When I started a fitness régime last month I was full of determination. I am at my local gym three times a week, with a brisk hour-long walk at the weekend. I am eating sensibly, no alcohol etc. Yet I put on 2lb in the past fortnight. I know it’s silly to get discouraged this soon, but am I doing something wrong?
There are several possible explanations for your apparent weight gain, mostly to do with the daily fluctuations that nearly all of us experience. Weight can go up or down by a pound or two from day to day, whether or not we are on a diet. These variations can be down to easily overlooked factors, such as using different sets of scales, or even moving your own scales from bathroom to bedroom; or wearing different clothing /shoes for your weigh-ins.
Equally variable but less obvious are factors such as the time of day you weigh yourself, how hydrated your body is, whether you’ve recently eaten a meal or even drunk a bucketful of cola at the cinema. Many women suffer from water retention before a period, which also affects weight.
So your 2lb “gain” might be down to any of these subtle variations, none of which has anything to do with your healthy lifestyle régime. If you are going to do regular weight checks, I suggest you restrict them to no more than twice a week, using the same scales in the same place each time – and preferably make this first thing in the morning with no clothes on. That way, you can limit some of the misleading fluctuations, and avoid becoming obsessed (or disappointed) by the results of a daily weigh-in.
Having said this, there is one hazard you need to watch out for. You say you are eating “sensibly”, which suggests you have not gone on a diet as such. This is fine. The level of exercise you are doing is great and you should already be starting to feel healthier and fitter. But it’s quite common for people to make an almost subconscious adjustment for increased activity by allowing themselves just a bit more of what they fancy as a sort of reward for their good work.
Even if you are eating more sensibly, you need to ensure that you have not started to increase the portions, or slipped in a chocolate treat or two each day, which you then mentally write off against the extra exercise you are doing. Remember: the bottom line to losing weight is that you have to eat fewer calories than you are burning on any given day. It is likely that prior to your lifestyle change you were slightly over-eating on a daily basis, which is what causes the weight to creep on in the first place. So you need to keep a tight rein on calories eaten in order for all that extra effort to show up as weight loss.
Steel yourself for good weeks and some no-progress weeks, and keep your sights firmly on a six-month goal: you’ll be delighted when you realise you’ve made it!