How much weight do you need to lose before people start to notice the difference? You’ve calculated your calories, stuck to your plan, and dropped some weight. You know that the kilos are shedding because you step on the bathroom scale, but is the change noticeable in your appearance? According to scientific studies, this is when your weight loss will start to get attention from other people:
When is Weight Loss Visible?
According to a study by Daniel E. Re et. al., some people can notice a difference in BMI of just 1.33, which for the average overweight person is a weight difference of about two kilograms (almost 5 pounds). However, at that level the weight loss is not perceived as having any significant effect on the person’s appearance. Only when weight loss gets to over 2 BMI (about 5kg, or 11 pounds) do people start to sit up and notice that you are becoming more physically attractive. For most people, any weight loss above about 5 kilograms or 10 pounds will be undeniably noticed by others.
Where is Weight Loss Noticed?
Perhaps surprisingly, the amount of fat stored in the face tracks closely with BMI. Humans have evolved to study facial features in minute detail, so changes in facial fat are often the first sign of weight loss north of a couple of pounds. People who know you well are most likely to spot your weight loss when they look at your face. Unfortunately, since you likely check the mirror every day, you may not notice any of those slow changes yourself! To keep your motivation levels up, use a bathroom scale instead.
How much Weight Loss for a Cosmetic benefit?
It is incredibly motivating to have your weight loss complimented upon. People will notice and compliment you because they ascertain the pleasing cosmetic effect of your sharper facial features, firmer shoulders, and flatter belly. They will see the first 3-5kg loss in your face, then additional dropped kilos will show up in your tighter middle and broader smile. By 5kg plus, you will need to start exploring new wardrobe options to better accommodate your shrinking waistline. New clothes will be another visual cue for potential friendly compliments.
One pound, 500 grams of Weight Loss is Not Enough
Anything less than about 2kg or 5 pounds of weight loss can be written off as changes in water weight, or temporary hormonal-related weight fluctuations. For this reason alone, no one is going to notice your 500g/1 pound weight loss. When no one (not even you) notices your weight loss, it is easy to become discouraged and get back into calorie surplus mode. That is why it can be a good idea to weigh yourself once a fortnight or once a month instead of every day. You will feel better if your scale measurement tracks with a corresponding improvement in your appearance!