Weekly Weigh Day #3: This is why I hate weekly weigh-ins

June 3, 2011

Okay, what’s going on here? I’ve gained 2 pounds. I don’t understand how after 3 weeks of doing Atkins I have only a 4-pound net loss, and that was probably water.


There are a few possibilities here as to why I’m not losing. One is what I always tell myself and what I know to be true: if I’m burning fat but building muscle, I’m going to be heavier but smaller. Muscle weighs more but takes up less space. However, I haven’t been doing very much strength training yet; I’m sort of working up to a good routine slowly. I’m only spending 10 minutes at it on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and I really don’t think that I’ve built enough muscle to make up for the lost fat and then some. I’m exercising an hour a day on the treadmill at a slight incline, but does that build muscle that fast?

Another possibility is that I’m getting more calories than I think I’m getting, although calories are not really an issue on Atkins. As I’ve mentioned, MyFitnessPal, the iPhone app that I’m using, tallies up the calories automatically when you log your meals, so either its database is way off, or I’m grossly underestimating how many tablespoons or ounces of this or that I’m eating and am giving the app bad information to begin with. I don’t think either reason would be cause enough for a 2-pound gain, but what do I know?

On the other hand, if I’m actually getting too few calories, which is the problem I thought I was having, maybe my body is already holding on to the fat because it thinks I’m going to keep being stingy with the sustenance. It’s just hard to believe that’s the case when I haven’t felt a hunger pang since I started this diet. If I’m eating enough food to feel full, should I have to worry about getting too few calories?

As for the scale, the one at the clinic shows 178 today, which is what it said last week. So according to my own scale, I’ve gained 2 pounds, and according to the clinic scale, I’ve stayed the same. I’m only in the third week and I have almost 50 pounds to lose. Shouldn’t the bigger losses continue just a tad longer? In my experience, the plateaus usually don’t hit for a few weeks yet.

Again, though: I am not giving up. No way. It would be stupid for several reasons. It’s not like this gain proves that it’s physically impossible for me to lose weight so I might as well get cozy with a box of Krispy Kremes. Obviously, I know I am capable of losing weight; just about anybody can if they work hard enough and take the right approach.

Another reason to stay the course is that I know my body is changing. What I saw on the scale this morning does not change the fact that yesterday I felt confident I was skinnier. My pants feel a bit baggier in the thighs; not a lot, but a little. In general, I look better, more alive, and I feel better, with more energy. No drastic changes yet, but definitely improvements, so it would be foolish to give up now just because the scale isn’t cooperating. If I weren’t weighing myself weekly, I wouldn’t even know I was facing a plateau, much less a gain. But it’s weird how much power those numbers seem to have over us despite our brains knowing the truth.

So it’s onward and upward, people! Or should I say, onward and downward! I’m going to continue with Atkins for the time being. I’m sure it will start working again at some point. I’ll try to be a little more careful about my total carbs and where they’re coming from. I’ve gone over the recommended 20 a few times, only by about 3 to 5, which isn’t much because I used to pretty much eat bread from morning till night, so even 25 carbs is a super-drastic cutback.

If next week shows another gain, I still won’t quit, but I don’t know what I’ll do. I may have to conclude that Atkins isn’t for me. I’ll check in with other “inductees” at their forums and see what advice they may have for me.

And now I will try very hard to stop thinking about Krispy Kremes.

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