3 Phases of Weight Loss and What to ExpectBy Elisa - Jenny Craig Reviewed by Briana Rodriquez, RDN Science-Backed
Are you just beginning a weight loss program? Wondering what to expect? You’re in the right place. Read on as we cover the phases of weight loss and what to expect on your weight loss journey.
Remember to always consult your doctor before starting a weight loss program.
PHASE 1: THE BIG DROP
When you first start focusing on making healthier food choices and reducing your calorie intake, you’re likely going to see the impact on the scale. Typically, the biggest drop you’ll experience is in the first phase of weight loss. This first phase can last anywhere from 1-2 weeks. Your body is responding and adjusting to the healthy changes you are making. Just be mindful that sometimes this initial weight loss can include water weight, which makes it even more important to keep hydrated and remember this is an amazing start!
PHASE 2: THE LITTLE DROP
By the second phase (approximately 2-4 weeks into your weight loss journey), your body is starting to adjust to your new habits. Usually, the drop in weight this week will be a little smaller, but don’t get discouraged. Enjoy your win — one of many you’ll experience on your weight loss journey.
PHASE 3: THE SLOW AND STEADY
By week five, aim for an average weekly weight loss of 1-2 pounds, or one percent of your body weight. If you lose weight more rapidly, you’re likely losing more muscle, which isn’t healthy. While it might not be as much weight as you lost in the first couple of weeks of your journey, just know that this is a healthy rate at which to lose weight. The goal here is to aim for sustainability!
Another tip is to take monthly measurements so you can also see how your body is changing in other ways beyond the scale. Now that you know the three phases of weight loss, let's look at some of the important milestones you might encounter along your journey.
Here are a few of the important milestones you may experience along your weight loss journey. Remember: every milestone is an accomplishment! Whether it is weight loss or a non-scale victory!
5% and 10%:
By losing as little as 5% to 10% of your body weight, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that it’s possible to reduce your blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.1 Additional scientific studies backs this up.2 The CDC also mentions that you may be able to reduce your risk of certain chronic diseases associated with obesity by losing as little as five to ten percent of your weight.1
You've Hit Your Halfway Point:
When you make it halfway to your goal – we bet you’ll be feeling amazing. It’s a huge accomplishment – so we suggest celebrating by treating yourself to a new outfit, a night out to the movies or perhaps a night in pampering yourself with a spa treatment. Check out these other ways to reward yourself without food.
By now, you’re starting to get the hang of this new way of life, and you’re consistently making healthy choices and reaping the rewards. If you haven’t done so already, now is a great time to look at your exercise routine and perhaps start to slowly add some walking or other low-impact activities into your day. Just remember to always consult your doctor before starting a new exercise plan. New to exercise? We've got a plan for you! Check out our Beginner's Guide to Exercise to learn the basics and get started with this 30-Day Workout Plan for Beginners.
Yes! Give yourself a high five! You’ve achieved your ultimate goal! Reaching this milestone is more than just about the number on the scale. It’s about all of the non-scale victories you’ve also achieved over the course of this journey. We bet you feel more confident than ever before. You may even feel like you have more energy to do the things you enjoy — or perhaps you’re sleeping more soundly through the night — the benefits associated with weight loss are plentiful, and we bet you’ve experienced quite a few non-scale victories along the way.
If you’re a Jenny Craig member, once you reach your goal, your consultant will introduce you to the maintenance phase of your program. Here, you’ll develop skills to help you learn how to keep your weight off and sustain your healthy lifestyle. Because once you’ve reached your goal, it’s all about making sure you can maintain the new you!
Emotions Along Your Weight Loss Journey
When you’re discouraged — seek support.
No matter how closely you’re following a program, everyone experiences challenging days when they think to themselves, "Why am I gaining weight?" You might feel as if your goal is a long way off, frustrated that you can’t fit into your favorite pair of jeans just yet, or anxious that you won’t be able to break through a plateau.
We get it — all of these emotions are totally normal! When you feel your positive attitude wavering, reach out to someone who has been instrumental in supporting you throughout your journey — whether that be your Jenny Craig consultant, a friend, a family member, or a loved one. If you’re a Jenny Craig member, your consultant is always there to support you when you need a pick-me-up. A simple call or text may make the difference in your day — so don’t hesitate to reach out!
When you’re stressed — take some “me” time.
It happens to the best of us: you’re feeling stressed and you find yourself mindlessly grazing through the office candy jar for a quick pick-me-up, only to experience a sugar crash later, typically followed by feelings of guilt. But don’t worry — there are simple ways you can check in with yourself to prevent this from happening. First, remember this: strong food cravings are usually not hunger, and will pass within 15 minutes if you don’t indulge them. Have a glass of water and a serving of your favorite non-starchy vegetable — or even take a walk around the block — it’s a great way to distract your mind. If stress-related cravings are creeping up regularly, that’s a good sign that you could use a bit of me-time! Set aside at least 30 minutes every day to do something that makes you feel relaxed…perhaps it’s taking a short walk, listening to some music or simply enjoying a good book.
When you’re thrilled—share it!
When you experience the wonderful feeling of watching the number on your scale get smaller, and the other non-scale victories that come with better health, you may feel like you want the whole world to share it with you — and you should! Your success didn’t come from luck; it came from your hard work and healthy choices. For those days when you really want to celebrate your victories, pick a non-food reward to celebrate, (like a spa day or a new outfit) and enjoy it with someone close to you. After all, you’ve earned it!
While no one’s journey is the same — we hope this information has helped explain a few of the phases and emotions you may experience during your weight loss journey. Keep up those healthy habits!
*Members following our program, on average, lose 1-2 lbs per week.
Elisa is a Content Marketing Manager for Jenny Craig with over ten years of experience working in the health and fitness industry. She loves sharing her passion for living a balanced and healthy lifestyle. A San Diego native and an endurance sports enthusiast, you can usually find her swimming, biking along the coast highway or running by the beach in her free time. Elisa holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University Chico.
Favorite healthy snack: mozzarella string cheese with a Pink Lady apple
Reviewed By: Briana Rodriquez, RDN
Briana is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer for Jenny Craig, based in Carlsbad, California. She is passionate about utilizing food as functional and preventative medicine. Guided by a simplistic and optimistic approach, Briana’s philosophy is to help people improve their health and achieve their goals through the development of sustainable habits to live a healthy life. In her free time, you can find her strength training, indoor cycling, coffee tasting, and at local eateries with her husband and two dogs.
Favorite healthy snack: peanut butter with celery alongside a grapefruit-flavored sparkling water (so refreshing!)
This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles and is written by experienced health and lifestyle contributors and reviewed by certified professionals.
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Edited by Elisa - Jenny Craig