Here are some very important things to know about how your weight changes, especially when you are just starting a diet and exercise plan.
You could GAIN WEIGHT in the first few weeks. Does this mean you are a failure? NO WAY! The main culprit is when you start exercising when you have been sedentary in the past. The reason: MUSCLE. You are building your muscle back up to a normal level during this time, and muscle weighs more than fat! This is very important to remember. You see, you WANT more muscle, because the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns all day long, even when you aren’t doing anything! Consider this your secret lose-while-you-sleep weapon. This also means your body will need more calories to maintain its weight, which means you can eat more, and really should, to maintain the extra energy your new muscle needs. This is why Weight Watchers advocates adding points to your daily intake according to the amount of exercise you have done that day, but only up to a certain amount. For example, you shouldn’t add more than 200 calories if you’ve burned 200 or more while exercising. Your goal at this point is to keep losing, after all!
You could lose weight very rapidly the first week or two, then slow down to a more reasonable amount. Don’t be disappointed, nor expect that rapid weight loss to continue. This is ENTIRELY NORMAL. Especially if you are drinking the proper amount of water, and getting a decent amount of fiber in your new diet plan. Some may experience it because they have reduced the amount of salt intake; today’s fast food diet is shockingly high in salt content. Your body is losing its “water weight” as your system flushes out. As you drink enough water for your body to stay hydrated, you will retain less water in your tissues. This is also a good thing; consider it a bonus if you lose those fast pounds at first!
You COULD stay the same. Despite following your new diet and exercise plan to a T, you are not losing! Easily explained: See both reasons for gaining and losing above. What has happened, is that both of these processes are happening at the same time. Fear not; stick it out for at least a month before determining any changes that need to be made. The weight WILL start to drop at a reasonable amount after the first few weeks, if you are on an appropriate plan for your weight, age, and lifestyle.
What is reasonable? Anywhere from one to three pounds per week lost. Losing any more than five pounds a week is not healthy; it is likely you are losing muscle as well, and it will be way too easy to gain it back. If you are losing too much, you aren’t eating enough to keep your body supplied with the nutrients it needs. The old saying is true: You didn’t gain it in a day, and you won’t lose it that fast, either. Slow and steady wins the race to keep your body healthy for a lifetime!
I used to refuse to weigh myself except once every week or two. I can understand why this is important for some people, to keep from feeling bad about the numbers, and to be really happy with being able to see the progress. I know many diet gurus advise this, since most people are so hooked on the scale.
But it just didn’t work for me. I know that my weight fluctuates based on how much I’m working out, how much water I’m drinking, even if I had a really salty snack the day before. I could show a two pound increase over the last week, yet still be losing overall, based on what time of the day it was!
So I started to weigh myself every morning. Of course, I still saw fluctuating, but it kept me motivated to keep that early morning weight down. If I was a bit up that day, I would watch what I ate more, and maybe exercise a little extra. I’m never concerned unless I see an increase of two pounds over my best weight the week before.
Then, for about two months, I started weighing myself every time I entered my bathroom. It was really interesting to figure out how your weight changes throughout the day, anywhere from three to four pounds! It varies before and after meals, workouts, and showers. It was kind of fun, and educational, too.
I don’t really need to do this, so I returned to weighing myself each morning. It seems my weight is lowest after waking up and moving around for about half an hour. And it is so much fun on days when I see new low numbers, when I dance around the room and announce to everyone what I weighed!