Tired of those kilos hanging around-at least according to your scales? Learn the secrets of the weigh-in.
You’ve nibbled your way through healthy low-fat meals for weeks and put in some serious hours at the gym to shave off the kilos. But the scales haven’t budged-not one tiny little bit. In fact, when you stepped ever so tentatively on them just yesterday morning those evil little numbers jumped up a half a kilo!
Small variations in your body weight are perfectly normal-you might have been eating a few carbohydrate-loaded meals, you could be a little constipated or dehydrated. Eating more salt, under active thyroid, even increasing exercise… there are many reasons people have unexplained and sometime confusing weight increases when they step on the scales. Some experts tell us you can even blame it on the weather.
Forecast: Weight Gain
Across the globe, kilo creep in chilly weather has been blamed on many things-not getting outdoors and exercising for one. Some researchers claim there’s another scientific reason, lack of sunshine producing Vitamin D. This vitamin is said to boost lepin, a hormone that signals a feeling of fullness to the brain. However, not all researchers agree.
Biochemist Doctor has studied the link between obesity and low circulating Vitamin D in the body and says the results are inconclusive. “It may be due to the Vitamin D stores in fat stores which are inaccessible, or due to differences in how the Vitamin D is carried in the blood.
Beat the numbers : Catch some sun when you can so you can boost your vitamin D, and get active. Rain, hail or shine, and no matter what the season, there’s no excuse for turning into a couch potato. “Get morning and you’ll soon see the results that you’re looking for”. “Remember even elite athletes don’t get to take time off in winter, eat whatever they want and look that great!”
Staying well hydrated is important too. If you’re dehydrated your body hangs onto every precious drop and you’ll retain fluid, equating to increased water weights, and up those numbers climb.
Under Active Thyroid
Hypothyroidism affects around one in seven women. It’s caused by the body not producing enough thyroid hormones. Early symptoms include tiredness, poor concentration and yes, a slow and steady weight gain. It’s an insidious disease and a condition that’s often misdiagnosed. “Some women get to the point where they’re virtually starving themselves and still gaining weight”. “Often doctors write it off as early menopause, or depression, in which case they’ll prescribe anti-depressants which only exacerbates the weight gain.”
Beat the numbers : Reduce your risk by ensuring you have enough iodine in your diet-eat iodine-infused bread, salt and plenty of iodine-rich seafood and dairy. If you have a family histories of thyroid issues or are experiencing symptoms-ask your doctor for a blood test. Once, diagnosed, the condition can be stabilised with medication.
Most women could confess to experiencing food cravings before they get their period. It would be OK if it was fresh fruits and veggies your body hungered for, but sadly no, it’s usually sugary, refined crabs. As if that wasn’t enough, you may also gain water weight through fluid attention.
“Holding excess water and salt can fluctuate your weight by a kilo or two, as a result of altered hormonal levels in the kidneys”. But, the good news is it’s only temporary.
Beat the numbers : You might not feel like it, but exercising dramatically reduces PMS symptoms, including the temptation of the refrigerator. “Exercise is beneficial due to the neurotransmitter effect of exercise on the brain’s feel-good chemicals”. Try to resist the urge to eat refined crabs and fuel your body with nutrient-rich grains, pulses and soy. “Foods like these contain natural plant-estrogens which can help with PMS symptoms”.
You’ve ramped up your exercise with some resistance training, and you’re feeling great-that is until you step onto the scales. It’s frustrating watching the numbers climb or remain stubbornly unmoving even though you’ve been exercising more. So why does it happen? Strengthen muscle tissue and you create tears in the muscle fiber that your body repairs making the muscle stronger and a little bigger. “When you exercise your fat cells get smaller as you burn up more energy but your muscle tissue gets denser and heavier, resulting in little movement on the scales”.
Beat the numbers : Be patient and wait it out. “Exercise is such an important part of long-term weight loss-building up your muscle mass helps to burn up to five times more calories than fat mass”. As your body shape changes your clothes will fit you better. And before long that gorgeous dress you’ve been dying to wear will shimmy right over your newly sculpted body.
Being A Slave To The Scales
For some people, scales can be a double-edged sword. On the upside, research shows those who are a healthy body weight usually do weigh themselves regularly. “But there are also those who jump on the scales every single day and if their weight has gone up, it sets the mood for their day and feel like a failure”.
“People certainly can become obsessed by the numbers”. “If you’re determined to stand on the scales then do so no more than once a week-that way if the numbers are slowly climbing you can look at your diet or increase your exercise accordingly.”
Beat the numbers : When you step on the scales each week, weigh yourself at the same time of the day. Not after you’ve eaten a huge meal-you’ll weigh more because of the actual weight of the food you’ve eaten. And avoid jumping on the scales directly after you so aerobic exercise-you won’t get a true reading. “Some might find they get increased numbers on the scales, others an immediate decrease which will creep back after a drink of water.”
Measuring Your Success!
If you are doing all the right things, eating well and leading an active and healthy lifestyle, a small blip on the scales is nothing to beat yourself up about.
The reality is scales aren’t always the best measure of your success if you are trying to lose weight. Nothing down your measurement each month (especially your waist circumference), and looking at the way your clothes fit and feel are better indicators. Look at your body in the mirror, do your muscles look more toned? Does your face look thinner? Are your weight loss journeys to where you are now? Have friends been commenting on how fabulous you look?
If you do find yourself constantly wanting to take a peek at your weight, be brave, tough it out and step away from the scales-you’ll feel better for it.