Why Weight Loss Can Take Time

Find out what factors may influence the speed of your weight loss journey, and which ones you can regain power over!

Updated: Wednesday 01 June 2022

time taken to see results from alli

Sustained, healthy weight loss is by no means simple. It can be a gradual process that requires plenty of time and commitment. As you eat, your body acquires the energy from foods and stores most of it in your muscles, where it will be used up during activity. Any excess energy will be stored in the body as fat; essentially a reserve of energy for whenever your body needs it! As such, if you eat more food than your body needs, your body’s reserved energy will build up, leading to a surplus in fat, resulting in weight gain. Alternatively, if your food intake is less than what your body requires, it will begin to use up reserve energy to fuel your activities, and your fat levels will deplete, causing you to lose weight.

What factors affect how long it takes to lose weight?

Factors outside your control

The science may sound straightforward enough, but this process can be affected by a multitude of factors, both ones you have control over and ones you may not. This is exactly why weight loss successes are not a one-size-fits-all experience, and will affect each individual differently. What works for some may not work for others! Here are some factors that could be affecting the speed of your weight loss plan that you may have less power over:

  • Sex: Some studies have shown that men and women’s bodies burn fat differently, due to factors such as body mass, hormones, and even sleep-wake cycles. A recent study in the US showed that in order to burn more body fat, it may be better for men and women to exercise at different times of the day. Men were recommended to exercise in the evening for best results in burning body fat, whilst morning time seemed more effective when it came to women [1].
  • Age: Metabolism varies from person to person, but often older people have less muscle mass due to spending less time doing physical activity. In turn, this lowers their metabolic rate, meaning weight loss may take longer.
  • Genetics: Another factor that could influence the length of your weight loss journey is your genetics and upbringing. You may have a genetic predisposition to have more or less muscle mass than the average person, or perhaps you have a hereditary condition making you more likely to have a higher fat build-up in your body compared to others.

Factors within your control

Alternatively, there are other factors affecting the speed of your weight loss journey that you do have control over. If you can influence more of these factors as opposed to focusing your energy on just one, you’ll increase your chances of slimming down your weight loss time. Here are some of these factors and how you can help speed them up!

  • Diet: It should come as no surprise that your diet will have a huge impact on your weight. What you eat, how much you eat, and when you eat all have a significant effect. As previously mentioned, to lose weight you will have to eat in a calorie deficit so your body can use up reserve fat. Reading labels on food packaging when buying from a supermarket or cooking from scratch allows you to have more control over aspects from taste to quantity, and gives you more power over your calorie intake!
  • Being More Active: One of the most effective ways of speeding up weight loss is staying active. With most of us sitting down for up to 8 hours a day, it can be easy to neglect the importance of it. It doesn’t have to be anything extreme - a 30 minute walk can do you the world of good! But if you are looking to speed up the process of weight loss, perhaps look into incorporating a regular exercise program into your weekly schedule.
  • Lifestyle & Environment: Look at the environments you're in day-to-day. Often workplaces have tempting vending machines, or employees buy unhealthier lunches out of time and convenience. Taking more control over what you’re eating at work can completely change your weight loss journey - maybe you can start swapping out vending machine treats for healthier alternatives, or start preparing lunch at home if you can!
  • Weight Loss Treatments: When combined with other lifestyle changes, weight loss treatments can help you reach your weight loss goals even faster. These work by reducing the amount of fat your body absorbs from food, but it is important to remember these will not be anywhere near as effective on their own. We offer a variety of effective and approved weight loss treatments, such as Orlistat, which is a highly popular weight loss medication to help achieve significant results.

Other factors affecting the length of your weight loss journey include your water intake, strength training to increase muscle mass and sleep cycles. However, arguably one of the most crucial factors to remember is patience! With the right changes in place, your weight loss goals can be within reach, but only if you continue to keep a positive and realistic attitude! Good things come to those who wait, so keep reminding yourself that your weight loss goals will take time to achieve; success stories are a journey, not a sprint!

Sarah Bessell

Written by: Sarah Bessell

Pharmacy Manager

Originally from Australia, Sarah joined the team in 2018 as Pharmica’s Pharmacy Manager. Her job is to manage the dispensary team and the day-to-day running of the pharmacy.

Sarah ensures all our patients receive their orders in a safe and timely manner, and that we continue to provide outstanding patient care.

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