Posted by: Anon | 2008/06/30

No change in weight

My friend gyms with a personal trainer 3 times a week for the last 3 months, she is watching what she eats and has lost only 2kgs
the cms have come down and has lost at least one dress size but
is not satisfied with the results as she wants to see a change
in kgs also - is there something else that can make the weightloss
in kgs take longer, like an underactive thyroid ?or is what she experiencing normal? what lets some people see results faster than others when they start excercising?

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Our expert says:
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Hi there

It's actually not that unusual to see very little weight loss when you start training. In fact, some people even gain weight through exercise, and there are a few factors that can cause this. One is your current weight. It seems that there is an ideal body weight for each person, and the body is so clever that it knows just how to keep you there. So, it may be that she has no weight to lose, and so from that point of view, she is better of going for toning and improved fitness and not worrying about the scale.

The second is diet - often people subconsciously increase the energy intake when training harder. Let's say you train harder and use a few hundred more calories a day - you have a little more to eat or drink, and it means that the balance is still there as if you didn't train harder. I am not saying people should count calories, I think that is risky and hazardous at best, but I would say be aware of what they are eating. The other thing that often happens, is that because you are now exercising every day, you might take it a little easier during the rest of the day. In otherwords, you may be a little less active outside of the gym, either because you are subconsciously trying to save energy, or because you are actually very tired from training and don't get around as much. Either way, you are likely to use less energy, and that may even cancel out the effect of training.

Finally, the most likely issue - any form of training will increase muscle mass. People seem to have a conception that weight training causes muscle mass to rise, and cardio training burns fat. While this is largely true, you must remember that there is considerable overlap. So, let's say you are cycling, this means that if you are cycling along at 90 revs per minute this basically means that you are doing 90 contractions of the muscle per minute. Do this for 10 minutes and you have 900 muscle contractions, and so even though the force per contraction is low, you will still build some muscle. What i am saying is that even though you are not doing only weight training, it's still feasible that you will gain some muscle by doing cardio.

Very importantly though, this is nothing to worry about. In fact, it's a good thing, and I guess the bottom line is that you must really focus on how fit you are, how you are feeling and perhaps how you are looking, rather than on the scale. Even aiming for centimeters can be misleading, especially early on, because it takes much longer and can be a little bit of a futile and very frustrating goal. So my advice is really to go for fitness - try to get faster and fitter on those cardio sessions and the results will take care of themselves.

Keep up the good work, remember that it takes time, but have faith that you are on the right track!


The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: Kimmi | 2008/07/02

Yes, you truly DO have to eat right. I lost 8kgs in 4 months and then hit a plateau for the last month where I havent lost a single kg. It hit me last week that I had actually been eating too LITTLE the last month or so, so my body retained all that I was eating. I have now resolved to eat more, but of the same, healthy foods. Just warm your friend that she musn't go overboard in response to not loosing weight and eat even will have the opposite effect (i.e. not losing any weight).

Reply to Kimmi
Posted by: **Anon** | 2008/07/02

In my experience you have to REALLY eat 100% right otherwise you will not lose as quickly as you can. Eating is about 80% of the results you will see and exercise is only the other 20%.Just "watching" what you eat won't help... And if your friend has alot of weight to lose then 2kgs in 3months is very little. But it's healthy to lose slowly bcoz then it will stay away longer. But she could have lost ALOT more...

Reply to **Anon**

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