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Home Lifestyle How Long Does It Take to Lose 40 Pounds? A Realistic Timeline

How Long Does It Take to Lose 40 Pounds? A Realistic Timeline

how long does it take to lose 40 pounds

Losing 40 pounds requires time, effort, and consistency. It’s not a process you can speed up, as you need to be careful when burning fat. Your body is precious, so it’s important to take it steady and build a sustainable routine. 

Everyone is also different when it comes to weight loss. Some people may want to lose just a few pounds, while others aim to drop 40 pounds. If this is your goal, it’s important to remember that achieving your dream body is not instant. 

But how long should it actually take?

How Long Does It Take to Lose 40 Pounds?

The average time for losing 40 pounds is around 4–5 months. This depends on your current weight, meal plan, exercise routine, and age. You should focus on building a sustainable weight loss regimen rather than the time it takes to reach your goals. 

Everyone wants to lose weight fast. There are many companies that promote detox products for rapid fat loss, but these products are never healthy. You can even find plans that suggest losing 40 pounds in one month is possible. It’s time to shut these false claims down and put the spotlight on a slow and safe weight loss journey. 

If you lose 8–10 pounds a month, it shouldn’t take you longer than 5 months to achieve your ideal body weight. However, your body is unique and has different needs, so it might be a slower process that requires a few extra weeks of regular exercise and dieting. 

Is it possible to lose 40 pounds in a month?

No, it’s not possible or safe to lose 40 pounds in one month. This is an unrealistic goal that can have harmful effects on your body. Losing too much weight in a short time frame may increase the risk of muscle loss, chronic fatigue, high blood pressure, and intense hunger cravings. 

Pushing yourself to lose a significant amount of weight in under 30 days is not healthy. You shouldn’t rely on extreme calorie restrictions and tiring exercise habits to reach your dream physique. 

Instead, focus on losing 10 pounds in a month. Before you know it, those 40 pounds will be gone in under 5 months, which isn’t long when you really think about it. Those who lose weight slowly can feel stronger and see positive results. 

What is a healthy weight loss rate?

A healthy weight loss rate is 1–2 pounds a week. You can achieve this goal by eating in a calorie deficit and exercising regularly to burn calories. Losing more than this safe amount could drain your physical and mental health, so it’s better to maintain steady weight loss.

People who waste time on extreme weight reduction methods usually gain the fat back in a few months. This is because fad diets slow their metabolic rate, meaning they won’t burn as many calories throughout the day. 

It’s also important to weigh yourself at the end of every week. This way, you can determine whether you’re losing pounds of fat at a safe rate. In the first week, you might lose 3–5 pounds, but most of that is water leaving your system. 

How Long Will It Take to Lose 40 Pounds for Women?

For women, it should take around 5 months to lose 40 pounds. This is a safe goal when losing 1–2 pounds a week with exercise and a healthy diet. Losing more could weaken the muscles and bones. 

Women usually hold onto more fat because of childbearing. It’s a natural process, as the body needs that fat for energy in case the woman falls pregnant. Therefore, it might take a few more weeks to burn the stubborn weight

How Long Will It Take to Lose 40 Pounds for Women


The higher concentration of estrogen, a sex hormone in women, can also encourage the body to store fat. Estrogen peaks during the first 3–5 days before ovulation, meaning periods could also affect how long it takes to lose 40 pounds. 

How Long Will It Take to Lose 40 Pounds for Men?

Research suggests that men lose weight quicker than women because they have more muscle mass. Lean muscle tissue tends to burn more calories, even at rest. Therefore, it may take men around four months to shed a significant amount of weight. 

Men who also strength train and eat plenty of protein can burn fat at a steady pace. They need that fat to function properly and fuel muscle growth. However, once their bodies adjust to the increased muscle mass, their ability to lose weight will slow down. 

With a sustainable training plan and moderate calorie intake, men should lose 40 pounds around the 4-month mark. It’s possible to lose weight quicker than that, but it is not safe or healthy for anyone.

How Long Does It Take to Lose 40 Pounds on Keto?

On the keto diet, you should still lose 40 pounds in 4–5 months. It’s important to only lose 1–2 pounds a week, no matter what diet you’re following. You need to give results time if you want to stay healthy and energized. 

The keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat meal plan that pushes you into ketosis. This metabolic state burns fat for energy rather than glucose. You can see more noticeable weight loss in the mirror or by using a measuring tape around your waist, as the scales won’t always represent how much fat you’ve lost. 

If you want to get the best results on this diet, aim to eat below 30 grams of net carbs daily. You need to deprive your body of carbohydrates to enter ketosis properly. A study found that keto also reduces visceral fat, which is a type of harmful fat that wraps around your organs. 

Before following this meal plan, speak to a registered dietitian. You should also stop the keto diet after six months to avoid damaging your health. 

Benefits of Losing 40 Pounds

Losing weight has many advantages for your physical and mental health. How much weight you drop depends on your goals, but it’s still important to explore how a low-calorie intake and exercise plan will support your overall progress.

Below are some benefits of losing 40 pounds at a steady pace: 

#1 Better sleep

Research suggests that safe weight reduction can help you sleep. This is because someone with a lower body fat percentage also has lower blood sugar levels. In turn, their central nervous system can settle down easier and prevent the release of cortisol and adrenaline at night. 

Regular exercise and a balanced diet also contribute to a solid night’s rest. You should exercise regularly, whether that’s through cardio or strength training, to induce fatigue and reduce sleep onset latency. 

Better sleep

#2 Reduced risk of chronic diseases

Losing just 5–10% of your body weight can lower the risk of chronic disease. Fat, especially around your abdomen, can damage your long-term heart health. It increases inflammation in your arteries, which may lead to cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. 

Weight loss doesn’t just benefit your heart. Studies show that burning fat can increase bone strength and prevent osteoporosis, constant bone fractures, and brittle bone disease. Therefore, losing weight over time will improve your overall health. 

#3 More energy

Following a weight loss diet can naturally boost your energy. You may believe a low-calorie intake makes you feel weak, but losing weight means you’re using less energy to complete simple activities. 

Many people drop a few pounds just to live a healthier lifestyle. They can go for long daily walks without feeling exhausted and also participate in more sports. A sudden energy boost will also support your mental health in the long term. 

More energy

#4 Improved insulin resistance

Losing weight can help improve insulin sensitivity. The body will release anti-inflammatory hormones that encourage muscles and fat cells to absorb more glucose from the blood. In turn, you should have lower blood sugar levels, which decreases the risk of kidney damage, heart disease, and diabetic retinopathy


Will I have loose skin if I lose 40 pounds?

It is possible to have loose skin, but most people get excess skin after losing 50 pounds and more. Some ways of protecting your skin’s elasticity are to lose weight slowly, build muscle, and drink more water to stop areas such as the face, stomach, and arms from sagging.

Is a 40lbs weight loss noticeable?

Yes, losing 40 pounds is definitely noticeable because the fat around your face, waist, and legs will start to reduce. Consider taking before and after photos to see how much your body has changed.

Which part of the body loses fat first?

The start of weight loss occurs internally, meaning your body eliminates harmful fat around your organs. Then, soft fat dissipates from the waistline and thighs. You may notice your waist is smaller after a few weeks.

How long will it take to lose 40 pounds on a 1,200-calorie diet?

A very low-calorie intake of 1,200 calories may not be safe for your body, as you could lose more than 2 pounds a week. Losing 40 pounds with this diet could take around four months, but it’s better to consume more calories and drop weight gradually.

Is it unhealthy to lose 40 pounds in 4 months?

Losing 40 pounds in just four months isn’t unhealthy, but it requires a consistent exercise and diet routine. Men are more likely to achieve this goal because they naturally burn more calories through increased muscle mass. It’s worth speaking to a registered dietitian to see what’s best for your health.

A Word From an MD

There are many weight loss trends that focus on meal replacement drinks, severe calorie restriction, and juice cleanses, all of which ruin your long-term health. Instead, you need to focus on protecting your body while it works hard to burn fat. You can do this by following healthy fat-loss methods. 

Intermittent fasting and the keto diet are some great examples. Fasting involves switching between regular meals and no-calorie consumption. For instance, you may eat normally in an 8-hour window and fast for the remaining 16 hours of the day. This method encourages your body to burn more fat. 

You should speak to a registered dietitian or doctor before starting your weight loss journey. It’s important to gain advice from a medical professional to ensure you have the best routine for your goals. 


To lose 40 pounds at a sustainable pace, it should take you around 4–5 months. You can follow a low-calorie diet and weekly exercise plan to achieve your goals. Just remember that it’s not possible to get skinny fast, so it’s better to go slow and build a routine that isn’t too restrictive or exhausting.

Written by
Edibel Quintero, MD

Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel's goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.

how long does it take to lose 40 pounds

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