Paige Waehner is a certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise and a freelance writer with more than 16 years of exercise experience. She trains clients at NutriFit Personal Training Studio in the Chicago suburbs. She is originally from Nashville, TN and misses the nice, warm weather there.
Updated June 23, 2014.
Losing weight can be a frustrating business. You have to eat healthy, start exercising and then wait. And wait, and wait and, sometimes, wait some more. Sometimes you see a little progress and, other times, nothing seems to be happening. So, if you're exercising and you're watching your calories, why isn't the scale moving?
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If you've reduced your calories by about 500 calories a day with diet and exercise and are consistent with that every day, you will theoretically lose about a pound a week. However, there are other factors involved in weight loss, some of which you can't control including gender, metabolism, weight, age, fitness level and hereditary factors. It's hard to let your body respond in it's own time, but that's exactly what we have to do and it helps to:
- Focus on what you can control: You can control what you eat, how often you move, how you deal with stress and how well you take care of yourself each day. Doing the best you can with each of those will put you on the right track.
- Forget about what you can't control: You can't do anything about the things that may make it more difficult to lose weight, such as genetics, age, gender and body type. How much these things play a role in your success isn't clear, but you know you can eat better and exercise more, two things that can help
you lose weight.
- Ditch the scale . If getting on the scale makes you crazy, put it aside for awhile or only weigh yourself every once in a while. A scale can't tell you how much body fat you're losing, so take your measurements, get your body fat tested or use other methods of tracking your progress. Find ways to encourage your success and that make you feel good about what you're doing.
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- Focus on the results you are getting. Are you feeling better? Walking faster or longer? Getting stronger? Sleeping better? More energetic? That's progress and there may be other helath benefits to keep you motivated.
2. Why Can't I Get Rid of My Belly and Thighs?
Many people find that, even when they lose body fat, some areas never seem to slim down (i.e. the belly, hips and thighs). If you've been doing a zillion crunches on your quest for six-pack abs, remember:
- Spot training doesn't work. You can't do crunches to reduce your belly fat or leg lifts to reduce cellulite around the thighs.
- To slim down, you have to lose body fat. Cardio, weight training and diet are three crucial components to losing fat.
- Even losing body fat doesn't guarantee perfection. Your body decides where and when it loses fat, not you. Do your best with your exercise and diet and allow your body to respond to that.
- Focus on the positive results. Maybe you'd rather lose an inch around your belly than, say around your forearm or calf, but progress is progress. If you're losing inches, you're on the right track and your body will eventually get around to those more stubborn areas if you're consistent and patient.