Is Losing 10-Pounds Noticeable? (The Visible Difference)

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Published by Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer
Last updated: December 27, 2023
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Being a personal trainer and working with hundreds of clients trying to lose weight, I’ve noticed that the first visible cue of weight loss is decisive for further motivation.

So the earlier it emerges, the easier the journey becomes for everyone.

With this in mind, I wanted to nail down if a 10-pound weight loss makes a noticeable enough difference to be a universal threshold.

Therefore, I observed my clients with excess weight and compared the hard data results against their impressions of themselves for a few months.

Quick Summary

  • A 10-pound weight loss is often visible and can significantly affect one's physical appearance and self-perception.
  • The visibility of weight loss varies with individual factors like starting weight, body composition, and personal health goals.
  • Visible changes in appearance from weight loss are typically noticeable with a 5 to 7 percent reduction in body weight, as per a study by the University of Toronto.
  • Personally, I believe that the psychological boost from losing the first 10 pounds is just as important as the physical changes, as it can greatly motivate continued progress.

Is 10 Pound Weight-Loss a Visible Change?

A woman measuring her waist

Every time a client of mine sheds those initial 10 pounds, the transformation is visible and palpable.

However, the extent of this visibility is intricately tied to personal factors - the starting weight, BMI, and the unique contours of one’s body. Each loss is personal, each journey distinct.

Weight loss becomes noticeable at a 2 - 5% reduction of body weight, which might be more than 10 pounds for some.

To calculate the percentage of weight you lost, you should divide the weight lost by your initial weight and multiply it by 100.

When my clients lose the first 10 pounds, it's a transformation. They gain energy and confidence, and their clothes fit better.

During our training sessions, I offer tailored advice, emphasizing natural fat burners. They're not just supplements; they amplify efforts, making workouts and healthy choices steps toward noticeable transformation, prioritizing safety and effectiveness.

“Health benefits occur at 5 to 7 percent body weight loss, and this is where we likely start to see changes in the appearance of others.”

- Scott Butsch, Director of Obesity Medicine, Cleveland Clinic

According to Sean Bettam from the University of Toronto, losing weight has a clear impact on appearance and health, with an 8-9 pound loss often showing visible differences, particularly in the face [1].

Beyond the physical transformation, losing 10 pounds can usher in a wave of psychological upliftment, enhancing self-esteem and mood.

Where Do You Lose Weight First?

I've witnessed clients' joy as they notice subtle yet profound changes: a sharper jawline, a looser waistband, a transformation starting in the mirror and radiating outward.

Where you’ve noticed changes in the fat of the body earlier in life will probably be the same every subsequent time, as genetics plays a huge role.

It also depends on sex - a study from 2017 showed that an average woman tends to lose fat around the hips, whereas men often lose fat in their trunk area [2]. 

The area where you tend to gain or lose fat may also depend on age, as middle-aged men and women usually store fat around the midsection [3].

However, according to the National Library of Medicine, younger women usually first lose fat of the body in their arms and trunks, while fat cells in their legs stay similar, which may be linked with childbearing and related body parts [4].

What Other Benefits Does It Bring?

A woman measuring her weight loss journey

For someone weighing 150 pounds, losing 10 pounds can shift them into a healthier BMI (body mass index) range.

A healthy body mass index scales from 18.5 to 24.9, and it’s calculated when body weight in kilograms is divided by square height in meters [5].

Here is an easy-access body mass index calculator you can use to calculate your weight.

But regardless of BMI and initial weight, losing 10 pounds may be very impactful for your body and mind.

“There’s something magical about that first 10-pound weight loss that I don’t see at other markers. It tends to foster motivation. And people start to build upon their successes.”

- Lisa Ellis, MS, RDN

Better sleep means a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The risk can be reduced by 58% if you lose 5 to 10% of your weight [6].

Losing a few extra pounds may also significantly lower blood pressure, especially if overweight (BMI greater than 25) [7].

Shedding those extra 10 pounds isn’t just about looking good; it’s about feeling good too. You’ll likely experience a noticeable boost in your exercise performance, enjoying increased stamina and flexibility.

And let’s not overlook the silent, nocturnal benefits; losing 10 pounds can significantly enhance your sleep quality and reduce symptoms of sleep apnea, leading to more restful nights.

How Long Does It Take To Lose 10 Pounds?

A clock and dumbbells beside it

In my journey with clients, losing 10 pounds usually takes one to two months. Weekly, as pounds melt away (0.5-2 pounds), it showcases a safe, realistic transformation with lasting results due to a personalized approach.

Still, how much weight you, in particular, will lose in a given time frame majorly depends on:

  • Genetics
  • Age
  • Diet (calorie intake)
  • Exercise intensity

There are two factors you should target - exercise and diet, with a greater emphasis on the diet since staying in a calorie deficit is crucial to losing weight.

Exercise

Try incorporating exercise into your daily routine with 30 - 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity.

You should remember that muscle is denser than fat, so your weight might stay the same or even get higher, as strength training will replace fat tissue with muscle mass.

This will result in losing inches around the waist (since abdominal fat is melting) but gaining some inches around the arms, legs, and chest as muscles develop.

Developed muscles will further improve your resting metabolic rate, which will enable you to lose some extra pounds in the long run. So, don’t obsess about how much weight you’re losing exactly, but use the mirror as a reference.

Diet

A woman eating a healthy meal

Try to eliminate late-night snacking, up the vegetable servings (that have fewer calories), consider a low-carb diet, and eat smaller portions.

Basically, anything that will get into a deficit of calories. It will put you into starvation mode, which almost always ends with a crash, making this effort unsustainable.

Avoid fad diets promising quick results; they often result in water weight loss, not fat loss.

FAQs

What Are the First Signs of Weight Loss?

The first signs of weight loss are less snoring, mood improvements, more noticeable muscle definition, and changes in body measurements that make your clothes fit differently.

Pay attention to these small changes because they will motivate you to stay on the sustainable long-term weight loss journey.

Do You Lose Weight In Your Face First?

No, you don’t necessarily lose weight in your face first. The first place you’ll lose weight depends on your genetics, as everyone loses weight differently. However, it’s a common belief that dropping between 3 to 5 pounds could show up on your face.


References:

  1. https://www.utoronto.ca/news/losing-weight-can-make-you-more-attractive-experts-say-%E2%80%93-theres-catch 
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28914104/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4018766/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20309749/
  5. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm
  6. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/diabetes
  7. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/changes-you-can-make-to-manage-high-blood-pressure/managing-weight-to-control-high-blood-pressure
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About The Author

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer
Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health and is the owner of Taylor Made Fitness. Her philosophy centers on cutting through the hype and misinformation surrounding dietary supplements, focusing instead on practical, science-backed strategies for health and weight loss.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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