You’ve been working hard on changing your unhealthy habits by eating right and working hard. Wanting to see your progress, you step on the scale and WHAT?!? The scale is showing a number you definitely were not expecting to see. This is more common than you think. Before you give up and look for the nearest candy bar, STOP and evaluate. Here’s a list of things to consider the next time you get frustrated.
1) DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). When you start a new strength training program, your muscles may react by giving you soreness. This is known as DOMS. It is completely normal and goes away in the next 24-48 hours. However, one of the side effects can be (temporary) inflammation and water retention.
2) Water retention. Our bodies are composed of more than 60% water, so several factors can contribute so scale fluctuations: dehydration, hormones, excessive sodium intake. Making sure your body is fully hydrated and keeping your sodium reduced will help to reduce some of those fluctuations.
3) Little Bites. You’re eating good foods and in good portions, and don’t even realize when you take little sample bites. While this probably won’t affect the scale in the short term, it can have an effect in the long term, so be careful.
4) Muscle vs fat. As you incorporate fitness into your new routine, your body will start to build muscle. As your muscles get stronger, they will be more efficient at burning calories (that’s a good thing, right?). However, one pound of muscle takes up less mass than one pound of fat. How are your clothes fitting? If they are starting to feel loser despite a weight gain, then this could be your answer.
5) Not eating enough. It seems a little counter intuitive, but if you’re not fueling your body with enough nutrition, then it can actually stall your process. Eating too few calories will send your body into “starvation” mode, which will stall your metabolism. Listen to your body, if you are hungry, then eat. If you’ve eaten all of your 21 Day Fix containers for the day, then add an extra green.
After going through this list, here are a few extra tips to set you up for success:
1) Scale consistency. Sometimes different scales can show different weights. Sometimes the same scale will show a different weight in a different location (if the surface beneath it changes). Weigh yourself using the same scale at the same time of day.
2) Take measurements. Keep track of your measurements so you can see the inches you have lost. I’ve got a chart HERE to help you track your measurements. Remember, muscle takes up less mass than fat, so if the scale is going up and your measurements are going down, you’ll have a better insight to the scale “not cooperating”.
3) Patience. Rome wasn’t built in a day. You didn’t gain all of your weight overnight, so it will take TIME to get that weight off. Trust the process, and learn your new habits, and that weight is going to come off FOR GOOD. Even if you average .5 lb of weight loss per week, after a year you will have lost 26 pounds!
4) Lifestyle change. Remember, this is a lifestyle change, not a diet. Diets are short term solutions for long-term problems. When you build consistent habits to eat healthy foods in the right portions and exercise regularly, you will develop a long-term solution to overcome a long-term problem. You’re building healthy, and as you build healthy, you’re going to feel amazing!