Stages of Weight Loss

15 June 2022

Losing weight is a journey.  There are starts and stops until you finally arrive at your destination.  Here are some things to be aware of.

There are a number of factors that relate to weight loss including age, gender, initial weight, and activity level before and during the process.  Men generally lose weight quicker.  Older adults will also lose pounds quicker but some of that can be due to muscle loss.  Ironically the less you have to lose the more difficult it will be, like those extra five pounds that accumulated over the holidays.

There are some nuances when you talk about losing weight.  Weight loss is the combined body weight that can include loss of carbs, protein, water, and fat.  Fat loss is the reduction in body pounds strictly from the fats that are now gone from the body.  This is the preferred goal because you want to maintain the amount and quality of muscle especially as you age.

The dreaded scale can’t identify where the weight is coming from so if you eat plenty of protein and lower overall calorie count, you have a better chance of losing the fat versus muscle.

Some of the initial weight loss is very apparent as your clothes start fitting differently.  This generally is within the first month to six weeks.  The loss comes from storage of carbohydrates, protein, and water with a bit of body fat thrown in.  Low carb and keto diets are showing that the carb storage is depleted quicker as compared to a low fat diet.

After that first six weeks, the weight should still be coming off but at a much slower rate, but the good news is that this is body fat.  This is also a time where you can expect to experience plateaus.  Plateaus happen when the metabolism adapts to your food and exercise regimen.  They can also occur if the eating plan is too rigid and you deviate from the schedule.


This is the point where you need to speak with your nutritional counsellor.  Gently adding back some foods may re-stimulate the weight loss or it could backfire.  Exercising can easily be taken too far and you will be at risk of injury, which will be a set back that you want to avoid.  Together you can decide on a plan of action to get your eating plan on the correct track.

Lastly, once the pounds are gone, you will want to keep them off.  If you have actually changed your eating and exercising habits, you stand a better chance.  By monitoring your behavior you are more likely to succeed.  Some strategies include:

  • Finding an activity you enjoy and will maintain. That includes finding others to do it with you and something that is available all year around.
  • Grocery shopping should include more healthy foods than processed snacks and soft drinks.
  • Set priorities like sufficient sleep and work/play balances.
  • Cook at home and include whole or minimally processed foods instead of ordering take out.
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