Can I See Results in a Month?

29SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
2/6/2009 10:01 AM   :  160 comments

See More: fitness, changes, diet,
This is the time of year when well-intentioned New Year's resolutions start to get tough, and many of us begin falling back into old habits. One reason for this could be unrealistic expectations. You've been working out and eating right for over a month now, and so far you have only seen a small change on the scale. No sign of the 6-pack abs you're working toward, and you're not getting the compliments from family and friends you would have expected by now. But is a month really enough time to start seeing results? How long and how much effort does it take to start seeing real changes in your body?

A new study from the University of Wisconsin recruited sedentary people for a six-week exercise program to see if others would notice any change in their bodies after the six weeks was over. Volunteers were photographed wearing bathing suits and then were randomly assigned to one of three groups: cardiovascular exercise, strength training or no physical activity at all. Six weeks later, they were photographed again.

The volunteers were men ages 18-40. Their heads were blocked out of the photos, and the volunteers and judges rated each person's body on a scale of 1 to 10. Overall, their ratings barely changed after the 6-week period. Not surprisingly, there was also little change in body fat and measurements over this time.

Six weeks probably isn't enough time to see dramatic physical results when it comes to a diet and exercise program. Although it could take six months or more to see the kind of before and after pictures you're hoping for, the good thing is that there are benefits you should start seeing within the first few weeks of changing your lifestyle. For example, better sleep, less stress and more energy are immediate benefits of regular physical activity and a healthy diet. Keep in mind that you didn't gain the weight overnight, and slow changes aren't necessarily a bad thing. Losing weight slowly ensures that a higher percentage of the loss is coming from fat instead of muscle, and also makes it much more likely that you'll keep the weight off for good.

Do you struggle to stay motivated when you don't see immediate results? How do you stay focused and on track toward your goals when this happens?


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Comments

  • 160
    I think body fat plays in this.
    Before I lost 40 pounds, it was VERY hard to stay motivated because I am definently someone who needs to see progress.
    Once I lost that majority of weight, I started strength training and cardio evenly dispersed in my routine. I've seen muscle growth and stregth.
    Maybe I'm just looking for it, but it helps.
    It took a year of very hard and sometimes disappointing days even weeks to get to this point. - 8/1/2014   2:50:42 AM
  • SKINNYJILL87
    159
    Within the first month my body felt better but it really took me a good two months before I even saw any difference in my clothes. - 5/12/2014   3:17:13 PM
  • 158
    Men! Why do so many studies focus on men??? - 12/28/2013   9:25:53 AM
  • 157
    Been at this for about 6 weeks now and have lost almost 5 pounds. I haven't noticed a change in how I look or how I feel physically or even how my clothes fit, but I've noticed a huge change in how I feel mentally. I've finally started enjoying exercise and seeing it as a nice break from the day (most of the time, at least) and I enjoy the fact that I'm more active. I've also noticed that I've been watching a lot less TV and I don't even miss it! So some big changes for me, even if they're not in what I look like. - 12/10/2013   2:37:51 PM
  • 156
    I am having a hard time trying to stay commited to my diet plan but slowly, I am losing weight, there are days that I dread looking in the mirror but I still stay motivated to lose weight even it means losing a pound every two weeks. I always remind myself that I will meet my weight loss goal eventually and that keeps me motivated. - 5/18/2013   9:18:57 PM
  • 155
    I do struggle to stay motivated but then I remind myself how much better I feel since I started dieting and exercising and that keeps me going. Even if the rest of the world can't see any results yet, I'm feeling some wonderful unintended results I want to keep up. - 4/4/2013   1:59:51 PM
  • 154
    I do struggle to stay motivated, but I have usually noticed a difference in my clothes, even if the difference isn't on the scale. I notice a little bit here and there. It might not be the toned awesome body I want yet, but if I stop, it won't get there! - 3/20/2013   10:28:34 AM
  • 153
    I need to get my thyroid checked. I really believe I have issues there. Better to rule it out if that is not the issue for me - 3/20/2013   2:18:06 AM
  • PUGGLEMONKEY
    152
    I agree with what many other people have posted. I'm new to Sparkpeople - just this week actually - Hello everyone! However, I've been making changes to my diet and exercise since mid Feb. I've lost about 10 lbs ( amazing for me) and feel it should be obvious to all. Alas, while my hubby and kids say I seem to have more energy and have been in a better mood, I'm the only one noticing any physical changes so far. Guess for now I'll have to rely on myself and you kind Sparkpeople for continued motivation. - 3/13/2013   2:10:09 PM
  • 151
    This year I have not seen the scale move but inches off have given me a waist. Pants waists went from size 22 to 16 I rarely bother with the scale health and appearance is what I am happy with . Pat in Maine. 69 years young and our 50th anniversary this year WooHoo Happiness is. - 3/7/2013   8:43:59 PM
  • GOODWITCH333
    150
    I remind myself that all those "Loose ten pounds this week" promises on the super market rags are just empty babble meant to sucker you into buying the magazine. We're brighter than that, right, Sparks People? - 3/1/2013   11:04:33 PM
  • MZNAYLUV
    149
    I am starting with a tape measure this time. I tend to lose inches before pounds. As long as I notice changes in my clothes, I am encouraged. - 2/13/2013   4:23:21 PM
  • 148
    To me, any weight loss is a victory! For too long I have settled for the weight I was. Thanks to SparkPeople & my changes in diet & exercise, I'm happy to say I've lost 24 lbs in 5 months. I look forward to taking photos next month to see if I see a difference. - 2/11/2013   9:45:24 PM
  • 147
    I used to be the kind of person who gets a lot discouraged when the results were not "immediate".
    Now I know better. This time since I have more info in my hands (and my head) I know that I have to work steadily for it to actually show on the scale. I know that it kinda shows on the fit, my clothes are fitting loser and I can wear some other things I was not able a few weeks ago when I started but I have lost only 2.5 lbs... Not exactly what you want to see after almost 4-5 weeks, but it is ok. I feel like my body is fighting it and I will not let it win, I will. I am going to persevere and conquer...
    - 3/15/2009   8:49:51 PM
  • 146
    Well, I'm about 5 weeks in, and while I would have loved to have seen more changes outwardly, I am definitely feeling better. I've probably lost about 10 lbs, but it's still subtle. I am starting to see some tightening and a little more muscle definition, but I realize I am in it for the long-term, so I'm trying to be patient. - 3/15/2009   4:56:02 AM
  • EMOOLA
    145
    I envy those of you who have lost weight in one month... I have been going at this for 2 months and just now started to loose a little - 3 pounds only... But I must say, I feel much better... now if only my body could catch up with how I feel! - 3/11/2009   7:49:52 PM
  • ANUSH25
    144
    I would strongly recommend reading the book, "The Hacker's Diet". It is FREE and available to download in PDF format at http://www.fourmilab.ch/hackdiet / This book explains very well how our bodies work and what it takes to lose weight. The author is an Engineer by profession and surely at heart, so a lot of it is explained in terms of engineering concepts, but it is a great read. Also there is an online tool which you can use to calculate your daily calorie deficit, BMR, etc. ( http://infohost.nmt.edu/~carmiac/wh
    dt/whdt.cgi
    ) It is great!!

    I also recommend a site called "How to lose weight with a Spreadsheet and a Website" which is based on the Hacker's Diet but is a much simplified version of it: http://jeremy.zawodny.com/blog/arch
    ives/006836.html


    Both these sites put a lot of things into perspective.
    - 3/3/2009   12:33:26 PM
  • 143
    I got back on track with exercise and better eating the beginning of January, and finally in February I stepped on the scale. How disappointed I was when it only showed a few pounds less than what I had weighed at my yearly physical in early December! And then I started thinking...

    By January, my jeans were so tight that I was changing into sweats as soon as I got home. There's a pretty good chance that my weight actually went up during December, but I was too much in denial to find out. And even *if* the weight in January was the same as what it had been a month earlier in the doctor's office, I had still lost 4-5 pounds, averaging about a pound a week. I'm 47, and since turning 40 my weight loss has slowed to a crawl so losing a pound a week is a major achievement.

    Meanwhile, those jeans that I had almost outgrown are now fitting me comfortably. I still have quite a ways to go, but I realize that it's going to be a while before the changes are readily apparent; from the thread "How many pounds until others noticed" I gather it's going to take a good 15-25 pounds before the weight loss is noticeable to observers. So I'm focusing on the very tiny but noticeable changes that *I* can see, and reminding myself daily about them. Every day I don't have to struggle to button my jeans is a day closer to my final goal!

    - 2/25/2009   12:08:27 PM
  • 142
    I started my eating healthy and exercise, with the help of New You Bootcamp, on the 1st of January. To date, the second week of February, I have lost 7 lbs of the about 20 or so lbs I want to lose. This is amazing for me, as I have a sluggish metabolism usually. Being in my 40's does not help either. Exercise has made all the difference for me. I can actually see changes in the mirror and in the way my clothes fit me. People are also commenting that I look thinner. My sugar levels have come back down into near normal levels. While I want this to be slow and steady, and not temporary, it does encourage me to stick with my exercise program. I have sparkpeople to thank for the encouragement and coach Nicole's bootcamp. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I also want to encourage everyone on their individual journey. May you climb your mountain and reach your goals of weight loss and vibrant health. God bless you all. - 2/12/2009   12:37:27 AM
  • 141
    this blog really boosted my spirits tonight. I have lost 12 pounds so far (exactly one month). I feel like I don't see much difference at all, but I do feel great after working out and consistently eating better. I feel stronger and less out of breath.. but... what the heck, i am just hoping to LOOK as great as i feel!!! haha. I hope that if i stick to it, i can reach my goal of 50 pounds lost. - 2/11/2009   9:56:53 PM
  • QWERTYZ13
    140
    I, coincidentally, just started by weight loss at the very beginning of January. While 12 pounds lost later, I don't notice any difference in how I look, I have been less stressed that normal anxious me. That's saying something considering I'm writing my final paper to graduate college. I've been getting more sleep, and just generally feeling more comfortable with myself. Knowing that I'm taking care of myself is the best part!

    I'm working hard so that I can really see the results soon! My next swimsuit picture I scheduled is due at the end of the month. I hope I can see some changes. - 2/11/2009   3:12:18 PM
  • GENNA808
    139
    I have a lot of weight to lose and have struggled all my life. Like many other people. I personally have seen changes in my body mostly my waist line within a week of working on my elliptical. I was doing an hour a day for six days a week though. However, this biggest changes I have seen have been with a good balance of cardio and weights. For me it is a lot easier to get off my butt than put down a fork. I also have to say though I realize most people do not have that much time to put forth to see any results that fast. Not to mention the stress of every day life. The most weight I have ever taken off was when I worked part time. When I went into a full time job and had stress because of more responsibilty it made it very difficult. I know how hard it is to schedule that time. It is hard to make that commitment of time. I sat down recently and tried to come up with all the reasons I needed or wanted to lose weight. I came up with about 15 reasons. That is a lot. I keep that posted on my fridge and on my elliptical. It helps motivate me. This part may sound a bit nuts, but I also put a full length mirror on the wall behind my elliptical so I can see my huge hiny, but to me it represents my past what I want to leave behind, no pun in tended. It gets weirder still. I used to subsribe to shape magazine I and I tore out one of the photos and put it on the wall in front of me. It helps keep me going when I feel like I just want to quit. It sounds a bit extreme and weird, but it works for me. - 2/11/2009   1:34:39 AM
  • SANDEEJAC
    138
    I have the same problem that many of the others mentioned...I'm a scale watcher. I had lost 9 lbs and then got on the scale a few days later and had "gained" 3 back. I need to weight myself once an month in order to get off this rollercoaster. I have been measuring myself too, and I will cut that back to once a month also. I have actually seen a difference though in the 6 weeks that I've been keeping a food journal and counting calories. My stomach is down 2" but I'm not sure if that is just water weight. I also appreciate the motto, "Slow and steady wins the race"! I just need to be realistic with my goals and know that it took years to gain this weight, and will take more than a few months to lose it. - 2/10/2009   11:02:36 PM
  • 137
    Wow, this is just what I needed today.
    I have made some great food and excercise changes since 1-1-09 and I have actually worked quite hard with little visible results and I have to admit I was starting to get discouraged.
    I would have like to have at least lost 10 pounds but Im gonna keep doing what Im doing and I know in time the weight will begin to come off.
    Also, one of the comments mentioned using a tape measure.
    That sounds like it might be a good idea.
    I also feel I may be excercising too hard and retaining fluid so after reading this, Im gonna chill out a little and be patient and be proud that Im taking the right steps towards a healthy life and weight.
    Just the fact I have done this for a month and Im loving the walking is a Big SUCCESS for me!!
    Mentally, I have already lost some negative weight!! - 2/10/2009   8:44:19 PM
  • 136
    I don't think we notice the physical changes in our bodies because we see ourselves every day. I'm down 13 lbs since 1/1/09 and can't see it at all, but my glasses don't stay up on my nose anymore and a friend commented that the seat of my pants were a little baggy. I've also noticed that my XL exercise pants have become hip huggers and the size L that used to be so tight they showed my underwear lines don't anymore. More importantly though, I feel SO much better. But I do admit, it would be nice to look as good as I feel. - 2/10/2009   7:43:42 PM
  • 135
    I read this article at just the right time. I know that it takes longer than 4-6 weeks to see results, and I don't expect to REALLY see a difference until I have 3-4 months under my belt, but just an hour or so ago, i caught myself thinking: Does the 6.4 lbs lost this year so far really even mean anything???? It's so little in the grand scheme of things. I know better than to think it DOESN'T matter, but those little moments of self-doubt creep up at the most unexpected times. Add those 6.4 to what i hope to lose with continued good effort, and by summer, I should be seeing a very definite change in my body! - 2/10/2009   1:30:51 PM
  • 134
    When I started out with Spark People two years ago I weighed 160. I am now at 139 but the problem I am having is that I fluctuate between 137 and 139. I am trying to exercise more to see if that helps. But I also measure my waist and hips and my pants fit a little loser. I think part of my downfall is that I eat a little too much sweets so I am going to try to not eat sweets and just eat healthy foods, fruits, veggies and nuts as well as walking after my meals. - 2/10/2009   12:32:05 PM
  • ECHOME
    133
    I have a friend who's probably over 350 lbs. She got miffed because no one noticed when she lost 25 lbs. (Mind you, we weren't looking because she's never attempted to improve her eating or activity level in 20 years). And though 25 lbs is significant for anyone, if you weigh 150 and loose a sixth of your weight people will notice. If you weigh 350 and only loose a fourteenth no one but you and your doctor will.
    After my first week I lost 1.5 lbs, then BOOM gained it back and another pound over the weekend. The thing is, I couldn't tell that I'd lost any weight, so it was somewhat inspiring but I kinda felt like I was inadvertently cheating the scale somehow. I've been at it for a month now and I'm back to that 1.5 lbs thinner than when I started but I could tell before I got on the scale. It's not just something random like water weight. I feel my clothes are just slightly less binding. And good grief, not having marks on your body where the waist band of your "fat pants" were cutting into all day is a reward in itself.
    - 2/10/2009   10:42:03 AM
  • 132
    I've lost 20 pounds and have not had many people notice. I was starting to get a complex. Surly 20 pounds should be noticeable to others. But then I realized that it shouldn't really matter to me. I know my accomplishments, I am proud of them, and I am going to keep working--whether others notice or not. I am in this for ME! No matter how long it takes. One step at a time. One choice at a time. - 2/10/2009   8:02:53 AM
  • 131
    photographs are not always the way to go, or the scale, I am the firm believer in the tape measure
    once a month. That lets me know for sure if things are really moving! - 2/10/2009   7:29:22 AM
  • MOTHERPOOHBEAR
    130
    I must just see things with rose colored glasses because in the past I have seen noticable changes in the first month. - 2/9/2009   11:19:52 PM
  • 129
    This article is soo true. I kept myself motivated and still do by realizing the changes i want take time and if i want those changes i need to keep working towards them. it does help that my fiancee and some friends say they have noticed subtle differences, like in my face and belly. and boy does that motivate me even more. knowing that others see a small difference keeps me going. - 2/9/2009   11:15:51 PM
  • 128
    I usually lose 3-4 pounds immediately then plateau almost as fast. I end up getting frustrated with the lack of results and give up after about 2 months of 'no progress'. I also have a big issue with snacking and sweets... I need to get my sweet tooth pulled :(

    Hopefully, 10 pounds won't be a major struggle to lose by the summer time. I gotta look good for my potential trip to Cabo, Mexico! - 2/9/2009   11:11:54 PM
  • 127
    I am constantly struggleing with the whole weight loss issue, I think alot of my problem is menapause and taking those stupied hormone replacement stuff, I have gained 20 pounds in two months. Add that to Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years and now Valentines day. Not to mention a husband that loves to go out and eat and drink and be marry at least twice a week. Oh and he has been layed off for three months so home all the time. But now he is working and I got up this morning with him, cooked him breakfast and got his coffee and him out the door and I went and worked out and I feel awesome! I think just getting back to a routine is what is best for me, I do better on a routine, geez I used to think routine was boring but now it is really the only way I can stay focused and on track. If I get off track like going on vacation or anything that makes me diviate my plan it totally messes me up. Am I just getting old ? I always thought I was so spontanious but really anymore I like routine.
    I do hate looking at myself in the mirror, I am my own worst enemy but when I feel like just giving up I remind myself that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. I know for my health I have got to lose weight and if I want to look cute in summer dresses and victorias secret stuff I have got to do something about it, I have got to stop whinning and just keep working toward my goal. I also pray and ask God to help me see myself as he sees me. I love my husband to death but he is a total man pig and shallow when it comes to the outward apperance. I always feel to him as If I will never measure up to his standards. I need to focus on how God sees me, my health, and how I view myself because really it is about what you believe in yourself not how others view you.
    My self worth has to come from within, no one can give that to you but you and God. - 2/9/2009   4:33:20 PM
  • 126
    This is so "read my mind moment". I just finished typing a blog for myself on my sparkpage regarding seeing results. I haven't seen any difference (apprearance-wise) but I did see a difference physically. I go to the gym and while I'm at home, I move around more often then I did prior to Spark People. When I'm making lunch for my youngest and myself, I move back and forth, kicking up my legs, etc. Things of that nature. So, after reading this article, I now feel (even though I kinda knew that it will be a while before a see a change) I now KNOW. Thanks for sharing this article. - 2/9/2009   4:00:58 PM
  • 125
    Interesting, but you don't point out that the study did NOT have a group doing both cardio AND strength training. Not that I expect it would change the results significantly, but there's so much else on Spark that says you need to do both! - 2/9/2009   2:51:38 PM
  • SBATES63
    124
    My weight loss progress, or lack of didn't effect me. What did was how good I felt all day when I started exercising in earnest, every day. That keeps me motivated to keep walking every day. - 2/9/2009   2:01:08 PM
  • 123
    When I started out I didn't expect to see results soon, which is probably a good thing because it helps you stay motivated, despite the fact that results aren't obvious. I knew why I wanted to loose wait. I did enjoy it when people started commenting on it. But by that time I had been going stron for a while already. - 2/9/2009   12:48:00 PM
  • 122
    I'm constantly struggling. - 2/9/2009   12:25:12 PM
  • 121
    It's tough to hold onto motivation when I don't see much going on, but then I take a really good, scrutinizing look at what's been going on. I look back at my meals and my workouts, and I realize that I've gone from barely running a mile to running 5/day.. I went from pushing strength training to the side to doing it 3-5 days per week. So, It's not always the scale that changes, it's the habits, and those healthy habits are the ones that we can keep and then see the changes we want! - 2/9/2009   11:59:30 AM
  • 120
    Results vary...often times men will lose fat and replace it with muscle so they see less of a "result" on the scale. I try to give myself a solid 90 days for whatever routine I am doing to see if there are "results" I keep photo journals; logs and what not to monitor my progress. You certainly should be able to see results even if small in 30 days (i.e. able to do more reps or more weight; not as tired at the end of a work out routine). So keep up - 2/9/2009   11:44:39 AM
  • 119
    In world that promises a brand new you in 30days, it is always good to remember for the average Joe, slow and steady wins the race. - 2/9/2009   11:17:07 AM
  • 118
    I have always said that we live in an instant gratification society. We want results, but we want them NOW. I belive being patient when it comes to obtaining your goal is not only important, but life changing. You can then take your patience and expertise into other areas of your life and know you can make it work for you, because all good things are worth the wait. - 2/9/2009   10:24:02 AM
  • 117
    Patience is our most important weight-loss tool. I just took it one day at a time, and reminded myself that every time I worked out, ate a healthy meal, got enough sleep, etc., I was making progress toward my big goal. - 2/9/2009   9:02:51 AM
  • 116
    I like this article, I always wondered when it would actually show and this keeps me motivated and not to give up. - 2/9/2009   8:09:34 AM
  • NURSENUT
    115
    i have been battling a diabetic mess for too many years now. it was not a wieght issue until the drs and i decided to really get down and dirty with the sugar issue. i ended up gaining 20 pounds in a a very very short time. I am not looking to loose 40-50. no real hury just need t do it. i am not weighing myslef unless i do it at the dr once amonth and i am excercissing at work every morning. i am starting to walk even if in place. i have no gym, not equipment. I have gumption and alot of it. I want to live., I have alot of goals to meet and am not to worried about the loss the just the healthy aspect. we all deserve to be healthy. everyone thinks of checking wt and mass but no one thinks of checking the labs and the EEG's ya know these are the real live answers folks. if all is well in the inisde then i think we are all the better for it. there are some "skinny" people out there who are not healthy. I am not saying to gain wt or anyof that just feel beter and know you are when the leveling off arrives and you will get through it. - 2/9/2009   8:02:02 AM
  • 114
    My clothes fit better than they did at the beginning of the year, but I've been taking photos of myself in the same outfit for over a month and the visible difference is minimal, at best. However, DH was gone for over 3 weeks for work and when he returned, he noticed a lot of differences I hadn't. He knew I had gotten back on track with running but I have been keeping my diet under wraps for now so he really couldn't have been expecting a significant change. When he asked me how much I weigh, I fibbed and told him I weigh "about the same as when he left" when in reality, I'm down over 5 pounds. When I have tried losing in the past, him knowing about it resulted in too much pressure on me, so it's better if I keep my struggle to myself.

    Having said that, the way I keep on track is simple. Though my eye watches that needle on the scale, I try to come up with new physical challenges that force me to work out more than I would otherwise. I'm currently trying to run a 10k race in under an hour. I know I'll be better able to do that if I'm lighter, so it's having the side benefit of reinforcing my diet. Between the running workouts and watching what I eat, I'm continuing to make slow but steady progress. Coming up with new goals and challenges is what keeps me committed. Otherwise, I'd get bored. - 2/8/2009   10:12:14 PM
  • 113
    PLEASE remember: losing weight 1-2 pds per week
    THAT'S GOOD- is a healthy loss..please don't get discouraged and say "I lost ONLY 2 pds this week"
    The Biggest Loser show is extreme, and is not 'real life'. Unless you can drop everything you are doing (family, home, job, church, hobbies etc) and do *nothing* else but go away somewhere and concentrate only on weight, you will not see those results as they do on television - 2/8/2009   8:07:58 PM
  • 112
    My cardiologist wants me to loose weight, but at the rate of 1 pound per MONTH. Talk about slow and steady! - 2/8/2009   6:36:17 PM
  • LETTIVON
    111
    My biggest setback in the past was constantly weighing myself. I was loosing inches and clothes size, but not the weight. What I learn was when I combined good eating habits and worked out 2-3 times a week the fat was turning into lean muscle. so do not let the scale "weigh" you down pay attention to the inches you are shedding!! Acknowledge each accomplishment no matter how small! - 2/8/2009   5:56:53 PM

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