Congratulations on your weight loss. It sounds like you’ve been consistent with physical activity and a healthy diet; the two key components in weight management as well as risk reduction for heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer (Mayo Clinic, 2011).
Sometimes our perception, self image, or expectations of loss may hide what is truly happening as our body begins to change. Given the fact that you are actually losing weight overall, what you perceive as getting fatter may be the feeling of water retention on a specific day, increases in your overall muscle firmness, or any number of things that can evoke a change in the way we view ourselves.
It’s helpful to remember that your success can be measured through a number of means. One of the least effective yet mostly widely used is weight. This is because our day-to-day water weight fluctuations tend to cloud the picture when it comes to progress. A fact that holds especially true for women due to varying hormone levels throughout the month. For this reason, it’s important to consider incorporating some additional means to monitor real progress and help eliminate potential false perceptions.
Taking various body measurements, such as a waist or hip circumference, is a great way to monitor progress. Focusing on inches lost verses pounds on a scale will help you avoid the frustration of water weight fluctuations and zero in on actual visible changes seen by you and the rest of the world.
Another simple way to measure progress is by periodically trying on an article of clothing you’ve been unable to wear because it’s too tight. Monitoring the fit over time can be a great motivator-particularly if it’s something that you’ve wanted to get back into for a while.
Body Composition Testing
Calculating your estimated fat to lean tissue ratio, or body composition, is yet another means of monitoring progress. This measure is particularly important because of its direct correlation to metabolic rate. More muscle (less fat) equates to a higher metabolism-making it easier to lose weight and keep it off. A certified fitness professional can help you explore the different options for estimating body composition and choose the one that works best for you to track over time.
Losing weight is challenging and all the efforts you’ve made to this point will pay off in the end if you maintain your consistency, focus, and the most importantly- patience.