5 Ways To Measure Progress When you Hit A Weight Loss Plateau
Posted Jun 04 2011 4:29pm
Imagine this, you, a former full time nerd and now exercise nut and part time nerd have lost a good % of your total body weight. You find that everything that you have read about the joys of losing weight are true! Even if you are still incredibly fat and uncomfortably smelly as a result, you feel like it's "Temporary" and you pay more attention to what's not there (IE The weight you gave the slip to) and not what is there (IE Your triple chin).
You then go to your bathroom scale for your weekly weigh in freshly done getting rid of last night's dinner to minimize your weight. You have been use to losing between 2-10 lbs a week for a few months now, and you really pushed yourself hard since your last weigh in! You step on the scale and you lost (Drum Roll) a Mr. Blukowski-esque 0.0 lbs. You immediately step off the scale, insist "It must just be my old weight stuck in it's memory!" and then try again...no luck though...it's the same! It makes no sense to you as you did the same, if not more this week than you have done every other week...so what gives?
The Plateau effect obviously...your body has gotten use to all of the exercise you do and your cut in calories. It is now making it more difficult to lose weight. Sometimes this effect can last a week, sometimes it can last a month, sometimes it can last years! You need to start using another metric other than weight at this point to stay motivated and continue on your way to your goal until you get past this bump. I have included a list below to help everyone out!
1) Inches! Measure around your waist, chest, stomach, neck, upper arms, upper legs and start to see if you are getting thinner in those areas. It is possible to remain the same weight, but still lose inches. Especially if your increase in muscle mass is at the same rate as your fat loss.
Peter Noseworthy: Q:"I was told that muscle weighs more than fat though, so if you were to gain muscle mass at the same rate that you're losing fat, wouldn't that make you actually weigh more?"
A: 1 lb of muscle is the same weight as 1 lb of fat. They are both 1 lb.
2) Your clothes! A much lazier way to do number one. Are your clothes starting to fit "Differently"...but in a good way?
3) Your mental state. Do you feel happier every day than when you were doing nothing? Do you enjoy working out? Do you look forward to the post work out state of mind you get?
4) Do the neighborhood children make fun of you as quickly as they used to? Are they finding it harder to get on you for being fat? While this isn't perhaps the best way to tell, if you notice a decrease in the "MAN THE HARPOON!" comments as you are walking by, take this as a very positive sign!
5) Are you lifting more than you used to, running faster/farther with less effort, etc? This is another sign of your overall health improving! Don't take for granted that you can do what you couldn't just a few months earlier, or that you can do it faster, stronger, better. You need to pay attention to these things and take a little bit of joy in knowing you have effectively changed your body to be more physically active.
Tip O' The Day:
Whether you think you can or can not do it...you're right!