Why the Scale Doesn't Budge
It is vital to remember that everyone's body is unique. Based on a lot of factors including but not limited to nutrition, health history, stress levels, and age some people will see the scale move at a more rapid rate and others at a slower rate. Ultimately, as long as the trend is correct and the body fat percentage is coming down, you're on the right track. You won't necessarily see that on a scale, even right away when beginning a strength training program. Whether you find it takes three months or a year to hit a healthy body composition, the most important thing is consistency in the right direction. However, if you're frustrated with those numbers on the scale, here are some reasons you may not see the scale budging.
1. You're not eating enough.
Your body's metabolism will slow down if you don't eat enough or often enough. Forgetting to eat before or after a workout and skipping meals is actually jeopardizing your efforts. An engine won't run without proper fuel and the same is true for your body. Consider food to be your fuel, not a treat for good behavior or something unnecessary that can be deprioritized.
2. You need more water.
Be sure to stay hydrated to help your body carry out metabolic processes - from flushing your system and settling cravings. Surprisingly, the majority of the time when you’re hungry, you’re actually thirsty (unless you're not eating enough ;) )
3. You need more of a challenge.
If you find yourself joking about a particular activity being your 'exercise for the day', it likely didn't qualify as exercise. Participating in a strength training program (either in a group or on your own) is not optional if you are want to make actual changes in your body composition. It will require doing things that are 'difficult' at first but will become easier as you practice. It will require variation and high intensity. We recommend getting a coach so those two elements can be accomplished safely. It will likely require sweating. All in all, if you find yourself watching television or reading a book when you're working out, you're not exercising effectively and you should have zero expectation of seeing a change.
4. The scale is dumb.
Too much emphasis has been placed on whatever the common phrase 'weight loss' means. People can do some ridiculously unhealthy things just to change the scale all while sacrificing their health. Choosing a radical diet that reduces calories too much so your body doesn't receive proper nutrition and completely eliminating entire categories of food and not receiving adequate vitamins and minerals won't help you. What you want to do is decrease your body fat percentage. A pound of muscle and a pound of fat weigh the same but have different implications on your joints and cardiovascular system. Increasing your lean muscle may not change the scale but your clothes will fit better, you will have an easier time getting in and out of your vehicle, you will likely sleep better and manage stress easier, and you will come to value all of that over whatever number is blinking at you.
Keep your emphasis on healthy habits—eating properly and consistently participating in a strength training program is what we've found the majority of people need to set the trajectory toward a healthy, ideal body composition (no matter what the scale says.)
Instead pay attention to these four things:
1. Your endurance and energy
2. Your 'fullness' after a meal
3. Your sleep quality
4. Your clothes
When you see positive changes in these four areas, count them as wins! Celebrate like you would if you 'lost a few pounds' because in reality, you are making bigger and better strides toward your health than whatever the scale might be saying you're doing (or not doing).