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How Much Weight Do You Need To Lose To Notice A Difference In 2024?


Reviewed by Maggie Herrmann, PT, DPT
how much weight do you need to lose to notice a difference
How much weight do I have to lose? Photo: Viorel Kurnosov/Shutterstock

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Deciding to lose weight can be a big deal. It’s a bigger deal when you’ve put in the work and are yet to see any weight changes. So, the question is, how much weight do you have to lose to notice a difference?  

It’s natural to feel excited and motivated to shred those pounds to pieces at the start of your weight loss journey. However, this feeling may be short-lived. It’s easy to get impatient and frustrated when your goals seem far from reach.

The good news is you probably do not need to hit your goal weight before you start to see any difference. The length of time it takes to notice any weight changes varies, depending on multiple factors. So, let’s discuss how weight loss works and how many pounds you need to lose to notice a difference.

How Much Weight Do You Need To Lose To See A Difference?

Overall, the weight you need to lose for people to notice depends on many factors, including your initial weight, age, gender, genetics, and lifestyle habits.

You need a BMI change of at least 1.33kg/m2 [1]for people to notice a weight change, especially in facial features. To achieve this, a man and woman of average height must gain or lose nine and eight pounds, respectively.

How Much Weight Do You Need To Lose To Notice A Difference?

Most people expect initial weight changes to show in hotspots like their bellies, thighs, and buttocks. This can be true for some people. However, your face is one of the first places that changes when you start losing weight. 

Your face can tell a lot about your weight and body mass index, or BMI. People who are obese or overweight have rounded cheeks because of buccal fat pads. Slimmer people, on the other hand, often have less rounded cheeks.

According to a study, you need a BMI change of at least 1.33kg/m2 [1]for people to notice a weight change in your face. To achieve this, a man and woman of average height will need to gain or lose nine and eight pounds, respectively. 

Overall, the weight you need to lose for people to notice depends on many factors, including your initial weight, age, gender, genetics, and lifestyle habits.

Influencing Factors

When people begin to notice weight changes, it depends on multiple factors. The speed of weight loss may also affect how early people begin to see differences in your look. Drastic weight loss would be more noticeable than a gradual one.

Factors that may affect the rate at which you lose weight include:

Starting Size

If your starting weight is higher, you are more likely to lose more weight. This means a heavier person will lose more weight at first than someone who starts at a lower weight. This, of course, depends on a person’s height as well.  


how much weight do you need to lose to notice a difference
Diet can influence how much weight you lose. Photo: RossHelen/Shutterstock

Weight loss occurs when there is a calorie deficit, meaning you consume fewer calories than you burn. This way, your body breaks down stored fat for energy. Hence, eating a caloric-deficit diet can accelerate weight loss.

Eating low-carb diets can also make you lose considerable weight quickly. Certain fat burner supplements and protein-rich, low-fat diets rich in protein can also help you lose weight faster.

Physical Activity

Combining exercise with appropriate nutrition accelerates weight loss. Aerobics and resistance training increase fat loss while preserving and increasing muscle mass.  

Physical activity goes beyond exercising. Activities around your home, workplace, and community, like house chores, running errands, cleaning, and other daily activities, consume energy. The more energy you expend, the more calories you burn, and the more pounds you shed.

Sleep Quality

how much weight do you need to lose to notice a difference
Sleep aids weight loss. Photo: Gladskikh Tatiana/Shutterstock

Chronic sleep deprivation can negatively influence how much you lose weight. Lack of sleep affects your hormone levels and makes you feel hungry[2] even when you’re full. This way, you eat more than you need to.

Sleep loss also affects your body’s ability to break down carbohydrates. When blood sugar levels are high, insulin[3] production increases, increasing fat storage and insulin resistance.


Certain families are genetically predisposed to weight gain and obesity. These genes can also affect how you lose weight.


Age affects your metabolism and activity levels. The older you get, the lower your metabolic rate.[4] This means your body will not be able to digest food and absorb nutrients as efficiently as it used to when you were younger.

An older person cannot exercise as frequently or rigorously as a young person. So, it will take longer to see weight differences in an older person.


Men lose weight faster than women. Men also have more lean mass[5] and less body fat than women. Hence, they have higher metabolic rates and can expend more calories than women.


Medications can influence your weight loss journey. Medications[6] such as some antipsychotics, antidepressants, antihypertensives, and corticosteroids are associated with weight gain. Hence, they can slow down your weight loss journey.

Medical Conditions

Medical conditions[7] like cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, respiratory diseases, menopause,[7] chronic stress, and polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, can hinder or promote weight loss.

Where Do You Notice Weight Loss First? 

Your body stores fat in several parts, and this varies in men and women. Men usually store fat in the trunk and belly, while women hold more fat around their hips and thighs.

There is, however, no one-size-fits-all answer to where you will notice weight loss first. Depending on your unique physiology, you can lose weight in any part of your body first. 

Some people notice weight loss first in their bellies, hips, or thighs. Others may shed some fat from their face and neck first since they have less fat than other parts of their bodies.

How To Tell If You Are Losing Weight

It’s easy to base your progress on the numbers on a scale. However, there is more to what the numbers say about the progress of your weight loss journey. Although research suggests that frequently weighing yourself[8] can enhance weight loss, we feel there are other ways to answer how much weight you need to lose for others to notice.

These signs are great ways to tell if your efforts are paying off:

Looser-Fitting Clothes

This is one of the first things you’ll notice in the first few weeks of losing weight. If your clothes do not fit as they used to, you’ve most likely lost some weight.

Increased Energy

When you lose weight, your body has less work to do. Breathing becomes easier, and your body uses oxygen more efficiently. So, if you notice your energy levels are higher than before, you have cut down on some excess fat.

Greater Performance

Losing weight eases the pressure and weight on your joints. You can move more easily, feel less tired and fatigued, and exercise for longer periods.

Increased Appetite

Have you noticed an increase in your appetite? Research[9] shows that weight loss increases ghrelin, the hunger hormone, production. Don’t fall for it; it is a natural response from your body as you adapt to your new weight. In general, weight loss does not impact your hunger hormone secretion.

Improved Sleep Quality

Weight loss reduces the pressure on your respiratory organs and makes you breathe better during sleep. A reduction in your body fat percentage reduces sleep disturbances and improves sleep quality.[10] If you’ve been waking up refreshed and full of life than before, you’ve surely lost some weight.


The weight you need to lose for people to notice depends on several personal factors. However, research suggests losing eight to nine pounds before anyone notices any weight changes.

Weight loss can occur anywhere in your body. It is important that you set healthy and realistic weight loss goals. Rapid weight loss does more harm than good, so learning how to lose weight steadily is crucial.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much weight do you need to lose for others to notice?

While this may vary from person to person, Re and Rule[1] found out that men and women of average height need to lose around eight to nine pounds for people to notice.

Does losing 10kg make a difference?

Yes, 10kg is a lot of weight. Losing such weight can impact your appearance and health.

Is 5 kg weight loss noticeable?

Yes, a 5kg weight loss can be noticeable. The degree, however, depends on individual factors such as your initial body mass, height, and body composition.

How long will it take to notice a difference in weight loss?

The length of time it takes to notice weight loss changes differs from person to person. This is due to the several factors that may impact a person’s weight loss journey.

How can I keep the lost weight off?

Gradually losing weight helps prevent you from regaining weight. The NIH[11] recommends a caloric deficit of 500-1000 calories to lose one to two pounds in a week with exercise.

How long does it take to get into shape?

The length of time it takes to get into shape depends on many factors, including personal commitment, exercise, diet, and calorie intake.

How can I sustain my weight loss results?

You need a realistic weight loss plan to sustain whatever weight changes you might have achieved. Exercise, including strength training, can keep you in shape. Other factors like diet, sleep, and stress management should also be considered.

Can I lose belly fat alone?

Not really. You cannot lose fat in a specific part alone. Weight loss habits burn fat in several parts of your body. So, how does fat leave your body? It gets burnt for energy.

+ 11 Sources

EHproject has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We work mostly with peer-reviewed studies to ensure accurate information. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

  1. Stefan de Jager, Coetzee, N. and Coetzee, V. (2018). Facial Adiposity, Attractiveness, and Health: A Review. Frontiers in Psychology, [online] 9. doi:https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02562.
  2. Evangelia Papatriantafyllou, Dimitris Efthymiou, Evangelos Zoumbaneas, Codruța Alina Popescu and Εmilia Vassilopoulou (2022). Sleep Deprivation: Effects on Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance. Nutrients, [online] 14(8), pp.1549–1549. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14081549.
  3. Rahman, S., Khandkar Shaharina Hossain, Das, S., Kundu, S., Elikanah Olusayo Adegoke, Md. Ataur Rahman, Hannan, A., Uddin, J. and Pang, M.-G. (2021). Role of Insulin in Health and Disease: An Update. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, [online] 22(12), pp.6403–6403. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22126403.
  4. Yu, D., Xian, T., Wang, L., Cheng, B., Sun, M. and Guo, L. (2018). [Analysis of body composition and resting metabolic rate of 858 middle-aged and elderly people in urban area of Beijing]. PubMed, [online] 39(5), pp.686–688. doi:https://doi.org/10.3760/cma.j.issn.0254-6450.2018.05.029.
  5. Bredella, M.A. (2017). Sex Differences in Body Composition. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, [online] pp.9–27. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-70178-3_2.
  6. Wharton, S., Raiber, L., Serodio, K., Lee, J. and Christensen, R. (2018). Medications that cause weight gain and alternatives in Canada: a narrative review. Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy, [online] Volume 11, pp.427–438. doi:https://doi.org/10.2147/dmso.s171365.
  7. Vierboom, Y.C., Preston, S.H. and Stokes, A. (2018). Patterns of weight change associated with disease diagnosis in a national sample. PLOS ONE, [online] 13(11), pp.e0207795–e0207795. doi:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0207795.
  8. Anna Leena Vuorinen, Helander, E., Pietilä, J. and Korhonen, I. (2021). Frequency of Self-Weighing and Weight Change: Cohort Study With 10,000 Smart Scale Users. Journal of Medical Internet Research, [online] 23(6), pp.e25529–e25529. doi:https://doi.org/10.2196/25529.
  9. Julia Nicole DeBenedictis, Siren Nymo, Karoline Haagensli Ollestad, Guro Akersveen Boyesen, Rehfeld, J.F., Holst, J.J., Truby, H., Bård Kulseng and Martins, C. (2020). Changes in the Homeostatic Appetite System After Weight Loss Reflect a Normalization Toward a Lower Body Weight. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, [online] 105(7), pp.e2538–e2546. doi:https://doi.org/10.1210/clinem/dgaa202.
  10. Gangitano, E., Martínez-Sánchez, N., Maria Irene Bellini, Urciuoli, I., Monterisi, S., Mariani, S., Ray, D. and Gnessi, L. (2023). Weight Loss and Sleep, Current Evidence in Animal Models and Humans. Nutrients, [online] 15(15), pp.3431–3431. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15153431.
  11. Volkan Yumuk, Constantine Tsigos, Fried, M., Schindler, K., Luca Busetto, Dragan Micić and Hermann Toplak (2015). European Guidelines for Obesity Management in Adults. Obesity Facts, [online] 8(6), pp.402–424. doi:https://doi.org/10.1159/000442721.


Esther is a nurse practitioner and a multifaceted medical writer who has attained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Her profession in writing is driven by her unwavering commitment to enlightening individuals about the intricacies… See More