How long does it take for your body to start burning fat?

If you’re just starting a weight loss program, or even if you’ve been following a plan for a while, you may be wondering: how long does it take the body to begin burning fat. It’s true that when you first begin your plan you’re going to lose some “water weight.” So at what point do you actually start to lose fat?

In this article, we’re going to talk about:

  • The stages of weight loss
  • How long it takes to start losing fat
  • How to accelerate your fat loss so you can lose real weight more quickly

Let’s get started! Here’s what you need to know about the way your body burns fat.

Losing fluid versus losing fat

When you first start dieting, you’ll probably notice that the numbers on the scale drop quite quickly! Men and women alike can lose up to ten (sometimes more) pounds in the first week or so of their diet.

But that doesn’t mean your body is burning fat. To the contrary, your body is losing fluids. That’s not a bad thing, though – here’s what’s actually happening.

When you start to exercise and you eat healthier foods, your body is going to need to find new sources of energy. You’re no longer eating those sugars and other yucky foods that you may have previously been eating that had given your body energy.

Instead, your body is going to look to glycogen, or stored carbohydrates, for energy. Glycogen naturally “lives” with lots of water in your body, so when your body begins to use it as energy, that water is released.

Similarly, you’ll probably be decreasing your sodium intake when you make the switch to a healthier, cleaner diet. Sodium (salt) will cause you to retain fluids, so when you cut it out or cut down on sodium you’re going to lose water weight.

To put it simply, you’re most likely going to lose weight your first week or so on your new diet plan. But it’s probably not fat. Fat loss comes next.

How long does it take your body to start burning fat?

Losing fat is different than losing water weight. First of all, while you may feel that it’s super easy to gain weight in fat, it’s extremely easy to gain water weight. Hormonal changes, changes in your diet, menstruation and more can cause you to retain fluids and gain “water weight.”

The real weight loss comes when you start burning fat and lowering your BMI for good. Once again, most people will see a significant drop in weight after the first week or two of following a new lifestyle plan. But after that, you can expect to see a loss of anywhere between a half a pound to two pounds of weight loss a week.

Your body will first access the easily-accessed energy sources available to it. Then, because those stored resources are exhausted and your diet has changed, it will begin to “attack” the fat as an alternative form of energy supply.

Of course, you know that exercise plays into this, too. The more you exercise, the more calories you will burn. This will lead to an overall drop in BMI because once those readily accessible energy sources are depleted your body will turn to fat.

In short, when you change your lifestyle by increasing your exercise and improving your diet, and once your body exhausts its energy supply from stored glycogen and you lose that water weight, you’re going to start losing fat. Be sure that you’re watching your caloric intake, as weight loss is defined by expending a larger number of calories than you consume.

How can I burn fat more quickly?

We’ve already talked briefly about diet and exercise, and how you’ll lose fluids before you burn fat. But if you’re looking for a way to speed up your fat loss, you have a few options available. First and most obvious, you can increase your exercise.

Medical professionals and scientists recommend that adults get 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week, or 150 minutes of moderate exercise. Simply by doing this, you can not only accelerate your weight loss and lower your BMI, but you’ll also improve your overall health.

You may also choose to cut certain foods and drinks from your diet. Alcohol and sugary drinks are some you should avoid. Processed grains and sugars as well as foods high in saturated fats should be avoided as well. Stick to a clean diet of whole, healthy foods to improve your weight loss success and burn fat more quickly.

Weight loss supplements are another great resource for some. Now, weight loss pills won’t work for everyone. Be sure you talk to your doctor before you begin taking any supplement – the ingredients may interfere with your existing health conditions or your medications.

If you’re cleared by your doctor, though, you can help your body burn fat faster and lower your BMI with appetite suppressants, fat burners, fat blockers and metabolic boosters. You’ll find these supplements widely available online and in stores – talk to your physician about which is best for you. Popular options include green tea, caffeine, garcinia cambogia, cayenne pepper and even apple cider vinegar!

No two people lose weight or burn fat in exactly the same way. But with a few simple steps to improve your lifestyle, you can help your body burn fat in a safe and efficient way.


If you’ve just started a weight loss program, you’re probably wondering when your body will really start burning fat. Once you lose that initial weight, don’t worry! So long as you stick to a healthy diet and plenty of exercise, you’ll start burning fat within the first few weeks. Feel like you need a little help? Talk to your doctor about which weight loss supplements will work with your health and lifestyle.

Everyone loses weight a little differently, but for most it won’t take but several weeks to begin consistently losing fat. Stick with it and you can lower your BMI in a safe way in very little time.

You might also like