First time poster....getting discouraged

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  • I have been a lurker here for about a month now and have learned quite a bit thanks to you ladies. But I am getting discouraged. The more I read on here, the more depressed I get with my non-success.

    About 9 months ago I got serious at losing weight. I started watching calories and working out on my treadmill at home. I lost 15 pounds in 3 months. After 3 months I had to have surgery and I stopped working out. I didn't gain any weight but I also wasn't losing anymore. About a month ago I decided it was time once and for all for me to lose my weight. I started logging calories again. I allow myself 1500-1700 per day (I do allow myself a little more on Sundays). I upped my water to 4-6 bottles per day and drasically cut out my soda intake. I joined a gym 2 1/2 weeks ago. I have been to the gym 15 out of 18 days. Each day I do at least 20 min strength training and 20-45 min cardio on eliptical, bike or treadmill. 2 1/2 weeks ago when I joined the gym I was weighed in at 220 pounds. A few days back I got weighed again and I am at 221. WTF? I thought after over 2 weeks time I would have lost at least 2-4 pounds. I just don't understand. How can I be watching my calories and working out and not lose any weight. A trainer was at the scale with me and made excuses such as "it takes 4-6 weeks to start seeing results". My mom and husband say I look smaller. I feel like my tummy and rear end aren't as bulging as before. BUT THE SCALE ISN'T MOVING. I feel I am doing the right things. I will admit I need more veggies but overall my eating isn't terribly bad. I am very diligent about watching calories. I was thinking of dropping the strength training to every other day and focusing more on cardio. Can someone give me some insight? Some advice? Some support? I know it isn't easy to lose weight but when I feel I am doing similar things to other gals on here...and they are losing weight and I'm not, it gets me really down.
  • First of all, WELCOME!

    Don't rely on the scale as your ONLY measure of success. The fact that you FEEL smaller is a good indication that something good is happening! If you need numbers, try doing your measurements and see how you've progressed that way too.

    Be assured, you are doing everything right. Sometimes our bodies are really stubborn and will hang onto the pounds until ultimatey it HAS to release them. Stay the course!!
  • I would agree that the scale shouldn't be the only measure. Our bodies are mostly water and the scale is really good at measuring water. Hormones will affect how much water you retain as well as your sodium intake. Also, if you weigh after a heavy lifting day, then your muscles tend to retain water. Lastly, I've read that your fat cells when they empty out, they actually fill up water and then flush the water out.

    Keep doing what you are doing and see what happens in a couple more weeks.
  • For me I have to use a calorie counting site to really monitor my intake. Every bite of food or drink I put in my mouth must be longed. I am one of those that can eat 3 ozs. of meat when I'm cooking and not even realize it.

    Weighing at the same time, same place, same clothes is another biggie for me. I have finally gotten to the point that I weight once a week (Monday) in the morning, wearing nothing. I got tired of letting the scale dictate my mood. The scales WILL fluctuate during the week, it's a fact. I know that if I am being true to plan I will see a loss on Monday.

    I also do weekly pictures, again in the same clothes early in the morning. I think this is one of my favorite things. A 1.4 lb. loss may not seem like much but when you can see the difference from the week before or do a slide show from the start of your journey, it just feels good and there is NO denying the body is changing.

    Lastly, I do measurements once a month. Again, I see real changes.
  • I am definitely not a fitness expert, but, my X was very serious about alternating strength training. If he did have to do it everyday he would be sure not to do the same muscle groups each day. He and his best friend(who is a personal trainer) said your muscle need a day to repair in between.

    That's what I understand, but, you might want to check out the opinions on the Exercise Forum. Those folks know their stuff.
  • I agree with the trainer that it sometimes takes a little more time to see results, particularly when you first start exercising or when you make a change to your exercise routine.

    When I started exercising I immediately put on 5 pounds of water weight that took almost three weeks to even back out and show a loss from the original starting point. The same thing happened when I started strength training - three pounds that time, five weeks to come off and get back to starting point, another two weeks before any loss from the starting point.

    Also, as someone above me said, you do need to alternate muscle groups if you are doing strength training daily so the muscles have time to repair themselves.

    Good luck - it is always hard at the beginning, to start something new and work so hard and not see any results right away. It will settle down and get better if you stick to your calorie and exercise plan.
  • My measurements were taken when I first joing the gym. I won't be measured again for 3 more weeks.

    I have a question about water. Before I started working out I was only drinking MAYBE 1 bottle of water a day (GASP!) My main source of liquid was soda (diet and regular). I cut the soda out almost completely. I have 1 can of diet in the morning and maybe another at dinner. Other than that I drink water. No juices. Is it possible I was lacking water and dehydrated? Would getting myself hydrated add weight?

    It's just so confusing because I hear so many different things. To top it off I watched the Biggest Loser the other night and got discouraged at what the trainers were saying (There was also a post about this on here).
  • Don't let the scale fool you, especially if you really are working out the way that you say. If you are working out that hard you are probably gaining muscle & losing fat... since muscle weighs more than fat, you can be losing fat, but gaining weight. Make sense? You're body is probably becoming tone underneith & more muscular, so even though you are probably dropping fat cells, the scale will not show it. You will begin to notice the difference in your clothes & how you feel soon enough, even if the scale says otherwise. The scale is not Yoda, it does not know everything!
  • Don't stop the weight training! It builds muscle which helps you to burn more calories and more fat

    Keep at it- I'm totally stuck at a plateau and it sucks- but I don't want to give up.
  • Thanks so much for all the replies....

    Shannon, you really gave me some hope! Thanks for sharing.

    I try to alternate which muscles I work out but some days I don't. I am going to try to be more focused on alternating days. I guess I will just have to give it more time. My husband is worried I will give up too soon. But I haven't even thought about giving up. What's nice is my husband, mom, brother and cousin all joined the same gym I go to. It's nice to have the support from them all and a work out buddy almost all the time. I actually find myself being the one motivating them to keep going!
  • chunky - if you are working with a trainer, did the trainer not give you a program to do? The trainer should've said "do this workout on alternate days or x number days per week" or something like that.
  • Yes, welcome to 3fc!!!

    Please don't be discouraged by not losing weight on the scale. The games the scale and getting caught up in numbers can play with one's head are horrible. The trainer who told you "it takes 4-6 weeks to start seeing results" wasn't making an excuse - this is often reality! (Please don't think that because on "The Biggest Loser" people lose 12 pounds in a week you should be doing it too.) When you start exercising and you haven't been, your body is building muscle. You could be losing fat, but gaining muscle, resulting in no net loss on the scale. However muscle takes less space than fat (that is, 1 lb. of muscle takes less space than 1 lb. of fat). Are you taking your measurements as well? You could be losing inches despite not losing pounds. Body composition rather than scale weight is, in my opinion, a much better indicator of what's actually going on with your body.

    Regarding weights and strength training - it's ok to do it every day if you're not working the same muscle groups every day. It is true that you should give your muscles 48 hours to recover. When I'm training intensely I will try to alternate my muscle groups - e.g.
    Monday - chest
    Tues - legs
    Wed - back
    Thurs - shoulders, abs, or rest
    Fri - shoulders (if not Thurs), or legs
    Sat - whatever didn't get done yet this week
    Sun - rest
    Also I try to throw in abs 2-3 days as time allows
    That way I strength train most days but am giving each muscle group plenty of rest between training. Maybe this trainer at the gym can give you a little intro to strength training and show you some exercises, even if you don't buy sessions with him/her? Also as someone suggested the exercise forums here are a wealth of knowledge, from people who know about light to moderate to intense strength training and cardio.

    Some people will do 2-3 non-consecutive days hitting most of their body a week, or will do day 1 - upper body, day 2-lower body, day 3 - rest, and so on. As long as you're giving your muscle groups a chance to rest for 48 hours between sessions with those muscles you should be ok. I should mention I'm not any kind of fitness pro, my advice comes from my own experience and what I've read and learned from others, mostly also amateurs.

    There have already been some great suggestions made for keeping yourself motivated when you're not seeing results on the scale. As I said, measuring yourself can show where you're losing inches. Think about how much better you feel after working out, how you feel less stressed, how much more energy you have, how by doing cardio you're helping your heart and by strength training you're building stronger bones, to name just a few of the many, many other health benefits of exercising.

    And please stick around and keep posting on 3fc! There are so many wonderful people here. It's a great support system!
  • Extasee...I do feel different in my clothes. My belt has been moved to the next notch and my bra is being hooked on the middle hooks instead of the outer ones.

    I know that muscle weighs more than fat and I know that muscle burns more calories. But I don't think it's possible to gain much muscle in 2 weeks. When I sat down with my trainer about a week ago to discuss my goals and my eating habits, she was really impressed with my knowledge of food, calories, etc. She was impressed with my calorie logs and how I know what my BMR is and how to reduce calories into a range to lose weight. She basically told me there was no need for her to preach to me about my diet, other than more veggies. So, I know that I am doing the right things. It just really sucks to read about others who start new things and drop 5 pounds in the blink of an eye.
  • About my trainer:

    I met with a trainer 2 times after joining the gym. The trainer showed me machines and what to do to get to my goals. I was told to do 30 min strength training and 30 min of cardio a day. Do strength training first, then cardio. The trainer has me alternating days. I have an entire set of exercises one day, then the next day I do a different set. Like you all said, letting the muscles rest in between. But after 2 weeks of not seeing the scale move I decided to up the cardio a bit and reduce the strength training a bit. With my gym membership I meet with the trainer once a month. I will be meeting with her again on the 24th of Feb. I have become friends with another trainer there so I may see if I can get (free) advice from him!
  • The thing is- when you start working out- things shift around- so looks like your body is preparing for fat loss because you have noticed change.

    Take me- I've only lost 9 lbs, but I've already gone from a size 18 to 16- my size 18's are so loose now that I can't even wear them I feel like I'm wearing a tent!