Stages of Weight Loss [Rapid/Slow Results]


Losing weight is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Depending on your starting point and body type, you go through various stages of weight loss during a diet. Our guide addresses the two main phases of a diet (rapid and slow weight loss), the differences between fat loss and weight loss, and how long it takes to see results from diet and exercise.

The 2 Stages of Weight Loss

Most dieters focus on the rapid weight loss stage because they want to lose weight fast. But to keep the weight off permanently, you must also focus on the slow weight loss stage. Consider the following differences between both stages.

Stage 1: Rapid Weight Loss

If you’re overweight or obese, you’ll likely experience rapid weight loss in the beginning stages of your weight loss journey because your body has a lot of excess fat to lose. Most overweight people can expect to lose about two to three pounds per week in the first few weeks of their weight loss journey. This rapid weight loss phase is called the “honeymoon phase” because it’s typically accompanied by enthusiasm and motivation.

In the first stage of weight loss, you typically drop the most weight in the quickest time, and changes in your appearance—including how your clothes fit—are apparent. Those who follow a keto or low carb diet lose weight faster than those who follow a low-fat diet because they reduce their body’s water and carb stores quicker.

In the long run, however, the evidence is conflicting as to whether a low carb or keto diet is better for total physical stages of weight loss than a low-fat diet.

Other factors—such as starting weight, age, sex, and physical activity—can affect your weight loss pace. Men, for example, are more likely than women to lose weight quickly, and older individuals may lose weight faster than younger adults—albeit some of this reduction might be muscle loss. At the same time, having a greater beginning weight and exercising more frequently will help you lose weight faster.

Stage 2: Slow Weight Loss

After the honeymoon phase, the transformation stages of weight loss tend to slow down because your body has less fat to lose, and you burn fewer calories than in the beginning. Most can expect to lose about one to two pounds per week during this stage. This slower weight loss can be frustrating, but it’s still progress.

You might experience a weight loss plateau, where you lose little or no weight. After six weeks or more on your diet, this slower second stage of weight reduction predominantly originates from body fat. But there are ways to deal with a weight loss plateau.

In different stages of weight loss, metabolic adaptations that lower your metabolism and the number of calories you burn when exercising might cause a weight loss plateau. On the other hand, weight reduction plateaus are typically caused by those deviating from stringent diets that are challenging to follow.

As a result, choosing a dietary plan that fits your lifestyle and interests is critical for long-term success. You’ll need to change your lifestyle and diet to achieve your goal in either situation.

DID YOU KNOW: Even though some think that surgery is the only way to deal with loose skin after losing weight, you can include other measures in your daily routine to help, such as strength training, taking collagen and nutrients, and drinking lots of water.

Fat Loss vs Weight Loss

When most individuals think about body stages of weight loss, they focus on the number on the scale. But what you want to see is a change in your body composition via fat loss or weight loss. But what’s the difference between fat loss and weight loss?

  • Fat loss is when you lose body fat.
  • Weight loss is when you lose bodyweight, including water, muscle, and fat.

Ideally, you want to focus on fat loss, which gives you the slim and toned look you desire. To accomplish this appearance, create a calorie deficit; eat fewer calories than you burn, and consume healthy meals during all the stages of weight loss and muscle gain.

Many think it’s too difficult to prepare healthy meals during a diet. There are, however, plenty of healthy and delicious meals that you can prepare, even without cooking. You also need to include fruits, which help speed up your weight loss process and exercise regularly.

It’s important to note that you’ll lose some muscle mass when creating a calorie deficit. But as long as you incorporate strength training, you’ll be able to offset any muscle loss.

How Long Does It Take To See Results from Diet and Exercise?

There are many factors at play during the different stages of weight loss. Consider the following main influences during these stages.

  • Starting weight and body composition: If you have a lot of weight to lose, you’ll see quicker results in the beginning.
  • Diet: A healthy, balanced diet will help you lose weight and keep it off.
  • Exercise routine: Cardio and strength training is best for losing weight and keeping it off.
  • Lifestyle: If you have a sedentary lifestyle, you’ll need to make more effort to lose weight than those who aren’t in such a situation.

Most can expect to see noticeable results within a few months of starting a healthy diet and exercise routine. So if you’re looking to lose weight, don’t get discouraged if you don’t see much change in the early stages of weight loss. Keep at it, and you will see results.

If you don’t have enough time to go to the gym and exercise regularly, you can consider a desk treadmill or other workout equipment and put together a compact gym at home.

Key Takeaways

There are two main stages in weight loss: rapid weight loss and slow weight loss.
Overweight or obese individuals are more likely to experience rapid weight loss in the beginning stages of their weight loss journey.
Most overweight people can expect to lose about two to three pounds per week in the first few weeks of their diets.
In the second stage (slow weight loss phase), most can expect to lose about one to two pounds per week.
Differences between fat loss vs weight loss:

  • In the fat loss process, you lose body fat.
  • In the weight loss process, you lose bodyweight, including water, muscle, and fat.

Wrap Up

Losing weight takes time and effort. There are stages that your body goes through in the weight loss process, and understanding these stages is essential to gauge your expectations better and see results sooner. At the beginning of your diet, you might experience fatigue—so taking vitamins to boost your energy is crucial. And you should focus on fat loss, not just phases of weight loss. Create a calorie deficit by eating healthy foods and exercising regularly, and you’ll see the desired results in no time.


Why is there so much weight loss from water in the initial stages of a diet?

Water is stored in the body in different ways. One way is within the cells, which helps maintain cell structure and function. When you lose weight, water is released from the cells back into the bloodstream.

How long does it take to see progress in weight loss?

Our bodies are constantly fluctuating between stages of weight loss—in and out of energy balance. When our bodies are in energy balance, our body weight is stable. When you first begin a weight loss plan, it’s normal to experience an initial drop in weight due to fluid loss, which is quickly regained once you start eating and drinking normally again.

What are the first signs of weight loss?

One of the first signs of weight loss is typically seen in your clothes becoming looser. Other early signs include more energy, improved mood, and sleep quality.


When she couldn’t decide between being a nurse, a psychotherapist, and a financial genius, Ofelia decided to do all three. Her interests run far and wide, and she loves researching about everything you get to read on our website. Credit cards or top-notch software, she’s here to tell it all like it is.

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