took me about a year to lose the first 76 pounds, and then I ended up gaining 12 back. About three months ago, I decided that I wanted to hit my original goal and lost 22 more pounds. It took me a little over three months to reach that point. During my second go at losing weight, I cut out excess carbs from bread and pasta and cut back on sugar. I am also a big supporter of high-intensity interval training and bodyweight circuits. Even though I had bad days, weeks, or even months, I picked myself up, pushed through it, and started again." —Chelsi Evans, 30, 86 pounds lost
"Over the course of two and a half years, I lost more than 140 pounds."
"I had an accountability partner that created an organized plan in an Excel spreadsheet, which we followed every month. In the beginning, seeing the months ahead made me feel like losing the weight was an impossible accomplishment. But after breaking it down month by month, losing five pounds in four weeks was doable. I was able to stay consistent the entire way through. In hindsight, I'm glad I had over two years to create a new mindset and consistent routine. After hitting my goal, I found that challenges still arise, but I always know how to get back on track after laying a solid foundation" —Lindsey M. Adams, 30, 140 pounds lost
"Losing weight took me three months after my first pregnancy, and four months after my second."
"I've always weighed between 120 and 130 pounds, until I had kids. When my son was about 10 months old, I started working out pretty intensely with weight training in the evenings and cardio in the mornings, five or six days a week. I ended up losing 40 pounds in about three months. I went from 163 pounds down to 123 pounds, and was shocked at how quickly my body reacted to the changes I made. But then I hit a plateau, and I got pregnant again! After that pregnancy, I weighed 182 pounds. After giving birth, I worked out very hard with a little less cardio and more weight training. While exercising helped me tremendously, I wouldn't have seen results if I kept eating the way I had before. I completely changed my diet by eating lots of lean protein, tons of veggies, small amounts of carbs in the form of oats or grains, eliminating processed sugars, and drinking tons of water. And of course, I have cheat meals. It's all about finding balance that works for my lifestyle. It took me about four months to get to 152 pounds with 17 percent body fat, and I'm pretty happy where I'm at." —Candace Perkins, 30, 30 pounds lost
"I've lost a lot of weight at different rates over the course of five years."
"Like most people who have struggled with weight, I've lost a lot and then gained it back multiple times. Over the past five years, I’ve weighed 200 pounds, 180 pounds, and then 216 pounds. After getting busy with work, a move, and a baby, I saw my weight creep back up. That's how I realized that I had to make healthy changes that I could stick with over the long-term. In the past five months, I’ve lost another 20 pounds to get to my current weight of 173 pounds. I’ve done it slowly, making small, sustainable changes in my eating habits, like replacing fries for a side salad and eating brown rice instead of white. I've also made brisk walking my main form of exercise because I hate running." —Chantelle Rivera, 28, 43 pounds lost
"I lost 50 pounds in the first six months, but my weight loss has spanned two years."
"Two years after weighing 276 pounds, I now weigh 209. I lost 50 pounds in the first six months by focusing on eating right to lose weight. Then, I fell in love with lifting weights and decided to start building muscle. I stopped weighing myself for a while and watched my body change drastically. What helped me through the process the most was staying consistent. Even if I messed up on my diet, I was in the gym six days a week." —April Wise, 27, 67 pounds lost
"I've lost 135 pounds in five years total."
"At my heaviest, I weighed 283 pounds. My current weight is 148 pounds. Over the course of three years, I lost more than 50 pounds with some exercise and counting calories. Throughout that period, my weight constantly yo-yo'd. In October 2014, I knew it was time to do something more to stabilize my weight. I started working with a strength, conditioning, and nutrition coach. He taught me how to properly fuel my body, the best way to work out, and held me accountable. In the first few months of working with my coach, I smashed my goals week after week. But eventually the number on the scale wasn't dropping as drastically. It was frustrating, but I learned that stress, not enough sleep, and slipping up on my diet were affecting my progress. After two years of working with him, I lost nearly 80 pounds and 13 percent of my body fat." —Kristyn Dorney, 36, 135 pounds lost
"It took me six years to lose 53 pounds."
"The first 10 were very easy to lose. I just stopped eating cookies, candy, and chips. But continuing to lose weight was more difficult and, at times, I even gained some back. When I have time, I exercise for about two hours, four times per week. About half of my time working out is spent doing cardio. It’s not easy, but when I saw the changes in myself, I felt motivated to keep setting and achieving new goals. I just wish I'd started exercising sooner." —Andy Martinez, 23, 53 pounds lost
"Over the course of the past 10 years, I lost 80 pounds."
"It has been quite a journey. At my heaviest, I was around 250. I worked on my nutrition for a few years and slowly integrated fitness. In the past year, I got really serious about losing weight and began working out daily. Since then, I've lost 30 pounds and currently weigh 170 pounds. Some might say that my weight-loss timeline is really long, but I haven’t put the weight back on, which shows me that these changes will stick. I used to get frustrated when I reached a plateau. I changed up my workouts or re-evaluated what I was eating. But now I look at it as a kind of accomplishment. My body has a new baseline for functioning." —Megan Gilmore, 29, 80 pounds lost
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