Looking back at all the women that have come to me over the last 10 years for advice on losing weight I can tell you that one of the reasons that most of them fail is lack of consistency. Sounds simple but it is the truth.
Let's play out the scenario as an example.
You want to lose 10 pounds, so you get mentally pumped and you do your first workout. Right after the workout you feel awesome and a couple of days later can feel some soreness in your muscles. I know what you are thinking -- this is good!
It is good! The pain is called Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness and occurs a couple of days post-workout. Yes, it simply means that your body is responding to the workout.
You keep going a few more times and now it's been two weeks since you started. The pain after each workout is now less and less each time. Some women confuse this lack of pain for not having a good workout. But the truth is that your body is simply adapting to exercising. Here is something else to consider -- you are getting stronger! Yup, much stronger.
About eight workouts later, you start to feel much better for staying on track and keeping up with your routine.
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"My key to not eating cupcakes all day? A high-protein breakfast fills me up and keeps me satisfied. My favorite: egg whites with basil and tomatoes. And I plan a lunch I can look forward to, like brown rice sushi or chicken and broccoli. Yum!" --Linda Lea, producer for the Food Network's "Chopped" and co-owner of Butter Lane Cupcakes in New York City More from Health.com: Diet Tricks the Pros Tell Their Friends 25 Ways to Cut 500 Calories a Day Eat (Yes, Eat!) to Lose Weight Flickr photo by Lachlan Hardy
"When I'm at a wine-tasting party for a client, it can be hard to keep track of how much I've had to drink. The wine glasses (and calories!) can add up. My trick: Sip slowly. By the time we're ready to move to the next pairing, they've cleared the glass away." --Melissa Libby, restaurant publicist Flickr photo by paulaloe
"I brush my teeth multiple times a day because having a clean-mouth feeling keeps me from wanting to nosh. Fudge-stuffed cupcakes don't taste as delicious with minty breath. Chewing on a piece of strong, pepperminty gum stops the nibbling cold, too." --Bianca Henry, "Today Show" food stylist, New York City Flickr photo by get directly down
"If I'm tasting a dessert, I'll use an espresso spoon -- you can only load so much on it. That way, I can enjoy a spoonful of chocolate pudding cake with coffee ice cream without overdoing it. Smaller spoon, fewer calories." --Emily Luchetti, executive pastry chef, Waterbar and Farallon restaurants in San Francisco Flickr photo by kzamani
"As soon as I get to work, I drink 8 ounces of water. It helps me fuel and connect with my body, and I just don't find myself reaching for cookies when I'm well-hydrated." --Linda Lea Flickr photo by stevendepolo
"I love mixing textures with meals, so I drink sparkling water with lunch or when I'm taste-testing food. The bubbles give me the sensation of being full." --Jill Santopietro, senior food editor for chow.com
"I sample our goat cheese dozens of times per day. Instead of eating it on a cracker or bread, I'll pop a piece on a slice of apple or eat it plain to save calories." --Tasia Malakasis, owner of Belle Chèvre goat cheese creamery in Elkmont, Alabama Flickr photo by ilovememphis
"For me, a key to not eating too much junk food on set is keeping a stash of healthy almonds to nibble on instead; they're my perfect snack. The combination of protein and fiber helps prevent blood sugar crashes, the fat is good-for-you fat, and the crunchy texture requires a good bit of chewing, so I feel like I'm really eating something. Plus, they're incredibly portable." --Bianca Henry Flickr photo by jessicafm
"I'll have an afternoon cappuccino with cocoa dusted on top. If I have that to look forward to, I'll 'behave' throughout the day." --Emily Luchetti Flickr photo by eblaser
"The freezer is one of the most underutilized tools in your kitchen. It's not just for ice cream; I freeze nuts, brownies and cookie dough. That way, I won't eat it right away, and I don't feel like I'm wasting food by throwing it out." --Jill Santopietro
"We're constantly on the go at work -- lifting 50-pound bags of sugar and flour, squatting beneath baking trays all day long. These are not only great ways to burn calories at work, but they honestly keep us too busy to even think about snacking on cupcakes. And staying busy works no matter what you're doing!" --Katherine Kallinis and Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne, co-owners of Georgetown Cupcake and stars of TLC's "DC Cupcakes"
"Customers will come in and say, 'If I worked here, I'd be as big as a house!' Believe me, I would be, too, if I didn't stick to my rule of not eating sweets before 1 p.m. If I'm still craving a cookie in the afternoon, I'll have one." --Abbey Alpert, partner at The Flour Pot Cookies in Ambler, Pennsylvania Flickr photo by jamieanne
"Once a week, I'll make a big stew. I add just 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a big pot and throw in garlic, onions, carrots, beets, low-sodium chicken broth, potatoes, beans, maybe some low-fat cuts of meat. When hunger strikes, I have a super-satisfying, low-fat dish that I can pig out on without feeling guilty, and then I don't reach as much for the Camembert." --Nadia G, star of Cooking Channel's "Bitchin' Kitchen" Flickr photo by redcargurl
"I always ask myself, 'Is it worth the calories?' French-style nougat with loads of nuts and fruits dipped in dark chocolate is worth it to me; gummy candies and potato chips definitely are not." --Nur Kilic, owner of Serenade Chocolatier in Brookline Village, Massachusetts Flickr photo by Grahambones
"I am typically in 10 restaurants each week, and that's just for business! Most of the food is so good I want to scarf down the whole plate, but I savor each bite and plan to ask for a doggie bag so I can enjoy the dish again. I love taking home that delicious food and recreating the experience for my 5-year-old." --Elizabeth Moore, Atlanta-based restaurant publicist More from Health.com: Diet Tricks the Pros Tell Their Friends 25 Ways to Cut 500 Calories a Day Eat (Yes, Eat!) to Lose Weight Flickr photo by stevendepolo
Excited, you step on the scale hoping to see a metric that will support your belief. Instead the scale stays at the same weight or even may have even gone up a pound.
Huh? All this hard work and no results? How disappointing!
You are probably confused as to why this is happening, after all you have much more energy and are starting to feel so much healthier. Doesn't make sense!
You keep going for another week but soon enough start to get bored from doing the same thing and the scale is still not showing you what you want to see. So you begin to get frustrated.
Next thing you know influenced by the scale, you end up having a late night pasta with cream sauce and about three glasses of wine. You think to yourself that the damage is done and end up having a big chocolate cake for dessert.
At this point you feel pretty crappy considering that you have been sweating your butt off at the gym, not lost any weight and have eaten about 3,000 calories the night before.
You start to miss workouts here and there and and you allow yourself to eat a little more junk. A few weeks you get on the scale and nada. Yikes!
Well I don't blame you for feeling the way that you do. A lot of people would give up. But what if I told you that losing weight and seeing awesome results might be a just a few workouts away?
You have just prepared your body to start shedding fat and all you need to do is ignore the scale and stay consistent. Basically you need push a little more.
Here is the key here: YOU HAVE TO KEEP GOING!
Let me explain. When you begin to exercise in the first four weeks you will not see any changes on the scale and probably none in your body. But you will feel much more energetic and healthier. This is the simple truth and how the body responds for everyone.
The scale won't move at all. It may even go up a bit. So here is the simple reason why: You are starting to add muscle which weighs more than fat. At this point your body has not started to drop fat.
Keep going another 2-3 weeks and you will start to see small changes in your body. The scale might not show anything just yet but your body will tighten up and you will be able to easily pinch body fat and separate from your muscle. Your clothes might start to feel a little looser.
Then another three weeks later you will notice your body change quite a bit. At this point the scale will finally move and you will notice big changes in your body.
The point here is that you have to keep going if you want to see results. After all, I have never seen someone stay fit without continuously working out. It is just that once get to your ideal weight you will need to workout a lot less in order to maintain it.
Try your best not to get fixated on the scale and have high expectations right off the bat. Rather, give yourself time to make exercising a part of your life and the magic will happen.
For my clients, it is easier as they have me to keep them on track. If they start to slack with their workouts they get a call from me. It is much easier to fall off the wagon when you don't have someone who will grind their teeth at you.
Here is something else to consider: Change it up! Changing your routine will not only force your body to change direction and as a result respond but it will also make things more fun for you.
Follow Vesna Dodevska on Twitter: www.twitter.com/FitMissy9