Losing weight can be tough, but you know what else is tough? Feeling like you’re doing everything right and still not seeing the number on the scale go down.
That is what diet and exercise experts call a weight loss plateau.
If you are experiencing a weight loss plateau don’t freak out just yet. It’s very common that the scale weight may not move for a few days or even a few weeks at a time. That doesn’t mean you’re not dropping body fat.
Weight is just weight; is not representative of you loosing fat or not, it’s just a representation of your weight at that point in time.
Weight fluctuates by a few pounds all the time and it can depend on what type of foods you’re eating. For example if you go low carbohydrate for a week you’re going to drop a lot of weight but that weight is not necessarily body fat because you’re decreasing glycogen stores within your muscle tissue and for any 1 gram of glycogen stored you also store 3-4 grams of water along with it. Females will have water retention maximally 7 days prior to their menstruation starting. Your electrolyte status will affect weight fluctuations and stress levels and cortisol will definitely cause water retention.
Don’t think the scale is the only thing representative of your progress in decreasing body fat. Beyond this, it is totally 100% possible to gain muscle at the same time that you’re dropping body fat, particularly common if you recently just started exercising. If you’re new to the game, your ability to put on muscle mass is unlike any other.
When you’re building muscle mass and loosing body fat the scale can’t tell you that; maybe you’ve gained one pound of muscle and lost one pound of fat and this is the reason why your clothes are fitting better, you feel like you’re looking better in the mirror, you’re getting stronger in the gym but the scale weight isn’t going anywhere.
It’s a good idea to use something else to track progress – get your body fat measured, tape measurements, progress pictures – are very simple things to use to give you a better picture of what is going on. Unless your scale weight is stuck for 3 or 4 weeks you shouldn’t be worried about it.