Total Shape is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission. Learn more.

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

Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers
Last updated: November 29, 2022

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.

This is what I found out.

Quick Summary

  • Weight loss of 10-pounds could be a visible change, but it generally depends on starting weight, body fat, or body type.
  • Where you’ll be losing weight first depends mostly on genetic factors, as you can’t target the specific area where you want to lose body fat.
  • A 10-pound weight loss brings some health benefits, like lowering the chances of sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, and blood pressure issues.

Is 10 Pound Weight-Loss a Visible Change?

A woman with a visible 10 pound weight loss

A 10-pound weight loss can be a visible change, but it largely depends on factors like your starting weight, body mass index (BMI), and body type.

You’ll most likely notice weight loss when it reaches a minimum of 2 - 5% of your body weight, which means you would probably need to lose 14 - 19 pounds on average (depending on your starting weight).

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

Losing 10 pounds will make you feel more energetic, and your clothes will fit differently.

“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

People will likely notice you’ve lost weight since some studies suggest that men and women of average height must lose about eight to nine pounds for a visible weight-loss difference in the face [1].

Where Do You Lose Weight First?

Where you lose weight first depends mostly on genetic factors, sex, and age.

The first signs of body fat loss for most people are the face, waistline, backside, or breast/chest area.

Where you’ve noticed changes in body fat 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, younger women usually first lose body fat in their arms and trunks, while fat in their legs stays 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

Losing 10 pounds can bring many benefits, but they mostly depend on your initial body weight.

A 10-pound loss for people weighing 150 pounds means they made their way into a healthy weight bracket in terms of body mass index (BMI).

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

People who lose a significant amount of weight tend to sleep better because excess tissue in the back of the throat shrinks and allows a normal airflow while asleep, alleviating potential sleep apnea.

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

How Long Does It Take To Lose 10 Pounds?

A woman holding a bottle of water and a weighing scale

It takes from one to two months to lose 10 pounds, as losing half to two pounds a week is considered a realistic, safe, and sustainable rate of weight loss.

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 losing 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 holding a measuring tape and an apple

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 calorie deficit.

It might be possible to lose 10 pounds in a couple of weeks, but that pace is never recommended.

It will put you into starvation mode, which almost always ends with a crash, making this effort unsustainable.

Lastly, don’t fall for some fad diets that promise quick fat loss without much effort because most of the weight you’ll lose will probably be water.

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.

Is Losing 10 Pounds Worth the Effort?

Losing 10 pounds represents a solid foundation that'll make you feel confident and motivate you to improve your appearance and health even further.

I often advise my clients to take natural fat burners to fast-track their weight loss efforts and notice those small improvements even faster.

We’ve extensively tested most of the top products on the market to come up with these lists, and our testing data shows both objective and subjective improvements in reduced cravings, appearance, and fat loss.


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/endoscopic-weight-loss-program/conditions/diabetes.html
  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
Was this article helpful?
YesNo

About The Author

You May Also Like

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *