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MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,456
7/13/13 9:50 A

When you start/increase a workout program, it is a common response for your muscles to retain water. It takes 3 water molecules to bond to each glycogen molecule, and this helps deliver energy to your muscles more efficiently, and helps them cope better with the new demands you are making of them.

Although this increase in your lean mass can lead to an increase in the scale, it is actually a good thing, as it helps your body perform better.

However, muscle and water are considerably denser than fat, so the best way to check your progress is with the tape, rather than the scale. Throw away the scale (or at least measure less frequently), and just go by what the tape says.


KTOBETHIN SparkPoints: (0)
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7/12/13 7:50 P

Well that seems a little unfair. I wasn't purposely trying to have an unhealthy BMI before, I was just naturally that weight. The prospect of gaining weight just scares me because I struggled with it badly about 5 years ago when I was 20lb heavier than I am now due to a thyroid that shut down. I've been able to maintain my weight for 6 years since with just diet. The reason for working out was that I really just wanted to tone up more and when I saw the scale go up it started to scare, mostly because I don't have an explanation for it.

SIMPLELIFE2 Posts: 707
7/12/13 7:39 P

Is your goal to be truly fit and healthy or is it to maintain a BMI that puts you in the unhealthy range? Once you answer that, the rest will fall into place.

NSMANN Posts: 981
7/12/13 7:14 P

OP, how many calories are you consuming per day? If anything you should've increased the amount you are eating to fuel your body properly for the significant amount of exercise you're doing. You sound you may be in starvation mode where your body clings to every pound of fat.

KTOBETHIN SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 9
7/12/13 6:26 P

To be completely honest, like I said before, I'm pretty meticulous about watching what I eat because of my hypothyroidism. So when I say I'm "eating more", I mean like two sesame ryvita crackers (70 calories for 2) or a couple rice crackers (80 calories for 10). I would hardly call that over eating, considering I've just done an hour of bootcamp usually and I eat a tiny bit so i'm not starving later.
Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel like that could hardly warrant gaining 6 lbs.

SOCAL_LEE SparkPoints: (43,325)
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Posts: 246
7/12/13 6:10 P

I think this sentence may be a clue: "Granted some days I'm a little hungrier than normal (particularly after bootcamp), but I make sure I snack on more healthy things like whole wheat crackers."

Exercising increases your appetite, more than you consciously recognize, so you may be eating more than you think you are. Multiple studies show that people who incorporate exercise into their lives consume more calories, often without realizing it. Upping your carb intake (since you mentioned "healthy things like crackers") will also make you retain water, which will be reflected on the scale. Whole wheat pasta, brown rice, fruit are all carbohydrate-dense. you could try tracking your daily food intake for a week or two to see if you're eating more than you realize.

RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
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7/12/13 2:08 P

Some of the other commenters seem to be assuming that you are eating at a calorie deficit, but from your post I would guess that you are not. So it is IMO entirely possible that some (though almost certainly not most) of your weight gain could be muscle. If you google around a bit you should be able to find before and after pictures of women who've done a lot of strength training, with body weight included, and invariably they weigh the same or more than they previously did, despite noticably more toned/muscled bodies and less fat.

There is also (and potentially more importantly) the issue of water weight. If you were pretty sedentary before you started working out, then as soon as you did, your body will have pulled a lot of water into your muscles in order to aid in fueling them. Sometimes this water sticks around. If you're on a weight loss regimen otherwise, eventually your fat loss will catch up and you'll start losing; but if you're not trying to lose weight, the gain could stick around. It's important to realize that this gain is completely meaningless in terms of health or body size and simply is there because it makes your muscles work better. If you stopped exercising for a couple of weeks (not that you'd want to), it'd go away.

There are also temporary water gains due to what you've eaten and when, how much salt, time of month and so on -- you could potentially have hit one of them and would weigh less tomorrow.

Bottom line: 6 pounds is enough to feel a significant difference in how your clothes fit, if it's all fat gain. If you feel no difference, it's going to be just one of the things above and you have nothing to worry about. If you're not sure, then you have a couple of options: first, you could temporarily start weighing more often (especially if the intensity of your workouts are not increasing over that time period) and keep track of trends. Since it's possible some or all of the gain is completely illusory (just water), it's hypothetically possible you could be back down three or five pounds if you weighed in two days or a week -- that sort of thing. Second, you could start tracking exactly what you are eating for a while, to make sure it's not more than you think. For some people the increased hunger from exercise does produce some slight weight gain, because they're always eating just a little more than they think they are. Again, this is not likely to be the case if your clothes are still fitting the same, but if they're not, then tracking could be a great tool to keep your expectations in line with reality.

Regardless, you're doing great things for your health, and good job.

KTOBETHIN SparkPoints: (0)
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7/12/13 1:58 P

Like I said, I just wanted to work out to be in better shape. I didn't want to diet because I was able to relatively maintain my body though the way I was eating. Hence why I said I haven't cut my calories or changed my eating habits because they were good. Did not need to be changed. If anything I've just given up unhealthy things like diet sodas and started eating salad more.

KTOBETHIN SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 9
7/12/13 1:57 P

I wasn't trying to lose weight really, I just wanted to be in better shape. I was ok with my weight around the way it was, but i wanted to tone up (be less flabby) and I also wanted to be in better shape to play ultimate frisbee (i found myself getting winded/tired earlier than everyone else). Now that I started working out, I thought that a perk could be that it'll be easier to maintain my weight (i used to find my weight fluctuated quite a lot depending on what I ate the day before) but now it just seems to be on a continuous upward climb and that's not exactly what I wanted!

ARCHIMEDESII SparkPoints: (200,016)
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7/12/13 1:41 P


You don't have your Spark Page open, so I don't know what you've been eating or how much. Unless you've been engaging in quite a bit of strength training as well as eating a surplus of calories, you did not pack on 5 pounds of muscle. Women do not gain muscle the same way men do. We lack the necessary testosterone. Also, if you are eating at a deficit to lose weight (dieting), you don't have enough surplus calories to gain muscle.

If you've been exercising and maybe doing a bit of strength training, what you're doing is making the muscle you arleady have work more efficiently. Believe me, a five pound muscle gain on a woman is enormous. Do you see an increase of definition in your arms or legs or ABs ? If you've gained muscle, you'd notice.

So, if you haven't gained five pounds of muscle while eating at a deficit, why have you gained ? You've gained weight because you're retaining water. Ever notice your weight goes up during TOM ? Most women tend to gain weight during their menstrual cycle. Is that a fat gain ? Nope, it's nothing more than a temporary water weight gain that passes in a few days.

And well, not to get TMI, but did you weigh yourself after a bowel movement ? If you don't do a poop in the morning, the physical weight of all the food and water you had the day before is still in your body. Food has weight. Water has weight and they both can cause the scale to go up. And that is perfectly normal.

I can easily gain or lose as much as 3-4 pounds in a day because of a shift in my water weight.

So, don't freak out because the scale goes up now and then. That really is normal.

Why are you trying to lose weight ? At your current height and weight, you are at the low end of healthy. Losing any more puts you at risk for being at an unhealthy BMI.

LEC358 SparkPoints: (11,135)
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Posts: 2,744
7/12/13 1:21 P

5'-7" and 122# is at the very bottom end of the healthy range for BMI (problems with the statistic aside for the moment) and 116# is underweight. Your weight sounds perfectly normal to me, especially given the recent increase in strength training and the fact that you say you have a small frame. I wouldn't worry about it.

Edited by: LEC358 at: 7/12/2013 (13:23)
JEWELS571 Posts: 2,885
7/12/13 1:17 P

If you clothes are not getting tight then you are gaining muscle, which is a good thing, especially doing anything Jillian! Don't worry about the scales unless you can't wear your clothes!

KTOBETHIN SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (144)
Posts: 9
7/12/13 1:12 P

Hello everyone,

I'm in desperate need of some help/advide/etc. because the scale is discouraging me!. About 2 months ago I made the decision to start working out and get into shape. I was not overweight and did not have a weight problem. I am 5'7" and weighed 116lbs when I started my work out plan. I started by doing Jillian Michaels 30 day shred at least 5 days a week. I also started playing on an ultimate frisbee team to give me more cardio. On top of this, I also started a boot camp 5 weeks ago, going 2-3 times per week, while still playing ultimate frisbee once a week, and doing a jillian michaels workout in the days Im not at bootcamp or frisbee. With the exception 4 days I was away on vacation a couple of weeks ago, I never take more than 2 days per week off of exercising, and have even started running a bit with my boyfriend. I am more active than I have ever been, and when I got on the scale for the first time a couple weeks in it said I had gained 2 lbs. Everyone told me to ignore and check after over a month, so I stayed off the scale for weeks, until today when I got back on and now I'm up 6 lbs! I really do not understand why. Everyone keeps asking me if I'm eating unhealthily, but I've kept my eating habits the same as I did when I wasn't working out. I've always been calorie conscious because I have hypothyroidism, so I haven't massively adjusted my eating habits because they weren't bad to begin with. If anything, I would say I'm eating healthier now than ever before. Granted some days I'm a little hungrier than normal (particularly after bootcamp), but I make sure I snack on more healthy things like whole wheat crackers.
So at present I am 122 lbs, and its really discouraging me. I've been so good with sticking to a work out routine and now I feel its all been for nothing. I've read a lot of articles on here and they say working out will not make you gain weight, so I don't know what I'm doing wrong. Also, as a sidenote, my thyroid is under control so its not that (haven't had a problem with my thyroid in 6 years). It's just frustrating for someone who's naturally smaller to now see the scale go up when I'm trying to be healthier.

Some please help so I don't get so discouraged I quit :(

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