You have been committed to your new diet and exercise program for a few weeks now, and are following correct advice to weigh yourself daily to monitor your progress. Trust me… You should be proud; you are doing well 🙂
But, some time has passed. You feel better, have more energy, but that scale isn’t changing! Before you throw in the towel, there are a few things you must make sure you are doing. In addition, you must understand a few simple concepts about body composition to calm your frustrations.
First, Check Yourself:
1. Are you decreasing your caloric intake? Unfortunately, you cannot “out exercise your diet.” Meaning, it is much easier to reduce your caloric intake by 500 per day than it is to burn 500 calories per day with exercise. Think about it. Easier to eat one doughnut instead of three, or run for about an hour?
2. Are your workouts challenging? I hate to tell you, but if you are leisurely walking, you may not be burning as many calories as you think you are. Every workout must be challenging to be effective in contributing to weight loss. How do you know? You have to be honest with yourself. If you are sweating, breathing with effort and feel somewhat fatigued after your workout, you are doing well. If not, you may need to walk faster, jog harder or lift a little more weight.
It’s About Body Composition, Not Necessarily Weight
If your weight is staying consistent as you change your diet and exercise habits, then you should actually be proud. If you are dieting, increasing your aerobic activity and resistance training, then you are losing fat and gaining muscle! Because fat and muscle are nearly the same density, you may lose one pound of fat and gain one pound of muscle, which will keep you at the same weight. The important point is that your total body fat percentage has decreased, which is an improvement in body composition. You are leaner and composed of more muscle than fat.
To know whether your body composition is improving, you do not necessarily have to purchase a scale that measures body composition. A simple rule, is to determine how your clothes fit. If your pants are getting too big for you, then you are losing fat! Shirts that are becoming too big are a sign of progress.
Don’t get frustrated about silly scale readings. Although it is important to weigh yourself daily, look at the whole picture. Continue with your improvements, and before you know it, the changes in your body composition will be so obvious, scale readings won’t even matter!