If you’ve set a goal to lose weight in 60 days, you may want to try to drop as many pounds as possible. But taking a slower approach to weight loss and aiming for a lower rate of weight loss can make it easier for you stick to your diet and exercise plan.
So how much weight can you to lose in 60 days? You can expect to lose 4-16lbs in 60 days. This equals a rate of 0.5-2lbs per week, which is a realistic and sustainable approach for most people. Losing weight at this rate can ensure that you don’t lose too much muscle mass, and you won’t have to drop your daily calorie intake to dangerously low levels.
Resorting to unhealthy dieting tactics such as crash diets or excessive exercise when you want to lose weight can be harmful to your health. As such, it’s important to not rush and to learn how to be okay with slower progress.
In this article, I’ll go into more detail about how much weight you can expect to lose in 60 days. I’ll also talk about the differences between weight loss and fat loss, discuss the factors that effect how much weight you can lose, and show you how to create a workout and diet plan for weight loss.
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The Differences Between Weight Loss and Fat Loss
Before we get further into the factors that affect weight loss and how much weight you can lose in 60 days, it’s important to understand the differences between weight loss and fat loss.
Weight loss refers to how much weight you’re losing according to the scale. This loss can come from a combination of water weight, fat, and muscle.
On the other hand, fat loss refers specifically to a reduction of fat mass. This is generally a healthier goal to focus on than losing weight because you can preserve lean muscle mass, and having more muscle can prevent chronic diseases and insulin resistance.
Fat loss isn’t as easy to measure as weight loss because you need access to a DEXA scan or hydrostatic weighing machine (an underwater scale) to get the most accurate results. You can use an at-home scale that measures body fat percentage, but these scales aren’t very accurate. Still, they’re good to use to keep track of overall trends.
Other ways you can tell you’re losing fat even if the scale isn’t changing are:
- Your clothes are looser
- You’re losing inches in your upper arms, thighs, chest, waist, and/or hips (which you can tell by measuring yourself with a soft measuring tape every couple of weeks)
- You notice that you look slimmer overall in pictures
It’s important to keep track of these non-scale changes because they indicate that you’re still making progress even if the scale doesn’t move.
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Factors That Affect Rate of Weight Loss
Starting Weight and Body Fat Percentage
This isn’t always the case, but it’s often easier to lose weight more quickly when you’re starting at a heavier weight.
One of the main reasons for this is that heavier people can burn more calories during exercise because they have more mass to move. As such, an overweight individual’s calorie expenditure can be higher than that of a lighter person even if the two individuals did the same workout for the same amount of time at a similar intensity.
In general, men have an easier time losing weight than women. Part of this is because men have 4-5 times as much testosterone as women. Testosterone is the hormone responsible for growing and maintaining muscle mass. Having more muscle mass allows you to burn more calories throughout the day, even at rest.
Additionally, pregnancy and hormonal changes that come along with the menstrual cycle and menopause can also affect how quickly women can lose weight.
Related Article: Best Fat Loss Workout Plan For Females (Complete Guide)
Many people believe that your metabolism slows down as you get older. That’s true – as one study points out, resting metabolic rate (how many calories you burn when you’re at rest) declines with age, which results in a lower overall total daily expenditure. But your metabolism doesn’t significantly drop just due to age alone.
Slower metabolism also occurs because lifestyles change as we get older. If you start working a desk job after you graduate college, you may stop getting as many steps per day as you used to previously. If you have kids, you may stop being as active as you once were because you have a lot less time available to work out.
That said, there are also studies showing that adults start losing muscle mass around the age of 30. As I discussed above, lean muscle can give you a faster metabolism and help you burn more calories throughout the day. If you don’t eat and work out in such a way that helps you preserve that muscle mass, you may have a harder time losing weight.
Contrary to what celebrities and social media influencers would have you believe, not everybody has easy access to nutritious foods and a ton of free time available to work out.
Things like where you live (i.e. if you’re in a food desert), what kind of job you have (or if you work multiple jobs), and your family responsibilities can all affect your consistency with nutrition and working out.
Someone who only has time to work out two days a week or doesn’t have much free time to meal prep may lose weight at a slower rate than someone who can work out five days a week and meal prep all their meals in advance.
Pre-Existing Health Conditions
Medical conditions such as hypothyroidism and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can make it more difficult to lose weight. They affect critical areas of the body like the thyroid and throw off your hormone balance, which can slow your metabolism and encourage your body to hold onto more fat.
These conditions require diagnosis by a medical professional, so don’t assume that you have one and attempt to self-treat yourself just because you’re having trouble losing weight. If you think you may have one, you should speak to your doctor.
Losing Weight In 60 Days: What Can You Expect?
Assuming that you’re staying within your calorie targets every day and working out consistently (at least 3 days per week for best results), you can expect to lose 4-16lbs in 60 days.
You may think this seems low, but this is based on the common recommendation to aim for 0.5-2lbs of weight loss per week. Since 60 days equals roughly 8 weeks, you’ll arrive at 4-16lbs lost by the end of your 60-day diet.
Aiming for this range allows most people to consistently lose weight without dropping calories drastically low and still feel satisfied after meals and energized during workouts. It also ensures that you preserve as much lean muscle mass as possible.
You may notice that you lose more than this at the very beginning of your diet. This is usually due to water weight as your body flushes out excess sodium and carbohydrates, particularly if you weren’t eating very healthy before.
So even if your initial weight loss is more than 2lbs per week, you won’t be able to sustain that pace for an extended time. As your body adjusts, your rate of weight loss will begin to slow down to 0.5-2lbs per week.
Also, don’t forget to keep track of the non-scale changes I mentioned above as well. These are still markers of progress even if the scale isn’t moving.
Related Article: Should I Lose Weight Before Building Muscle?
Designing a Workout Plan to Help You Lose Weight
When you’re trying to lose weight, preserving as much muscle mass as possible is essential. Maintaining a resistance training routine during your weight loss phase can help preserve the lean mass you already have.
I recommend including a combination of compound exercises (which work multiple muscle groups at the same time) and isolation exercises (which work one muscle group at a time). Compound exercises can help you maintain your strength and burn more calories while isolation exercises can help you maintain musculature in the smaller muscle groups like the biceps.
Working in rep ranges of anywhere from 5-20 is ideal when you’re trying to lose weight. For compound exercises, you can keep your sets to 5-6 reps each. For isolation exercises, you can perform 10-20 reps.
It’s also important to continue training at a sufficient intensity and make sure that the weights are challenging for you. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to train to failure. Choose weights with which you can perform the last rep in a set while still feeling like you have 2-3 reps in reserve.
Related Article: Best Rep Ranges for Cutting Weight (Science-Backed)
Do You Need To Do Cardio To Lose Weight?
As long as you’re in a calorie deficit, adding in a lot of extra cardio isn’t necessary even if you’re trying to lose weight. But it can help.
I recommend 30 minutes of steady-state cardio such as light jogging, cycling, or the elliptical 2-3 days a weekto help you burn more calories without leaving you too fatigued to keep up with your resistance training.
If you’re looking for a workout routine to help you with your weight loss goals, check out the Fitbod app. It will customize a routine for you based on your experience level, the type of workout split you want to do, how much time you have, and what equipment you have available. You’ll get three free workouts when you download the Fitbod app today.
Related Article: The Top 5 Cardio Machines That Are Good For Weight Loss
How Much To Eat When You Want to Lose Weight
The biggest determining factor in how successful you are with a weight loss goal is your diet. To lose weight, you need to be in a calorie deficit. This means you need to eat fewer calories than you burn each day through exercise and non-exercise activities.
The first step in figuring out how much you should eat is to figure out your maintenance calories. You can do this by using an online total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) calculator. It takes into account your gender, age, activity level, height, and weight to estimate how many calories you burn each day.
If you were to eat that number of calories every day, you should be able to maintain your weight. However, keep in mind that these calculators are not always 100% accurate. You should also log how much you eat in a food tracking app like MyFitnessPal and keep track of your weight each day to ensure you’re truly eating at maintenance.
If your weight decreases, it’s likely that you were inadvertently overeating before because you weren’t aware of how many calories you were consuming. But since your goal is to lose weight, you can keep eating that number of calories.
If you start to gain weight, your true maintenance calories are lower than what the TDEE calculator suggested. You’ll need to decrease how much you’re eating by 100-200 calories until your weight stabilizes, and then you’ll have a starting point from which to base your calorie deficit.
To eat in a calorie deficit, I recommend starting with a decrease of 100-200 calories. If your maintenance calories were 2100, this would be anywhere from 1900-2000 calories. This is enough of a decrease to put you in a deficit without severely impacting your energy levels or moods.
How Low Can You Decrease Your Calories?
No matter what, you shouldn’t drop your calorie intake below 1200, especially if you’re following an intense workout routine. This is the minimum amount your body needs to have enough energy for everyday activities and to function properly. It’s also an adequate amount of food to ensure you’re still getting all the nutrients you need.
If you have been eating 1200 calories and haven’t been losing weight, you should consult with a doctor to make sure you don’t have an undiagnosed medical condition such as hypothyroidism. But if you don’t have an underlying health issue, it’s best to increase physical activity rather than dropping calories below 1200.
As well, if you’ve determined that you need to eat 1200 calories to lose weight, I recommend not staying there for very long. Eating so few calories for an extended time can lead to issues like hair loss, amenorrhea (loss of a menstrual cycle), irritiablity, and extreme hunger.
What To Do If Weight Loss Stalls
While you might lose weight easily at first, you may reach a plateau after several weeks. Sixty days isn’t a very long time in the grand scheme of things, but it’s still enough that your progress can stall at some point.
Below are steps you can take to boost your weight loss efforts if 2-3 weeks have passed without you losing any weight.
Decrease Calories By 100-200
If you’re weight loss stalls, it’s almost always because you’re no longer in a calorie deficit. Your metabolism changes as you lose weight, and as your body gets accustomed to being at a smaller size, it becomes necessary to decrease your calories further.
Once you’ve stopped losing weight for several weeks, and assuming nothing else has changed with your eating or workout habits, you may need to decrease your calories further. As you did when you first started your diet, you should decrease your calories by another 100-200 calories of your current total calorie intake.
Let’s say you were able to maintain your weight at 2100 calories and you’re eating 1900 calories per day to lose weight. You can try another 200-calorie decrease and bring your daily calories down to 1700.
Increase Your Non-Exercise Activity
Non-exercise thermogenic activity, or NEAT, are activities that burn calories that aren’t considered exercise. Increasing NEAT is a great way to get your body moving more without adding extra workouts into your routine.
Some ways you can increase your NEAT include:
- Take a walk on your lunch break
- Walk around while you’re on the phone
- Walk around the gym in between sets instead of sitting down
- Take a longer route to the bathroom or go to one that’s further away while you’re at work
- Use a standing desk
- Walk or bike to the store instead of driving (if possible)
Cut Out Cheat Meals and Alcohol
The concept of “cheat meals” is becoming more controversial in the fitness world, especially amongst advocates of flexible and non-restrictive dieting. But when I say “cheat meal,” I mean eating things like pizza, cheeseburgers, takeout Chinese food, and other high-calorie meals that can easily put you out of a calorie deficit.
Similarly, alcohol can also hinder your weight loss progress. Many alcoholic drinks are high in calories, and if you have more than one, you can end up consuming as many calories as a full meal. Alcohol also lowers your inhibitions and can cause you to make poor choices when it comes to food.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with eating food like pizza or having a cocktail on occasion. But when you’re trying to lose weight, you sometimes have to prioritize more nutritious meals over the feel-good ones and eliminate alcohol.
Even if you’ve only been having one or two cheat meals or alcoholic drinks a week, you may benefit from completely cutting them out temporarily.
Get Enough Sleep
Not sleeping enough has been shown to interfere with healthy lifestyles for various reasons. Some research suggests that poor sleep negatively affects the hormones responsible for appetite control. It also increases your propensity to overeat because you’re more likely to reach for sugary or carb-heavy snacks for energy.
There is also some research showing that poor sleep can affect the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis, which controls the body’s reactions to things like stress and impacts functions such as digestion. According to one study, not getting enough sleep can lead to an increased amount of body fat around the abdomen.
Lack of sleep can also make it more difficult to complete your workouts because you’re too tired to get through them. It’s not always possible (if you have a newborn at home, for example) to get several hours of uninterrupted sleep, but getting 7-8 hours of quality sleep a night can help prevent these issues and make it easier to stick to your diet and workout routine.
Like a lack of sleep, stress can encourage your body to hold onto fat, particularly around your midsection. Some people are also more likely to neglect exercise, overconsume fatty or sugary foods, and turn to alcohol during stressful times, making it more difficult to maintain a calorie deficit.
Learning ways to manage your stress can help if you’ve been finding it difficult to lose weight. Researchers from Greece discovered that obese patients who implemented stress management practices were able to lose more weight than those who didn’t.
If you’re under a lot of stress, you can try the following to help manage it:
- Limiting how much time you spend on social media
- Taking a bath
- Sitting out in the sun for a few minutes
- Deep breathing
- Getting a massage
Related Article: What To Do If You’re Gaining Muscle and Not Losing Fat
Looking for a workout program? Try using the Fitbod App, which will design your program based on your logged training data and goals. The workouts will adapt automatically to your levels of recovery and rate of progress. With over 600 movements and exercises videos, you can be sure to perform the movements correctly for optimal results. Take the guesswork out of your workouts. Try 3 free workouts on Fitbod.
Most people can expect to lose 4-16lbs (0.5-2lbs per week) in 60 days. Aiming to lose weight at this rate can prevent a significant loss of muscle mass while allowing you to see results without starving yourself.
To get the most out of your weight loss plan, you should decrease your caloric intake by 100-200 calories below your maintenance calories and continue lifting weights.
As long as you’re in a caloric deficit, you don’t need to do a lot of cardio to lose weight. But if you do want to do cardio, try to keep it to 30 minutes of low-impact cardio 2-3 days per week so you can still prioritize strength training, which will help you maintain muscle mass.
About The Author
Amanda Dvorak is a freelance writer and powerlifting enthusiast. Amanda played softball for 12 years and discovered her passion for fitness when she was in college. It wasn’t until she started CrossFit in 2015 that she became interested in powerlifting and realized how much she loves lifting heavy weights. In addition to powerlifting, Amanda also enjoys running and cycling.