Weight-loss can be a very frustrating thing. You spend hours at the gym, stuff your body with veggies and lean protein, and turn away from the dessert offered after dinner, just to see the little dial on the scale move back a measly pound. How discouraging.
Another frustrating aspect of weight-loss; when you hit the plateau. For a few weeks, you feel like you are on cloud 9. You have more energy, you are exercising, and you’ve seen some progress; 5lbs… no problem! It came off in 2 weeks. Goodness, at this rate, you will be down 30lbs in a month! Right? Then, suddenly, you come to a halt. That little dial just refuses to move any further back. Why? You haven’t changed your workout regimen? You are still eating healthy, or so you thought? Why did the progress stop?
Let me start off by saying, don’t get discouraged! If you have made the decision to lose weight, or even just exercise, eat healthier, or work to feel better about yourself and your body as a whole…congratulations! That is such a great accomplishment all on its own.
Now…back to the scale. There could be a few things going on here. Like I said earlier, weight loss is a slow process.
One thing to think about is if you are drinking (or eating) more water.
*Many fruits and vegetables, such as melon, cantaloupe, strawberries, watermelon, cucumber, and lettuce have a high water content.
If you body is not use to eating this many fruits and vegetables, a lot of the extra water you are now taking in, could have just been flushing out your system in these first few weeks, making weight loss seem more drastic. That is one of the many benefits of fruits and veggies! I mean, makes a little more sense as to why people see an initial huge drop in weight when they “juice cleanse” right?
Another thing to think about. If your workout routine contains weight lifting or any type of activity that puts high stress on your muscles which you have not previously done, your muscles are most likely getting stronger.
*As you lose fat and gain muscle, you may stop seeing such drastic results.
Muscle is more compact that fat. Think about this in terms of food. How much butter would you need to weigh the same as a pound of chicken? The butter will probably take up more space; but it still weighs the same as the chicken if you make it equal 1lb. As your body burns fat, you are probably seeing a change in the mirror or in the way your clothes fit, but as the fat goes away you are also building muscle. The muscle is more compact, so you won’t necessarily feel your pants start to tighten again, but it will start to replace some of the weight that was being lost from burning fat. Everyone is different though; this concept may apply differently to someone who doesn’t have a high body fat content to start and is just trying to “tone” vs. someone who is trying to lose large amounts of weight and is not so focused on building muscle at this time. Overall, don’t let this concept discourage you! Muscle, or lean mass, is a good thing! That’s why it is called lean mass. You are probably getting stronger!
Lastly, think about what time you are weighing yourself. Have you been weighing yourself every morning for the past 2 weeks, and now you decided you were going to weigh yourself before bed? Body weight can fluctuate during different times of the day. At night, you have eaten a few times already throughout the day and you drank some sort of liquid probably multiple times. Naturally, your weight is going to appear a bit heavier.
*Weighing yourself in the morning will give you the weight closest to your true weight.
As I said earlier, be proud of yourself for making this step! Don’t get discouraged by small movements in the scale; base your progress more off of how you feel, how you think you look in the mirror, and how your clothes may fit. You will be the one to notice results first; nobody knows your body as well as you do!
For more questions or information specifically tailored to your own body, consult a Registered Dietitian!