One of the main tools that I use to determine if I am in a caloric deficit is to weigh myself first thing every morning after going to the bathroom.. I track this in a spreadsheet and I plot the weekly average over time. In the image is my average weekly weight from week 27 to this current week 35.
As you can see my weight loss had leveled off at 199 lbs for week 27 to 29 at which time I decided to take a diet break on vacation for a week, hence the jump to 200.3 lbs. Once I got back I decided to continue to lose weight and try and get closer to my goal of 190 lbs. Things were back on track until week 33 which is when I started taking creatine. When you take creatine it ends up pulling more water into the muscles adding size and weight. In most cases it will add 3 to 5 lbs of body weight until you reach the maximum levels of creatine in the body. Some people prefer to load the body in a week taking 5 mg of creatine 4 times a day to saturate the body and then switching to 5 mg a day to maintain. The down side to this is it can cause bloating and diarrhea so I prefer to just take 5 mg a day and in approximately 30 days I will reach the same point as if I had loaded over a week.
So what is the point I am trying to get at? Well we use the scale as a tool to measure fat loss. If the scale is going down week after week and our performance in the gym is the same or better then we can be assured that the weight being lost is fat. So if its true the scale going down = fat loss then surely the scale going up must mean fat being gained right? Well not exactly. There are many things that will cause the body to increase in weight like creatine, salt, stress, menstrual cycle, etc. These can also cause the scale not to move up or down despite the fact you are still losing fat. At the end of the day the scale only measures body weight and not body composition.
These last few weeks I have known I would ended up gaining weight on the scale but even knowing that in my head, when I step on the scale in the morning and see my weight has gone up it still has a negative emotional impact. I have to over ride that gut feeling and trust that I am still on track. This is even harder when you don’t know the reason for the sudden increase in weight and it often cause people to make changes they did not need to make by either cutting calories and/or increasing cardio. In worst cases it can cause the person to give up entirely.
One thing natural bodybuilding has taught me is to be more patient and to not make sudden reactive changes. It’s taught me to use pictures, body measurements, the mirror, and how my cloths fit to also help judge how things are going. If you are not prepping for the stage you should be looking at fat loss as a long term lifestyle change not the quick fix that we are promised in marketing ads trying to get us to buy the latest and greatest fat loss supplement or diet. If you are prepping for the stage or if you really struggle with losing weight I would encourage you to work with a good prep or weight loss coach as they can help you deal with those emotional gut reactions and ensure you bring the best you to the stage or reach the goal you are after.