I’m exercising, so why am I gaining weight?

She’s clearly angry, and it’ll take a lot to keep her from giving up her exercise program

You finally get the motivation to start exercising and even manage to change your diet – so why does your scale say you’ve gained 3-4 pounds?A reader sent me a message complaining about this very issue.

Henrietta wrote, “Vivien, I just started this new exercise DVD, and I’m really thinking twice about going through with it. I weighed myself this morning and gained 4 pounds! I’m following a perfect diet, and I just don’t get it. My jeans are so tight now. I can’t even zip them up! Help!”

Henrietta, you’re not the only one experiencing this unexplained weight gain. I also gain weight whenever I start a new exercise program, especially if there’s crazy strength training involved.

This weight “gain” is very common, but only temporary! So, Henrietta, don’t toss your new exercise DVD in the trash or give it to your enemy.

What you’re experiencing is called delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). DOMS appear when your body tries to guard and defend the effected or targeted tissue. That’s why exercisers develop really sore muscles within 24-48 hours of working out.  Intense exercise programs cause microscopic tears in the muscle tissue. Your body then goes into fighting mode by swelling up your muscles with water.

That’s why your scale said you gained 4 pounds. That usually happens within a few weeks of starting a new program. The weight increase never lasts more than two weeks, so keep going and don’t give up like a lot of women do.

Women can be the most impatient when it comes to weight loss – always looking for a quick fix. I’ve been there! Just keep exercising and stick to the nutrition plan.

Please remember that this may happen each time you start a heavy workout phase, but it’ll go away again.  God didn’t give you a junk body – He gave you a perfect body – a body that knows how to protect itself, i.e. muscle soreness and temporary weight gain (water retention).

What if I’m not losing weight?

If the weight gain isn’t going away after two weeks – it’s most likely your diet. Write down everything you eat, and analyze what you’re eating. You should be gaining muscle NOT fat. That’s why scales are unreliable because muscle weighs more than fat. Always judge weight loss by trying on your clothes. Your jeans should feel loose – not the same or super tight.

Don’t ever quit exercising because of this temporary weight gain. Remember: Patience is a virtue.  Soon you’ll have the body and health you’ve always wanted.

A man who is a master of patience is master of everything else.
George Savile
All men commend patience, although few are willing to practice it.
Thomas Kempis


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