Why the Scale Won’t Budge

Sometimes people get the urge to ask me questions. Sometimes I get the urge to answer them. When these two things come together, it’s generally pretty cool.

Here’s a recent question from one of my new clients that just may help you too…

Q:
So I’ve been insanely good with eating healthy/smaller portions, working out with you and staying really active on the weekends – this weekend I got in a good hike at Red Rock – and I plan on doing my Zumba or the gym on my off weeks from you (M-Thurs) but i’m wondering why I can’t get the scale to budge?

It refuses to go below 190. I fluctuate, even though I see a big difference with being more toned and I feel SO much better physically, the scale ranges from 191-193. I drink loads of water, not many carbs…what could I be doing wrong here?

I’ve never had such a problem with losing weight. Always lost quickly, without even putting half the effort than I’m putting in now. I have one cheat meal on the weekend and that is normally breakfast out. I can cut that out though. But would that be enough to make me keep this weight on?

Any suggestions at all? It’s pretty darned frustrating!

A:
Thanks for seeking my advice. I know how discouraging this can be, but hang in there.

Here’s a few things to think about:

When you say you’ve been “insanely good eating healthy/smaller portions”, what does that really mean?

Do your meals look like the images below?

If not you may be improving but you still have a ways to go. I find most people give themselves too much credit here. You really need to be eating mostly veggies and include protein with each meal. Notice there are only starch carbs after the workout meal (no workout, no starch carbs). Also if you haven’t yet, make the switch to smaller plates, it really does make a difference.

If you are only having one cheat meal I would stick with that, it isn’t hurting you and may help you in the long run.

As far as what else is going, you need to realize it’s not all about the scale. The scale only tells you part of the picture, “Is your weight going down up or staying the same”. But in reality you are most likely losing fat and gaining muscle, which usually happens when you begin resistance training as we are. The problem with weight yourself is the scale doesn’t know this is going on.

So while the scale doesn’t budge yet your body composition is already changing, you will know this by your clothes fitting better. You even said yourself you “see a big difference with being more toned, feel SO much better physically”…

My recommendation to you and this may be hard for you, is to stop weighing yourself. If you need something to track, get a pair of your favorite jeans that are a few sizes too small and try them on once every two weeks. You will notice you fit them better and this is further proof you are moving in the right direction.

You are gaining muscle and muscle is very important in keeping your metabolism running faster so you can keep get more toned and stay that way and it makes you look better. Without it, you could end up being 140 and totally flabby. With it you may be 155 and totally toned and actually look thinner that the 140 pounds of flab. Which do you really want?

Muscle takes up less space than fat, so if you gain muscle and lose fat, you will look smaller and feel better regardless of what the scale says.

Take a look at the picture below.

This is the same girl, and although she has gained 9 pounds, in the photo to the right she is slimmer in the hips, thighs and waist and actually looks like she weighs less.

Don’t be discouraged, this usually happens first, before the scale begins to move.

Keep at it!

Let me know how I can continue to help you.

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