Help! I’ve been eating better and exercising more, but I still haven’t lost weight…what gives?
If ‘weight loss’ is your goal then it is nice to see the scale moving south. But you need to know that there are other things to consider when looking for changes in your body: measurements, clothes, pictures and energy levels are just a few examples of ways you can track progress.
If your measurements are going in the right direction then it really doesn’t matter what the scale says. Progress is never linear and 9 times of 10 if your measurements are coming down them you’ll find the weight will come off.
If the number on the scale impacts your mindset negatively then throw them out! The information it provides is only useful if it’s treated as a data point and not an emotional precursor.
With that said, there are a few things which could be happening that is masking your true fat loss.
1. Where you’re at in your cycle: Everyone is different in this regard but quite often a few days before, and then during, your period your body retains more water, equalling a higher number on the scale. This doesn’t mean you aren’t still losing body fat though.
2. Other water retention reasons such as improved hydration, this is a good thing that doesn’t move the scales down. Salt and some foods can make a difference in the amount of water you hold and its worth noting that any rapid changes in weight are usually from changes in fluid balance.
3. Reliability of the reading…there’s a chance that the ‘random number generator’ aka the scale has just thrown you a curveball. Try to keep the scales on a flat, firm surface and if you’re unsure of the accuracy then take a few readings.
4. Speaking of issues with weighing, only compare what is comparable, although even this can throw you some curveballs. Same place, same time, same conditions with the caveat that sometimes it’ll still be off.
5. Food or allergic reaction. If your gut has blown up or you’ve got some digestive issues then it can affect what your weight will do. It’s best to avoid foods that don’t agree with you as much as possible if you know what they are. Digestive issues can rob you of energy and then also start to affect your mood and workouts which obviously isn’t great either.
6. Eating too many calories, the elephant in the room so to speak. It could be that simple, perhaps your portions and the total amount of food you are eating is too much. Little things can add up so an honest look at your food intake might be revealing.
7. Maybe you’re working out too much. A lot of us like to rev up the engine and exercise, get that endorphin rush and immediately think about when our next training session is. Perhaps you’re body is in a state of protest from all the high speed action and needs some down regulation, some rest and recovery. Calming the nervous system and giving your body a break for a day or two might be the trick. If you have to do something then stick with yoga or some mobility and breathing work.
8. Give yourself time to see change. There’s nothing wrong with daily measurements if you’re just collecting non emotional data points. Once per week is just as good to see long term changes. Over a few readings your weight will either be tracking the same, heading up or heading down. This combined with all of the other things you should be tracking circumferences, clothes, pics etc) will give you the full picture. Trouble shoot the outcome with this list and if you’re in any kind of uncertainty about what you should do then talk to your coach.