I am Changing

I interrupt this schedule of non-weight loss related posts to bring you a post specifically about my non weight loss.


I had to dig thru my archives to find this gem b/c today, for no real reason, I feel stuck.

This time, reading it again as if for the first time, I’m going to chime in w/exactly how I’m feeling today.

It turns out that the idea of changing from the inside out is literally true as well.From the notes I’ve received from some of you, the most common concern seems to be that your fat loss seems too slow. After starting a serious fitness program including cardiovascular and weight training, nearly everyone feels better and more energetic almost immediately (aside from the perpetual soreness).

Yes Yes Yes! I do feel more energy, not necessarily bounding out of bed in the AM, but during the day I feel alert. I’ve been sore for about 2 weeks now, I’m getting used to it.

But even after several weeks, some people do not see a noticeable change in the mirror, so far as fat is concerned.

Sometimes I *think* I do, when I first take the daily pudge pic, but once I download it from the camera to the computer *arggh* I see the same Zeusdammed rolls.

And the scale! You’ve busted your bottom for weeks, and there’s no change!


Of course, if you’ve really been half-hearted about following your program, it’s clear why this may happen,

I’ve had my moments, leave me alone…

but it can also happen when you have honestly been experiencing intensity every day, and have been careful about limiting your portions.

Ok, you can start talking to me again…

I’ve received messages from people literally in tears at the frustration.



Kid, the road to Easy Street runs through the sewer. You gotta get tough (words spoken to me by my favorite teacher, Father Arnold Perham).

WTF? Is that supposed to make me feel better?

Here’s what’s going on.

Come on w/the come on…

Fat is stored in several places, within the muscle as intramuscular fat (which is why pork is “the other white meat”), around the organs as “visceral fat”, and under the skin as “subcutaneous fat”. If you’re inactive as you get older, the fat starts depositing in the muscles first – the muscle tissue gets “marbelized“.

Oh dear Jeebus…I am a walking piece of cake.

After the intramuscular stores are full, the fat spills over to subcutaneous stores, which are more noticeable.

So that’s what the pudge is made of.

Well, now take that process in reverse. Exercise (and specifically interval training and progressive weight training) tends to draw significantly from the intramuscular stores early on, so instead of seeing a major change in the mirror, you may instead feel your muscles getting firmer and less “mushy”.

::feels biceps::

::feels quads::

That’s a good sign. Don’t give up!

It is?

I won’t!

The subcutaneous fat loss becomes more evident once the intramuscular stores are whittled down a bit.Second, if you’ve been lifting weights, you’ll also be adding to muscle mass while you lose fat. The muscles become able to store more glycogen, and every gram of glycogen binds itself to several grams of water within the muscle, so a “pumped” muscle is heavier. Regular exercise also increases blood volume. And since protein synthesis typically goes along with increased cell volume (especially if you’re using creatine and glutamine), the scale will be an awful measure of the improvements that are going on metabolically.

Dammed scale. Pfffft!

It’s ironic – cell volume, blood volume – exactly the things that will be helping you to get fit, can be the things that initially make you think you’re making no progress.

Stupid biology.

Fat calipers are a better measure of progress, but even here, if you vary your pinching technique a little bit, you can get inaccurate readings on a day to day basis. Believe me, you’re going to have nights when you look in the mirror and say “all this work, and I look the same”, and mornings when you just can’t believe the improvement.

Yes! Yes! Just yesterday AM, I thought I was imagining that I barely felt the roll on the right side. Today I felt it came back and brought a new friend.

Don’t base your enthusiasm about your fitness program on either of those short-term impressions.

I’ll try. No promises.

Do try to troubleshoot by periodically reviewing your diet, intensity, and variety, but stick with it!

Okey doke.

Because of these significant differences in fluid-volume changes, some people will notice immediate changes, while others (and I would expect, most) will see only limited changes for the first 5 weeks or so. That seems like an awfully long time to wait, but remember, fat doesn’t “spot reduce” – it comes off in sheets, like an onion.

You mean I can’t lob it off like slicing a banana?

That’s why you can estimate your overall bodyfat levels just by measuring at one or two sites. Fat isn’t so exquisitely distributed that those estimates are exact, so if you’re doing bodyfat readings at just one or two sites, your figures can jump and stall from time to time. The upper body (shoulders, chest, upper abdominal area) generally shows improvement first. But expect that the areas you’ve always thought were “too fat” will still look too fat for a while, even though you feel good, look “healthier”, and can gradually measure that your fat percentage is going down.

Damned lower body.

There’s so much pressure to see quick results that it’s easy to forget the point of this, which is quite frankly to save your life. Don’t ignore increases in strength and overall feeling of health and well-being. Those are goals too.

Yea. You’re right. I guess I’m feeling better now.

If you were able to look inside of your cells and see your “good” enzymes increasing, your energy-producing mitochondria multiplying, your cholesterol falling, your arteries clearing, your blood vessels becoming more efficient, your muscles strengthening, your bone-density improving, and all of the remarkable changes that this program triggers, it would be clear that the scale and calipers are just insufficient ways of measuring success.

I wish they could make a device I could measure those things right now. Next time I get a slick remark like, “You’ve been going to the gym a lot and don’t *look* like your losing weight.” I’m gonna reply, “Shut the fuck up! My energy-producing mitochondria is multiplying you douche you.”

As these internal changes become significant, your external progress accelerates. Some people just start out needing more internal changes than others, because of their prior lifestyle, long-term yo-yo dieting, and other factors.

I’m very guilty of the yo-yo and other indiscretions that have completely FUGGED up my metabolism.

Please understand that if you’re following the daily intensity and carefully limiting your portions, the progress is happening, whether it’s obvious or not. I’ve just seen too many individual cases to think any different.

Ok. I believe you.

So don’t force the numbers. They’ll come.


Here is your job today:

I like jobs.

adhere to a winning pattern of action that you know will produce results if you follow it consistently. That’s all. And if you do that today, congratulate yourself as a winner.

That being the criteria…I’ve been a winner all week…Huzzah Renee!

If instead, you insist on measuring your success by whether or not the scale or caliper show progress today, you’re creating a game you can lose.

Very true. I can’t manage what the scale would say on a given day, but I can manage whether or not I make it to the gym.

In Steven Covey’s words, you’re putting yourself in the position of trying to manage consequences rather than actions. You’ll never get a reliable sense of confidence that way. Look, you’re following a program that works. Do troubleshoot. Do review your workouts, food choices, portion sizes, and meal plans. But make every day a game you can win.

Coach Yes Coach! Raaaaaahhhhhhhhhh I’m ready to get back in the game.

0 Responses to “I am Changing”

Comments are currently closed.