All contents Copyright ©2000-2005 John P. Hussman, Ph.D.
“Believe me, you’re going to have nights when you look in the mirror and say “all this work, and I look the same”, and mornings when you just can’t believe the improvement. Don’t base your enthusiasm about your fitness program on either of those short-term impressions. Do try to troubleshoot by periodically reviewing your diet, intensity, and variety, but stick with it!
For most people, the initial drop in the scale will probably understate your fat loss in the first few weeks. For very overweight people, the drop on the scale will probably exceed your fat loss. That’s particularly true if your diet was very high in carbohydrate before you started. In very overweight individuals, even the increased muscle cell and blood volume is typically less than the initial loss in water weight. A lot of people seem to think that water loss is not “real” weight loss. Well, if your fat level stays the same, that’s true. But your body’s water retention is largely determined by its fat content. So if you lose the fat, the water stays off as well!
Because of these significant differences in fluid-volume changes, some people will notice immediate changes, while others (and I would expect, most) will see only limited changes for the first 5 weeks or so. That seems like an awfully long time to wait, but remember, fat doesn’t “spot reduce” – it comes off in sheets, like an onion. That’s why you can estimate your overall bodyfat levels just by measuring at one or two sites. Fat isn’t so exquisitely distributed that those estimates are exact, so if you’re doing bodyfat readings at just one or two sites, your figures can jump and stall from time to time. The upper body (shoulders, chest, upper abdominal area) generally shows improvement first. But expect that the areas you’ve always thought were “too fat” will still look too fat for a while, even though you feel good, look “healthier”, and can gradually measure that your fat percentage is going down.
There’s so much pressure to see quick results that it’s easy to forget the point of this, which is quite frankly to save your life. Don’t ignore increases in strength and overall feeling of health and well-being. Those are goals too.
If you were able to look inside of your cells and see your “good” enzymes increasing, your energy-producing mitochondria multiplying, your cholesterol falling, your arteries clearing, your blood vessels becoming more efficient, your muscles strengthening, your bone-density improving, and all of the remarkable changes that this program triggers, it would be clear that the scale and calipers are just insufficient ways of measuring success. As these internal changes become significant, your external progress accelerates. Some people just start out needing more internal changes than others, because of their prior lifestyle, long-term yo-yo dieting, and other factors. Please understand that if you’re following the daily intensity and carefully limiting your portions, the progress is happening, whether it’s obvious or not. I’ve just seen too many individual cases to think any different.
So don’t force the numbers. They’ll come. Here is your job today: adhere to a winning pattern of action that you know will produce results if you follow it consistently. That’s all. And if you do that today, congratulate yourself as a winner. If instead, you insist on measuring your success by whether or not the scale or caliper show progress today, you’re creating a game you can lose. In Steven Covey’s words, you’re putting yourself in the position of trying to manage consequences rather than actions. You’ll never get a reliable sense of confidence that way. Look, you’re following a program that works. Do troubleshoot. Do review your workouts, food choices, portion sizes, and meal plans. But make every day a game you can win.” By John P. Hussman, Ph.D (This excerpt found HERE)