When it comes to reaching your weight loss goals, there’s nothing more frustrating that looking at that stubborn number on the scale—which hasn’t budged an ounce (despite working your heart out at the gym and eating right.) However, don’t give up. We’ve got the low-down on weight loss, and why the scale isn’t always your most important method of gauging progress (plus three which are!) Read on to find out what they are.
There’s a reason you’re not showing weight loss in numbers. If you aren’t dropping pounds, but your clothes are fitting better, we’ve got good news: your body composition is changing. This means you’re actually building muscle, blasting fat and looking slimmer—despite what the scale says. First things first: you have the know the science of weight loss. You can’t tighten and tone up and lose weight if all you’re doing is acting off of a strict calorie counting diet (it’s just not realistic for long-term weight loss and maintenance.) You also can’t have the strong muscles and lean body you want if you’re doing cardio but not strength training. (Simply put, when you kill yourself on the elliptical or treadmill, you’re burning carbs, but not burning fat.)
How Weight Loss Really Works
Weight loss—when done the healthy, sustainable way—requires high-intensity workouts (also known as high-intensity interval training, or HIIT), which will get your heart rate up high enough to target your body’s ‘fat burner’. When that happens, along with a sensible, ‘clean’ diet, you WILL see results. So, what happens if you already are approaching weight loss by doing those things, but you’re still not seeing the numbers drop? First, take a minute to remember that if you’re building muscle through strength or resistance training, it’s possible to lose weight while building muscle (which may show you haven’t lost any weight on the scale, since muscle weighs more than fat.) In other words, you can actually weight the same while reducing your body fat percentage. So, skip the scale this next week, and determine your progress based on the following three things:
• Someone has complimented you on how you look. A drop in weight won’t be noticeable to others until you’ve lost between 5-10 lbs. If you’ve gotten a compliment from someone, this means you’re doing all the right things! Keep it coming!
• You now fit into that pair of pants or shirt you couldn’t four weeks ago. If your clothes are fitting more loosely than before, you’re losing the weight. Sometimes, weight loss isn’t about numbers. It’s about body composition, so focus on how your clothes feel as a way to determine progress. You’ve got this!
• You have the ‘glow.’ Exercising on a regular basis can soften your skin and give it a gorgeous glow. Every time you work out, you’re giving your body a ‘detox’, and really, is there anything more attractive than a healthy body and mind? If you’ve got a ‘glow’, you’re making progress!
The scale isn’t the ‘be all to end all’ of weight loss. Try focusing less on how much you weight, and more on the mini-milestones you’re reaching. That way, you’ll have increased confidence to continue pursuing your goals. You’ve got this!