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Old 02-05-2013, 10:37 AM   #1
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Why the scales can lie

I saw this on another thread this morning. It was posted by PenPen13. I have read this before and it is a good reminder as to what is happening to our body.

A biologist at Berkeley shared something very revealing on the low-carb BBS system about 4 years ago that helps us all through the erratic weight fluctuations you invariably encounter: Fat cells are resilient, stubborn little creatures that do not want to give up their actual cell volume. Over a period of weeks, maybe months of "proper dieting", each of your fat cells may have actually lost a good percentage of the actual fat contained in those cells. But the fat cells themselves, stubborn little guys, replace that lost fat with water to retain their size. That is, instead of shrinking to match the reduced amount of fat in the cell, they stay the same size! Result - you weigh the same, look the same, maybe even gained some scale weight, even though you have actually lost some serious fat.

The good news is that this water replacement is temporary. It's a defensive measure to keep your body from changing too rapidly. It allows the fat cell to counter the rapid change in cell composition, allowing for a slow, gradual reduction in cell size. The problem is, most people are frustrated with their apparent lack of success, assume they have lost nothing, and stop dieting.

However, if you give those fat cells some time, like 4-6 months, and ignore the scale weight fluctuations, your real weight/shape will slowly begin to show. The moral of the story - be patient! Your body is changing even if the number on the scale isn't.

PATTERNS OF WEIGHT LOSS

Common patterns of weight loss from tracking a lot of people who become assimilated into the low carb lifestyle, a pattern emerges.... the 2 week induction is pretty heady...weight lost just about every single day, enormous and unbelievable amounts of weight loss are reported. This is often followed by complaints that weight loss "stalls" or that the rate drops to only 1 pound per week.

Many people just don't know that fat-loss ...the actual goal when on a weight-reduction" diet, is rate-limited. In other words, the human body has factors that prevent more than a certain amount of fatty-acid release from storage...and even more factors that prevent those released fatty acids from being used up instead of stored back into the fat cells.

A priority of the human body is survival. Anything that threatens its survival results in the cascade of events to maintain the previous status quo. Water fluctuations are one way the body does this. OK...so you done good on Atkins' during induction...lost 10 pounds the first 2 weeks. Maybe 7 the first week and 3 the second. But, whoa! Weeks 3 and 4 there is NO loss! And weeks 5 and 6 is only 1/2 pound each!

So... what gives? Initially, the body jettisons the water attached to the glycogen stores that we diligently deplete to get into ketosis...this accounts for about 3-5 pounds of water. In addition, muscle stores of glycogen are not being replaced when used...which will account for the rest. All in all...MAYBE 1/2 pound of fat was metabolized during the first week... and MAYBE 1/2 pound of fat was metabolized the 2nd week. Of that 10 initial pounds, only 1 pound was fat and 9 pounds water...

The body senses this lack and sirens start shrieking: Warning! Warning! Losing water... new thing...got to get back to the status quo! Brain tells body to produce and release that vasopressin anti-diuretic hormone....more water is retained, and no weight loss noticed. Fat loss is still occurring, MAYBE even 2 pounds per week, because ketosis is firmly established and appetite suppression is in effect...but water retention is hiding that continuing fat loss. The body is preventing dehydration with this mechanism, and that's a good thing.

From the perspective of the scale, it can be discouraging. Which is why the mantra: Water retention masks fat loss (repeated frequently to oneself) is helpful. Water retention will mask ongoing fat-loss for as long as the body retains the water. We can combat this by drinking more water...but we aren't going to totally overcome this mechanism during the initial water-loss phase of the Atkins diet. By weeks 5 and 6, things start to get back in balance, and the scale will begin to reflect the true fat-loss...which, as mentioned before is rate-limited.

Individuals vary, but max weight loss runs about 2 pounds per week...under extremely optimal conditions... or 1% of body weight (whichever is the lower number). So don't use the scale as an excuse to undermine your progress. Even when the scale is in a stall, fat loss can be occurring.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:47 AM   #2
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I have noticed this from day 1 on JUDDD. I have very stubborn lil guys running around.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:49 AM   #3
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I think this is also true for weight loss that isn't low carb. I go through periods where the scale doesn't budge and I feel puffy. This will be followed by a day or 2 or 3 of constant trips to the ladies room. I have had days where I had to run quickly over 30 times. However, a whoosh was right behind that. My body lets go of that water weight 1-3 times per month when in active weight loss mode.

Thanks for posting this Seabreezes.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:50 AM   #4
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Thank you for posting this! I think I might be stuck in one of those times when my body is clinging to its fat and filling up with water to try and resist. I was wondering if it's true if you're not in ketosis and are on JUDDD, but judging from the way other JB's lose, it appears to be.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:53 AM   #5
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I agree with Carly that this is the way for all weight loss not just LC since I too have the days when it seems like I live in the bathroom and then a drop in pounds on the scale.
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:08 PM   #6
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Seabreeze, thank you very much for posting this...what a revelation it is to me..and it does seem to describe what i see going on with the people on here who are long timers...I saw on Dr Oz, yesterday, he was showing how fat cells work..and he was promoting CLA for weight loss..but, again, a person has to check out how it could affect them...CLA can cause a rise in bloodsugar for some people..and I thought..when I'm overweight, already, not sure I d want to take a chance on raising that...but the main point they were making is that under a certain dosage, the cla helps the fat cell sort of dissolve..and makes it easier to empty out...This post is so informative..I am going to keep it and refer to it often..thanks again.
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:28 PM   #7
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jaymar, what is CLA?
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:32 PM   #8
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That is interesting and great to know, thank you so much for posting this!
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:34 PM   #9
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What a fantastic post, Seabreezes. A very clear explanation. Thanks.

Going by the bathroom trips, I'm pretty sure my fat cells are giving up water today. Let's hope the scales confirm that tomorrow!
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:35 PM   #10
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I so loved this information.. you did good to share it. especially the some of the newbies who feel its just not working,, even when they had some really great rotations!
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:37 PM   #11
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:55 PM   #12
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so true!
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Old 02-05-2013, 02:59 PM   #13
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Thanks! I will definitely try to remember this. I'm currently discouraged at my stalled scales :/
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Old 02-05-2013, 03:27 PM   #14
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Yep, I wholeheartedly agree!!! I just gained and stayed there after a good down day. I am hardly in the potty despite liquid intake, too. I know I am retaining water and because I have seen this info before, it has helped me when trying to keep on course. Thanks for posting the info! A great day for me to read it again!
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Old 02-05-2013, 03:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seabreezes View Post
I saw this on another thread this morning. It was posted by PenPen13. I have read this before and it is a good reminder as to what is happening to our body.

A biologist at Berkeley shared something very revealing on the low-carb BBS system about 4 years ago that helps us all through the erratic weight fluctuations you invariably encounter: Fat cells are resilient, stubborn little creatures that do not want to give up their actual cell volume. Over a period of weeks, maybe months of "proper dieting", each of your fat cells may have actually lost a good percentage of the actual fat contained in those cells. But the fat cells themselves, stubborn little guys, replace that lost fat with water to retain their size. That is, instead of shrinking to match the reduced amount of fat in the cell, they stay the same size! Result - you weigh the same, look the same, maybe even gained some scale weight, even though you have actually lost some serious fat.

The good news is that this water replacement is temporary. It's a defensive measure to keep your body from changing too rapidly. It allows the fat cell to counter the rapid change in cell composition, allowing for a slow, gradual reduction in cell size. The problem is, most people are frustrated with their apparent lack of success, assume they have lost nothing, and stop dieting.

However, if you give those fat cells some time, like 4-6 months, and ignore the scale weight fluctuations, your real weight/shape will slowly begin to show. The moral of the story - be patient! Your body is changing even if the number on the scale isn't.

PATTERNS OF WEIGHT LOSS

Common patterns of weight loss from tracking a lot of people who become assimilated into the low carb lifestyle, a pattern emerges.... the 2 week induction is pretty heady...weight lost just about every single day, enormous and unbelievable amounts of weight loss are reported. This is often followed by complaints that weight loss "stalls" or that the rate drops to only 1 pound per week.

Many people just don't know that fat-loss ...the actual goal when on a weight-reduction" diet, is rate-limited. In other words, the human body has factors that prevent more than a certain amount of fatty-acid release from storage...and even more factors that prevent those released fatty acids from being used up instead of stored back into the fat cells.

A priority of the human body is survival. Anything that threatens its survival results in the cascade of events to maintain the previous status quo. Water fluctuations are one way the body does this. OK...so you done good on Atkins' during induction...lost 10 pounds the first 2 weeks. Maybe 7 the first week and 3 the second. But, whoa! Weeks 3 and 4 there is NO loss! And weeks 5 and 6 is only 1/2 pound each!

So... what gives? Initially, the body jettisons the water attached to the glycogen stores that we diligently deplete to get into ketosis...this accounts for about 3-5 pounds of water. In addition, muscle stores of glycogen are not being replaced when used...which will account for the rest. All in all...MAYBE 1/2 pound of fat was metabolized during the first week... and MAYBE 1/2 pound of fat was metabolized the 2nd week. Of that 10 initial pounds, only 1 pound was fat and 9 pounds water...

The body senses this lack and sirens start shrieking: Warning! Warning! Losing water... new thing...got to get back to the status quo! Brain tells body to produce and release that vasopressin anti-diuretic hormone....more water is retained, and no weight loss noticed. Fat loss is still occurring, MAYBE even 2 pounds per week, because ketosis is firmly established and appetite suppression is in effect...but water retention is hiding that continuing fat loss. The body is preventing dehydration with this mechanism, and that's a good thing.

From the perspective of the scale, it can be discouraging. Which is why the mantra: Water retention masks fat loss (repeated frequently to oneself) is helpful. Water retention will mask ongoing fat-loss for as long as the body retains the water. We can combat this by drinking more water...but we aren't going to totally overcome this mechanism during the initial water-loss phase of the Atkins diet. By weeks 5 and 6, things start to get back in balance, and the scale will begin to reflect the true fat-loss...which, as mentioned before is rate-limited.

Individuals vary, but max weight loss runs about 2 pounds per week...under extremely optimal conditions... or 1% of body weight (whichever is the lower number). So don't use the scale as an excuse to undermine your progress. Even when the scale is in a stall, fat loss can be occurring.
Good post! Is that why sometimes you see very little loss and then suddenly seemingly over night you drop a lot? I have noticed at times the loss seems to be a certain amount then suddenly bam I start to drop a lot over the next 2 weeks and kept racking my brain trying to see what it was that I did different so I can keep doing it, but I had not done anything different, so that explains it.
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:07 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ~PaperMoon~ View Post
Good post! Is that why sometimes you see very little loss and then suddenly seemingly over night you drop a lot? I have noticed at times the loss seems to be a certain amount then suddenly bam I start to drop a lot over the next 2 weeks and kept racking my brain trying to see what it was that I did different so I can keep doing it, but I had not done anything different, so that explains it.
yes! This for sure! For me has to do with TOM.
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:13 PM   #17
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CLA is Conjugated Linolec Acid..it's a kind of fatty acid...some people say it helps with fat...like Dr Oz...but..I have looked it up, and I read that it does raise bloodsugar in some people..not sure what else it does..
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Old 02-05-2013, 06:03 PM   #18
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My weight loss is slow and never whooshy. I have never seen a sudden 3 lb drop, but I hope to one day.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:10 PM   #19
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Great post! Thanks for sharing it with us. I'll have to keep this in mind. In spite of our love/hate relationships with our bodies, they really, truly are trying to do what they think is best for us.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:17 PM   #20
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So true LCG...and boy oh boy, the info in that article is soooo beneficial!!! It could make all the difference to so many of us.

Even in maintenance, there ARE those times......

Phyl
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Old 02-06-2013, 04:25 AM   #21
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So true LCG...and boy oh boy, the info in that article is soooo beneficial!!! It could make all the difference to so many of us.

Even in maintenance, there ARE those times......

Phyl
Like right now for me. I am puffed up for some reason and I hope it is that my fat cells are filled with water and I will drop the extra pound soon and maybe another with it.
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:11 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by adillenal View Post
Like right now for me. I am puffed up for some reason and I hope it is that my fat cells are filled with water and I will drop the extra pound soon and maybe another with it.
Adi, I can't imagine you are puffed up. Your new avi is so cute and you are TINY!
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:30 AM   #23
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I can tell before I even get on the scale if I have lost weight most of the time..

I always weigh myself first thing in the morning but sometimes I will feel "fat" and others I feel lighter. It's strange and I've wondered about it. When I feel fat, I have almost never lost weight but when I feel light and empty in the morning, my weight almost always goes down.

I definitely need to stop stressing about the scales because I know this article speaks the truth.
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:55 AM   #24
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Phyl, you said what I have been thinking since I read this post...if only more people understood what our bodies are doing....for me..I have been conditioned to think that no loss on the scale is failure...but..reading this post can and will make all the difference for some people..I've been ready to give up a few times, but then I come here and read, and what I'm going thru makes sense..it's like part of the process...and..I don't have to ever give it up..I will get where I want to be, so many people here are showing us how it works..right before our eyes.
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Old 02-06-2013, 08:26 PM   #25
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Adi...I am feeling major bloat today! I just know it won't last and thank goodness!

Pat (So Happy) said in a post ages ago she didn't worry about it because it's just another day in the life of......well, eating!!...and she just accepted it. (not her exact words)

That attitude was helpful to me, and still is. I'm determined not to overcomplicate things. If I want something I know will cause bloat, I still have it, and deal with the consequences.

I think I'm the odd-ball here anyway, cause I don't weigh everyday either. Especially feeling bloat!!

Jaymar...our bodys doing what they do, or just bloaty food, we do well to remember it's just our lil bods doin-their-thang!!! Knowing this sure saved me in my journey!

Love ya sweet budds,
Phyl

Last edited by gotitnow; 02-06-2013 at 08:28 PM.. Reason: Also Adi...if I haven't said it, you look adorable and tiny in your new ave!!
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Old 02-06-2013, 08:31 PM   #26
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Adi, Did you see my comment in that miniscule print? (above)^^ Guess I flubbed up my edit!! Get out your magnifying glass!!

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Old 02-06-2013, 08:32 PM   #27
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PHYL - my swollen ankles are a dead giveaway. I am trying to remember what I could have eaten to get the swelling. I haven't had this problem in months. Maybe it is just my fat cells filling up with water prior to emptying. I can hope.

Thanks for the compliments Phyl and LCG. Compared to 40 pounds ago I am small. But I am 5'7" so I don't qualify for tiny in real life. BUT I am wearing size 8's and the occasional 6. Just drag out something new everyday . I already have plenty of those sizes in my closet so I don't even have to shop. I did not realize I had so many small sizes with tags still on them. Bought on sale out of season and then never got around to wearing them I guess.
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Old 02-07-2013, 06:18 AM   #28
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Adi, how cool is that, though? It must be so fun to pull out the new goodies and wear them! Fun, fun, fun!!!
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Old 03-16-2013, 12:29 PM   #29
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150 pounds - all different sizes

I printed out this original post and have it taped to the wall next to my scale. I've vowed to use the scale as only ONE of my measuring tools - inches and clothing fit being the other 2.
I know we can get hung up on the number - waiting for that whoosh, despair with every bounce, and we all have different ways of dealing with it: weighing less, tracking the downward trend over 2 weeks, etc.
I have a dear friend who is a Herbalife wellness coach and, although I don't use her products, I love her approach to overall wellness and weight loss. She posted this on her website and I wanted to share.
All 6 of these ladies, including the one on the far right of the photo (not in white) weigh 150# - the far right is 150# I could be proud of! I'd call goal at that for sure!!
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Old 03-16-2013, 03:03 PM   #30
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Were is the picture of the woman with big girls and skinny chicken legs...
I want to be ripped like the girl on the far right!!!!!
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