When will my diet start to work?

When, after postponing it for the next Monday many times, you finally start working on your body, the first thing you want to see... are the results. The first day of following the diet passes, the same with the second and third, and you can see no changes in your body. The scale keeps showing the record score, and the belt from your trousers is still opposing when you want to use another hole. And this is the moment when the following question appears: “when will I finally see the results of my diet?”

This stubborn biology...

As far as the process of body weight increase may be sometimes compared to sprint, working on the body is rather like a marathon run, in addition, in the mountains with obstacles... Unfortunately, the process of losing the excessive amount of gathered fat requires time, and the false belief that there are diets and training programs, which are able to cause the wanted result in few days, is just naïve. Our own biology is the limit, and the result of limiting the pace of losing weight may be considered on the level of the enzymatic systems efficiency, which supervise the metabolic processes connected with releasing and using fatty substrates in the energatic changes.

In practice, there is one rule: if you try to break the physiological limits at all costs, some unwanted consequences may appear. During fast slimming, we lose muscles instead of fat, and, as a result, we slow metabolism down and worsen the body aesthetics. At the same time, we increase the chance of going back to the lost kilograms very fast. So, that fact alone should make us realise that the results of slimming diet should not be, and they will probably never be, spectacularly fast.

The optimal tempo of body fat reduction

Although it's hard to reflect the optimal tempo of slimming in absolute value, there are some data, that we can base on in this matter. It is believed, that the safe pace of body fat reduction is 0.5 – 1% (of body mass) per week. I don't want to start considering if it is possible to lose weight faster or not, or if this range follows the common expectations... The most important is the fact, that it's hard to expect, with such tempo of progress, that the first results of reduction diet will appear within few days.

That matter is also complicated by the fact that our body weight, even when in the energetic balance state, may be changeable. And so, when you don't eat more than your body needs (or less), it may happen that on Monday you weigh 80kg and on Wednesday 81.2kg. It's the “water movement” in the body that's responsible for that, as well as the volume of intestinal content or if the measurement is done on empty stomach or later during the day. This is even more complicated in case of women whose menstrual cycle influences the measurements.

Various aspects of progress

Referring to thequestion from the title of this article, I should also mention that progress may be visible in many different ways – sometimes even without the changes in body mass. It means that the bathroom scale may not be the perfect tool to assess the tempo of progress. Such situation often concerns people who e.g. start resistance training along with reduction diet. Muscles, when adapting to new stimuli, gather more glycogen and water, which causes, along with the loss of body fat, that the weight is the same, or it even increases. Such state is depressing mostly for women. In order to avoid frustration, you should use the centimetre to measure the tempo of progress and pay attention to the noticeable changes in the body, or those felt after putting on clothes.


When I want to answer the question of “when the reduction diet starts to work”, I should first mention some circumstances, which make the observations harder. First of all, body fat reduction is quite slow, second of all, the changes in the body mass may fluctuate, third of all, you have to pay attention to the changes in measurements and the appearance of the body. Diet itself doesn't start to act at once, and you can notice its results from the perspective of few, or more, weeks.