Question: I have been exercising for six months and I have not lost any weight. I have been going on the elliptical machine five times a week for thirty minutes. My goal is to lose ten pounds, but I am exactly the same weight as I was six months ago.
Answer: It is time to throw out the scale. A bathroom scale can’t tell the difference between muscle and fat, but your favorite pair of jeans can. Muscle is more dense then fat, so takes up less space in your body. It is possible that you have maintained the same weight but have lost fat, and gained muscle.
This is an easy fix. Put on your favorite pair of jeans and measure your progress by how well your jeans fit over time.
If you are still finding that all your clothes fit exactly the same as they did six months ago, then it’s probably time to pay closer attention to what you are eating.
Thirty minutes on the elliptical burns approximately 300 calories. That is equivalent to half a sandwich, 2 regular beers or 2-3 regular glasses of wine. Unfortunately those hard-earned three hundred calories are easily offset if you say, as many do; “I can eat what I want today because I exercised” or “I workout out today so I deserve a treat”. Your struggle to lose weight may simply be the result of eating back the calories you burned on the elliptical.
Also, I would suggest changing up your workout in two ways:
First, add strength training to your routine. It will build muscle that will help tone your body and, as an added bonus, muscle will help speed up your resting metabolic rate which will make your body burn more calories when you’re resting.
Second, mix up your cardio workouts and get yourself out of that elliptical machine rut. Take a spin class, run on the treadmill, take a dance class, go swimming or try adding interval training to your routine. If you have some fun with your cardio it won’t feel as much like work.