BlogWeight LossHow Long Does it Take to Lose 40 Pounds? Realistic Ways

How Long Does it Take to Lose 40 Pounds? Realistic Ways

6 mins read
Taisiia Dobrozorova
Written by Taisiia Dobrozorova on February 09, 2022
Dr. Olena Avdiievska, MD, RDN
Medically reviewed by Dr. Olena Avdiievska, MD, RDN
Unimeal provides articles with trustworthy and experts-proved information. Our health content is reviewed by professional nutritionists and trainers to extract for users the most verified and medically checked data.

In this article, we created a veritable gold mine of information about quick and significant weight loss. Hopefully, it will reach its goal and become a much-needed kick in the butt to you and your fears to start!

Significant weight loss is not a sprint, not even a marathon. It's a much longer process. In order to maintain the desired weight, you will need a lifestyle change that will probably be with you forever.

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But it all starts with the head. And if you are determined to get rid of 40 lbs of excess fat, then this is a great start. After all, wanting a lot is already half the battle. So, how to lose 40 pounds? And how fast can you achieve it?

Disclaimer: We do not recommend starting the process of losing weight without consulting a nutritionist or a dietitian. Before embarking on radical weight loss and/or fasting, please, consult your doctor first.

Is it possible to lose 40 pounds in 3 months?

Briefly: yes, but it depends.

When it comes to slimming, the most effective method of understanding your capabilities is visualization. Let's say you want to lose 40 lbs as quickly as possible. In order to start the reverse process, it is worth remembering how it began and how long it lasted.

In other words, how long did it take you to gain that 40 lbs? The answer will often be "more than 3 months", so we already have food for thought. However, we wouldn't be talking about getting rid of fat fast if it just didn't make any sense.

The main catch here is that rapid weight loss may be slightly different from your expectations. The scientifically derived norm for the rate of weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week. Thus, the most comfortable speed for your body will be about 6-8 pounds a month and 18-24 pounds in three months. It will definitely be a healthy route.

If you lose more than that, you're in danger for a variety of health issues, including messed up metabolism, muscle loss, dehydration, and nutrient deficiency. People sometimes try to shed pounds quickly by frequent exercises or adopting a "crash diet." But such a load on the body can also have a number of consequences.

However, some experts believe that such drastic changes in weight won’t be very detrimental to health if you are overweight. Actually, the greater your weight at the start, the faster you lose it. After all, if you weigh more than 220 lbs, then 18 pounds will not seem like such a big change to you.

So, it all depends on your input data. Before you start dieting and working out, find out how many pounds your body can lose without destroying healthy patterns.

SUMMARY: If you want to shed 40 pounds in 3 months without wrecking your body processes, prepare to turn on your willpower and attention to detail. After all, the intensity of weight loss will most of all depend on your physical characteristics and current weight.

The girl on the scale sees positive results in losing excess weight
The girl on the scale sees positive results in losing excess weight

For Male and Female

Briefly: men can lose weight a little faster, but the difference in time will not be significant with the proper loads.

Often, men and women try different approaches to weight loss, but the more fruitful option for both is to do this similarly.

Men with excess weight usually pick up weight around their belly and are more apple-shaped, while premenopausal ladies tend to plump around the hips

Although, post-menopausal women inherit the pattern of male weight gain due to the reduction in estrogen levels and add pounds to the abdomen as well.

Also, due to their body composition, men have more muscle and faster metabolism than ladies. The male body spends more calories to supply energy to the muscles and other organs due to the larger body structure. Even if a woman and a man are of the same height, a man has more muscle mass, and a woman has more lipid tissue.

The main rule for weight loss is a calorie deficit. It's simple - you need to spend more than you consume. It is essential to understand that for the body's life, men and women require different amounts of calories.

The recommended number of calories that men and women should consume on average per day at different ages.

USDA recommended daily calorie intake for men:

AgeRecommended daily calorie intake
19–30 years2,400–3,000 calories
31–40 years2,400–3,800 calories
41–50 years2,200–2,800 calories
51–60 years2,200–2,800 calories
61–70 years2,000–2,600 calories
71+ years2,000–2,600 calories

USDA recommended daily calorie intake for women:

AgeRecommended daily calorie intake
19–30 years1,800–2,400 calories
31–40 years1,800–2,200 calories
41–50 years1,800–2,200 calories
51–60 years1,600–2,200 calories
61–70 years1,600–2,000 calories
71+ years1,600–2,000 calories

Both men and women tend to take an “all-or-nothing” approach to weight loss, but women are more likely to take extreme measures if they've gone astray. They use harsh tactics like fasting, juicing, skipping meals, and mono-diets. All of these are not the most sustainable methods. Most men, as a rule, simply return to the original plan or once again go to the gym.

So, men and women reduce excess weight at different speeds and approach this process in different ways. This may be the reason for the myth that the training of women and men should be very gender-oriented. The correct conclusion is that they should differ in intensity but not necessarily in execution technique.

With diet and exercise

Briefly: yes, it’s one of the best ways to lose weight fast.

Now let's move on to where both sexes should start: diet and exercise. People typically tend to follow a low-calorie diet since losing weight by dieting is often simpler than exercising. But a too easy way is rarely very effective. What is the benefit of diet and what of exercise? And how to combine them?


The choice of sticking to any particular diet is purely your decision. There is a whole list of popular and effective diets, but everything is highly individual in this case. More advice we can give on what foods you should include in the diet, and what is better remove for all three months.

Eat food five times a day, including two snacks, give preference to:

  • unprocessed cereals, 
  • fresh vegetables, 
  • seafood, which contains a lot of protein (contributes to the structure of relief muscles and rapid satiety).

You need to maintain a balance of proteins, fats, and carbs (45% - 35% - 15%). For weight loss, you should consume a significant amount of protein and practically eliminate carbohydrates.

The best way to keep track of your calorie intake is to create a meal plan. Then you will be able to fully control the process of nutrition.

Remember that for a calorie deficit, you need to consume not less than 1200 kcal for women and 1600 kcal for men.



Training helps you lose weight faster for several reasons. Firstly, you burn more calories during activity. This point is self-explanatory: the more intense and longer you move, the more calories you burn.

Secondly, workouts increase excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) due to oxygen debt. Over a period of time after exercise, the body consumes more oxygen to return to normal levels and burns more calories at rest.

The following two multi-component exercises that involve several muscle groups at once are a great way to lose 40 lbs quickly. They start fat-burning processes and develop endurance.

  • Burpee. A universal exercise in which almost all muscle groups are involved, suitable for both men and women. It does not require special skills but a lot of patience. 


  • squat down, rest your palms on the floor
  • then jump back, straightening your legs, but without taking your hands off
  • on inspiration, you need to perform a standard push-up
  • on exhalation, squat down again with a jump
  • next, you need to sharply rise to your feet and jump as high as possible, making a clap above or behind your head
  • Jump squat. An excellent exercise for the press, gluteal muscles, legs, and lumbar. 


  • the starting position - the legs are wider than the shoulders, the back is even, and the arms are extended in front of you or located on the hips
  • on inspiration, you need to go down, bending your legs, but without bringing your knees over your socks
  • when the hips are on a line parallel to the floor, you should strain the calf and thigh muscles as much as possible by jumping up (come off the socks from the floor; otherwise, the jump will not be counted)
  • you should not land on straight legs but slightly bent so as not to get injured

It’s also a good idea to add strength exercises (e.g., with dumbbells or kettlebells) and do them at least three times a week. You don't have to exercise a lot, but you'll have to work hard if you want to lose weight quickly.

Working out
Working out


Briefly: yes, if you are ready to combine walking with something or prolong the slimming process.

Let's be honest, walking may surprise you with notable results, but without other workouts, it will not help you lose weight quickly. To lose 40 lbs, you need to make walking very intense and, if possible, combined with other exercises.

Muscle activity is minimal at a slow walking pace of less than 5 km/h. Power walking starts at 6 km/h. At this pace, the legs, hips, knees are actively strengthened.

A simple calculation will help you figure out how much you need to walk a day to lose weight:

100 kcal = 2,000 steps = 1.6 km

1 lb = 70,000 steps = 3500 kcal = 56 km

As you see, it will take a lot of time to achieve the desired numbers. For this reason, we recommend you work out six days a week, alternating between endurance walking and interval exercises.


On 1200 calorie diet

Briefly: yes, but it can be dangerous to your health.

Note: The 1200 calorie diet is the extreme one. The situation will be especially dangerous if you drop to this caloric value too sharply. If you want to switch to a 1200 kcal diet, ideally, you should first calculate your daily norm and then decrease by 100-200 kcal per week.

The idea of the 1200 calorie diet is to consume no more than 1200 kcal per day. However, it doesn't forbid you from eating meat and fish like a vegetarian diet, but adds more vitamins and cuts out the fat.

One of the main conditions is that it should be varied, not just boiled breast and cucumbers. On this 1200 calorie diet, you can eat fish, seafood, beef, as well as vegetables, mushrooms, fruits and berries, dried fruits, and nuts.

In a month, this diet will help you lose about 10-15 pounds, but doctors do not recommend maintaining such a calorie deficit for longer than 5-10 days. For this reason, you can lose weight on a 1200 calorie diet without harming your health by about 5-7 pounds. Further, it will be unsafe.

On Keto

Briefly: yes, but it’ll take more than 3 months.

Without a doubt, Keto, like other diets, will help you slim down. But can it be at an accelerated pace? We don't think so.

The keto diet is high in fat and low in carbs. The body gets energy from animal foods instead of glucose. But, as you already know, not only fats are sources of extra pounds. Do not ignore carbohydrates.

Sticking to Keto, you can expect to burn 4-10 lbs a month, but it will slow down in the long run. Eventually, you'll achieve dropping 40 pounds exactly in 4-5 months, that is the usual pace of losing weight.

On Beachbody

Briefly: yes, but it can be dangerous to your health.

The 21 Day Fix is a weight loss diet by Beachbody, a company focused on exercise plans and supplements.

The main principle of dieting with Beachbody is eating whole foods, excluding unprocessed ingredients. But some people find they're not getting sufficient day by day calories to find energy for a workout.

The 21 Day Fix also includes 30 min of cardio a day that may help both with burning fat and heart health.

As a 1200 calorie diet, Beachbody proposes sticking to not less than 1200-1600 calories a day. Therefore, both diets are very similar, except that the last one has a more specific ratio (fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, complex carbs, and healthy fats).

On Weight Watchers

Briefly: no, it’ll take about 5 months to reduce 40 lbs on Weight Watchers.

WW (or Weight Watchers) is one of the most famous weight loss programs. Thousands of people and a lot of celebrities (like Oprah Winfrey) have tried it to shed extra pounds.

The main aim of a Weight Watchers diet is to drop 1-2 lbs per week. In the long run, it’ll be about 20-24 lbs for 3 months - not a needed number, but still a good perspective for a beginner.

The peculiarity of Weight Watchers’ meal plans is that they help you prioritize healthy food. And the SmartPoints system evaluates each dish, drink, and recipe you choose.

On SlimFast diet

Briefly: no, it’ll take more time to drop 40 lbs.

The SlimFast diet suggests eating 6 meals a day, but instead of eating proper nutrition, five such meals should be replaced by bars or company bars. However, you can eat one proper meal a day. 

The SlimFast diet follows a 3-2-1 plan, where you can eat three 100-calorie snacks, two bars or shakes for 200-calorie meals, and one so-called sensible meal in one day. In addition, the SlimFast diet also recommends doing at least 30 minutes of daily exercise.

Thus, this diet is pretty similar to the Weight Watchers program. It will show you the same results - 1-2 pounds per week.


Is losing 40 pounds hard?

It completely depends on which method you use and how much time you are ready to spend. If you decide to lose 40 pounds in exactly 3 months, it will most likely be exhausting for your body. You may experience a list of problems such as loss of muscle mass, a weakened immune system, disruption of the natural metabolism, and more. The most optimal time to lose 40 pounds is 4-5 months.

What's the fastest way to lose 40 pounds?

The fastest way to lose 40 pounds is to create a calorie deficit. The daily calorie intake for weight loss is not less than 1200 kcal for women and 1600 kcal for men. However, this recommendation is only for short-term diets. The long-term journey will require more limitations. 

In addition to diet, you can also enhance the effect with training, but keep in mind that the numbers should be the same in the end so as not to harm your health.

What kind of diet would I need to be

Most often, you may hear about a 1200 calorie diet. It’s ideal for this purpose, but it also requires time limits. Do not try to follow this diet for 3 months without consulting a doctor. It’s much better to create an individual diet with your own meal plan and calculate your daily calorie intake for 3 months, taking into account age, weight, level of physical activity, etc.

The bottom line

Losing weight too quickly has a slew of health hazards. The slow fat-burning process is the healthiest one. So, this is what we propose to consider before starting. 

Try not to set yourself limits of 3 months, but allocate yourself up to 5 months and more. Consistent weight loss will prevent negative health effects that you have to fix in the future.

How do you feel about my article?

Unimeal does not diagnose or suggest treatments. Any description of the diet, training plan or supplement should be discussed with your current physician or nutritionist. This article does not address specific conditions and is simply meant to provide general information on healthcare topics. Following any advice is at your own initiative and does not impose any responsibility on the blog authors for your health and safety.



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