The Scale Scourge

Yes, The Scale Hates You


I find this happens quite often.  Basically, every damn day.  Part of the transition that I am doing (that we don’t necessarily ask you to do, or even expect it for that matter) is weigh in every morning.  Usually after my morning constitutional (fancy word for poop) and before I have breakfast.

Even if you were to weigh yourself only once a week, which is reasonable and what most plans ask of you, you will notice this trend as well.  I like to call it the “Scale Scourge”.

Let me run the scenario for you.  You bust your ass in the gym.  You feel great, pull off an extra 15 minutes of cardio a day, pump out two extra reps of whatever it is you’re working on.  Eat extremely well.  Do extra yard work.  Everything you possibly could.  You get on the scale, expecting to see good results, and nothing.  You stay exactly the same.  Or worse, you gain an extra pound or two.

You look at the scale in sheer horror and disbelief, and (if you’re like me) want to scream something like “Fuck you scale!  You’re gonna die!”.  Then go all “Hulk Smash!” on the poor piece of mechanical equipment, all because you didn’t like it.  That shit happened to me this morning.  I held back my rage and resisted the urge to Office Space the damn thing. I also did not binge on the homemade oreos I finished baking for the catering gig I am doing (go me).

Someone explained it to me as this: “Us women call that water retention.  We have an excuse for everything,”.  You know, that actually isn’t that far off sometimes from what might be going on.

Is it frustrating?  Ya damn right it is.  There is nothing more antagonizing and disheartening when you work your ass off to get into shape, than not seeing scale results.  And it happens all the fucking time.  It’s normal.  The key is to not let it stop you.  There are a few things that can be going on, and not all of them being terribly bad.

First, and the most likely culprit, is water retention.  Water retention isn’t a bad thing (in terms of weight loss anyways) at this stage in your change (those last two links are more about what I am going to discuss.  Both interesting reads).  I won’t go too in to much detail, but to sum it up, it’s basically to help your body adjust to the physical change.  The more you weigh, the higher calories and water intake you need.  When you lose weight, your body has to adjust to the loss, and the change in the amount of water you need to intake.  Well, those little fuckers (fat cells) hold on to water until you adjust.  This is why you can lose most size, but still weigh the same (water weight takes up less space than fat, so that’s how you drop some size…SCIENCE!).  This isn’t permanent, but it is frustrating to say the least.  Give it a few days and the change will be almost overnight.  Don’t worry, you’re not failing (probably not anyways).

Second, and quite commonly, you probably hit a plateau.  They are common and happen all the time.  There are warning signs that it’s happening.  Keep an eye out for them, as they can really fuck with your progress (especially #5).

I know for me its usually around weeks three and four of a routine/regimen.  A couple of things can cause it, and its an easy fix.  “What causes it?” you’re asking?  Welp, a couple of things can be the prime suspect.

  1. You have simply become used to the workout you’re doing.  It’s a matter of changing up the routine you find yourself in.
  2. If you’re a guy, then you’re probably doing it wrong.  No, not that.  Working out dummy.  Most guys tend to focus on the muscles groups that are good to work out, but aren’t as important as others.  Biceps, chest, abs, those ones.  Adding a good back routine, as well as making sure YOU DON’T FUCKING SKIP LEG DAY, you should push through.  Your back and legs are your two biggest muscle groups, and help with your ability to do literally everything else.  Your back especially.  Your back has a lot of muscles in it, and since muscles burn more energy, ie fat and calories, see where I’m going here? (Also, friends don’t let friends skip leg day.  Do the exercises.  Trust me, you’ll thank me later.)  You can still do the other muscle groups, just rotate the days you exercise the groups.  Doing the same 5 things over and over doesn’t do any good.
  3. You’re doing too much.  This one always confuses most people at first, but it’s true.  I know it is, I’ve experienced it first hand, and still do.  Take a few days off.  Your body needs time to rest and heal from everything, and in the long run you’ll be all the better.  That doesn’t mean let your diet go to absolute shit, just rest up.

There are more than that, but those are the most common.  Keep eating well during the days off that you take, as letting your diet go to shit just defeats the purpose of everything.  Revamp what it is you’re doing.  Example: change up the order in which you do your sets.  Work compound muscle moves first, then singles, and back.  The key is to keep your brain guessing, and to also keep you interested in your exercises.
If you’ve tried all of the above fixes, and nothing is working, then that brings me to my last point: See your doctor. There are times when it actually is a health issue that your doctor needs to help you with.  There are many things they can be, and we are not suited to diagnose that or fix it.  Remember, I’m not a doctor, I’ve just been through this shit before.

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