143 days ago I decided to do something about my weight. Simple tasks like playing with my daughter left me winded and I just didn’t want to have to deal with it anymore. Ultimately, I wanted to look and feel better first but seeing a 71 pound loss on the scale would be a pretty awesome side effect.
To achieve my goal I’ve gone the route of diet and exercise. I wanted no part of fad diets, pills, or crazy home-brew concoctions advertised to shed pounds. It all seemed very simple, if I take in fewer calories than I burn in a given period of time, I will lose weight.
The simplest way to keep tabs on my intake was to count calories. I setup a My Fitness Pal account and the process has been very simple. The hardest part is being honest, you can’t expect the system to work if you conveniently forget to add that 250 calorie pack of Peanut M&M’s to your food diary.
On the exercise front, I decided to go the cardio route. I started running a few times per week. The beginning was tough, I would came home panting, slicked with sweat, and limping from shin splints. It was a case of trying to do too much too soon but I was determined to push through.
About a month ago I hit the halfway point and was thrilled. I lost 35 pounds and felt better than I had in years. I was making smart food decisions and could run for 3 miles without issue. In the middle of this I even started going to the gym to work on strength training.
Right about now you’re probably waiting for the hammer to drop. Oh no, how much weight did you gain back in the past month?
No worries, I haven’t gained back any weight but I am a little frustrated. This has been a tough year for my family and I’ve only been able to go out running around my wife’s work / school schedule. With that having changed, I haven’t been out running in several weeks.
To make up for the lack of running, I’ve hit the gym harder than ever. I transitioned from the common 3 Sets of 10 Reps routine to a much heavier 5 Sets of 6 Reps routine. My strength has increased dramatically and I even feel more confident.
You know the embarrassing flexing that you do in front of the mirror when no one is watching? Well, I was doing that the other day and could see that lifting heavy was starting to pay off. I was leaner and could see more muscle definition. I joked to my wife that I looked good from the nipples up and from the waist down. All I had to do was lose the gut in the middle and I’d be happy.
The frustrating part is that the scale hasn’t budged since I started lifting heavy. I gain and lose the same 2-3 pounds throughout the week and settle back at 35 pounds lost. Don’t get me wrong, I look and feel better now than I did a month ago but deep down inside I still want to see the scale move to a lower number.
I’m confused as to what is going on. Since I’m eating at a calorie deficit, it should be impossible for me to gain muscle mass. Theoretically I should still be losing weight, even without cardio 5 days per week (I still do cardio 3 days per week at the gym).
I think I’m going to have to go back to running 2-3 days per week. The added cardio helps move the scale and I enjoy it. In order to do that I’ll just have to start waking up earlier and invest in some reflective running gear.