Scale Not Budging!
Hey All: I have a 46 year old client who has been working hard for about 8 weeks. She looks and feels great, her blood pressure and RHR are down, her energy is up, and she's wearing clothes she said she hasn't worn in years. According to her she is 2 dress sizes down. But the scale won't move! She's bouncing between 204 and 200 for almost the entire time. I've played with her calories, her diet has improved (still not exactly where I'd like it) there are no thyroid issues....thoughts? My guess is I;m not getting the whole story about her food (though she's pretty dedicated and committed) or someone in her household is fiddling with her scale settings. Ha! Seriously though...thoughts??
I would just retest so you have an idea as to whether she is giving you "the whole story."
I always tell my clients up front that a better indicator of fat loss than the scale is when: 1. your clothes are fitting looser and 2. you start getting compliments!
I published two articles on this very subject and would be happy to share them with you if you send me an email.
I hope that this helps.
I agree with many of the others. The scale, especially for women, can be stubborn at times. I trained a mother of 7 in her 40's for 8 weeks and from the very start, I told her that her energy level and dress would be the best indicator of progress. My initial assessment included weight but I stressed that the scale isn't always an accurate measure. In the end she reported feeling more energized and was happy with the loss of inches....the scale didn't reflect her success.
Obviously, your client is sticking to your diet and workout plan or she wouldn't see the kind of progress in her BP or dress size. Use alternate means of assessing like body fat and waistline/hip circumference.
In the end, keep encouraging her to look at the positive changes and ignore that fickle scale : )
On another note, what people eat and what people say they eat are two separate things. One of the most flawed aspects of nutrition research.
Suggest Weight Watchers to her and make sure you are really mixing her workouts up!
Also remember the scale is only one facet of success, she needs to concentrate on what she has done so far!
Make sure she is setting realistic goals
If she is very serious about dropping to under 200lbs, I would have her strictly maintain a Slow Carb Diet.
The tiniest change in nutrition and exercise can yield maximum results!
NASM-CPT, AED, CPR
I saw she was doing a lot of distance-based cardio & flexibility but very little strength training, so I had her prioritize strength & interval training in her routine. I told her many benefits increased lean mass would have on her health, but warned her in advance not to go by the scale alone. She lost a pound or two in the first two weeks but then the scale stopped moving again. By the end of March the scale went up 3 lbs. I'm not gonna lie, she freaked out! That is, until the skinfold calipers registered a 3% bodyfat change. I showed her that she had lost over 10 lbs of fat and added 13 lbs of muscle.
We've kept at it and this week she reached 40 total lbs of weight loss (5 lbs since January). The number seems minor compared to the feats she can perform now. You should see this girl! She can do things she never thought she'd be able to a few months ago. The point is, sometimes it just takes time. People lose body fat at different rates just like people gain muscle at different rates. Sometimes the plateaus in one area (like the scale) are measured as significant changes with another method. For my client, her overall health was her greatest concern. She was able to focus on the positive and has made changes she can live with for the rest of her life. I'm extremely proud of her progress. It looks like you've got a client to be proud of too. Just keep doing what you're doing (training, measuring, testing, & training some more). She'll have plenty to show for it in the end.
In addition to all of the great suggestions already given, I encourage you to do a 5-site skinfold baseline: triceps, abdominal, thigh, subscapular, suprailiac. Look for changes in these measurements once a month to encourage your client to recogize that changes in body composition are the best measure of fat loss.
I would focus on the progress that's already taken place! At 8 weeks, it may be time to change the program up a little bit. If your client looks and feels great, ride that wave of success for as long as you can! Like LaRue said, the weight loss will come with time as long as she sticks to her training program.
I'm assuming that you have already given a rough estimate to her resting metabolic rate? Advise her to see a registered dietitian if she is able to. Educate her on the "3500 calories burned can be one pound lost" mantra. Have her complete food logs! Track intake of sodium, fat, carbs, protein, and calories at a minimum!
Most clients are good, but come on. You're with them 1-5 hours a week max. Thats a lot of time that they could sneak in an extra slice of cake or whole pizza.
In b4 genetics.