I believe that management consultant Peter Drucker once said that “you can’t manage what you don’t measure” and this is true of your results from a fitness or nutrition program.
My team and I are pretty obsessive about tracking the results of our clients. And body weight is one of the items we track.
It sometimes happens that an overweight client will have better fitting clothes, improved mood, concentration, energy, strength and fitness levels – without a drop in the weight on the scale.
In fact, sometimes scale weight even goes up!
“That’s not why I joined a gym, I might as well eat roti prata and fried noodles like before!” is something they might be thinking.
However keep in mind that your body is NOT a machine that we can have a very deterministic outcome with (i.e. one action = one guaranteed result). Neither do people usually get a linear outcome e.g. 1kg per week. Its more like 0, 0.5, 0, 2kg per week…. etc.
Here are some reasons why your scale weight may not be dropping even though your health markers like energy, blood test readings, strength etc are improving.
1. Did you pee, poop, measure at a different time of the day?
2. Did you measure at a different time in your (ladies) menstrual cycle?
3. Did you just eat or drink (yea this is pretty obvious but I have seen it missed out on)
4. Did you do strength training that increased your lean muscle?
5. Did you eat more protein which also increases growth hormone and lean muscle?
6. Did you eat something salty or higher in carbohydrates than usual? (these retain water for a day or two)
Yes, all of the above can affect scale weight. On a personal note, the most weight fluctuation I have had in a 24 hour period is 7.5kg. Yes. I was on holiday and ate several buffets within that 24 hour period and more salt and sweets than usual. However, a week later I was back to normal weight.
So, as long as the important things are getting better, clothes are fitting, sleep is improved, waistline is dropping etc, don’t sweat the scale weight too much.
A good exercise and nutrition program will focus not on dropping weight FAST but on keeping it off FOREVER. I find that crash diets or crazy, unsustainable exercise programs do get weight loss, but the weight comes back with about 20% interest. I.e. you lose 10kg but a few months later you are back at +12kg.
Remember it’s the process goals that we can control, not the end goals.
An end goal may be:
“I want to weigh 53kg for my wedding”
It may, or may not happen because its not 100% within your control.
Process goals will be something like:
“I will eat the correct number of servings of protein and vegetables each day”,
“I will eat breakfast daily”
“I will drink enough water to have colourless pee 5x per day”
These are 100% within your control.
There we have it. Don’t get discouraged (or overly excited) about changes in scale weight. Stick to the process and the end is far more likely to happen. Stay lean and strong!