Results from Exercise
January 12, 2018 1:24 PM   Subscribe

For my New Years resolutions I decided to take up exercise. I have so far gone to the gym 2x per week, cycling 1 km more each time, starting at 11km. I also go for a 5km walk once a week. I’m 35 female 175cm tall and weigh 97.5 kg because I am taking Latuda for schizophrenia (starting out a few years back my meds made me gain 30kg) My question is When will I start to see results if I can keep this exercise regime up, in terms of weight, waistline size, general fitness etc. Am I doing enough in your opinion? Thank you!!
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I’ve always followed the “quote” of “It takes 4 weeks to notice a difference in yourself, 8 weeks for friends and family to notice and 12 weeks for the rest of the world to notice.”
posted by Sassyfras at 1:30 PM on January 12 [5 favorites]

My experience is that to show visible results I have needed to be extremely responsible with my diet AND to work out 4-5 times/week. I've lost about 43 lbs since this past summer this way.

The good news: working out has become way less awful as my aerobic fitness has increased. I actually feel bad if I don't go for a couple days now, and the limitation on my running time is my joints, not my heart/lungs as it used to be.

Other folks' experience no doubt varies. I am a woman who has always been fat, whose genes want very much to be fat, and this is what has worked for me.
posted by fingersandtoes at 1:33 PM on January 12 [7 favorites]

Great, congratulations! Exercise is the closest thing we have to a miracle drug for overall health. However, To Lose Weight, Eating Less Is Far More Important Than Exercising More, and your case is complicated by your meds.

Your question of "Am I doing enough?" echos this previous question on MeFi. Enough for what? For reducing your risk of disease, yes. But I'd focus not on a fitness goal, but a happiness goal. Are you enjoying the exercise? Are you enjoying the increase in fitness? Would exercising more make you happier, considering both the process (extra time moving) and results (further increase in fitness)?

posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 1:35 PM on January 12 [14 favorites]

It's not overnight by any means.

Candidly, though, just doing something 3x a week is probably going to prolong the "can't see results" phase. You'll improve, I would expect, but you'll get there faster if you exercise more days a week.

Before I started cycling and became a crazy person, I lost weight by going on an hour-long walk every day. It wasn't too arduous, and it was mentally easy because I just assumed I was doing it. In a couple months there was real improvement.

Do you have a fitness tracker of any kind? I find keeping "streaks" of workouts and rides alive in my cycling tracker to be super motivating -- it can help me get off my duff on days when I don't quite feel it, because hey, if I don't go, I'll break the streak.
posted by uberchet at 1:35 PM on January 12 [2 favorites]

Ask one of your doctors if you can go on Metformin. Antipsychotics can make you insulin-resistant. Metformin should help you lose weight.
posted by 8603 at 1:54 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]

You are right to measure other things than just weight. You might not notice the scale changing but you should have more endurance/be able to maintain a higher tempo/generally feel better.

As for weight loss in general, remember than most of that is really diet not your exercise regiment.
posted by mmascolino at 2:31 PM on January 12 [2 favorites]

One other way to see improvement faster is to lift weights. Lifting weights will give you muscle tone, definition, and firmness that will all make a difference in your appearance.

Lifting weights is also really important for women because it builds bone density, which we need later on. I also like the overall feeling of strength and power I get from lifting weights.

I would see if your gym provides any introductory lessons or help getting started with weights, form is really important in order to prevent injury. You might also invest in some personal training.

I also really like the free videos at you can try some of the moves there even without weights in order to get comfortable and feel like you know what you're doing before heading down to the weight room at your gym, which can be intimidating.
posted by brookeb at 2:35 PM on January 12 [2 favorites]

It takes a long time. I started exercising consistently (1 hr at the gym every other day) in November 2013, which was divided into 45 min cardio and 15 min weights, and also started logging my food intake. By August 2014, I'd lost 20 lbs, which was about 15% of my starting body weight.

In terms of are you doing enough -- depends what your goal is. If you're looking for "being healthy," 150 minutes/week of moderate activity (gets you breathing faster but can still carry on a conversation) will get you many if not all of the health benefits of exercise in terms of disease risk. I had a totally vain goal of wanting to look good as a bridesmaid. Honestly, I think it was more the food logging than the exercise; I've fallen off the wagon with food logging once the bridesmaiding thing was done, and over the last 3.5 years I've slowly put most of that weight back on.
posted by basalganglia at 2:35 PM on January 12

It may or may not be "enough" if your ultimate goal is weight loss, and I agree that if that's your goal, eating habits are just as important as exercise if not more so. (And I also agree with fingersandtoes: some of us are just wired to hang on to weight and have a harder time even if we do everything "right," and medication can make that harder still.)

With that said, fitness is a long, long journey, and the most important step is establishing the habit. If you haven't exercised regularly before, or haven't done so for a while, and if you're only a couple weeks in, getting into the habit is your first goal, and three times a week is perfect for that. If you do too much too soon, you risk burning out, or quitting in frustration when you don't quickly see results, or letting one missed workout derail the whole plan. Once your current schedule feels normal, start adding more.

I was super-sedentary until about ten years ago; since then I've been working out regularly. I started out with two light twenty-minute workouts a week and increased from there; if I had started with more I would never have kept it up.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:48 PM on January 12 [2 favorites]

In addition to lifting weights and working out 4-5 times a week, I'd suggest tracking calories too. I had surgery that completely limited my ability to exercise for a couple of months, and lost almost all of the weight once I started tracking calories. It's easy to eat too much and hard to "eyeball" portion sizes.

It can be challenging to accurately estimate how many calories your body actually needs. I found Scooby's calorie counter helpful to help estimate how many calories I should be eating on any given day. If I work out, I add back some, but not all, calories.

My Fitness Pal is a great way to track calories, and it's surprisingly convenient. Scooby uses a different calculation, so use the "Daily Calories Based on Goal" number in My Fitness Pal and MFP will adjust based on your level of exercise for that day. The reason I don't use My Fitness Pal to set the calorie number is because it didn't give me enough calories and I was starving all the time. I used Scooby's estimate, which for me was about 150 calories higher than MFP's, and I actually started losing weight.
posted by onecircleaday at 3:09 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]

I came in to say what Metroid Baby said, so instead I'll echo it: Your job right now is to build a new lifelong habit, and that's the most important thing, not weight, waistline etc. Doing too much at the outset because you're determined to lose weight (or whatever) is a recipe for giving up. Once you've got that steady platform, you can decide what to build on it. The more you can think long game, the better. What you're doing sounds great, even if it doesn't necessarily lead to rapidly noticeable weight loss.

So - reward yourself for effort not results at this stage - have a chart on the wall and celebrate as you check off each day you've exercised (rather than each time you drop a dress size, or whatever).

More positively, and more in answer to your question: I honestly notice that I feel better in terms of general fitness really quickly when I start from not having done much. Like, within a couple of weeks I notice that things that were tough no longer are. Weight and waistline are so much harder to depend on (I ran an ultramarathon last year and didn't lose a pound). But feeling better, physically and mentally, is quick.
posted by penguin pie at 3:35 PM on January 12 [2 favorites]

Good for you! Yes, it's long and slow. I started weight training in late November and added some cardio in mid-December. I track calories (with lots of estimation, but I at least attempt to log everything) with my fitness pal. After 2 or 3 weeks I was in tears (no joke) because I had not lost any weight yet. At this point I've lost about 4 lbs BUT I am clearly stronger and I feel better. So I keep it up, and presumably I'll lose more over time. Or maybe I won't, but I will continue to get stronger and feel better.

Weight training at some point can also be helpful, as noted above. As to "enough" (as also mentioned by others above) - I think it is important to do an amount of exercise that you can handle physically, emotionally, and within your schedule. If you can do a little more, either now or later, great. But if trying to do more gets you overwhelmed and discouraged, or makes you quit entirely, then that's not ideal.

Hang in there!
posted by 2 cats in the yard at 6:16 PM on January 12

You really start to feel better after 3-4 weeks. But when you can physically see changes in your body is more like two months. It starts to snowball, but the earliest part is the slowest and, well, least rewarding.
posted by AppleTurnover at 11:53 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]

« Older How much would having a show on SiriusXM cost?   |   Looking for info on "divorce" (unmarried with... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments