“How long will it take to lose 40 pounds?”

I had this question not more than a few months ago, but honestly, I have a question similar to this with about every new person we see.

It’s a very common question that everyone wants to ask when it comes to losing weight and changing their body “how long will it take to…”

But this one was a bit different.

Let me give you some background about this person:
-Male early 40’s 5’11” weighs 240lbs
-32% of body fat when we measured on an InBody (a very fancy scale lol)
-No injuries or surgeries in the past several years
-Type 2 diabetic and is on medication (not insulin… yet)
-Has not done any physical activity in the past 5 years
-Before that, he played pick-up basketball with his kids at the local gym and weight train a few times a week for about a year.
-Is a desk jockey (meaning he works on a computer for the majority of his day)
-Admits that diet is his weakness and snacks a lot.
-He is willing and able to workout 5xweek and do whatever it takes to lose this weight.

Lots of info, huh?

So knowing what you know, how long do you think it will take him to drop 40lbs of FAT weight, not just scale weight (those are very different numbers).

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Answer: About A Year

Now, this may seem a bit on the longer side of things, but that’s how we operate here at RTC; we play the long game because anyone can get 40lbs of weight off in a few months. Our goal is to get it off AND KEEP IT OFF.

The average healthy (I stress healthy) person can lose about .5-1% of their body weight in fat each week. For him, this is about 1-2lbs a week. So this means it could take him anywhere from 20(ish) weeks (about 4 months) to 8 months to get the weight off.

We’ve seen many people that have lost the same 20-40lbs over and over again… and that sucks because it means they’ve never fixed the problem that got them heavier in the first place. We at RTC want to fix that problem, get that weight off, keep it off, then keep you moving forward for the rest of your life.

So our timelines are a bit different, and this is what I explained to him.

There are a few things you have to consider when it comes to getting an idea of how long it will take to lose ‘x’ weight (in this case, 40lbs):

  1. Workout history – How long have you been active or inactive.
  2. Medical – This is one of the BIGGEST factors right here.
  3. Adherence – We are asking you to change your life (it’s not just adding in a workout) and how willing and quickly you can change will determine the speed of your results.

 


Workout History

With this person, it’s been 5 years since he’s done anything that we could consider consistent physical activity; at that point in time, I treat this as we are working with a new body, so we would need to rebuild him from the ground up.

Now, if it was less than a year, then the body will bounce back pretty quickly, and we see results pretty fast.

I typically add a month to someone’s timeline in this case, when we are rebuilding from the ground up to retrain form, address any injuries tightness, and to basically ramp up the body to get them in shape enough to do the workouts they need to do to get them the results they want.

 

Medical
A healthy body will lose fat and gain muscle much faster than an unhealthy body. When someone has a metabolic condition (such as diabetes in his case) or autoimmune, we have to factor in some additional time.

The reason is that some medical conditions CAN alterer the metabolic rate, how a person responds to food, energy levels, etc… and we have to spend some time learning how they react and retraining a person how to eat.

Retraining a person how to avoid certain foods and eat different ones is harder than most would realize because many never realized how much they depended on certain foods in their life. WE talked about that in our blog about if you have a relationship with food HERE.

 

Adherence AKA Consistency
This is the NUMBER ONE factor in what determines how quickly a person will lose weight.

How consistent how they with their eating and workouts.

Do they stick to a schedule and not deviate? Or will they fall off the wagon a few times?

If they have a specific goal on a specific timeline (such as a wedding, reunion, vacation, etc.), they will stick to the plan a bit better. If there is no particular timeline that they are emotionally driven to, they are more likely to deviate.

Since he didn’t have an end date (reunion or wedding) and openly admits he is a snacker, I factor in a bit more time.

 

What Happened?
I told him it would be about a year to get get the weight off and keep it off, creating a lifestyle (eating, working out, self-care, etc…) that would allow him to still feel like he is living life and not living a life of deprivation.

Yes, we can go faster, but the faster we go, the more he will feel the diet and feel like he’s suffering. While not always a bad thing (sometimes you need to feel the diet) for a new person with limited experience, this will increase his likelihood of falling off the wagon and demotivating him, which doesn’t solve his problem.

My goal was to average about 5-6lbs of FAT each month (if he did it faster, that’s great) after the first month with the purpose of the first month just getting him back to moving consistently again.

I stressed that we have to get him living a 200lb lifestyle, not a 240lb lifestyle.

Whelp… he didn’t sign up; the timeline demotivated him.

Several months had passed, and I followed up with him; he did a keto HIIT program and lost 25lbs in two months (which is excellent)… but gained 20lbs back. Damn.

We chatted about it, and he admitted that the keto and HIIT were a struggle and even after losing 25lbs. He caved one day, had a cheat meal that turned into a cheat week, and then went on a month-long bender, gaining just about it back.

Honestly, I felt bad for him because that just took the wind out of his sails and demotivated him where he didn’t want even to go back to the HIIT workouts.

I’m sure we can all relate.

 

Why Do I Share This?
To stress to you that it’s not about how fast you can get the weight off, but if you can get the weight off AND KEEP IT OFF, and do it without feeling like your suffering the entire time.

Losing 1lb a week for months and keeping it off for months is HUGE, and for many they don’t feel like they are always dieting but living life.

Play the long game may not seem sexy in the short run, but after 6 months, a year, or two, then DAMN the are results impressive.

 

In Health and Awesomeness,
Travis Merritt, BS, CPT, (and other letters behind the name) is the Owner of Rowlett Transformation Center in Rowlett, TX.

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