Weight Gain---WTH?!

  1. OK, I knew I wasn't actually losing weight for awhile there......after I started working out in earnest, the downward trend ground to a halt, even though I've continued to shrink out of most of my clothes, and even the things I bought a few weeks ago are getting roomy.

    Then I go to the doctor today, and I find I've actually GAINED six pounds!! :angryfire What's up with that??!! Granted, my appetite's picked up some since I really started pouring it on (I'm up to 40-minute workouts, five or six days a week), but I'm not eating huge amounts of anything, and I'm not eating junk food or sweets.

    So why in the name of all that is fair and reasonable should I be gaining weight?? It's SOOOOOOOO frustrating, when everything I've been doing is geared toward weight loss and I've been getting congratulated on how much thinner and healthier I look now than I did four months ago.

    What am I doing wrong?? Here's what I've been up to: I eat low-carb foods for the most part, and while I can't stay anywhere as low as I did when I wasn't exercising, I'm still well under 100 grams a day. I don't think my calories are excessive either......I don't count them (maybe I should START), but I don't think I go over 2000 a day, if that much. I work out with weights every other day of the week, alternating with stationary cycling (20 mins. 4-5 days per week), although I sometimes combine 20 mins. cycling with 20 mins. of floor exercise. This includes abdominal crunches (I'm up to 200 per exercise session), balance and toning exercises with a ball and a Thighmaster, and stretching.

    Now, I've already developed some muscle tone.......my upper arms and thighs are firming up, and from the shoulders up, I look almost normal. I have a definite jawline, a neck, and the beginnings of what I think is a waist line. My breasts (unfortunately) have gotten bigger, which may explain a couple of those pounds, but everywhere else I've lost inches, including 2" off my arms. I'm fitting into things I haven't worn in three years, and I look and feel like I've lost much more weight than I have. But dang, shouldn't the pounds be going too?

    My doctor, who wanted me to lose 25# between January and April, isn't the least bit upset that I fell short of that goal: he knew from one look at me that I've made some major progress, and he says fitness is the ultimate goal for someone in my situation anyway. My blood pressure, while not ideal yet, is waaaaay down from what it was three months ago. I feel terrific. I move more easily, and am capable of so much more physically than I was four months ago when I started this whole thing. So why can't I lose those rotten, stinking, stubborn pounds?

    I can deal with the fact that I probably will NOT meet my goal of "100# in one year"........I knew, even going in, that I'd do well if I made it to 75# off, and I think I can still do it. But I'm wondering if I need to tweak my diet a little so I can start the scale moving in the right direction again; I'm going to continue ramping up my exercise program because it feels good and I am accomplishing the acquisition of physical competency I'd set as one of my goals.

    I'd appreciate any suggestions you all can offer; at this point, I'm willing to try almost anything other than a totally low-fat diet in order to get things going. (I'm carbohydrate-addicted, so a high-carb diet is counterproductive, and I've spent far too much time starving to death on low-fat and no-fat diets.) I probably should mention that I'm on an antidepressant as well as blood pressure medications, which I know can make weight loss more difficult, but I can't come off any of it. Beyond those limitations---and I'm also NOT going back to eating sugar or other "refined whites"---I'm open to suggestion.

    Thanks, everyone......I know I can count on you!
  2. 28 Comments

  3. by   nurseunderwater
    It sounds like you are moving in the right direction! Remember muscle mass weighs more than fat. Seems like your clothes and your BP are telling a more accurate story of what's happening w/ your fitness program. Keep up the good work Mama! Oh, and you could always use one of thos calipers that measure your body fat....they probably have one at the gym. That way you could record what is happening in the shift in your mass vs. fat. Also, you may want to decrease your weight that you use to work out with and increase your reps if you bulk up quickly. That way you gain more lean muscle than bulk...Hope this helps...
  4. by   Energizer Bunny
    Do you think it's the weights putting on weight? I had someone suggest to me once (when this happened to me) to just do aerobics or cardio for a week and then go back to the weights every other day. It seemed to get me going again. Other than that, I don't have any suggestions...But hey, if you are shrinking and feeling good, try not to worry so much about the scale. I know it's easier said than done!
  5. by   perfectbluebuildings
    I agree with others- with all the workouts you are doing, it sounds like you are losing the stuff that counts (inches, blood pressure), and gaining muscle mass. Also I think muscle mass burns calories faster than fat does so the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolic rate (I think- someone correct me please if I am totally off on that one).

    Way to go though. It sounds like you are really doing great. Don't beat yourself up over this! Just keep on keepin' on (I know-- easier to tell someone that than do it yourself! )
  6. by   VivaLasViejas
    Thanks, guys.........sometimes one needs to hear they're doing the right stuff, even when it's not quite going the way you want!

    I was wondering about the weights; I only use 5-pound hand weights, plus a 10-pounder, for my lifting exercises at present. I started out with 3-pound hand weights, but quickly graduated to the 5's, and now can do 15 reps and 3 sets with the 10-pound weight on biceps curls, so I was thinking of going up another five pounds soon. KMart has a bench and weight set I'm planning to buy sometime in the next month or so, because I'd really like to firm up all over and get a handle on some of this flab on my upper arms and stomach. My arms especially look really funny.......there's all this hangey-down sh**, but when I flex, I've got a biceps that's hard as a rock, and I can see the beginnings of some definition in my triceps area.

    Nice to know that even after all these years of yo-yo dieting, being massively obese at several points in time, and NOT being a spring chicken anymore, my body still responds to my efforts to build it into a healthier one.......and in a relatively short time, too. I've only been at this, seriously, for the past two months, and I started out with only 20 minutes of activity, 3 days a week at best.
  7. by   prmenrs
    If you don't actually count calories, at least write down every thing [and how much of it] that cross your lips!

    I agree about the muscle weighs more than fat thing. Hang tough, girlfriend!!!
  8. by   VivaLasViejas
    Thanks, premnrs......I do write down everything I put in my face, except for water, Crystal Light, tea, coffee, and other calorie- or carb-free fluids. I hate doing it, but it's put an end to all the mindless munching I used to do! There's something about seeing your intake in black and white that puts the kibosh on snarfing down a bowl of buttered popcorn......it just looks so terrible on paper (and we won't even talk about how bad it looks on your body!).

    I got some information about weight training off of Google, and several of the articles I read cited "slight weight gain" as being not only common, but likely in the early phases of a program. From what I understand, muscle mass outstrips fat loss in the early going, and only after you've been at it for several months or so does the fat loss begin in earnest. I've been at it only a little over 2 months, so that makes sense........I guess I just have to wait it out and keep ramping up the intensity and the length of my workouts.

    Considering the fact that at least half of those six pounds I gained are more than likely due to water retention---I've been out of Lasix for two days, it's hot, and my legs have turned into sausages---I'm probably only 2-3# up. Even so, I think I'll just stay the heck off the scales entirely........it's too freakin' depressing, and like everyone has said, everything ELSE is going the right direction. This is the very first time I've dieted AND stuck with a serious exercise regimen in my entire adult life, and I had no clue that this (weight gain) would happen, let alone why. I always just dieted before and thought about doing an exercise program......I never stayed with one longer than a week or two.

  9. by   emmy
    I just wanted to say Congratulations :hatparty: you have done an excellent job. As someone mentioned earlier muscle weighs more than fat but the good news is that it burns more calories even when you are resting. I'd say don't pay too much attention to the scales, instead take note of what your body is telling you - you feel healthier, clothes are loose etc.
    Well done
  10. by   VivaLasViejas
    Thanks, Emmy!

    Something else I've noticed recently: I seem to be unable to just sit and veg anymore. Even when I'm on the computer, I'm always fidgeting, bouncing my legs up and down, dancing to some tune in my head or on the TV...it's like I've turned into this perpetual motion machine! I never used to do this; I guess the theory about an object at rest staying at rest and one in motion remaining in motion applies to bodies as well. It's more pronounced on the days I exercise than when I don't, which makes sense, but it does happen even on days like yesterday, when I was being a slug (the only active thing I did all day was about 15 minutes of pulling weeds).

    I read somewhere that even fidgeting burns calories. OK, so why aren't I skinny yet? :chuckle
  11. by   Tweety
    I was a skinny runner whose only exercise was running. One of those bone-thin runners with no arms. Today I weigh 20 lbs more, because I started going to the gym about six years ago and slowly but surely gained muscle. I could stand to maybe loose five lbs of middle age fat, but my overall body fat isn't all that much more. So yes, muscle weighs more than fat. Sometimes I cringe when I get on the scale and realize I weigh more than I've ever weighed. I actually have to wear xtra large t-shirts now, but it's because my shoulders are so wide, (plus I like comfortable loose fitting clothes) but having to gain weight and upsize my clothes is weird.

    Take a hint from your doctor. He isn't the least big upset. He knows you are healthier. Things are just shifting right now, metabolism is changing. Stick you what you are doing (take the advice about writing down what you eat and adding it up just in case, but then go back to not counting calories.) and keep up the good work!

    Also note with the metabolism change, you're going to burn calories faster, but your body is going to say "hey I need some calories for these workouts" and the fat loss is going to slow down. Muscle burns more calories so in the end, while you might weight more you'll find you can eat more too.

    The bottom line is how do you physically feel today compared to January, rather than what the scale says.

    Good luck. End of lecture.

    You're an inpiration and you rock! Woot!
    Last edit by Tweety on Apr 27, '04
  12. by   Energizer Bunny
    If you decide you want to count calories... www.fitday.com is a very good tool and free!
  13. by   nursedawn67
    WalMart has a really nice home gym for approx $198. That's what we bought anyhow. Nice Gym, very professional looking. sounds like you are on the right track, you always hear you shouldn't go by weight, you should go by inches. Because working out can make you gain.

    But no matter what it sounds like you are definately on hte right track and already to a healthier you!
  14. by   mattsmom81
    I just love coming to these weight loss and 'healthy' threads for the inspiration!!

    Keep up the good work everybody!!