Weight Loss Support - Scale isn't moving like I'm used to

02-18-2011, 12:57 PM
It's annoying me. I weigh myself just about daily now, and the scale doesn't move at all. I seem to be hitting a new low weight about once a week, but every other day in the week it's a gain. Sometimes as high as 4 pounds higher than that low weight. It's so frustrating! I can deal with "gains" 6/7 days of the week, but the scale is moving slowly for me and I'm not liking it.

I was told by my boot camp instructor that I should eat around 1700 calories because of how much I work out. My work outs are like this:

M-TH - 1.5 hours of boot camp (intense circuit training, lots of weight lifting, core work)
M&W - 1 hour of cardio with machines (I work out vigorously), with a 5 minute core workout at the end
T&TH - 75 minutes of yoga
Weekends - I take it easier, I try to do at least one day where I get 60+ minutes of activity. Usually I do one or two days, where I walk or play disc golf or jog. I take one day completely off (Sunday.)

I'm also in college so I do a lot of walking on campus. I'd estimate about 30+ minutes of power walking a day.

Just 6 months ago I was running maybe 15 miles a week and that was IT for exercise, and watching my food intake, and I lost over 2 pounds a week like clockwork. I don't feel like a failure or anything, I'm just wondering if this is a byproduct of the lifting I'm doing, or if I need to tweak my plan. Any suggestions? Thanks everyone!

02-18-2011, 01:08 PM
How long are you talking about? If you average your losses over the last month or two, how does it look?

How long ago did you add in the resistance training? For me, when I step up my workouts - especially adding more resistance work - I have serious fluid retention for several weeks as my body adjusts to the new load. That can mask real fat loss for some time.

02-18-2011, 01:27 PM
The closer you get to your goal weight the slower the weight will come off for a vairety of reasons but the primary one is that because you're much lighter than you were six months ago you are burning a lot less calories. I would preach patience, although it isn't easy.

You could cycle calories, eating more on workout days and less on off days. Looking at your workout schedule I'd suggest keeping the calories up on Mon and Thursday and a slight reduction on the other activity days depending on satiety. Maybe 1400kcals? Weekends drop to 1200 perhaps.

The important part of dropping calories is that dropping calories too low makes it difficult for the body to recover. When you're 300lbs you have so much energy on board you can easily recover from a hard workout on very reduced calories. Not so much at your weight. Over training on reduced calories leads to some really nasty stuff happening. (I've heard of women having all their hair fall out.) So if you're going to take my advice to cycle calories just make sure you listen to your body. How you feel will go a long ways towards helping you determine if you're too low on calories. If you're feeling fatigued that isn't the time to push harder ...

Other than that the standard advice applies. Make sure you're weighing your food so you're tracking accurately and try to be patient. :)

02-18-2011, 02:09 PM
Well, up until this semester started (about a month ago) I wasn't doing much working out. I got really lazy over winter break. I ran a few times, and walked a couple of times a week, but that was it. I gained some weight over the holidays too. So, the intense regime and lifting thing are both really new. I never really lifted like this up until a month ago. Should it even out? Would it really take a month? I guess that's what I was wondering.

02-18-2011, 02:14 PM
Yep, you're getting close to goal, it's going to slow down. Be prepared, it may get slower.

You also may not be eating enough. If you're like me, the more you work out the more you need to eat. At the end of my weight loss I was eating 1600-1800 M-F and 2000-2500 Sa & Su.

02-18-2011, 04:28 PM
I never really lifted like this up until a month ago.

This is an important piece of information. When you first start lifting you're going to put on some muscle which will mask fat loss. This won't last long because you're on reduced calories and you're female. I'd say just stick with what you're doing and stick with 1700 calories with a reduction on weekends only. The scale will start moving again.

02-18-2011, 05:58 PM
Actually, it takes quite a while for women to put on muscle when lifting, and you need to be eating to build muscle mass, too. Scales fluctuate for many reasons -- it's possible your muscles are retaining water, for instance...

Nola Celeste
02-18-2011, 06:04 PM
The extra weight probably isn't muscle yet, but it's likely not fat, either. When muscle fibers are used to their fullest, they develop microscopic tears; the new crop of muscle cells that form is what creates muscle gain. In the process, though, muscles with all those little micro-tears require a lot of fluid to speed the healing process. A hard workout often creates an uptick on the scale because you're retaining the fluid your body needs to recuperate after the exertion.

I actually look at an upswing on the scale after a good workout with heavy weights the day before as a sign of progress. I know I've given a hundred percent to my efforts if my body shows it.

You're right to recognize it as a side effect of lifting more. Congratulations on becoming healthier, not just thinner! :bravo:

02-18-2011, 07:18 PM
I feel I'm in the same boat I go every other day for almost three hours doing kick boxing an hour strength training cardio etc.
When I lost 80 lbs before it melted off while I worked out and watched what I ate, and I wasnt even doing as much as I am now!
Just have to stick with it.

02-19-2011, 03:23 AM
Actually, it takes quite a while for women to put on muscle when lifting, and you need to be eating to build muscle mass, too. Scales fluctuate for many reasons -- it's possible your muscles are retaining water, for instance...

It takes quite a while for anyone to put on muscle. Women can only gain on average about 1/2 as fast as a man. I'm not suggesting that she is putting on many lbs of muscle. I'm suggesting that when you first start lifting it can mask fat loss because even in a deficit you can and do gain muscle as long as you are also overweight (which is where the energy comes from.) These are most commonly referred to as newbie gains.

But yeah - intially water is drawn into the muscle and then over time the muscles grow. Not for long though if you're female and in a deficit. 1-3 months is about all the muscle gain you're going to get depending on genetics. After that your going to need a caloric surplus.