Can I See Results in a Month?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
This is the time of year when well-intentioned New Year's resolutions start to get tough, and many of us begin falling back into old habits. One reason for this could be unrealistic expectations. You've been working out and eating right for over a month now, and so far you have only seen a small change on the scale. No sign of the 6-pack abs you're working toward, and you're not getting the compliments from family and friends you would have expected by now. But is a month really enough time to start seeing results? How long and how much effort does it take to start seeing real changes in your body?

A study from the University of Wisconsin recruited sedentary people for a six-week exercise program to see if others would notice any change in their bodies after the six weeks was over. Volunteers were photographed wearing bathing suits and then were randomly assigned to one of three groups: cardiovascular exercise, strength training or no physical activity at all. Six weeks later, they were photographed again.

The volunteers were men ages 18-40. Their heads were blocked out of the photos, and the volunteers and judges rated each person's body on a scale of 1 to 10. Overall, their ratings barely changed after the 6-week period. Not surprisingly, there was also little change in body fat and measurements over this time.

Six weeks probably isn't enough time to see dramatic physical results when it comes to a diet and exercise program. Although it could take six months or more to see the kind of before and after pictures you're hoping for, the good thing is that there are benefits you should start seeing within the first few weeks of changing your lifestyle. For example, better sleep, less stress and more energy are immediate benefits of regular physical activity and a healthy diet. Keep in mind that you didn't gain the weight overnight, and slow changes aren't necessarily a bad thing. Losing weight slowly ensures that a higher percentage of the loss is coming from fat instead of muscle, and also makes it much more likely that you'll keep the weight off for good.

Do you struggle to stay motivated when you don't see immediate results? How do you stay focused and on track toward your goals when this happens?

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PLCHAPPELL 6/14/2021
Of course you can Report
For myself,being on SP ,logging in my food and fitness and staying within their ranges has ALWAYS yielded RESULTS IN A MONTH'S TIME.Even if I have only been in the ranges for 8x/ a month ,the results have shown me SP works! Report
YMWONG22 11/4/2020
Thanks Report
WALKZWDOGZ 10/10/2020
It would be helpful to see studies done on women for a change, young, middle aged, even senior. Report
USMAWIFE 9/25/2020
thank you Report
LOSER05 9/3/2020
thanks Report
CATNAP6291 8/13/2020
thanks Report
I can tell by the way my clothes are getting looser. The scale is also going down. Report
I feel better and I’m getting physically stronger. Report
Good article,thanks! Report
I don't expect to see much change in a month but I do feel a difference. The main thing is that I am still working on my goals after a month! Report
It's good to see this at the end of the year! Report
Thank you for this one! Report
Thank you! Report
At my weight there should be some change in a month. If there isn't, I get very discouraged. I need positive reinforcement to continue doing something I don't want to do. Report
Good info. Report
Thanks for the great article! :) Report
I disagree usually 10 lbs will shpw in the face and body. Notice none of the control.groups were doing cardio, strength,and eating plan Report
Depends on how much you have to lose as well as what you consider a visible result."Visible" to you may not translate to "noticeable to everyone else," or even be measurable on the scale. Also, if you've only got 20-30 lbs. to lose, you can easily lose half of that in a month. It's a lot harder to see the difference if your goal is to lose 100 lbs. But if you keep at it, you WILL see a difference at the end of the SECOND month. ANY progress is good! Report
Thanks for sharing! Report
I've seen some but not 20lbs but you can. Report
Thanks for sharing! Report
I’ve always seen and felt results...albeit, small ones after the first month. If people are looking for huge changes, now that, they won’t find so quickly. Keep it up, keep going , it will happen! Report
Good info Report
Makes a lot of sense to me! Thank you! Report
Good thoughts Report
It's hard for me to stay motivated when I don't see results, but I keep trying Report
thank you for posting Report
keeping realistic goals.... Report
Well, the title asked if "I" could see changes in a month! And indeed, I did: my clothes became a little looser, and my face/neck area was less sausage-like. That little bit, I found encouraging! Others didn't see it yet, except a couple did seem to notice something about my face. Anyway, I figured that even if I didn't lose weight (though I did--slowly), I was still much healthier than before!
I've been working hard for about 5 weeks and no, I don't SEE changes but I can definitely FEEL them. I feel stronger, I feel more solid. The weights I started using are beginning to feel light. I can take the stairs and don't feel winded anymore. To me, these things are just as good as SEEing any results. Report
It's not that I expect immediate results, I would just like to see SOME results. It's been a fight to not gain weight. I have noticed more muscle, but I really just want to get rid of my belly (it hurts when I have to squish during yoga). I have been doing cardio kickboxing for almost a month, along with my regular being active at work and going to the gym, hitting my fitbit goals, and yet I gained 3 pounds. It's just frustrating. Report
This is why my resolutions this year weren't necessarily results-oriented (with the exception of being off my blood pressure med in September). Instead, I resolved to engage in healthier behaviors, which have led to great results, but I'm on no particular schedule. And I don't beat up on myself if I slip up and indulge! Report
I know I am a slow loser, so I never expect results in a month. The most I have lost in a month was 4 lb. and that was when I was at a much higher weight. Since I have lost weight and I still need to lose more, I will be happy if I get a 1 pound loss a week. It is more likely that the loss will be more like a .2 or a .5 I am glad that I got a digital scale so I can celebrate even these small losses. I can see the weight loss in inches and in the size that I wear.

Janice Report
I am in my late 60's and whenever I have to stop strength training for an injury or other reason, my saddlebags are bag within 2 weeks. BUT once I start back, they are gone in a month, yes even at my age. No wt loss but I can lose inches in a month with using the machines. Report
I am a binge eater in recovery and the treatment professionals tell me not to try to lose weight but first stop bingeing. So that means I have to accept the size I have now.
So how do I stay motivated? I count the days - NOT making them a streak, just counting, not counting a day when I don't meet the goal but continueing to count the next days - that I manage to eat according to my food plan. I count the days that I managed to do the minimum amount of exercise that is in my plan. I count the days that I eat no more than one plate of food at dinner.
I keep record in a notebook with squares: every day that I meet one of of those goals I color a square in the book pink. When I need motivation I look at all the pink squares and realize that THIS, really, is progress. Report
in late august of 2014, i finally got sick of myself, and started a regimen of simply eating differently. i went to restaurants and didn't eat bread. i ordered small meals. i have to admit that without feeling almost angry about how poor my choices have been for so long, and seeing how out of shape i had become as a result, i probably wouldn't be where i am today. actually, i must say i wasn't almost angry, i was actually really angry. this feeling lasted for a couple of months, to my surprise, and it spurred me to get to the point where i wasn't angry any more, but very determined to start eating cleaner, more healthfully, and stop making excuses. i have an advantage. i am naturally very vigorous. i easily become muscular, in a good way, and see fat melting away very quickly. i am going through menopause and weight doesn't come off like it used to, but i was seeing results in the mirror, and in the way my clothes were fitting, even earlier than the scale. in the first month i lost 5 pounds, and felt very motivated. in the second month i lost 6 pounds and in the third month i lost an additional 6 pounds. it is my goal to lose 28 pounds in 6 months, and i have currently lost 25 pounds and have apx 3 weeks left to reach my goal. i started going to the gym in late october, apx. 2 months after i started this, but didn't go as often as i should have, but probably went at least 1 time a week till january, and now i am going 3-4 times a week. i warm up on the eliptical for at least 10 minutes and push it till it tells me it can't go any faster, and then i start on the leg machines and do as much weight as many times as i can, and then i work on the arms/chest/shoulders and do the same thing, at least 3 sets of each exercise, and apx 12-15 reps on each set. i walk almost every night, and i am most happy about the fact that the fat on my stomach has been disappearing. it's the intensity that burns the fat. i started out slowly. changing my eating habits and slowly changing my mind in general, and a little at a time i have done a little more and then a little more. you have to work on your confidence, and resisting your own minds tendency to make you feel embarrassed or self conscious. i have people in my family that don't like physical activity, step mother, and half sister, and they probably wouldn't want to take this route. i know there are going to be people who read this and think how crazy this lady is for pushing the eliptical to its max speed, but it is only for the last few minutes, and i do understand that i have a physical gift. probably should have pursued some highly competitive athlethic career. the first time i ever went on the eliptical, it felt awful. my long legs felt as if the machine were too short for me, and i only could do a few minutes, and those minutes were hard. i did a few machines and felt ackward, as i hadn't stepped into a gym in years and wasn't familiar with the way the various machines worked, but eventually it all becomes second nature. i make adjustments to the amount of weight, and use different machines and sometimes add a new exercise, such as a tricepts pull down exercise in the free weight area, which is a segway, for me at least, to going into the free weight area and testing the waters over there, eventually. this is the journey i am taking. this is how my health is evolving into a habit. i have had some discouraging weeks, of non success with the scale, but this time, i haven't allowed myself to stop doing what i know is right. the month i only lost 2.5 pounds. i just figured out a way to understand that this is temporary, and that i am working too hard for this to last, and that it is probably that i have gained muscle and that my body will show a loss when the muscle starts burning the fat more and more with time, and i continue to eat well, and exercise. its just logical, it has to work this way. making sure that i eat a high quality protein a couple hours before i leave, like greek yogurt, and throw in some organic granola, not very much, just enough to give it some texture, and a few pieces of fruit, or make a smoothie. it become exciting to do things that once seemed arduous, like thinking about how to make something yummy, AND healthful, or seeing that you really can stop eating that delicious dinner you made for your family before you feel like a bowling ball is sitting in your stomach for the rest of the night. i have begun to eat snacks in the middle of the afternoon. celery sticks with chunky peanut butter. when you are eating pizza, and burgers, wings, and all the normal stuff people eat now, that doesn't sound so great, but when you are changing over several months time, it becomes good, it really does. i was there, with all of you. i did all of the bad things. my husband has an eating disorder, i think, and he wants to eat almost constantly. he can eat enough to feed an army of teenaged boys after baseball practice, and if you offer him more, he will eat it, till he literally gets sick, and throws up all night. people try to tell you it is only your fault if you gain weight and not to blame anyone else, but i know that if i were with a normal weight person, without this disorder, i wouldn't have gotten as bad as i did. he has become less active, and eats more and gains more weight, and this is your companion, and when you try to get him to do things, he doesn't want to, and has lots of excuses. this is why i had to get mad, because if i didn't, i was going to go down the path of complacency with him for who knows how long. he has lost literally 2 pounds in the last 3 weeks and has gone to the gym with me 3x's this month. he is playing basketball for a few minutes, going on the bike for a few minutes, not much, but its something. he felt my anger, but seemed to understand, and is slowly beginning his own journey. i don't have the confidence that he will do anything with it, but i won't discourage him, but he is never going to be the reason that i don't do the things i want to do again, and now i have stopped being angry, and can just simply understand that if i want to go for a hike and he won't go with me, i will have to go by myself, and maybe find someone who wants to go with me, sister in law, friend,until he realizes that he is at home in front of the tv for hours at a time, eating whatever he can get his hands on, and his wife is out in nature, enjoying herself without him. this is sort of meandering, but the point is, give yourself realistic goals, but don't get so wrapped up in the goal that you think you have failed and allow yourself to go back to where you were. actually, what i really think, is that people fail, and really just want to go back to their old ways. they are stuck and don't allow themselves to grow past this comfort zone. i was there. now i'm not. something snapped, finally. Report
I think body fat plays in this.
Before I lost 40 pounds, it was VERY hard to stay motivated because I am definently someone who needs to see progress.
Once I lost that majority of weight, I started strength training and cardio evenly dispersed in my routine. I've seen muscle growth and stregth.
Maybe I'm just looking for it, but it helps.
It took a year of very hard and sometimes disappointing days even weeks to get to this point. Report
Within the first month my body felt better but it really took me a good two months before I even saw any difference in my clothes. Report
Men! Why do so many studies focus on men??? Report
Been at this for about 6 weeks now and have lost almost 5 pounds. I haven't noticed a change in how I look or how I feel physically or even how my clothes fit, but I've noticed a huge change in how I feel mentally. I've finally started enjoying exercise and seeing it as a nice break from the day (most of the time, at least) and I enjoy the fact that I'm more active. I've also noticed that I've been watching a lot less TV and I don't even miss it! So some big changes for me, even if they're not in what I look like. Report
I am having a hard time trying to stay commited to my diet plan but slowly, I am losing weight, there are days that I dread looking in the mirror but I still stay motivated to lose weight even it means losing a pound every two weeks. I always remind myself that I will meet my weight loss goal eventually and that keeps me motivated. Report
I do struggle to stay motivated but then I remind myself how much better I feel since I started dieting and exercising and that keeps me going. Even if the rest of the world can't see any results yet, I'm feeling some wonderful unintended results I want to keep up. Report
I do struggle to stay motivated, but I have usually noticed a difference in my clothes, even if the difference isn't on the scale. I notice a little bit here and there. It might not be the toned awesome body I want yet, but if I stop, it won't get there! Report
I need to get my thyroid checked. I really believe I have issues there. Better to rule it out if that is not the issue for me Report
I agree with what many other people have posted. I'm new to Sparkpeople - just this week actually - Hello everyone! However, I've been making changes to my diet and exercise since mid Feb. I've lost about 10 lbs ( amazing for me) and feel it should be obvious to all. Alas, while my hubby and kids say I seem to have more energy and have been in a better mood, I'm the only one noticing any physical changes so far. Guess for now I'll have to rely on myself and you kind Sparkpeople for continued motivation. Report