So, you have been working out, eating clean and giving your 100% at your workouts… You have been feeling better, seeing improvements in your health and mood and are enjoying your new lifestyle. BUT, you haven’t seen any weight loss for a while and that is really getting you frustrated with the process. Sound familiar?
For many of us, weight isn’t just a number as it’s supposed to be. It is something that has a strong grip on our lives and self image. However, knowing certain significant facts about what is actually happening when that scale is not moving despite your best efforts, can keep you motivated, no matter the number on the scale.
Generally, when we talk about losing weight, we usually mean trying to slim down, lose fat in certain problem areas like hips, belly and arms. What we fail to keep in mind is, this doesn’t always mean a drop in weight off the scale.
As strange as it may sound, it is possible to get fit without your weight changing or barely reducing. This happens when you gain muscle and lose fat from your body. You land up losing inches, a sign that you’re on the right track.
What exactly does the scale tell you?
- Body weight: The scale shows your weight, which includes your bones, muscles, fat, organs. The scale cannot differentiate between muscle and fat.
- Doesn’t reflect your health: Since the scale cannot tell muscle apart from fat, a person can have low body weight but have high levels of body fat, which is undeniably not healthy.
- It doesn’t show the internal changes: So, you have built lean muscle while strength training, and lost lot of body fat, but the scale doesn’t portray that. It may be stuck on the same number, even though you’re getting slimmer overall.
Additionally, you may notice weight fluctuations every couple of days or in a single day itself, due to water retention, hormonal changes or the food you have eaten. Of course, the scale cannot identify all that and hence just shows a higher or lower number, making you excited or upset in an instant.
Change the way you track your success:
If you still want to weigh yourself, ensure that this is just one of the ways for you to keep a check on your progress. Other suggested ways are:
- Inch loss: This suggests that your body is going through a recomposition. Simply put, you are losing body fat, which takes up a lot of space, and gaining muscle, which takes up less space. This is much more important than losing weight on the scale because improving your body composition results in your metabolism undergoing a positive change. Your body begins to burn calories, even at rest, thanks to the muscle!
- Body composition: Check your body fat through a body composition analysis, so you have a more concrete goal to work towards.
- Performance goals. Instead of focussing on only losing weight, challenge yourself regularly- how many push ups can you manage, how long can you plank or work towards mastering a challenging move. In the process, you gain strength, endurance and not to forget, patience and perseverance!
What to avoid doing:
- Going overboard on your diet and workout– Just because the scale hasn’t moved favourably, don’t punish your body by starving or overworking. You may land up injured or sick, throwing you off track for weeks or even months.
- Ignoring your health– One of the biggest errors that people commit in the race to drop the weight is taking up fad diets as quick fix. They are definitely not sustainable and will certainly wreak havoc with your body in the long run.
Remember, you are making lifestyle changes, so just enjoy the journey. If the number on the scale is driving you up the wall, just take a break from it! Your weight isn’t the only measure of how far you’ve come. Put away the scale and browse through a couple of your older pictures to compare…Those definitely won’t lie!