You’re Getting Fit, Despite What the Scale Says
This is it. The moment of truth. You’ve been working out like a champ for the past three weeks hoping to shrink your spare tire, and now the scale is about to reward you. You’re guessing you’ll be down a solid 15 pounds (hopefully with a glimpse of abs), but you’ll be happy if you’ve lost 10.
And then a baffling thing happens. The scale says you’ve only lost one pound. One measly, barely-worth-mentioning pound. How can this be? Have the forces of nature conspired against you?
Before you throw in the towel or heave your scale, keep reading. While it’s only natural to be confused, scale weight isn’t the best indicator of fitness level. In fact, forget the scale for a minute, and you’ll probably realize you’ve made improvements in so many other areas. You may not be lighter, but you’re definitely fitter. Here’s why ….
1. You feel a lot stronger.
Think back to when you started your new workout program. Did benching half your bodyweight feel virtually impossible? Did you worry your heart would give out on you as you laced up for your first morning jog? Your body was likely shocked by the sudden activity and needed some time to adjust. If those weights and cardio sessions aren’t feeling so brutal anymore, it’s because you’ve built up some strength and endurance – clear signs of physical fitness. You’re probably mentally stronger, too. After all, it takes mental fortitude to establish (and stick to) new healthy habits. Whether the scale shows it or not, your increased strength is as real as it gets.
2. You’re building lean muscle.
All those presses, pulls, and squats aren’t just giving you a good burn; they’re building new muscle. So why doesn’t the scale reflect this? According to Keith Klein, CN, CCN, “It’s really simple to understand. As you eat correctly and exercise, your muscle can increase at the same time your fat decreases. This results in a better-looking body, even though your weight doesn’t change.” Keith, who is the Owner of the Institute of Eating Management in Houston, TX, goes on to say, “To avoid being a ‘skinny-fat’ person, your goal should never be what’s on the scale. Rather, your goal should be to replace each pound of fat with a pound of muscle. If you do that, you’ll love the way you look.”
3. You have more energy throughout the day.
Before your new fitness program, did mid-day fatigue come crashing down on you like a Mack truck? Did it seem like you were always just plain tired? Fortunately, exercise and healthy eating have the reverse effect; they help you feel more energized and mentally alert. It seems contradictory, doesn’t it? How could working out – expending energy – ramp up your energy levels? But as Lee Labrada describes in The Lean Body Promise book, “There’s a reason you feel more energetic: things are changing physiologically, and you’re generating more energy through food and exercise.” He also explains how diet and exercise are the closest things we have to the Fountain of Youth: his recommended 30-minute daily exercise sessions provide you with feel-good chemicals in your brain as well as energy and vitality. And who doesn’t want that?
4. You’re making better food choices.
Who wants to sweat it out in the gym for an hour, only to have that session go to waste? Nobody. So, when the waitress comes around to take your order, the New You probably doesn’t immediately gravitate to a double-decker burger and fries anymore. The New You scans for healthier, high-protein options. That’s the amazing thing about exercise. It gets you in a healthier frame of mind. And once you start eating better, your cravings for junk food decline too. Being purposeful about nutrition might not have a numerical value, but it’s a clear indicator that your mind is fitness-focused.
5. You’re sleeping better.
According to a recent poll, more than one-third of older adults in the United States are taking pills to help them sleep. A simpler solution lies in regular exercise, which has the power to improve sleep quality and duration. Have you noticed this to be true? Are you dozing off quicker, snoozing longer, and sleeping more deeply than before you started working out? Amidst our busy, hyper-scheduled lives, a good night’s rest is worth more than gold. If you’ve been the lucky recipient of better sleep, you can thank your new healthier lifestyle – not the scale.
6. Your favorite clothes fit better.
Let’s face it … Your buddies and coworkers haven’t the slightest clue what you weigh. But will they notice if you start to look a little leaner and your clothes fit a bit better? You bet. Recognition aside, there’s nothing better than having to add a notch to your belt because your waistline has tightened up a bit. A number on a scale can’t replace the satisfaction of getting more life out of your favorite clothes.
7. You’re walking a little taller.
Battling extra weight can be pretty damaging to the ego. People who are overweight and self-conscious tend to slouch a bit more, stick to the sidelines, or wear big, baggy clothes so no-one will notice them. As you continue to exercise and eat better, a more confident you will emerge. You’ll stand up straighter, hold yourself higher, and let your voice be heard more. Since exercise also boosts your brain’s production of endorphins – your “feel-good” neurotransmitters – you may also have a more positive outlook on life in general. Enjoy your newfound confidence, and don’t give your scale weight another thought!
About the Author
Nicole Kepic is a fitness expert who specializes in health, wellness, and lifestyle writing. She has also had articles published in a variety of fitness and bodybuilding magazines. When she’s not busy writing for her clients, Nicole is either keeping active with her family or dreaming of her next sunny vacation. www.nicolekepic.com