Reading that last post, I'm seeing a lot of things that relate to what I've got going on. I've been sticking to between 1600 and 1800 calories a day, but going pretty hard with cardio for 60 minutes a day, 6 days a week. Add that to my stress levels and I'm pretty sure I've created this problem myself.
Looks like I'll need to re-evaluate my intake vs. my calories burned and make some adjustments. And take my measurements (I know, I should have done it when I started!) so I have something besides the scale to judge by.
I'd say let go of the scale. Before you yell at me for that, let me explain.
Just because the scale goes up and down doesn't mean you gained or lost body fat. The scale responds to factors going on with you and your body that have nothing to do with your body fat at all. Period.
You can see a 5-7lb fluctuation on your scale weight any given day, any given week from other stuff besides body fat. Here's what I mean:
intense exercise, especially strength training - this makes the scale go up due to water and blood shifting within the muscle. It's normal and it's not a fat gain.
constipation/irregular bowel movements - even your body waste has a weight because everything inside you is affected by gravity.
normal fluid and hormone shifts - your body has bioryhthms related to menstruation, sleep/wake cycles, etc. Your hormones and body fluids will shift in response to these rhythms, and that can make the scale go up. Not a fat gain.
Eating fiber, drinking water - because everything is affected by gravity, these two heavy elements will have great weight inside you as well. Fiber can also cause bloating. Not fat gain.
Too much stress/too little sleep – can make things stop because your body perceives crisis. When the body perceives crisis, it secretes more cortisol which tells the body not to burn fat, but to store it.
eating too much sodium, eating processed and packaged foods - causes water retention leading to a gain on the scale. Not fat.
Any change to diet or exercise program - makes the scale go up as your body tries to work out these changes. Not fat gain.
If you aren't eating enough for your fitness expenditure, though, that CAN cause weight gain. If your clothes become tighter and you are in calorie deficit plus working out, that's an indication that A) something medical is wrong or B) you are under-eating and over-exercising.
Remember that to gain one pound of fat - ONE POUND - you'd have to eat 3500 calories ABOVE your weight maintenance calorie level. Meaning, if you maintain your present weight at 2000 calories a day, you'd have to eat 5500 calories to gain just ONE POUND of body fat.
So dont' trust the scale too much. It can be influenced by other things that have nothing to do with your body fat.
If you are strength training and eating in your calorie range reliably, then you did not gain fat. If you lose inches and your clothes loosen up, you're losing body fat no matter what the scale says.
Thing is, people say they want to lose "weight" when really what they want is to lose fat. The scale is not the best way to measure that all of the time. You could cut your leg off and instantly lose 20 lbs of weight. But it's harder to lose body fat and body fat is what matters - not your scale weight.
So continue to weigh yourself once in a while as confirmation and added measurement of success, but don't tie all of your hopes to it - it's notoriously inaccurate and misleading.
Keep measurements, take photos of yourself regularly. If you see a change in these two things, you are dropping body fat NO MATTER WHAT THE SCALE SAYS.
I hope this helps.
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5/5/11 1:40 P
I've experienced what you're talking about. I know that muscle will retain water when it's worked out. I also know that muscle naturally weighs more so there are two reasons.
If I don't drink my water, and I mean really drink my water then I will see a change in my weight. Also, if I'm "half stepping" meaning if I'm not constantly pushing my body to do more or different types of exercise then it just becomes to easy and my body stops losing/changing.
If I stop working out for a couple of days I will see a pound or two less on the scale. But I know that that is deceiving. I'm not buring the calories, I'm not working the muscles, and that is probably just a loss of water. But when I really push and sweat and eat right and drink I see differences in my body that weren't there before. Sometimes the differences aren't on the scale. Maybe inches. But what I see the most is my performance improving. Even if in my everyday activities.
Congrats on the 16lb's!!!! I gained about 2lb after my first week of working out and lost 4 the next week. We gain muscle and that weighs more than fat. Maybe your body thinks you are stressed and goes into survival mode? Are you drinking a tone more water when you exercise maybe that's showing up on the scale. Never heard of it going 3 weeks before though. Maybe some of the spark Pros can give you some insight. I decided only to get on the scale once a week bc my lb's fluctuate quiet a bit. Maybe try low stress exercising like Yoga. Good luck on your journey. I know it's hard to not get discouraged but it's important to try and focus on the positive. 16Lb!!! whooo hooo!
I need some advice, or perhaps some insight on this frustrating occurrence.
I have been losing weight fairly steadily, 16 pounds since Jan 30th. I started exercising regularly at the beginning of April and my weight loss stopped dead. A week went by, then two, then three. Still nothing. During the 4th week, I gained 8, (!!!8!!!) pounds!
I'm in the middle of taking a week off, and my weight has returned to it's pre-exercise number. But I'm quite confused. This happens to me every single time I try to incorporate exercise into my diet, and it's pretty discouraging.
Anyone have any thoughts on what's causing this or what I can do to remedy it?