Where Do People Tend To Lose Weight First?

By Bridget Reed
Medically Reviewed by:

Melinda Hany, Registered Nurse

Where Do People Tend To Lose Weight First?

May 27, 2024

At Herbaly, we understand that weight loss is more than just numbers on a scale — it's about understanding your body's unique responses to changes in diet and exercise.

In this article, we'll explore not only where you might lose weight first but also the underlying mechanisms that influence these patterns. Read on to learn more about what happens during your weight loss journey.

What Does Losing Weight Really Mean?

When we talk about losing weight, what we're often referring to is actually fat loss. However, weight loss can also involve losing muscle mass and water weight, which can be misleading. 

Understanding the composition of weight loss can help you better gauge your progress:

  • Fat Loss: Ideally, weight loss is predominantly fat loss, aimed at reducing stored body fat. “Excess fat in the body can increase the odds for multiple health concerns,” notes Melinda Hany, Registered Nurse.
  • Muscle Mass:Without adequate protein intake and strength training, you might also lose muscle, which can slow your metabolic rate.
  • Water Weight: Initial weight loss often includes a significant amount of water, especially if your diet was high in carbohydrates. “This weight loss is usually temporary,” Hany adds.

How Does the Body Burn Fat?

The process of burning fat is intrinsically linked to creating a calorie deficit — consuming fewer calories than your body expends. 

Here’s how this process typically works in your body:

  • Calorie Deficit: To lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than your body requires for daily activities and maintaining bodily functions, known as your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).
  • Fat as Energy:When faced with a calorie deficit, your body turns to stored fat for energy, breaking it down through complex metabolic pathways.
  • Influence of Exercise: Regular physical activity increases the number of calories your body burns per day, thereby enhancing the calorie deficit and promoting fat loss.

By combining dietary measures with exercise, you optimize your body’s ability to tap into fat stores, encouraging more significant and sustainable weight loss.

Where Do You Lose Weight First?

Wondering why your face might look leaner or your jeans feel looser even before the numbers on the scale show a significant drop? This intriguing aspect of weight loss varies with each person, but some general patterns do exist.

For many of us, the first noticeable change happens in the upper body. This means you might see your collarbones become more defined or that your arms and shoulders start to look slimmer. Men, in particular, often find that their chest and stomach areas reduce in size relatively early in their weight loss journey.

Women, however, might notice initial weight loss around the hips and waist. This can be particularly encouraging because it often means a visible change in shape and silhouette. 

That said, it’s important to understand that early changes might also include losing water weight, particularly if your diet was previously rich in carbs. This type of weight loss can create a quick transformation, but the real, more permanent changes from fat loss will follow more gradually.

Can You Choose Where To Lose Weight First?

It's a tempting idea, isn't it? Choosing where we lose weight first, maybe targeting areas we’re most conscious of. However, our bodies decide the order based on genetics and our biological setup, not our personal preferences.

Biological Factors

Your body is programmed to store fat in certain areas, which can be influenced by hormones and genetics. For example, men often gain weight around their abdomen, while women might see more fat stored around the hips and thighs due to estrogen. “Women also tend to gain weight around their abdomens during perimenopause and menopause,” Hany highlights.

Spot Reduction Myth

Despite what many workout programs claim, we can't lose weight from specific areas by targeting them with exercises. When you burn fat, it diminishes from all over your body, not just the area you’re working out. So, those crunches are great for building abdominal muscles but won't directly burn belly fat.

What Are the Most Effective Ways To See Changes in Your Weight Loss Journey?

Getting started on a weight loss journey can sometimes feel challenging and disheartening. Understanding the most effective methods to see changes can make your path clearer and more manageable.

Creating a Balanced Diet Plan

Weight management starts with your diet. Ensuring a well-balanced nutritional intake is important, not just for losing weight but for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Incorporate a variety of food groups to keep your meals interesting and nutritionally diverse.

Regular Physical Activity

Pair your diet with consistent exercise. Whether it's brisk walking, swimming, or cycling, find a physical activity you enjoy. It's all about setting the foundation for a healthier, more active lifestyle.

Strength Training

Don’t underestimate the power of muscle. Incorporating strength training, weightlifting, or resistance training into your exercise routine can help build lean muscle, which burns more calories at rest compared to fat tissue. When you build muscle, it helps boost your metabolic rate and aid in long-term weight management.

Boost With Cardio and Aerobic Training

Amp up your routine with cardio and aerobic exercise to target fat loss in key areas of the body. This dynamic approach helps you burn calories efficiently, ensuring you lose it where it counts.

Sleep Well and Stress Less

Getting enough sleep and managing stress are often overlooked but vital components of weight loss. Lack of sleep can interfere with your body’s hunger hormones, and stress can lead to emotional eating, both of which can sabotage your efforts.


Drink plenty of H20. Staying hydrated helps support metabolism, aids in digestion, and can help fill you up before meals.

Monitor Your Progress

Keep track of your progress, but not just the scale. Measure your body fat percentage and take body measurements to gauge how your body composition is changing.

Set Realistic Goals

Set achievable, realistic goals. Celebrate small victories to keep motivated. Remember, sustainable weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint.

Dietary Adjustments

And when it comes to diet, think about the quality of the calories you consume. Opt for a healthy diet full of foods rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fats, which can help control hunger and satiety levels throughout the day. “Aim to eat fewer carbs and minimize added sugar in your diet,” says Hany.

Sip Wisely

Now, let’s talk about how a simple habit like sipping tea can align with your overall wellness and weight management goals. 

At Herbaly, our Functional Teas are not just a delightful part of your day but a supportive companion on your weight management journey. 

For instance, our Detox Functional Tea, rich in antioxidants and natural herbs like Sencha green tea, can help support overall healthy digestion, making it a smart addition to your daily routine.

Opt for Healthy Sweeteners

If you enjoy a touch of sweetness in your beverages or meals, choosing a healthy sweetener is key. Our Organic Stevia Leaf Sweetener allows you to indulge your sweet tooth without disrupting your calorie intake. It’s a small but powerful tweak that can make maintaining your diet more enjoyable.

Consult a Healthcare Professional

Sometimes, it’s beneficial to seek advice from a dietitian or a nutritionist. These experts can offer tailored advice based on your body’s needs and help you overcome specific hurdles in your weight loss journey.

What Are the Benefits of Maintaining a Healthy Body Composition?

Maintaining a healthy body composition goes beyond just looking good — it’s about fostering wellness and vitality. When you focus on reducing excessive body fat, particularly visceral fat around your midsection, you're both slimming down your waistline and significantly improving your overall health. 

Here’s why achieving a healthy body composition is worth the effort:

  • Enhanced Metabolic Health: Lower levels of adipose tissue, especially visceral fat, can improve blood sugar regulation and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It also supports a healthier metabolic rate, helping you burn calories more efficiently.
  • Reduced Cardiovascular Risk: Excess body fat, particularly around the abdomen, is linked to higher risks of heart disease. Managing your body weight and reducing fat can help maintain cardiovascular health and reduce strain on your heart.
  • Improved Mobility and Reduced Joint Stress: Less body weight means less pressure on your joints. This can lead to improved mobility and a lower risk of joint issues like osteoarthritis, especially in weight-bearing parts of the body.
  • Better Hormonal Balance:Fat cells influence hormone levels, including estrogen and cortisol. A healthy body composition helps to stabilize these hormones, potentially reducing the risk of hormone-related conditions.
  • Enhanced Physical and Mental Well-Being: Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight can lead to improved energy levels, better sleep, and enhanced mood, contributing to overall wellness.

By focusing on a balanced diet, regular physical activity, and other healthy lifestyle choices, you can improve your body composition and enjoy these benefits. 

The Bottom Line

At Herbaly, we celebrate each step you take on your weight loss journey, knowing it’s about much more than just shedding pounds. It's about understanding the changes within your body, optimizing your health, and enhancing your overall wellness. 

At the end of the day, the journey to a healthier you is not solely marked by the scale but by the improved vitality and well-being you feel. Keep nourishing your body with healthy choices, from the foods you eat to the teas you sip, like our Functional Teas. Embrace this path with patience and persistence, and watch as your efforts blossom into lasting health benefits.


Weight Loss and Diet | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Counting calories: Get back to weight-loss basics | Mayo Clinic

Spot reduction: why targeting weight loss to a specific area is a myth | The University of Sydney

Strength training: Read Get stronger, leaner, healthier | Mayo Clinic

Ghrelin and Sleep | News Medical

Obesity: The ‘Huge’ Problem in Cardiovascular Diseases | PMC

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