10.19.2012

Fitness Friday: When You Shrink, but Don't Lose


This week's theme is exactly what it sounds like: what do you do when you feel like you've shrank, but the scale stays the same... or even reads a bit more! 

Last Thursday, I had a really bad day. I will admit that on the way home, I grabbed Taco Bell because I felt so bad. I did it out of stress. I was hungry, but I had other things at home to eat. The next morning, I got on the scale and, wow, I weighed two pounds lighter than I had the day before. How was that possible? I had ate an extra 600 calories, then immediately passed out in bed. Even worse: I barely worked out last week, only three days out of seven! 

On Saturday, my happiness was shattered: the scale returned to the number it has been for almost six months now. For the past few weeks, I've developed a routine: I try to eat between 1100 and 1300 calories a day; I try to work out for 30 minutes five days a week; and I try to do 10 leg lifts a day to strengthen my abs, plus 10 squats every time I get up from my desk at work. And yet, I've not lost a pound. What gives, body? 

However, I also noticed this on Friday and Saturday: my underwear fit, well, better. Before, my favorite underwear had cut into the fluffy skin on my back, creating a sizable little love handle. When I pulled on some underwear that I knew were a bit, well, tight, on Saturday, the love handle was considerably smaller. My stomach feels flatter. My back seems a little trimmer. It's not a huge difference, but it seems really obvious to me. I've asked Danny, repeatedly, if my love handles look different. My jeans are still a bit too tight and there are some shorts I still can't shimmy into. But I look better in my underwear. 

Which leads to the important question: Is my scale broken or what? 

The answer is, most likely, no. According to most of the things I've read this week, the conclusion seems to be that I've gained muscle and burned fat. It's ridiculously common and tends to happen early in weight loss when muscles are getting used to being used so much. I mean, in the past two weeks, I've mostly used the elliptical and stair stepper machines -- two exercises that burn a ton of calories, but also engage a lot of muscles in the abs, butt, and thighs. It's entirely possible my muscles -- used to sitting at a desk for 10 hours a day! -- are just getting excited about being used again. 

So, in short, I'm trying to pay more attention to body composition, rather than what the scale says. Even if I don't lose weight, I always remind myself that by trying to eat healthier and by working out as much as I can, I'm improving my health no matter what! 


2 comments:

  1. My scale calculates bmi and I LOVE it. Even when I see that things go up or down throughout the week (I'm a daily weigher. It's a terrible habit, but I can't get away from it), I know that my bmi is staying steady. It might not be the most accurate of calculators, but it's a little more than focusing on weight!

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    1. See, I have the secondary problem of my BMI always been horribly inaccurate. I'm short and small framed, but I'm pretty muscular on my bottom half, which is always going to mean I weigh more than I look like I do (if that makes sense). My scale was only $7 from Target; when I get the money, I know I need to upgrade!

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xo Michelle

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