The Forgotten Skill of Waiting

Patience is a virtue. Especially in nutrition and training.

Have you ever experienced this? You get your new nutrition plan, jump right in, nail it every single day. You are motivated, the scale goes down and you are enthusiastic about the new plan. But after a week or two, everything comes to a halt. You are still putting in the work, but nothing changes, or even worse, you start gaining weight again! Suddenly you get unsecure or angry and start questioning the plan and what you are doing. But what is going on? You just can’t wait for good things to happen!

I’ve already talked a lot about this, but I will repeat it as many times as it is necessary: be patient about your transformation! Losing fat is a relatively slow process (but still faster than building muscles, at least for most of us) and being impatient about it will drive you crazy. Your instant gratification addicted monkey mind wants to make it happen immediately. Don’t listen to it. Trust the process and wait!

I encourage all my clients to weigh themselves on a daily basis. This gives us a lot of data to work with, but sometimes it also poses a problem for them: daily weight fluctuations.

How To Read The Scale

I know, everybody can read the scale, but do you truly understand what it tells you? Big fluctuations can happen easily by losing or storing water. Ate a lot of carbs yesterday? Well, be prepared for your weight to go up as carbs bind a lot of water. Even the size of a meal can lead to big fluctuations in bodyweight as your body needs quite a lot of time to digest it. Therefore don’t worry about daily fluctuations, they are normal and in most cases you definitely did not gain fat. Also for me, it is not uncommon to lose or gain 1kg from one day to another. Still, go on weighing yourself daily but look at the trend and not on absolute values.

The Difference between Weight Loss and Fat Loss

But what if your bodyweight doesn’t go down as fast as you would expect it? It can be quite frustrating as you feel your body wants to resist your efforts to make a change.  Calm down, this can actually be a good thing! It could mean you are building some serious amount of muscle mass. Muscle is heavier than fat and especially beginners and people switching to an optimized training plan can make quite good gains even while losing fat.

This can lead to a weight loss plateau due to a gain in muscle mass and look like you are not losing fat. To offset this problem, make sure to have additional means of tracking progress like measuring circumferences, skin folds or taking photos of yourself. In addition, your training log can give you a lot of insights: are your lifts constantly improving even after the newbie phase? Are you getting stronger? Then you are probably gaining some muscles. Also don’t forget to be patient. Fat loss tends to happen in phases: losing and plateauing phases alternate between themselves, so relax, stay on it and give it time.

Case Study – Myself

To give you a real life example, I want to show you the result of my last cutting phase:


Note the heavy daily fluctuations that happen so often. If you take a closer look at the green line, which is the median of bodyweight, you can see phases where bodyweight drops relatively fast and phases of stagnation. In the end I lost about 3kg over 3 months, which isn’t the fastest progress, but the best progess I ever achieved for myself. I built some muscle while being in a deficit. I had a quite conservative calorie deficit which meant that I was never too hungry and had always enough to eat and enjoy a normal life while cutting. That’s an all out win if you ask me!

Be sure to check out Chantal‘s guide on how to quickstart a successful fat loss journey for further information! Send this blog post to friends who are struggeling with their weight or leave a comment below if you have any questions.

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