Changes In Your Body Along The Way

In my quest to lose 158 pounds I didn’t always lose weight in a steady downward trend. There were times where the scale obeyed and moved downward in a very consistent fashion. Because I started out at about 300 pounds, in the beginning, I regularly lost 2 – 3 pounds a week. I liked those first months of my journey a lot. Especially due to the fact that because I was so obese no one could even tell I had lost weight until I had lost over 50 pounds.

However, as time went on, and I went from morbidly obese to just plain obese, the weight loss slowed down. I still lost consistently, but it was more like 1 – 2 pounds a week. There were times where I seemed to spike downward and I those spikes made me happy. There were also the occasional jog upward on the scale, and I didn’t like that too much at all. There were also times that I just stayed the same for a while. Honestly, those were hard weeks.

Quite frankly, I really hated the “stay the same” for a while part of weight loss. Really hated it a lot. In past weight loss attempts I quit anytime my weight loss plateaued. I’d throw my hands up in the air, and say, “Well, my body is done losing weight. I’m destined to weigh 300 pounds.”

BUT that last time, I quickly learned that those “stay the same times” were just a part of weight loss and a great practice for future weight maintenance. During my attempt to lose 158 pounds, I experienced several weight loss plateaus. Each time, I tried very hard to pay attention to the other positive changes I saw while the scale was stuck.

One thing I noticed right away was the fact that although the scale seemed stuck at a certain weight, my body shape and fitness level certainly were not. Not stuck at all.

As I stayed stuck in one place scale-wise, I did not allow myself to stay stuck fitness wise. I kept exercising, always working hard to increase the intensity of my exercise, whether that exercise was walking, running, or biking. I continued strength training, utilizing different pieces of equipment and working on different body parts. And I noticed changes in my body even without the scale moving.

I noticed that my pants and skirts fit better. I also noticed that I had more endurance, that my calves had some new definition to them, and most importantly, that I felt stronger.

And those non-scale victories,  changes in my appearance, and my positive feelings about myself kept me motivated and focused. Those changes were real and lasting. Those changes were ones that got me through those times when the scale wouldn’t move.

Question: I was wondering if you notice the same thing, and if you’d share some changes you’ve seen! Diane

38 thoughts on “Changes In Your Body Along The Way

  1. Laura says:

    I have been in the same weight from January! That’s a big amount of time (3 months!!!) and I have just lost 15 of the 55 pounds I have to loose to be in a normal range.

    So, sometimes I feel a little bad.

    But in this 3 months I have lost a size of trousers so… I think that I can be happy with my “no loose in 3 months”.

  2. Lola says:

    For a couple of months last year, I took a picture with these same pants on every month. In some months the total change in my weight was just 2 pounds, but you could see a HUGE difference in the jeans – I was so happy I did that.

    But you are right. It is SO hard to stay focused and motivated when you are plateauing. Sometimes its a legitimate plateau and I think sometimes I am not focusing 100% and maybe letting somethings slide… :o(
    .-= Lola´s last blog ..Kitchen Sink =-.

  3. Susan says:

    I lose inches before the pounds go down. I am recently down 8 lbs and into a pair of jean shorts that have no give to them. I haven’t been able to wear them in several years. I kept trying these on and low and behold one day they were actually lose:)I’m recording my measurements at the beginning of the month this year as well as keeping track of the pounds down, and exercises done. I feel stronger and have more confidence as well!
    .-= Susan´s last blog ..If Its Not Broke Don’t Fix It! =-.

  4. John says:

    I’ve had this problem in the past so I’m more prepared for it when it happens this time. When it does happen this time I’ll be watching for other good signs like you mentioned so I don’t get depressed when the scale doesn’t budge.
    .-= John´s last blog ..I’m a Winner! =-.

  5. Marcelle says:

    I love this very informative entry…has taught me so much more..
    If you read my blog today you will see I wrote about you and have linked up to your blog…

    I have also noticed that even with having gained the few pounds my clothing has gotten too big, I am losing cm…

  6. Carla says:

    I have lost about 12 lbs since January, but haven’t lost anything in the past 2 weeks. I am not getting down on myself though, because beating yourself up over it certainly is no help! I am focusing on the fact that I am a size smaller and my eating habits have improved.
    .-= Carla´s last blog ..A day of healthy eating =-.

  7. Amy says:

    I have actually maintained the same weight for a long time…it’s not yet my ideal weight but it’s a lot better than I used to be. I think I have found a kind of balance in calories in/calories out that keeps me stable, which is huge for me, especially training for the half marathon distance at the moment. I hope to step it up once the race is done and make some more downward progress!
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Tempo Tuesday =-.

  8. Diane says:

    Those no scale move times are frustrating ! It then becomes time to remember that if you are doing this in a healthy and balanced way ( eating real food with nutritional value, moving and eating realistic portions) , that the number on the scale is only a small part of it. Your health both physical and emotional/mental are changing and improving as well. In my own case the appearance of my skin, energy levels, condition of my hair and nails as well as how my clothing is fitting often presents evidence of progress when the scale seems stuck for a long time
    .-= Diane´s last blog ..Progress and worthwild pain =-.

  9. Don Doornbos says:

    I always remind myself of the non-scale ways to measure my progress…inches lost being the most noticeable, but also improved fitness, being able to jog further with a decreased sense of being winded, fitting into clothes better, etc.

    The other thing I remind myself is that after years and years of yo-yo weight bouncing all OVER the scale, I’ve become grateful and appreciative of the STABILITY of my weight which has been unlike ANYTHING I’ve ever known!

    Don

  10. Jules - Big Girl Bombshell says:

    My biggest change while the scale stays within the same 5 lbs is my attitude. I try new things, I push myself a little more, and I say a lot nicer things to myself. I really like what I am doing for myself everyday and know that someday I will look in the mirror and go WOW! You’ve lost weight!
    .-= Jules – Big Girl Bombshell´s last blog ..Dr. Jekyll – Mr. Hyde Diet =-.

  11. Jody - Fit at 52 says:

    Diane, such an important post! People need to “see” those no scale victories during that hard time! YES, the bod & other things change even if the scale does not.. You change as well.. how you feel about yourself. I know that now, the weight may not be changing too much BUT if I work at it hard enough, I do see visible & good changes in the bod!

    Great Diane!
    .-= Jody – Fit at 52´s last blog ..Lists to Achieve Success =-.

  12. Barbara says:

    I think it’s important when you said that plateaus prepare one for maintenance. Failure at maintenance comes so often because there is no sign on the scale or dress size that anything is happening. As you say though, there is a change in how your body feels as you get fitter. I have been about 8 lbs from my goal for about 6 months but I just keep doing it because it has become a habit and my body does feel good.

  13. Emergefit says:

    Speaking honestly, and not suggestively, during my own plateaus, I found it hard to find anything good about myself at all. It was as though I had gained all my weight back. Being an all or nothing kind of guy, plateaus just pushed me into eating less and working harder. Having a degree in Exercise Science, I knew that plateaus would be there, but being me, I had a hard time accepting them.
    .-= Emergefit´s last blog ..It’s Not Momentum, It’s Cheating… =-.

  14. Cynthia (It All Changes) says:

    I’ve noticed that even when the scale says I’m the same or maybe some water gain my pants fit better. For me this is huge because I want to look good in my clothes and enjoy the body I’ve worked hard for.

    And a plateau is a great practice for maintenance. For me I looked at it if I didn’t just give up and gain I had accomplished something.
    .-= Cynthia (It All Changes)´s last blog ..The Explorer =-.

  15. Cammy@TippyToeDiet says:

    This is why I think it’s sooo important to have several measures of success, and that some (most?) of those shouldn’t be based on weight or size at all. When my loss slowed to a trickle, I could still see progress in some of the things I was accomplishing in exercise and changes in nutrition. It kept me engaged and pushing forward.
    .-= Cammy@TippyToeDiet´s last blog ..Can You See Your Own Glory? =-.

  16. RNegade says:

    I’m coming up on my 15th anniversary of insomnia…I haven’t slept more than 5-6 hours a night, at the most, and usually it’s more like 4. Now, this would make some folks crazy. (MAYBE I am, just a bit.) Insomnia is not my choice. I have no control over sleeplessness. However…I CAN eat well and exercise to take the best possible care of myself in spite of insomnia. Nurturing my body and spirit helps me to accept the things in my life that I cannot change, which is my understanding of grace.

  17. 'Drea says:

    The only thing that I notice is that when I’m in exercise class, in front of the mirror, that I look leaner and I’m hoping that my eyes are not deceiving me since the scale was, at first, stuck and NOW it’s moving upward by a few pounds.

    I’m so hoping that I can trust my eyes.
    .-= ‘Drea´s last blog ..The Devil You Know =-.

  18. Hope @ Hope's Journey says:

    I think plateaus are the story of my life. And they are a part of weight loss, so I deal with them. Not without complaining of course. 🙂

    I think what you did was right, by trying to increase your fitness level. I’m trying to do that every week as well. I’ve also tried adding some new classes to change it up. Also, I’d be the first to admit that my diet isn’t perfect,and I LOVE sweets/junk food, which I can incorporate into my calories without overdoing it, but they probably don’t help.

    So anyway, my point is, is that I do see positive changes even though the scale isn’t moving, like stronger legs and a flatter belly. Sometimes it’s the only encouraging thing that I see. 🙂

    Great post!

    Hope

  19. Andrea@WellnessNotes says:

    When I lost weight, I hit a VERY frustrating plateau – a plateau I at one point thought I’d never overcome. What really helped me was not focusing on the weight anymore but on how my fitness improved. I was truly proud to be able to run a 5k a few times per week without foot pain (I have a really weak ankle and have to be very careful). I also could lift a lot more weight and felt stronger. And, I was able to do a few “good” push ups!!! 🙂 And once I stopped focusing on the weight so much, it did end up coming off… 🙂
    .-= Andrea@WellnessNotes´s last blog ..Dinner with the Prevention RD =-.

  20. Nicole, RD says:

    Plateaus and small set-backs are so discouraging. Those are the hard weeks! I agree with non-scale victories – they’re so important. I always found the positive in the week, even if it was not weight-related when I was losing my weight.
    .-= Nicole, RD´s last blog ..A dose of diabetic reality =-.

  21. Sandi says:

    It’s already been said that plateau’s are great practice for maintenance. The last 30 pounds came off so slow for me and I did get frustrated. I was determined not to give up this time though, so I stuck it out. I loved finding the muscles in my legs and hips. I got to the point where stairs were so hard for me at my high weight. I love being able to run up stairs and feel so light doing it. Now in maintenance I try to remind myself of these wonderful things that I can do now that I couldn’t 133 pounds heavier.
    .-= Sandi´s last blog .. =-.

  22. Josie says:

    I’ve noticed a lot of changes in my body as I’ve started to lose weight…most of them good, but some not so much. My skin is SO loose and I’ve noticed that I now have laugh lines that I didn’t have when I was fat…it’s because I have all that skin that used to be fat filled. I really need to start using a firming cream. LOL I love the fact that I’m wearing a size 18 now and was able to get rid of so many clothes that were all too big. That helps me get through the days when the scale doesn’t reflect what I think it should.
    .-= Josie´s last blog ..Valor: A Tale of Two Races (and Week 29 Weigh-In) =-.

  23. fitlivingdaily says:

    I like seeing progress pictures of people because sometimes you can see quite clearly that even though they’ve been stuck for awhile and have only lost 2-3 pounds, their bodies look so different! It helps to have visual evidence of that.

    It’s good to be reminded of the other things that are changing but for me, it’s a constant thing that I HAVE to be reminded of them…it’s so easy to forget what’s actually important when you feel so terribly impatient and frustrated.

  24. MySensei says:

    Awesome post (as usual!) today. It is so hard for people to see the good when the scale stays the same. Its hard to get past the “number” without realize the whole picture.

  25. Marcelle says:

    THANKS SO MUCH, I loved seeing the video and hearing you!! You have to do more video blogs, what fantastic 3 idea’s you gave.
    I’ve added the video to my blog…hope thats okay..I know many of my readers said they would be visiting you…x

  26. Empower Me Photo Guy says:

    Non scale victories are a great way of staying motivated even if your weight doesn’t change. I think that taking photos during your weight loss plan is a great way to keep track of your body changing, it can be so empowering to see all the differences from where you started to your target weight.

  27. Leah says:

    Yes, I have noticed that very thing. I went down to a size 16w in pants during a time when my scale wasn’t moving. I felt so much better and knew I was getting stronger all the time.

    For me, seeing that size fit my body motivated me to get things more in order food wise so that I would begin to see the scale move down even more.

  28. South Beach Steve says:

    Diane, I think you said this well. The scale really doesn’t move consistent for most of us. Those lunges down are great, the lurches upward – not so much so. Unfortunately, I have been stuck in the abyss of non-movement for some time. I am so close to goal, but I can’t seem to make myself do what it takes to get there. I do consider it a success to be maintaining though.

    The things I have noticed is that my stomach sometimes looks pretty close to normal. I have definition in my arms and legs – especially my calves. I can see veins in my arms (I know that sounds gross, but it sure makes me feel better to see them).
    .-= South Beach Steve´s last blog ..Obesity and Alzheimer’s Disease =-.

  29. Tiffany says:

    Thank you SO so much for sharing this! I still have at least 100 more lbs to lose and it is good to hear what someone else who has done this successfully has gone through. I am only 2lbs away from losing 50lbs and I swear people haven’t noticed as much as I thought they would- oh well, I’m just gonna keep chugging along!

  30. Lara (Thinspired) says:

    It’s funny–so much of my weight loss experience ALL felt like a plateau. Maybe this is a separate post, but since I looked in the mirror every day, I never really saw the results. It took external cues (having to buy new clothes, seeing an old photo), to REALLY register the loss in my mind.
    .-= Lara (Thinspired)´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday =-.

  31. Amanda says:

    Diane, you wrote:

    Especially due to the fact that because I was so obese no one could even tell I had lost weight until I had lost over 50 pounds.

    Thank you! I’ve lost 23 pounds and have about 60 more to go. No one has noticed those 23 and I feel like they don’t count. I’ve noticed a difference in how my body feels and how I fit in clothes.

    I wish that external validation wasn’t so important.

  32. Don Doornbos says:

    Just today I noticed something during my bicycle commute to work while climbing the one big nasty hill along the way:

    When I first attempted the hill a couple years ago I crumpled only 1/4 of the way up the hill…walked the rest. Last year I was FINALLY able to climb it on my bike without walking.

    Recently I upgraded my bike and at first I had to “granny-gear” it to the VERY lowest gear to be able to climb it.

    Last week I was able to climb it while maintaining a gear level several notches up from the bottom.

    Even though I’ve been off the bike for the past week due to weather and other factors beyond my control, this morning I was able to climb the same hill while maintaining a gear ratio several notches above THAT…pretty close to dead center of the gear range!

    It felt TERRIFIC to notice the increased POWER of my legs, which I’ve been noticing are more streamlined with greater muscle definition. It is SO important to pay attention to these subtle changes!

  33. love2eatinpa says:

    such a great attitude, diane!

    it is so easy to get frustrated and throw your hands up in the air and give up because things have stagnated. it’s awesome that you pushed through with that great mindset and were able to keep it in effect throughout this maintenance stage.

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