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Losingw eight but not seeing any physical results
March 27, 2012 7:28 PM   Subscribe

So I've lost a little over 10 or so pounds in the past 3 weeks. I know its not water weight because it has stayed off. I've been dieting. I was originally 215 or so pounds and now I"m about 205. The problem is I'm not seeing any physical results as of yet, at least not that I can tell. Is this normal? I'm a 6'5" male.
posted by johnx to Health & Fitness (24 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I forgot to mention I've also been weight lifting about 3 times a week 20 minutes a day.
posted by johnx at 7:29 PM on March 27, 2012


This is why doing things like weighing yourself is important. It's pretty tough to actual see the changes in your own body, since you live in it every day. I suppose you could take a picture every couple weeks if you wanted?
posted by kavasa at 7:31 PM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Did you measure yourself at all before starting your program? That's where I see the biggest difference, even when I don't see it on the scale. Clothing fit, and measurements (and sometimes the measurement change happens in a place where I wouldn't notice a change in clothing fit).
posted by padraigin at 7:31 PM on March 27, 2012


You've lost water and intramuscular muscular glycogen, which can itself account for several lbs.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 7:33 PM on March 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


* surplus 'muscular', because I'm giddy from so very many squats.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 7:34 PM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well in my case, I've been on a diet for about a year, have lost 32 pounds, and in all that time I can think of just a few incidents that told me I was getting thinner: sweatshirt that used to be tight fit OK, went down another belt hole or two, had to replace dress pants and jeans with one waist size smaller and, just recently, went to put on my shorts now the weather is warmer and discovered that they literally fell off me and dropped to the floor. So you're 3 weeks and I'm a year. I think you just have to have faith and stick to it for the long run. FWIW.
posted by forthright at 7:50 PM on March 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Seconding forthright- weight loss on oneself can be hard to see or feel. I've definitely lost 10 pounds without noticing, my clothes fitting differently being the only clue (I don't usually weight myself, but have gotten weighed at physicals).

Also, you're very tall, so I'd assume a 10 pound loss would be not that obvious anyway.

But good luck with your health goals!
posted by bearette at 7:58 PM on March 27, 2012


Weigh yourself first thing in the morning after going to the bathroom... compare only these numbers.

10 pounds could totally be water weight. People do this (on purpose and on accident) all the time.

Pay attention to how your clothes fit... that is the biggest indicator I have ever found. It can be subtle, but a belt hole or a looser shirt sneak up in funny ways.
posted by milqman at 7:59 PM on March 27, 2012


You're probably not going to notice for a while, since you'll be seeing the changes slowly over time rather than getting used to them. If you want to get a better idea where you're losing weight (if you're losing weight visibly at all), take a picture of yourself in the mirror from various angles every day, then you can compare "day 1" with "day whatever."
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:19 PM on March 27, 2012


According to BMI scales (which are, if anything, overly skewed to recommend a low weight) you are within the "normal" range. So, you don't necessarily need to lose more weight. Given that, if you don't see a change now, I'm guessing you won't.

In addition to weighing and measuring weight and inches, you could also use a body fat percentage monitor. They make relatively inexpensive ones (Tanita brand is one I've tried). That's what you probably really care about, anyway, if you're losing weight for health.
posted by parrot_person at 8:38 PM on March 27, 2012


It may still be mostly water - if you change your diet to a less-water-retentive one and don't change it back, you don't regain all the water. (I've lost that particular ten pounds quite a few times.)
posted by restless_nomad at 8:41 PM on March 27, 2012


Here is a surefire formula for tracking your progress.

Weigh however much you want but record that weight once, on the same morning, each week.

On the 1st of every month under the same lighting with the same camera take pictures. Front, side, back. Don't, flex or suck in. Just standing relaxed. If you want to take additional flex poses go for it.

Then take measurements right after you take your pictures.

Height:
Weight:
Neck:
Shoulders -
Chest – Upper
Chest – Lower
Waist - at Navel
Waist - at largest
Hips - at largest
Upper Arm – L
Upper Arm – R
Upper Leg – L
Upper Leg – R
Lower Leg – L
Lower Leg – R
Ankle – L
Ankle – R
posted by zephyr_words at 8:44 PM on March 27, 2012


It depends where your weight comes off. I've lost over 75 pounds in the last 9 months, and only recently have I found my old clothes to be unwearably big. In my case it came off my arms, face, and legs, but not so much around my middle. You might not see a clothing size change for another 10 pounds or more. Taking measurements will help you tell where you're losing it from.
posted by clone boulevard at 8:47 PM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Honestly, you're 6'5 10 lbs isn't going to show on you like it would for someone that is 5'5. And I highly second measuring like crazy. Really helps you keep up the motivation.
posted by whoaali at 8:50 PM on March 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh, and there is no telling what is normal at this point. You haven't really been going at it that long. I would bet there is nothing wrong and Kandarp Von Bontee has probably guessed the main source of the loss so far.

If you're doing only twenty minutes 3x a week I hope it's a pretty intense nonstop lifting session too.
posted by zephyr_words at 8:51 PM on March 27, 2012


I am 6' 2" and I've gone from 250 lbs to 235, and I am only just barely starting to see a physical difference. I'm down a belt hole and some clothes are getting a bit baggy, but I'm not down a size in anything yet. You are much slimmer than me, so I'd suspect you still have a way to go before you see a difference.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:55 PM on March 27, 2012


Get good and naked and take pictures of yourself in a full mirror. Stick to your program and do it again in a month. "The mirror does not lie" is the natural counterpart to Henry Rollins' "the iron does not lie."
posted by munchingzombie at 9:27 PM on March 27, 2012


I am a foot shorter on you and barely notice 10 lbs, FWIW.
posted by cairdeas at 10:39 PM on March 27, 2012


I am 6'3" and 277 lbs.

In the last 9 weeks, I have lost 41 pounds. I cannot see a difference. I even took a before picture, a one month picture, and a two month picture. I cannot really see a difference. But, my pants are three sizes smaller. My belt is in 6 inches. People regularly comment on my weight loss. My body fat percentage is decreasing regularly.

It is clear that the weight loss is happening, and is visible. It's just not visible to me. It's hard to see your own weight loss. Use objective metrics to judge your success, not your own eyes.
posted by LDL707 at 1:00 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I lost 60lb over just a few months at one point. From one week to the next, despite losing 3-5lb a week pretty consistently, the difference was not noticeable. But the difference between how I felt at the start of those few months and how I felt at the end was dramatic.

I'd actually caution against focussing on daily weight. By all means measure it every day, but try to measure, record and forget. Dump your weight figures into a spreadsheet and take a look at the graph nop more than once a week. It's easy to get fixated on daily weight and wonder why the heck you haven't lost anything today, when yesterday you lost two pounds, or whatever. Looking at your weight week-by-week is a much healthier habit, because it averages all the little ups and downs that the human body goes through, and gives you the overall picture of how successful your diet is (or isn't).
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 1:15 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


The NYT 'Personal Best' blog covered this a couple of years ago: Fitness Isn't an Overnight Sensation. Basically, it could take months for your diet and exercise program to have a visible effect on your appearance. That doesn't mean it's not having a positive effect on your health, but don't expect double takes in front of the mirror just yet.
posted by embrangled at 3:45 AM on March 28, 2012


If it helps to give you some perspective, I'm 5'9" and I recently lost about 30 lbs, going from 185 to 155. It was only when I got to the low 160s that people commented on the fact that I'd lost weight.
posted by ob at 4:47 AM on March 28, 2012


"The mirror does not lie"

This is your problem - the mirror, in fact, does lie, and it deceives us all. (Do a quick search on mirrors and how they reduce your actual size when reflecting).

Take pictures directly of yourself - not in a mirror, and track these. You will see a much more realistic version of your changes.
posted by Kruger5 at 5:12 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Speaking as a 6'4" male, 245 lbs, I can tell you a frame that large can carry (or lose) a LOT of extra pounds before you are able to "tell."

For that matter, I think you need to ask yourself why you are worried about weight loss, because I have been 6"4 and reasonably fit my entire life (getting a bit pudgy now at 40 years old, so I am dieting) but even when I was a scrawny 6'4" 17-year old with no shoulders to speak of, I only weighed 200lbs soaking wet.

If you are 6'5" and you started at 215... dude, unless you're missing, like, a leg or something, you're already very slim! Seriously, I was that weight in high school and ran Cross Country - with my ungainly huge head I looked like an olive on a toothpick. And you have 1-2 inches on me, that's gotta be worth 20 lbs. What gives?
posted by BigLankyBastard at 2:20 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


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