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SparkPoints

# You Are NOT A Perfect Machine

### Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I've been at this weight loss game a LONG TIME. I started this journey here on Sparkpeople in April 2012, more than five years ago. And I've learned a lot about the human body in that time, both from experience and self-education. I've observed thousands of people do amazing, then burn out, then come back, rinse and repeat. Hey, stuff happens and we fall off the wagon. You came back, it's all good!

But what drives me crazy is this mentality:

"I had a deficit every day this week and the scale is up a pound!"

"I lost 3 lbs last week but this week I gained 1/2 a pound back even though I was right on track!"

And the responses often are "Well maybe you're not tracking properly or trying hard enough."

But what if the person IS trying hard enough and IS tracking properly and mathematically SHOULD be losing weight but instead gained a tiny bit this week?

YOU ARE NOT A PERFECT MACHINE.

CICO (Calories In / Calories Out) is a GUIDE. Does it work if you do it right? YES!!! I'm living proof of that. But your body isn't a simple mathematical equation. It's not 3 - 1 = 2.

It's a complex physics problem that uses advanced calculus. The body is a mathematical equation so complex that even the friggin' EXPERTS can't predict the exact amount of weight a given person will lose each week. It's an estimate. That's why tracking your TRENDS is so important. This is not a short term thing, it's not overnight. Long term success is the desired result, so why is one week of our lives so important?

I weigh myself every day. I use a wipe off board on my fridge and mark my weight in dry erase marker. At the end of the month, I take a picture of the month with my cell phone, mark down my lowest monthly weight on a separate sheet of paper. THOSE are the numbers I use to gauge my success or failure. It takes a WHOLE MONTH to find out if I'm doing things the way I should be or not. And that is OKAY!

Things that affect weight loss despite CICO:

- HEAT
- HUMIDITY
- HORMONES
- STRESS
- SLEEP
- SODIUM
- DIGESTION
- MUSCLE/FAT/BONE RATIO
- EXPENDITURE TRACKING ACCURACY (aka only count actual planned workouts and use a heart rate monitor for the most accuracy)
- INTAKE TRACKING ACCURACY (use a food scale for accuracy, humans are bad at guesstimating)

...and many, many more variables.

So if you're doing all the things you should be doing and you're tracking them accurately don't beat yourself up over fluctuations. They're NORMAL!

• ISNESS
This was not only uplifting but also a useful lecture. Thank you!
477 days ago
• PUGLOVER1999
You are so RIGHT! I already knew what you said, but it surely made me feel better to be reminded! THANK YOU!

481 days ago
• SKYDRAKE
Exactly. Why is it when we have made poor choices and lose, we never focus on that? I know the frustration. I have lived the frustration. I figure if I follow a healthy lifestyle, things will change...eventually. Appreciate the reminder.
481 days ago
• GEEKYBOOKWORM
Thank you for this post! It is a great reminder and definitely something I need to remind myself on in the weeks that I plateau.
485 days ago
This had better become a popular blog post or I'm gonna pitch a fit.
My two main things are hormones and bathroom trips...LOL! We can tie ourselves up in such knots over the scale. I'm just happy anytime my pants button easier!
486 days ago
What a great reminder! Great blog!

God bless you and keep you on your journey! Have a fabulous day!
486 days ago
• MISTY_MOUNTAINS
I love it when you blog stuff like this. I'm in such a slump, and sometimes they make me feel less hopeless!

486 days ago
• SMILINGEYES2
Great suggestion. A single day should not make or break us.
486 days ago
• 14JESUSGIRL
Great blog! It is about the long haul. And doing what you can do consistently.
Thanks for sharing.

486 days ago
• NOLAHORSERIDER
Very Inspirational Very true blog! Thanks for the reminders!!

SparkCheers,

Nola
486 days ago
What an awesome blog! Thanks for helping to take the focus off the scale.

486 days ago
• CHERIRIDDELL
Well said !
486 days ago
• BONNIEMCC488
So well said! It's not a simple mathematical equation like everyone thinks it should be, and sometimes we FEEL it should be. It has so many different factors. I hate seeing the comments or the feedback from the person themselves that they just didn't do as well tracking as they thought they did. Maybe they didn't, but maybe they did and it is the numerous other factors that contributed to them gaining or staying the same, or simply not losing as much as they thought they should.
486 days ago
• CTYONIT
Right you are! We do tend to put so much emphasis on the scale and not enough on NSVs.

486 days ago
• LIVEDAILY
Nope, we are not perfect. We eat chocolate, drink beer or wine, slack off on exercising, don't get enough sleep, stress over everything and everybody, etc., etc. This is why I don't consider this a race. It is a journey filled with many steps, ups, downs, sideways slants, and detours. It is also a changing, evolving lifestyle. Many of us fight every day to undo years of bad eating habits and negativity. Great blog!! Something to remind us of every day!!
486 days ago
• BILLIEK17
See how smart you are? Thank you for reminding me (and for your comment on my blog the other day). I really appreciate your sharing all the lessons you've learned.
486 days ago
• CANDOIT54
blogg
486 days ago
• DEE107
thank you for sharing and a great reminder
486 days ago
• HAYBURNER1969
Great blog!
486 days ago
• CHERYLA2012
Thank you for this very important reminder!
486 days ago
• SUEARNOLD1
What a great blog and something to be remembered!

486 days ago
• CBASS30
I like to focus on non scale achievements. I can almost run a half mile now. Good luck to you
486 days ago
• LOSEDAPOUNDS

486 days ago
• KURTZIE1998
Thank you for sharing, great blog.
486 days ago
• MISSLORI5
You made some great points here! I had to learn this myself through time on SP. I have had to come to the conclusion that my digestion (IBS) affects many things about my weight loss, how much, when, and sometimes if! So my numbers on the scale have to be taken in over time also! Thanks for sharing and keep up the positives, love em'!
486 days ago
• CHAR46SUE

486 days ago
• 2BDYNAMIC
Drum roll please someone ....... applause .... No we are NOT perfect and either are those scales! ....
There are as many things of consideration as there are people. No two are identical, and while some peel off the weight super fast, I dare say I am not one of them! ......(However, when I was in my 20's, 30's, and 40's I could .... and now ... well let's not even go there. We do the best we can with what we have and don't sweat it ......... (but do break a sweat lol) Great blog!
486 days ago
• MSROZZIE
blog, Stay focused on your fitness and weight management program and you will have continued success. Thank you for sharing, your blog is right on point!
486 days ago
• HOLLYM48
Well said!
486 days ago
• LINDA!

486 days ago
• 1CRAZYDOG
Brilliant blog that certainly is going to touch a LOT of people, including me. Thank you. Main point . . . . don't give up!
486 days ago
• BLUEJAY1969
What a great blog!! I think many people forget to figure this into their thinking! I just recently started considering that there are factors there that I can't control and that I cannot obsess over it or I'll drive myself batty!
486 days ago
• CLEAN18
Needs to be said and needs to be heard!
Our bodies are amazing and try to compensate for our self abuse. After all the lies (promises not kept) that I made to mine, it didn't believe me when I once again told it that 'this was the year'. It is a long and slow journey. But with each pound lost, I'm telling my body that it can believe me this time; that we're in it together, mind, body and spirit. Although I don't weigh myself daily, I like your dry erase monthly photo. Might be trying that one out.
Thanks for the blog-talk and sharing!
486 days ago
• BJAEGER307
Very well said. I think people over stress with the numbers on here. This is just a guide to let you know where you are, and not an absolute as you so stated. Also, you're are so right we as humans do not do well in guesstimating. This is a very good blog to remind us, that this is just a guide to helping you lose weight, and the complete answer.
486 days ago
• KELLIEBEAN
I'm giving you a standing ovations, huge round of applause. I always tell people there are so many variables to the number on the scale.

Things really began to click for me after I turned my focus away from the scale and toward eating healthy more often than not and being active in some way every single day. Some days big activity, some days easy, active rest days.

Great advice to get out there!

486 days ago
• VALYNN26
Great blog! Thanks for the reminder. Tracking is definitely something I need to work on.
486 days ago
• TRAVELINGGURU
Well said. I know this all too well--usually because I'm in denial.

Not as a daily metric, but when calories expended continues--over time--to exceed that consumed, physics eventually kicks in. The body is an efficient energy-burning machine that has its own rules.

Thanks for the reminder...

KB
486 days ago
• BJK1961
Stressing over the scale is just counter-productive. Focus on those non-scale victories.
486 days ago
• HMBROWN1
All very true. Thanks for the reminder.
486 days ago