This may sound odd, but there are times when not losing weight is a huge accomplishment.
I’m probably the last person you would expect to hear this from, but there are times that not losing weight or even gaining a minimal amount of weight can be a good thing. When your goal is weight loss, you would think that if you aren’t progressing towards your goal, you are failing. But let’s step back for a moment and look at some important factors.
(Disclaimer: I have probably talked to 10 people in the last 2 days about these various issues/problems. I promise I’m not targeting any one with this post. However, when an issue comes up that many times, I feel there are many more that need to hear it.)
Loss or Hard Times – Life is life, and sometimes things happen that are beyond our control. I don’t care how determined we are to make progress, when dramatic events in our life occur, it can really create some problems. We have distractions, are emotional, and the thought of worrying about something else is overwhelming. Just maintaining your weight through times like this is progress, especially if you have a history of being an emotional eater. So if you are going through a difficult time in your life, try to manage it the best you can. Resist temptation as much as possible, and try to exercise when possible. The exercise will make you feel better. I know it may not feel that way right now, but tell me after you get done how it feels. Also, there are chemical changes that are occurring in your body that you may not realize. Any time you are dealing with things that are emotional or stressful, your cortisol levels will rise in your body, often leading to weight gain. Exercise helps reduce cortisol levels, but it’s still a battle. Give yourself a break, maintain where you are the best you can, and get back on track as soon as possible.
Sick or Ill – A couple of weeks ago I finally succumbed to getting sick. And while I was able to do a little bit of exercise, my appetite was just not there. So when I exercised, my energy levels were extremely low. I had to be very careful not to over exert myself, because I knew it would result in more sickness. I gave myself a break and allowed my body to recover. I made absolutely no progress and actually regressed a little. However, I recovered pretty quickly because of it and now feel much better. I can work out 100% and can start making progress again. However, if I kept pushing through it, there’s a chance it could linger on for much longer. I had to think long-term vs. short term in order to make progress in the end. It’s the reason I send my clients home if they come in sick. I know it’s good for them to work out, but it will be worse if we try to push through it.
Inches vs. Pounds – I know the frustration of seeing inches come off, but not seeing any changes in pounds. I’ve had to lose weight in the past and I remember watching the scale constantly. You work out hard, feel great, only to get let down by that stupid scale. You felt better, but somehow that scale was able to convince you that you weren’t making any progress at all. It’s funny how we can hear 10 reactions to the work we are doing, yet we only remember the negative comments. The truth is, if you are losing inches, you are losing body fat. And there are also times that our body will only lose inches, and other times, only the weight will change. It’s frustrating, but it does happen that way. So what do you do? You keep focused and don’t stop. Giving up when you are seeing some progress doesn’t make sense. I know the scale may not move (and there are numerous reasons for this), but if inches are coming off, you are on the right track. Keep focused and give it time to manifest. And if the scale keeps insulting you, it may be time to hide the scale and focus on all of the positive attention you are getting.
Injury – We are taught to push through no matter what we are going through. It’s ok if it hurts, but don’t let it slow you down. The reality is, that’s not reality. Push through an injury, and see how long it takes for you to end up in surgery. When you have an injury, you need to pull back and take care of the injured part of the body, and then get back going again when you have recovered. I’m not saying that you can’t work out other parts of the body. In fact, I would say if you are able to work out other parts of the body that are not affected by that particular injury, then go for it. However, you need to understand the body well enough to know you aren’t causing additional damage in the process. Your progress will be slower during that time, but it’s better to take care of the injury and get back to 100% as soon as possible than to struggle with pain for months on end because you didn’t want to stop. I know that’s not the way it works in the Olympics, but they only have a chance to win a gold medal every 4 years.
Follow the advice and try to get back to 100% as soon as you can. There is a time for results and a time for maintenance. Have realistic expectations. Don’t get too disappointed when things don’t turn out like you want them to. Give yourself a break, face the reality of the situation, and get back on track when you have the opportunity. You’ll be much better in the long run.