Why Am I’m Not Losing Weight?
Weight Loss Encouragement
Do you know what I’m holding up right now? It’s 5 pounds of fat (left) and 5 pounds of muscle (right).
Notice the size difference? This is why, after starting a new diet and fitness program, you can look and feel smaller but still weigh the same or have a smaller drop in weight than you feel you deserve.
We work SO HARD, especially in the beginning. We want BIG numbers. We want that reward! And, this is exactly why so many people quit within the first few weeks they start a new program. The goal seems too big and the reward seems too small.
You aren’t alone.
When we start to exercise, we not only build muscle but we hold more water and glycogen in the muscle cell, causing the muscle to weigh more. It’s not like we will gain 5 pounds of new muscle tissue, but we will gain muscle weight as our muscle stores more energy in the muscle cells so it’s fueled up (like a gas tank) for the next workout.
It is very common for people to have this initial weight gain in the muscle, which is also what causes our muscle (and body) to look and feel more firm. WIN! While we are gaining that small amount of initial muscle weight, we may also be losing body fat but those initial changes are not something you can see on a traditional scale – giving you a false sense of failure.
This is why we have an InBody machine at our gym so people can see exactly what is going on beyond the scale. People are so tempted give up, even though they are making hidden progress, simply because they don’t see their hard work reflected on the scale.
Time Will Tell
Eventually, your initial boost in muscle will level out and you should start to see the scale go down. If not, then you know you are likely eating more calories than you are burning and maybe it’s time to start counting calories in an app like LoseIt and tweak your diet. I find a lot of people eat healthy, but just eat too much.
While you need to understand your body’s changes go far beyond a number on a scale, you also don’t want to use that principle as an “out” either, and assume you are just exchanging fat weight for muscle weight for the next 2 years LOL. That won’t happen. But, it can explain why you may feel like you are getting a slow start.
Look Beyond the Scale
The moral of the story is this: don’t JUST look at the scale. I am a big believer in the accountability a scale gives my clients. The scale is a great way to see how your body is trending (it will tell on you!) but there is SOOOO much MORE going on than just weight loss.
If you want to go the distance, and have a real lifestyle change, you need to force yourself to look at other non-scale victories like going down a belt notch, more energy, improved blood work, confidence, better performance, better mood, less pain and all the other amazing benefits to getting healthy.
It’s easy to be fixated on a weight loss goal so much you miss out on this incredible journey filled with many victories along the way to your the new healthier you!
Thank you for writing this! I needed to read it! After doing orange theory for 1.5 years, the scale stopped moving (I’m 5’7 and went from 187 to 168, but a few years ago, I got down to 140). I was so angry because I still had 28 pounds to go and the scale would not budge. Then I stopped because of an injury, and back up to 178 now and so frustrated with myself. I need to find my motivation again and this post is one I’m going to keep going back to for help! Thank you!