This is a question asked by many extremely overweight people. How long does it take to lose 200 pounds? The answer is not that simple.
Weight can be lost at different paces depending on how overweight you are. It is safe to assume that if you could potentially lose 200 pounds, you are most likely extremely overweight.
I personally am under 200 pounds as of writing this, so it is physically impossible for me to lose 200 pounds.
In this article, we are going to discuss how long it takes to lose 200 pounds, how to keep it off, and how to be consistent in your journey.
You will go through different phases of your weight loss journey, all with their own unique set of challenges. But if you can persevere through the adversity, you will lose that 200 pounds, and your life will completely change.
What to expect
I mentioned this briefly in the introduction. It depends on how overweight you are before you start losing weight. But it is safe to assume that if you have 200 pounds to lose, you are severely obese.
I have some good news. When you first start losing weight, the pounds are going to fly off. Losing 3-5 pounds per week is not uncommon. But things will slow down, and you will be introduced to your first real roadblock.
That roadblock is the fact that your caloric deficit that was shedding 3-5 pounds per week is now not much of a deficit. This is because as you lose weight, your caloric maintenance number also goes down.
Ok, what are we even talking about with maintenance and deficits? Well, you cannot lose fat in a caloric surplus. So that must mean that you have to be in a caloric deficit to lose fat, right? Correct.
And the only way to know that you are in a caloric deficit is by calculating your maintenance calorie number. Just know that as you lose weight, this number is going to go down, so it is imperative that you recalculate every 3-6 months.
Even so, you will find it difficult to maintain a fat loss rate of 3-5 pounds per week. It will slow to 2-3 pounds, and then 1-2 pounds per week.
This is all perfectly normal, and if you are expecting this, your morale will continue on. A ton of people starting weight loss journeys end up experiencing major issues down the road because they don’t have the right expectations.
For more about expectations, read realistic fitness goals for beginners.
How long does it take to lose 200 pounds?
Ok, so you have a little bit of background about what to expect and what it is going to take to lose 200 pounds. But how long does it take to lose 200 pounds?
Before we get into the math, I just want to give out a disclaimer that this is going to take time. And it might not be the same timeline that you experience.
In order to achieve these results, you need to be eating at a caloric deficit of 500-1000 calories under your maintenance per day. And realistically you should also be working out. We will cover more about working out in the next section.
With all that being said, for our calculations, I want to have some assumptions:
1. For the first 6 months, you lose 3-5 pounds per week.
2. For the next 6 months, you lose 2-3 pounds per week.
3. For the rest of your weight loss journey, you lose 1-2 pounds per week.
So you have all this information, let’s do some math.
In the first 6 months, you have the potential to lose 78-130 pounds. In the next 6 months, you have the potential to lose 52-78 pounds. And let’s say for a year after that, you can lose 52-104 pounds.
Therefore, how long does it take to lose 200 pounds? With our basic assumptions, we can safely say that it would take anywhere from a year to 2 years and 5 months.
That may seem like a long time, but in the grand scheme of your lifetime, that is nothing. And what you will get out of it will be much greater than anything else that you missed out on.
Working out to facilitate fat loss and keep off weight
By now, you understand that you absolutely need to be eating at a caloric deficit if you want to lose weight. But what about exercise? While you can lose weight by diet alone, you will not get the results that you are looking for unless you have a fitness plan.
Lucky for you, we have an app for that. If you want some structure, check out our FREE workout plans in All Workouts: Personal Trainer (iOS | Google Play). No need to think about what workout you will do next. Just show up.
When you combine a caloric deficit with exercise, it is like your body is a supercharger for fat loss. You will see results.
I have had people ask me before, why can’t I just workout instead of eating at a caloric deficit? It sounds like a reasonable question. But consider that the average workout burns 180-500 calories.
That isn’t that many calories, especially when you have been eating at a caloric surplus for so many years. Trust me on this, focus on the caloric deficit first, and then get your workout plan in order.
The absolute best type of workouts that you can do for losing fat is high intensity interval training, or HIIT for short.
Find your maximum heart rate for exercise, and learn to get to 90% of your max heart rate when doing HIIT workouts.
You may find this very difficult at first, but just do your best, continue to eat at a caloric deficit, and you will be happy with the results.
Main Point: How long does it take to lose 200 pounds?
So, did we find the answer to our question? How long does it take to lose 200 pounds? Well, we discovered that it will take anywhere from a year to 2 and a half years. That is of course assuming we are following the requirements.
And what are those requirements that are going to help us lose 200 pounds? They are eating at a caloric deficit and exercising. The formula is so simple, yet people don’t want to put in the time and effort that it is going to take.
If you think that you don’t have time to do it, I want you to go to the settings portion of your phone, and check out the screen time feature. This tells you how much time you spend on your phone per day. That is all you need to know if you keep telling yourself you don’t have enough time.
Yes, it is going to take time and effort, but when your life changes before your eyes, so is your mind. You are going to experience a new lease on life that you never thought possible.
Just look around you and you will see people that have experienced massive life changing transformations, but you might not know it.
Remember that your caloric deficit and maintenance calorie number is going to be a moving target. As you lose weight, your body is going to require less calories, meaning you will have to eat less to continue to lose weight.
Be sure to recalculate every 3-6 months.
At the end of the day, losing weight is a full on life commitment. It isn’t just something that you do to check off the boxes and move on with your life. If you are currently severely overweight, you are going to have to change the way that you live to get where you want to be.