Two Common Scenarios
Congratulations on starting a new health and fitness program or increasing intensity on your prior fitness program. Making fitness a priority is one of the best things you can do for yourself and for those around you. It is proven that following a quality nutrition plan and committing to consistent exercise reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and many other diseases, improves mood, decreases stress, improves sleep quality and helps build muscle, lose fat and increase energy levels. There are many other benefits to committing to a health and fitness program, but what most people want to know is, “When am I going to see results?” or “When am I going to lose weight?”
Many people give up on a program too soon because they don’t see the scale move as quickly as they’d like. Please, DO NOT DO THAT! Your body is working hard and making many changes inside, even if you don’t see them yet. You’ve probably made some big adjustments all at once. Trust in the process and give your body time to work. Before long you’re going to start seeing, and feeling, the changes you hope for.
It’s impossible to predict what will happen for each person. No two people will have the same results in the same amount of time (even if following the exact same program). Below are two common scenarios that you may experience the first couple of weeks of your program. For those who've been training consistently, but have upped your game, these scenarios may still apply to you as well.
1. A Large Weight Drop
Most people starting a new fitness program or making changes to an existing program are decreasing calories, decreasing carbohydrates (carbs) and increasing protein. This can encourage a quick drop in weight initially. When you eat carbs, they’re either used for energy or stored as glycogen in your liver and muscles to be used for energy later. For every gram of glycogen the body stores, 2-4 grams of water is stored as well. When calories are reduced, especially from carbs, the stored glycogen is used for energy, and the additional water is lost in the process. Simply put, carbs cause the body to hold more water. Cutting carbs causes the body to release stored water. Combined with an increase in protein, which takes the body more energy to burn and eliminates water, and a decrease sodium by making healthier food choices, you may experience a large weight drop in the first week or two.
A big drop in weight can be motivating and encourage you to keep pushing forward, but don’t be frustrated when weight loss slows down. It will. Your goal should be to lose 1-2 pounds per week. Anything more would likely be muscle loss. You do not want that! Muscle is what makes you firm and toned. You want to protect it at all costs. Be encouraged by the big drop, but understand that by staying in the 1-2 pounds lost per week range, you are losing the right kind of weight and will have more success maintaining your losses.
2. A Slight Weight Increase
“Say what? I made all of those nutrition changes and put in all of that hard work and I gained weight?” I know this is frustrating, but view this as a positive and DO NOT GIVE UP! If you’ve just started training again, or upped your training intensity, it’s likely you’re gaining muscle. You want that muscle! Muscle is what makes you toned and tight. It also increases your metabolism helping you burn more fat. Count this as a major win and know that this added muscle is going to help you see a weight drop very soon – and the weight you want to drop - FAT.
Changes in training activity put new stress on your muscle fibers creating soreness and inflammation. Part of the bodies healing response is to increase water to the inflamed areas. This is temporary and you will lose the extra fluid quickly. Use your clothes as a guide. If they feel looser, you’re losing inches and scale weight should follow before long. If they feel tighter, take a look at your nutrition plan to be sure you’re on the right program for your goals. If you’re following a Focused Fitness Nutrition Plan, rest assured, you’re on the best program for your goals. You’ll be seeing changes in no time!
Trust in the process. Give your body time to show you what it’s been up to inside! Be encouraged and stay positive.