Be honest. Have you ever started a strength training and nutrition regimen and after one or two weeks, you felt frustrated that the number on the scale didn't budge? You're not alone. But, guess what? There are so many factors to consider when using the scale to measure your progress.
First and foremost, though, think back. Were you truly giving 100% effort to your diet and monitoring daily intake like your nutritionist/trainer instructed? Did you really feel challenged in your workouts?
If you answered yes to both questions, then put your frustration and discouragement aside. Here are some things to keep in mind when starting a new workout and nutritional regimen and why you may not see the scale go down for a a bit.
Weight training causes your body to respond by building muscle.
Muscle has more density than fat, so the fat you are shedding can take some time to reflect on the scale. It also depends on where you are starting from. If you have a significant amount of body fat to lose, then the scale will eventually decrease. If you are starting from a more normal range, the scale may not decrease at all. In some cases, depending on how much muscle you build, it may even increase!
Food can make a big impact on your day-to-day weight fluctuation.
It can be a food allergy, too much sodium, or high carb intake. That being said, carbs do have a negative reputation, but they are actually beneficial in helping us stay energized and helping our brain function properly. Each gram of carb can retain 3g of water, which is why after eating a good amount of carbs, the scale may slightly increase. Don’t let this discourage you.
Not drinking enough water.
Your body really begins to try to retain water when you’re lacking proper fluid intake. Water helps digest your food, so without it, the process will be slowed, possibly causing some constipation weight gain. Drinking plenty of water also keeps those hunger pains at bay. If you just ate a reasonably sized meal yet find yourself hungry, try drinking 1-2 glasses of water. When your body is dehydrated, it doesn’t always tell you with a dry mouth that you are in need of water but rather it signals a feeling of hunger.
Stress, lack of sleep, improper diet, over-training, and the menstrual cycle can all cause hormones to fluctuate. Changes in hormonal levels will slow the digestive process, making you feel constipated, more bloated, and gassy. When your body is stressed, stomach acid, enzymes, and food are not released at their normal rates, which leads to poor digestion. You need to be in a rested and relaxed state for your digestive system to work smoothly.
All that said, stop putting all your faith in the scale. You’ve now learned how many factors come into play when weighing yourself. One or even two treat meals is not going to derail you and cause a 5 lb. fat increase. If you allow this small fluctuating number on the scale get to you, it will only cause more stress, and we know what that does.
– By Claudia Virgil, personal trainer