October 23, 2014

In weight loss, the journey unfolds like a roller-coaster ride. We have our ups and we have our downs: for most of us, this is just the reality. What we often don’t recognise, though, is that small weight gains usually have nothing to do with ‘fat gain’. Perspective is sometimes a difficult thing to appreciate.

Graphing weight loss results allows you to see the roller coaster ride that your weight loss is taking, and use it to develop perspective about individual gains and losses. Over time, you may be able to see patterns that occur. Perhaps you always gain 3kg when you ovulate. Maybe arguments with your teenager result in a 1kg gain. Perhaps that extra morning coffee causes a 500g gain.

Looking at trends over time is far more beneficial than focusing on an isolated weight. Just because the scales say you’ve ‘gained’ 200g does not mean that you’re a failure, or that the program doesn’t work, or that you may as well give up now. If you believe any of these fallacies, you’re unlikely to achieve the results you want.

Ignore that 200g gain, or even a random 2kg gain. It might be the result of weighing at a different time of day, fluid retention, having had alcohol or caffeine in the past day, eating more or less food, having contents in the bladder or bowel, time of month, stress, changes to hormone levels, pain or injury…

With a list of possibilities like this, it simply doesn’t make sense to get caught up in despair or disillusion over a small ‘gain’.

Think about this: a woman eats a donut one day and ‘gains’ 1kg the next. Did the donut make her gain 1kg of fat? Of course not. The donut probably weighed less than 70g, so how could her body possibly convert that into more than 14 times its weight in fat?

This is not to say that the scales didn’t show a 1kg gain. Just keep in mind that the ‘gain’ is temporary and a result of factors other than body fat. Of course, if she uses this logic and eats a donut every day, then ultimately the scales probably will show the results of fat gain.

If you are going through a low period in your weight loss, use the time to reinforce the new habits you’re developing. Understand that the slow period might be like a landing in a set of stairs – a time for you to catch your breath, regain your balance, and establish yourself for the next flight.

The only question about your ultimate success is this: will you persevere? Perspective will help you do so.