Ever feel like it's taking for-freakin'-ever for you to drop the weight you're trying to lose? You're not alone.
While healthy weight-loss guidelines say you should aim to lose one or two pounds per week (whether you have five or 50 pounds to lose), there could be weeks, or even months, when the scale doesn’t budge, says dietitian nutritionist Tori Holthaus, R.D.N., founder of YES! Nutrition, LLC.
"How long it takes to lose a given amount of weight depends on so many factors, like whether you've lost weight before, health conditions, how much weight you actually need to lose, and your sleep and stress levels," she says.
Here, women who lost 20 pounds or more share how long it actually took them to shed the pounds—and what helped them finally reach their goal weights.
Five months: "I lost 25 pounds over the course of five months. When I graduated from college I came home heavier than I had ever been in my life. I knew I needed to do something about it. I stepped on the scale and weighed 172 pounds. I was shocked. Now I weigh 150 pounds, [and I'm] finally at a healthy weight for being 5'8". For me, accountability was key to reaching a healthy weight. I found a virtual coach who motivated me every day by sending messages of encouragement, checking in to make sure I worked out, and answering any questions that I had. I also told my mom and friends about my goals, and I didn't want to let them down." — Taylor Jensen, 24, lost 25 pounds
One year, plus 3 months to lose what I re-gained: "I've lost 86 pounds—and it happened in stages. It took me about a year to lose the first 76 pounds, and then I ended up gaining 12 back. About three months ago, I decided that I wanted to hit my original goal and lost 22 more pounds. It took me a little over three months to reach that point. During my second go at losing weight, I cut out excess carbs from bread and pasta and cut back on sugar. I am also a big supporter of high-intensity interval training and bodyweight circuits. Even though I had bad days, weeks, or even months, I picked myself up, pushed through it, and started again."—Chelsi Evans, 30, lost 86 pounds
Two-and-a-half years: "Over the course of two and a half years, I lost more than 140 pounds. I had an accountability partner that created an organized plan in an Excel spreadsheet, which we followed every month. In the beginning, seeing the months ahead made me feel like losing the weight was an impossible accomplishment. But after breaking it down month by month, losing five pounds in four weeks was doable. I was able to stay consistent the entire way through. In hindsight, I'm glad I had over two years to create a new mindset and consistent routine. After hitting my goal, I found that challenges still arise, but I always know how to get back on track after laying a solid foundation." —Lindsey M. Adams, 30, 140 pounds lost
Three months after my first pregnancy, 4 months after my second: "I've always weighed between 120 and 130 pounds, until I had kids. When my son was about 10 months old, I started working out pretty intensely with weight training in the evenings and cardio in the mornings, five or six days a week. I ended up losing 40 pounds in about three months. I went from 163 pounds down to 123 pounds, and was shocked at how quickly my body reacted to the changes I made. But then I hit a plateau, and I got pregnant again! After that pregnancy, I weighed 182 pounds. After giving birth, I worked out very hard with a little less cardio and more weight training. While exercising helped me tremendously, I wouldn't have seen results if I kept eating the way I had before. I completely changed my diet by eating lots of lean protein, tons of veggies, small amounts of carbs in the form of oats or grains, eliminating processed sugars, and drinking tons of water. And of course, I have cheat meals. It's all about finding balance that works for my lifestyle. It took me about four months to get to 152 pounds with 17 percent body fat, and I'm pretty happy where I'm at." —Candace Perkins, 30, 30 pounds lost
>> Read more: This Is Exactly What It Takes To Lose Over 150 Pounds
To see how long it took five more women to lose the weight, click here for the original story from Women's Health!