Throughout my life, my weight has always fluctuated. In the summer of 2012, I lost 50 pounds through diet and exercise. In the winter of 2012, I gained 55 pounds because I realized that I like eating and don’t like working out.
People who have known me for a long time remember that summer of 2012, so I’m always the guy they come to for diet advice, even though I’m not even what most people would consider “average” size (in other words, I’m fat).
I actually don’t mind their questions, even though I believe people can be beautiful at any size and I’ve come to embrace my weight instead of being ashamed of it.
One of, if not the most common questions I’m asked is, “If I lose ten pounds, would it be noticeable?”
I’ve been asked this question by everyone from guys who want to impress women to women trying to fit into a wedding dress. The answer is a little complex, but the quick answer is “it depends.”
What’s Your Starting Weight (and other factors)
The answer to the question is different for every person because it depends on your starting height and weight. But probably not.
My general rule of thumb is that weight loss starts to be noticeable when you’ve lost 8-10% of your starting body weight. You will probably notice changes before then but others (who aren’t as critical or observant) likely won’t.
This means that a 300lb person could expect to lose 24-30 lbs before it became noticeable.
The most important factors are going to be your starting weight and your height since those are the factors that make up the Body Mass Index (BMI) system.
It’s not a perfect system by any means, but until the medical definition of obesity changes to something other than “having a BMI over 30,” I think I’m stuck with it.
Someone 5’7″ like me is considered obese at 191 pounds, while someone who is 6’3″ wouldn’t be considered obese until 239 pounds.
The simple fact is that ten pounds of weight loss will be more noticeable for an obese person the shorter that they are since it’ll be a higher percentage of weight lost.
Will My Weight Loss Be Noticeable?
Since I’m 5’7,” I’ll lose ten pounds or so every now and again, and people who see me regularly will notice and comment on it.
That’s not always the case for every obese person who loses weight, however. I worked at a local grocery store about ten years ago and my boss was 6’4″, 425 pounds.
He used to weigh himself on the heavy duty scale in the warehouse to entertain new hires, that’s how we all knew his approximate weight.
I came back from a two-week vacation one time and he tells me that he lost 15 pounds while I was away.
I smiled and said, “Congratulations, man, I knew you looked a little smaller.” He smiled and said, “No, you didn’t.” He used to host poker nights at his house once a month, so he usually had a good read on when I was bluffing.
“No,” I laughed, “I had no idea. I’m happy for you, but I honestly couldn’t tell.” He laughed and said, “Oh, it doesn’t really matter, I’ll gain it all back in a week anyway!”
He taught me a lot about being comfortable as a bigger guy. He liked to eat and didn’t care about anyone else’s opinion of what his body looked like. He also had five kids so clearly his wife wasn’t too concerned, either.
What if I Lost Ten Pounds in My Face/Stomach/Legs?
If I were able to lose ten pounds from my face and neck, that’d be great! Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.
“Spot reduction” or the idea of losing weight in one specific section of the body isn’t possible, outside of surgery.
When our bodies lose weight, it happens all throughout at the same time. That ten-pound loss would be split evenly between your arms, your legs, your stomach, your chest, and your face, which makes it even less noticeable.
If It’s Not Noticeable, Should I Lose the Weight Anyway?
That’s entirely up to you! If you want to lose some weight, I’ll support that 100%. If you’re comfortable with where you’re at and don’t want to lose weight, I’m not going to tell you that you should.
The most important thing is being comfortable in your own skin. I don’t recommend trying to lose weight for another person.
The moment I knew I wanted to marry my girlfriend was the day I stopped by her work and said, “I lost fifteen pounds! Are you proud of me?”
She paused, tilted her head a little, and said, “That’s awesome! But you know that I’d love you no matter what the number on the scale says, right?”
I was shocked and realized that I spent two weeks going on long walks, cutting calories, and drinking water instead of Diet Coke to impress a woman who loved me for who I was and not because of my weight.
What’s the Easiest Way to Lose Ten Pounds?
If you’ve read this far and you’ve decided that you want to try to lose ten pounds, that’s great! If not, you can skip to the next section.
One of the biggest things that helped me lose weight was watching what I drank and that doesn’t just refer to alcohol.
When I lost 50 pounds that summer, the biggest thing for me was eliminating calories from beverages. I drank only water, although I’d usually put a few drops of Mio or some other kind of flavor enhancer in there because I hate the taste of pure water.
I went from drinking 8 cans of soda every day to 100 ounces of water. At 140 calories per can of Coca-Cola Classic, I was drinking 1,220 calories fewer by switching exclusively to water.
Even if I ate exactly the same food that I normally would, I’d still lose a little over one-third of a pound every day. That’s over two pounds a week just from cutting out soda from my diet, although I drink Diet Coke now because I love the flavor.
This is also a great system if you want to try out ten pounds of weight loss to see if it’s noticeable to you. If you choose to lose more weight, you can change your eating habits. If not, that’s perfectly fine, Coca-Cola tastes great!
Summary and Last Word
The truth is that for most obese people above a certain height and weight, losing ten pounds might not be easily noticed by others around us or even ourselves.
A counterpoint that I’ll offer to that is that you shouldn’t feel like you have to lose weight for other people. Unless there is a legitimate medical need to lose weight, you should do what makes you happy.
If you’re worried about being single, just remember that the right person will love you for who you are instead of your weight.
I’ve always believed that a hyper-focus on weight is unhealthy and I instead try to work on being confident in my body, which isn’t always easy.
Even if other people won’t notice the beginning of a potential weight loss journey, if you think it’s the right idea for you, go ahead and lose that weight!