© FlamingoImages – Getty Images Usually, the goal of weight loss is to lose fat and gain muscle. But sometimes, you can start to lose muscle instead of fat-and that’s not a great scenario. Losing weight is hard. From the diet changes to the ramped-up workouts, it can take a serious overhaul of your lifestyle. And usually, the goal is to decrease body fat and increase muscle. But sometimes in that quest, you can start to lose muscle instead of fat-and that’s not a great scenario.
“It is bad to lose muscle instead of fat, because muscles are the key players in body movement and function,” says Gerardo Miranda-Comas, MD, physiatrist at Mount Sinai Hospital. “With loss of muscle mass, strength and endurance are affected negatively, leading to decreased functional performance.”
But your body shouldn’t naturally go for muscle first in weight loss-if you’re doing it right.
Video: Which exercise makes you lose more weight? (Health.com)
“In general, muscle is not lost before fat-it is very dependent on nutrition and activity volume,” Miranda-Comas says. “A person who is attempting to lose weight by not eating may lose weight in muscle first before fat.”
How does that happen? Well, the body likes to go for carbs (glucose) for energy first. If that’s not available, it goes for glycogen, which is glucose that’s been stored in the liver and muscles, says Dr. Miranda-Comas.
“Fat is also used for energy depending on duration of the physical activity, and an individual can train their body to use fat as the primary source of energy,” says Dr. Miranda-Comas. (Hello, ketosis-the basis of the keto diet.)
“A healthy diet is usually 45-65% carbs, anywhere from 15-35% protein, and 20-35% fat,” says Wesley Delbridge, RDN, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “The point is having a balanced diet and not restricting any food very low.”
This, of course, depends on the diet you’re following. Some may be low-carb (like the keto diet), high-protein (like the Atkins diet), or low fat. But if you’re taking it to extremes, your body will start to feel it.
But how can you tell if you’re losing muscles and not fat? Here are 4 signs.
- © Ridofranz/Getty Images1. Your workout feels more strained.
- 1/6 SLIDES © Paul Aiken/EyeEm – Getty
- 1) Your shoulder hurts and clicks when you lift overhead.
- 2) Your elbow aches and burns.
- 3) You have severe, radiating back pain.
- 4) You have knee pain.
- 5) You have deep pain along your hip or groin area.
- 4. You’re losing weight at a rapid pace.
- Training Talk: What You Need to Know About Gaining Muscle, Losing Weight
- How does a doctor treat failure to gain weight?
- I’m new to nursing. How can I tell whether my baby is getting enough to eat?
- Does failure to gain weight mean that my child will always be smaller than he should be?
- 10 signs your breastfed baby is gaining weight
- Signs and Symptoms of Baby Not Gaining Weight
- Diagnosing Slow Weight Gain in Babies
- Does Slow Weight Gain Affect Your Baby’s Health in the Long Term?
- What Can You Do to Increase Your Baby’s Weight?
- Is Your Baby Getting Enough Nutrition Through Breastfeeding?
- When to Seek Medical Advice
- 5 Ways To Monitor Your Weight Without A Scale
- How to weigh yourself without a scale (and what to do instead)
- Method 1: ‘Weigh’ yourself in the bathtub
- Method 2: ‘Weigh’ yourself with a see-saw.
- How to weigh yourself on your phone: Don’t.
- What to do instead: Weigh yourself for free (or cheap). Here’s where:
- In closing: Get a scale. It’s inexpensive and worth the cost.
- Weighing Yourself FAQ
- How to weigh yourself with a scale
- 8 Warning Signs That You’re Losing Weight Too Quickly
- How to Slow Down Weight Loss
- Your weight loss results might not always show on the scale. These other signs will prove that you’re on the right track.
© Ridofranz/Getty Images
1. Your workout feels more strained.
It may seem kind of obvious, but your workouts might feel harder–and you may feel like skipping it altogether.
“You’ll notice less strength in the gym. The weight you used to be able to do for reps may decrease or you may not be able to get as many reps as you once did for each set,” says Spencer Nadolsky, D.O., author of The Fat Loss Prescription.
2. You feel sluggish doing everyday activities.
You won’t just feel muscle loss it in the gym.
“Inadequate nutrition can lead to a decrease in muscle, which may lead to impaired function,” says Dr. Miranda-Comas. “This is usually caused by an energy deficiency and possible overtraining.”
“In the very active individual who is losing weight along with a decrease in performance, we must consider overtraining,” says Dr. Miranda-Comas.
Gallery: 5 Weightlifting Red Flags You Should Watch Out For (Men’s Health)
1/6 SLIDES © Paul Aiken/EyeEm – Getty
Think about the quotes you see on Instagram: “Go hard or go home,” “The only workout you regret is the one you skipped,” or “Unless you puke, faint, or die, keep going.”
We’re here to tell you that these clichés are a load of crap. In fact, sometimes, they can be dangerous. There certainly are times you should skip the gym and rest up, or at least dial down the intensity a few notches. And one of the best reasons to do so is if you’re feeling pain when you’re lifting.
The problem is, lots of guys don’t see the problem with pushing through a session if they’re in pain. After all, lifting weights is supposed to hurt, right? Not exactly. While some muscle soreness is to be expected in the day or two after when you’re pushing heavy weight, nagging pain during exercise needs to be addressed ASAP.
“Ignoring weightlifting pain can result in additional inflammation and trauma to the tissue in and around the joints. It can also lead to more chronic degenerative issues over time including wear and tear of the joints and cartilage, degeneration of the tendons, and early-onset arthritis,” explains Paul Mostoff, D.P.T., chief of physical therapy at All Sports Physical Therapy in New York City.
Here’s everything you need to know about five specific weight lifting pains that pop up while you’re lifting. If you’re dealing with any of these injuries, take a few days off from the gym, then ice the area and, if needed, take anti-inflammatory medications. If you’re still feeling symptoms after several weeks, it’s time to see a doctor.
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1) Your shoulder hurts and clicks when you lift overhead.
The shoulder is one of the more commonly injured areas in the weight room, says John-Paul Rue, M.D., an orthopedics and sports medicine doctor at Mercy Medical Center in Maryland. Pain at the top of your shoulder that’s accompanied by a clicking noise could signal inflammation or possibly degenerative changes (like arthritis) in the AC joint, the joint at the top of your shoulder where your scapula and collarbone meet.
Pain and weakness located on the side of the shoulder when you lift overhead may represent rotator cuff pain, either from tendinitis or possibly a tear. And pain in the front of the shoulder with biceps curls or other upper body exercises may indicate biceps tendinitis.
After you consult with a doctor and figure out what’s going on, you can help prevent the injury from recurring by choosing exercises that correct muscle imbalances, says John Kim, P.T., D.P.T., a physical therapist at React in Chicago. Kim recommends stretching and releasing your pecs and upper traps, and incorporating some low-weight back strengthening exercises such as rows and bent-over rows.
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2) Your elbow aches and burns.
Ever experience a sharp pain in your elbow while doing bicep curls? This could be indicative of a few different issues, but the most common is lateral epicondylitis, or “tennis elbow,” explains Mostoff.
Mostoff says tennis elbow can turn into a very painful chronic condition. If left unchecked, it can make it difficult to grip, hold, and maneuver even the lightest household objects. (And nope, you don’t need to play tennis to get it).
If you suspect you have tennis elbow, Mostoff recommends using ice massage for pain relief. Once the pain has subsided, you can do weighted eccentric wrist extension exercises to help heal the tendons, and strengthening exercises to fix muscular imbalances in the upper arm and shoulder girdle. These include wrist curls and extensions with a dumbbell.
4/6 SLIDES © Men’s Health
3) You have severe, radiating back pain.
If you experience back pain radiating into either of your legs, as well as numbness and a pins-and-needles feeling, it could mean you’ve done structural damage to the vertebrae of the spine, or that you’ve pinched or irritated a nerve.
“This often happens in exercises such as squats or deadlifts when using too much weight,” says Mostoff. “The person may attempt to lift the load with a rounded lower back, which places a ton of stress on the spine.”
Plus, says Kim, you can cause lower back pain during deadlifts by relying too much on your lumbar extensors (a.k.a. your low back muscles) instead of your lower posterior chain muscles, like your glutes and hamstrings.
To prevent this from happening in the future, you should always warm up your glutes and engage your entire core before deadlifting. “If the numbness continues to travel down the leg and into the calf and foot, or if you develop any significant weakness and difficulty walking, it’s definitely time to see the doctor,” says Mostoff.
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4) You have knee pain.
Exercises that include squats, lunges or other deep knee flexion movements can cause added stress and pressure to the knee cap, which can lead to pain or injury.
“Pain along the inside or outside of the knee along the joint line, particularly with bending/twisting types of activities, may be a sign of meniscus injury, particularly if this is associated with the feeling of a popping, cracking or catching sensation,” explains Dr. Rue. If you have a sudden injury with severe pain and swelling, this may represent a more serious injury, such as a ligament sprain or tear.
Stop doing the movement that’s causing knee pain immediately and get checked out by a doctor. Correcting any muscle imbalances, strengthening your glutes and hamstrings by adding glute bridges to your warmups, and making sure your iliotibial band (IT band, the band of muscle along the outside of your upper thigh) is healthy and loose, can all help to reduce knee pain.
6/6 SLIDES © Kane Skennar – Getty
5) You have deep pain along your hip or groin area.
If you’ve ever experienced a deep pain in your groin – along with a clicking or “locking” feeling – then you know just how painful this type of injury can be.
“This type of pain shouldn’t be ignored, as it could indicate a tear in the labrum, which is a piece of cartilage that serves as a joint lubricator and shock absorber,” says Mostoff.
Mostoff suggests avoiding any deep squatting or lunging, as well as twisting exercises where your feet are planted on the gym floor. Otherwise, you could increase damage to the labrum. The long-term fix for this includes rest and anti-inflammatory meds, as well as strengthening the glutes and pelvic girdle muscle groups to decrease excessive tension on the front portion of your hip.
Stability and balance exercises performed on wobble boards and unstable surfaces that retrain the way these large muscle groups work together are also beneficial. In worst cases, says Mostoff, surgery may be necessary to fix the labrum.
3. Your body fat percentage isn’t budging.
If you’re losing weight but your body fat percentage is staying the same, it’s probably a sign you’re losing muscle.
“Your body won’t shape the way you want. You’ll notice shrinking circumferences, but the pinch-able fat is the same,” says Dr. Nadolsky.
4. You’re losing weight at a rapid pace.
While you may be pumped at seeing those numbers, it’s probably not good news for your muscle mass-unless you have a lot of fat to lose to start.
“The more fat you have, the more likely you’ll lose more fat than muscle when losing weight,” says Dr. Nadolsky.
Losing weight rapidly is usually not sustainable, either.
“Weight loss requires a long period of time and being patient-it’s a marathon and not a sprint. People should (only) lose 1-2 pounds per week,” says Delbridge.
For tips from real guys who lost significant amounts of weight, check out our list of the year’s most jaw-dropping weight loss transformations.
Training Talk: What You Need to Know About Gaining Muscle, Losing Weight
A hot topic among exercisers and athletes is the best diet and exercises to be able to gain lean muscle mass while losing fat. Is it even possible?
Maintaining or changing body composition (losing fat, gaining muscle) is a balancing act – you need extra calories/building blocks to build muscle…but to lose weight, you need to cut calories, which can result in losing both fat and muscle mass for many. Maintaining that weight loss becomes a challenge because when you lose weight, your body is smaller and needs less calories, and if you lose muscle, your body will burn less calories (muscle is the most metabolically active tissue). This means you need to eat less (or exercise more, or both) once you lose the weight to maintain your weight loss. For athletes, eating less calories can be hard – in the peak of training, hunger may through the roof, and losing muscle during weight loss is exactly what exercisers and athletes DON’T want when they’re trying to reach peak performance.
Researchers at McMaster University wanted to look into gaining muscle while trying to lose weight, and in doing so, their findings are being called the “holy grail” of diet and exercise – their diet diet and exercise routine allowed their research participants to lose fat and gain muscle.
In their recently published a paper titled “Higher compared with lower dietary protein during an energy deficit combined with intense exercise promotes greater lean mass gain and fat mass loss: a randomized trial” was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers looked at body composition changes in overweight young men who were put through intensive exercise and diet for about a month.
Research study details
Diet: They took the participants (40 men) and cut their calories by ~40% (compared to their calculated NEED, not their usual diets), and half the men ate 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day (lower protein) and the other half ate a higher protein diet, with 2.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. Just for reference, the recommended protein level is only 0.8 grams per kg of body weight, though athletes need more protein each day.
The higher protein group ate about 35% protein, 15% fat, 50% carbs.
The lower protein group ate about 15% protein, 35% fat, 50% carbs.
The difference in protein and fat came from the milk-based beverage each group drank several times per day, where the high protein group had a extra whey protein isolate added to their low fat dairy-based drink, while the lower protein group just had a high fat milk with no added protein. At least one beverage had to be consumed post-workout, so the higher protein group was also getting a larger post-workout protein dose.
Exercise: Both groups were VERY active – they participated in intense exercise sessions 6 days a week, including plyometric training, full body weight training, high intensity intervals…and on top of that, both groups walked at least 10,000 steps per day.
- Both groups lost weight
- Lean body mass (muscle) remained the same in the lower protein group (good!)
- Lean body mass increased in the higher protein group (even better!)
- Both groups lost fat mass (good)
- The high protein group lost more fat mass (best!)
What this means
The combination of the intense exercise schedule and the extra protein (double and almost triple the normal recommended value) helped participants maintain, and even gain muscle mass even though they were cutting calories by 40%.
Both groups maintained carbohydrates, because of the “crucial role that fuel plays in performance,” according to researchers. By not cutting their carbohydrates so drastically, these participants were able to participate in difficult workouts throughout the session.
This research study is building off of many years of research that provide strategies for maintaining muscle mass during weight loss, but these strategies, including the McMaster University study are short-term and grueling – working out 6 days a week at a significant calorie deficit can be exhausting, and likely not sustainable for athletes or frequent exercisers.
For many athletes, cutting too many calories, especially calories from carbohydrates can result in low energy, poor performance and recovery issues.
To help your body retain muscle mass if you’re trying to lose weight, these two strategies in addition to increased exercise/a calorie deficit help maintain muscle mass:
- Resistance training
- Higher protein intake
Strength training helps your body build and retain muscle mass, which not only helps with body composition goals, but also makes athletes stronger all-around and more resistant to injuries. As far as the diet goes, this is one of the areas dietitians help clients with.
How much protein you need depends on your sport/exercises (The above study was doing a mix of high intensity intervals and strength workouts, but what about if you’re a runner? What about a strength training runner?) It also depends on your goal – what if you don’t necessarily want to LOSE weight, but you want to make sure you don’t lose muscle as you ramp up your training? A higher protein diet isn’t necessarily a very low carbohydrate diet – the diets that drastically cut carbohydrates from the diet may have athletes feeling tired and unable to complete their workouts as intensely as they would like, especially for endurance athletes.
Example: For a runner trying to get down to racing weight, focusing on getting 1.6-1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (body weight in lbs. divided by 2.2) will allow them to still get enough calories from carbohydrates to fuel their runs, while helping them maintain and build muscle mass as the season goes on. A 150 lb. runner would need ~110-123 grams of protein per day, spread throughout the day, including their post-workout meal or snack.
Find your balance: Make an appointment with the Sanford Sports Science Institute Nutritionist to make sure you’re eating in a way that supports your training goals by calling 605-312-7878!
In the mean time, check out this EatRight Article on Timing Your Nutrition!
A third of your breast milk is known as foremilk, which is readily available for your baby. When you start to nurse, your body instinctively releases the hormone oxytocin, which stimulates the flow of the rest of your milk, the hindmilk. This is known as the letdown reflex, and you’ll know it’s happened if your nipples feel tingly or your breast milk spurts. Hindmilk has more calories than foremilk.
If you’re stressed out or in pain, the letdown reflex can fail to kick in, preventing your baby from getting hindmilk. When this is a chronic problem, it can result in failure to gain weight. To encourage the letdown reflex, try to find a relaxing place to nurse.
See how your baby compares to others in height, weight, and head size.
Other common causes:
- If your baby has been ill, his body may need more calories and nutrients. An illness may also hurt your baby’s appetite.
- He may have chronic gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, reflux, celiac disease, or a milk intolerance.
- If you have postpartum depression or several other young children vying for your attention, you may be unable to give your baby the attention he needs to be sure he’s getting enough calories.
In rare cases, failure to gain weight can turn out to be a result of a lung problem, such as cystic fibrosis; a nervous system problem, such as cerebral palsy; a chromosome problem, such as Down syndrome; heart disease; anemia; or a metabolic or an endocrine disorder, such as growth hormone deficiency. If any of these is the cause, it’s important to catch it early.
How does a doctor treat failure to gain weight?
Once you and your doctor figure out what’s causing the problem, you can both set about correcting it by treating any medical issues and increasing your baby’s caloric intake, if necessary.
Getting your baby back up to a healthy weight may mean supplementing breastfeeding with formula or, for a baby who has started on solids, offering more high-calorie foods. Once she’s old enough for them, good choices include whole milk products such as cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and pudding (but hold off on offering cows’ milk until age 1), eggs, avocados, whole-wheat breads and pastas, pancakes, mashed potatoes, and hot cereals.
In severe cases, a baby with failure to gain weight may need to be hospitalized so that she can receive intravenous feedings and be monitored closely.
I’m new to nursing. How can I tell whether my baby is getting enough to eat?
If your baby’s younger than 3 months old and you’re breastfeeding him exclusively, you’ll know he’s getting enough milk if:
- He wets six to eight cloth diapers, or five to six disposable diapers a day.
- He has several mustard-colored bowel movements a day for the first month. After the first month, he may have bowel movements less frequently or even skip a day or two in between.
- When he’s nursing, you can see him moving his jaw and hear him sucking. You may even hear him swallowing, if the room is quiet.
- Your breasts feel softer after a feeding than they did before.
- He’s gaining about an ounce each day for his first three months. (After that, doctors look for a gain of about 0.5 to 0.6 ounces a day until 6 months, 0.4 ounces a day for babies between 6 and 9 months, and 0.3 to 0.4 ounces a day for babies from 9 to 12 months.
- For other suggestions, read more about how to tell if your baby’s getting enough milk.
If your baby tends to get sleepy during feedings, keep him alert during feedings. You can try:
- gently tickling his feet
- undressing him
- changing his diaper before or in the midst of a feeding
- engaging him in some quiet play
- sitting him upright to burp him when you’re switching from one breast to the other
If he doesn’t finish nursing on both sides, empty your breasts by pumping so you can keep your milk production up.
If you’re concerned about your baby’s weight or food consumption between regularly scheduled checkups, ask to bring your baby to the office to be weighed once a week. For accuracy, make sure you always use the same scale. You can also get a scale to use at home. Medela rents accurate baby scales for home use. Call (800) 435-8316 (option 3) for information.
While breastfeeding doesn’t always turn out to be the best option for all moms and babies, don’t assume that you should switch to formula because you’re having some problems. Ask your doctor for advice and perhaps a referral to a lactation consultant.
There are things you can do to increase your milk supply, for example, and tips that may help you help your baby nurse more efficiently. You may well be able to resolve the issues without giving up breastfeeding before you intend to.
Does failure to gain weight mean that my child will always be smaller than he should be?
That depends on the underlying cause of her poor weight gain. If your baby has a long-term medical condition, for example, it’s possible that she may always be smaller than average. On the other hand, if the problem is easily reversed, she may catch up by growing faster than usual for a period of time.
10 signs your breastfed baby is gaining weight
An increase from the last check means the baby has grown, a decrease means they have lost weight and if they’re the same weight it means they’ve neither gained nor lost weight. They are using whatever kilojoules they’re getting to fuel their energy needs.
Breastfed babies gain weight in a different pattern to bottle fed babies, as long as they’ve been breastfeeding frequently, fed as often as they demand and there’s plenty of milk available to them. Breast fed babies tend to put on lots of weight in the first 2-3 months and then plateau or slow down a little in their weight gain.
What’s a normal weight gain for a breastfed baby?
- From birth to 3 months a gain of 150-200 grams per week
- From 3 to 6 months a gain of 100-150 grams a week
- From 6-12 months a gain of 70-90 grams a week
It’s important to look for rate of growth over time rather than one individual measurement. The general recommendation is to assess weight gain over a four week average.
Remember: Weight is just one measurement of a baby’s growth. Head circumference and length as well as general appearance will all give important clues about how a baby is growing.
What’s Interesting is research has shown that a mother’s diet when she’s breastfeeding can affect her baby’s risk of becoming overweight. This is because what she eats is the only source of nutrients for her baby. Babies of mothers who have a high “junk food” diet have a higher body mass index (BMI) when solid foods are introduced.
Listen: Going home from hospital
Your baby’s growth is unique to them however, most babies grow in a consistent and regular pattern. The best way to check is to compare a baby’s growth against the World Health Organisation (WHO) growth Standards. These tend to be used by health professionals from birth until the child is two years of age. From then, Centres for Disease Control (CDC) growth charts are used. If growth is above the 90th percentile or below the 10th percentile or crosses percentiles then the baby needs to be seen by a health professional.
General rules about weight gain and loss
Babies lose around 5-10% of their birth weight in their first week of life. They should regain their birth weight in around 2-3 weeks. Babies double their birth weight between 4-6 months and triple it by their first birthday.Boys tend to gain more weight than girls and boys are heavier at birth.Birth length increases by around 1.5 times by the time a baby turns one.Birth head circumference increases by around 11 centimetres by the baby’s first birthday. Genetics, gender, environment, feeding and individual characteristics all play important roles in weight gain.
Should I worry about my baby’s weight loss?
All babies lose weight in the first week after birth. There are lots of reasons for this but generally it’s because they’re using up lots of energy adjusting to independent life. As long as your baby appears healthy and is contented don’t be too concerned about minor fluctuations in their weight. But speak with your health professional if you’re worried.
- There’s an increase on their previous weights and the numbers are quite literally going up.
- Your baby is going in an upwards direction on their percentile (growth) charts.
- They have fat under their skin. Some babies have rolls of fat on their arms and legs.
- Is your baby growing out of their clothing? Do they still fit into the clothes that they did last week or do they steadily need to go up a size or two?
- They just look bigger. They are more rounded and filled out. They start growing out of their sleeping bag and wriggling free of their wrap.
- Your baby is taking up more room in their bassinette, cot and car seat.
- People who’ve not seen your baby for a while making comments about how much they’ve grown.Your arms start to become tired from carrying your baby.
- You may need to adjust your holding position if your muscles are becoming weary.
- When your baby looks bigger in your partner’s arms.
- The space they used to occupy is simply bigger.
Tips for breastfeeding58667
Tips for breastfeeding
- 09 May 2017
Signs and Symptoms of Baby Not Gaining Weight
The only way to know if your baby is not gaining enough weight is through regular weigh-ins and check-ups. It is also recommended that you monitor his stools, urine and feeding habits and make a note of them. If there are any irregularities, it is advisable to consult your physician.
One of the biggest signs of slow weight gain is if your baby is ill. If he shows flu-like symptoms, you may need to increase your feeding time or add an extra session. This is because he won’t be able to retain enough nutrients from his regular feeding sessions when he’s sick.
Diagnosing Slow Weight Gain in Babies
Doctors can use numerous ways to diagnose delayed weight gain in babies. Some of the common ones are as follows:
The WHO chart mentioned earlier shows a graph that indicates percentiles and centiles. If your baby is in the bottom 3%, this means out of 100 babies only 3 would be either smaller than or the size of your baby. This is the fastest way to diagnose slow weight gain in babies.
Your baby does not weigh more between check-ups or his bi-weekly weigh-ins
This could indicate that he may be malnourished.
Blood tests can indicate if there is a medical reason for your baby’s slow weight gain
Doctors often apply a wait-and-watch approach before suggesting this method of diagnosis. The kind of blood test depends on the symptoms your child shows and is determined on a case by case basis.
Family history may be investigated.
Your doctors may question you about your family history to investigate if there may be an underlying genetic condition they need to test for that is responsible for the slow weight gain of your baby.
Does Slow Weight Gain Affect Your Baby’s Health in the Long Term?
If left unmonitored or unmanaged, poor weight gain in infants can lead to complications like:
- Heart problems
- Growth instability
- Weakened immune systems
- Weak muscle structure
- Lack of energy
It is recommended that you talk to your doctor to see if your baby is malnourished or has any underlying issue that’s causing him to put on weight very slowly. There is, however, no need to panic as there are numerous ways to combat poor weight gain in infant. Talk to your doctor for more techniques and treatments to help your child get the right kind of nourishment.
When slow weight gain extends over a period of time and into a child’s growing years, it is called ‘failure to thrive’. This means that the child could be taking in the necessary calories and nutrition but still failing to meet the weight standards of his age or height.
Another reason for slow weight gain in kids could be that they were born either prematurely and/or with abnormalities, which cause their bodies to use up more calories quickly to do even simple tasks like breathing properly. Such kids will require more attention in terms of their nutritional requirements or treatments for their medical conditions, to help them maintain their health in the long run.
What Can You Do to Increase Your Baby’s Weight?
Increasing your baby’s weight should be done slowly and in a sustained manner. Here are a few things you can do to help your baby gain the right kind of weight.
There are numerous treatment methods to help improve your baby’s weight. Some of the more common ones are:
- Using a nipple shield to help with the feeding
- External feeding through a dropper or bottle
- Having medication prescribed by gastroenterologists
- Having supplements prescribed by dieticians
Sometimes, taking a wait-and-watch approach may be best for the baby’s weight gain. The doctor may, however, feel your baby needs to gain weight quickly but may not recommend medication. The best home remedy you can try in this case would be to increase the number of times you feed your baby in a day or the time you take to feed your baby.
Is Your Baby Getting Enough Nutrition Through Breastfeeding?
In the first 3 months, if your child is being breastfed exclusively, there are some signs that can help you identify whether the baby is not gaining weight with breast milk:
- He may be struggling to suckle on your breast and may be moving his jaws more than normal, making a sucking noise. Sometimes, you may even hear him swallowing loudly.
- If your breasts do not feel more tender and softer than they did before feeding your baby, it might be an indication that the baby is not able to latch on properly, causing him to not feed enough.
- If at regular weigh-ins his weight stalls or stops increasing after the first three months, it is a sign of bad nutrition.
When to Seek Medical Advice
It is recommended that you seek medical advice as soon as possible regarding your child’s weight gain issues as they could be a sign of further complications. However, there’s no need to panic, as in most cases, weight gain or loss for infants can be managed with nutritional and routine changes.
While it’s natural to worry about your baby’s slow weight gain, remember that a lot of factors are under your control. This will help you figure what’s best for him and how to manage his slow weight gain.
Newborn Baby Weight Gain – What’s Normal and What’s Not
Baby Boy Height & Weight Growth Chart: 0 to 12 Months
5 Ways To Monitor Your Weight Without A Scale
The scale can be an incredibly useful tool when you’re on a mission to lose a few pounds (or a few dozen!) and live a healthier lifestyle. When you’re seeing those numbers go down – closer and closer to your goal weight – it’s the best feeling in the world.
However, your bathroom scales often don’t tell the whole story. Your body weight frequently fluctuates (even throughout the day) and, at some point, you’ll see that those pounds aren’t coming off like they used to. Do not panic! The scale – and your weight – alone doesn’t reveal much about your overall health. Take a look at some tried and true ways to monitor your weight without using a scale.
1. Take and Compare Photos.
One of the best methods to see the progress. You see yourself every day so you might not notice the small changes that are happening to your body. With pictures, you’ll be able to see those subtle transformations. This method is easy. Once a week, take a selfie of yourself in the same outfit – a bathing suit is best.
We know, you probably don’t like the idea of taking pics of yourself in a bathing suit but it’s the best way to see your whole body. Label the image with a date and keep it in a separate folder on your computer. Add a new image every week and look through them once a month or two. You should be able to start seeing the progress fairly quickly.
2. Measure Your Body Fat Percentage.
You probably know that if you’re exercising hard enough, your body fat will be replaced with muscle. Muscles are much more dense than fat, and if you’re only using scales to monitor your progress, it’ll look as if you’d hit a plateau. So, if you love numbers, you might want to keep track of your BFP. A word of warning: calipers and built-in body composition scales are not accurate, so make sure you take multiple measurements and average them out before recording the results.
3. Keep A Journal.
Believe it or not, this is actually one of the most important things you can do to keep track of your overall health and lifestyle. If you talk to people who’ve successfully lost and kept the weight off, most of them will tell you that they’ve kept a journal (and probably still do). We recommend you start with tracking 4 things: your diet, your physical activity, your sleep, and how you feel.
- Your Diet
To start, write down every single thing you eat for a week. That includes that fun size snickers (or four) you stole from your child and a couple of cupcakes you had at Bob’s office birthday party. Write it all down, count the calories the best you can and make a plan for reducing your calorie intake. Continue doing so for at least a couple of months and record the progress. We know writing down your calories is probably the most painfully boring task you’ll ever have to complete, but it’s also one of the most important ones. Remember, you won’t be able to lose and keep your weight off without changing your diet!
- Your Sleep
Your sleep quality correlates with the amount of physical activity you’re engaged in throughout the day. The better your workout the better your sleep will be and you’ll have more energy in the morning. You’ll be more focused, in a better mood, and, guess what, you’ll be shedding those pounds faster!
- Physical Activity
This one’s going to be fun to go back and look through down the line. Keep track of the length and intensity of your workouts, as detailed as you’d like, and monitor the progress. Make sure you have a purpose for your workouts and incrementally increase their intensity.
4. Get a Pair of ‘Goal Jeans’.
Whether it’s a pair of your old jeans or an entirely new dream pair, having this as a goal is incredibly motivating. It gives you something attainable to work toward, and as you continue with your fitness regimen, the easier the jeans slip on the more rewarding the process becomes. Your clothes fitting better and going down one or more sizes is a much better indicator of progress than your weight. You could weigh the same but look much different if you’re losing fat and gaining lean muscle.
5. LikeAGlove Smart Shorts
LikeAGlove smart shorts and app
This is a super useful product for tracking your overall progress and an incredible motivational tool. These amazing shorts will measure all of your lower contours (waist and hips at multiple points) and will keep a record of the measurements in an app on your phone. It’s one of the best ways of measuring your fitness progress out there because it accurately (and within seconds) records your shape, determines your actual size, and shows you the transformation in an easy-to-read graph. We recommend that you measure yourself once a week or so.
Losing weight is not only about the pounds. It’s about gaining strength, feeling great, and knowing how to track the results!
How to weigh yourself without a scale (and what to do instead)
There’s a lot of things you might need if you’re going to cut, or focus on losing body fat: A gym membership, a diet plan, some willpower and motivation…
… But the most important thing you need might be a scale.
Sure, you’ll eventually see visual differences in the mirror, feel them throughout the day, and get compliments from strangers, but the scale doesn’t lie: It’s the absolute best way to tell if you’re on the right track.
But if you don’t belong to a traditional gym (or don’t go frequently), and don’t own a scale, how the heck are you supposed to know if your diet is working?
Without further ado, here’s how to weigh yourself without a scale at home, why these methods won’t work, and what you should do instead:
- Measure your water displacement in the bathtub
- Attach known weights to a seesaw or fulcrum
- Realize neither of these are feasible
- Find a place to weigh yourself for free
- Buy your own scale
(To skip the hassle, take a look at my favorite scale, the EatSmart Precision CalPal Digital Scale on Amazon.)
Method 1: ‘Weigh’ yourself in the bathtub
In the water displacement method, you’ll submerge yourself completely in the bathtub, naked, while a third-party marks the level of the water with a marker.
You’ll return to the tub after some period of time and submerge yourself again, comparing the difference in the volume you’re taking up in the water.
For obvious reasons, this is absurd and impractical.
I could give a very sciencey explanation of how to actually calculate your volume and use it to determine weight loss, but…
It’s going to be enormously difficult to do this with any accuracy. Your best bet will be to “weigh” yourself via water displacement once every few weeks and take note of whether the water line is going up or down by any noticeable margin, not to actually calculate your weight this way.
Still, there are far too many variables and much too much margin for error here for this to be a reliable way of weighing yourself without a scale.
Method 2: ‘Weigh’ yourself with a see-saw.
The see-saw (or fulcrum) method is slightly more practical than water displacement, but not by much, and still has way too many pitfalls and far too much room for error.
In this one, the idea is to sit at one end of a lever, or see-saw, while loading a number of known weights at the other end. Most articles recommend paint cans which have a relatively fixed weight of about 8 pounds.
When the see-saw reaches equilibrium, simply count the weight on the other side.
This kind of sounds doable, but upon further examination, is not particularly feasible.
If you weigh 180 pounds, you’ll have to load over 20 full cans of paint on a public see-saw. If you can afford that much paint, you can afford a scale.
Not to mention, this method offers very little way for you to track minor weight gains or losses and is far too imprecise.
(And by the way, if losing weight is what you’re interested in, check out my top recommended workout and nutrition program for rapid fat loss.)
How to weigh yourself on your phone: Don’t.
You know you’re wondering: Is there an app for that?
There are apps and pieces of code that claim to use your phone’s pressure-sensing technology to detect accurate weights.
They’re best used to weigh fruits and other small objects.
No matter what an app says, I wouldn’t try standing on your touch screen.
What to do instead: Weigh yourself for free (or cheap). Here’s where:
If you don’t belong to a gym, or don’t feel like paying your doctor a visit, there should be plenty of options near you where you can weigh yourself for free or very cheap.
Public restrooms (may have coin-operated scales)
Urgent Care clinic (just walk in and ask!)
Go to Target, Walmart, or Bed, Bath & Beyond and “test drive” their scales
Ask a friend (you probably know someone with a scale)
Get a free tour of a gym and weigh yourself there
One thing to keep in mind is that all scales are calibrated slightly differently. You may know you’re roughly 180 pounds, but when tracking weight loss, there is a big difference between the scale that says you’re 179.6 and the one that weighs you in at 180.4.
Use the same scale each time you weigh in, and try to do it at the same time every day (either empty stomach in morning, or full stomach later in the day).
Consistency and watching the trend (up or down) is more valuable than the actual number on the read-out.
In closing: Get a scale. It’s inexpensive and worth the cost.
A home workout routine and a proper diet can more than make up for the lack of a gym membership, but having your own scale to use day in and day out is a necessity if you’re tracking your weight.
A decent quality scale can run you as little as $15-20, with fancier models that offer bodyfat readouts and other features costing a bit more. But whatever you choose, you’ll know you’re getting a good read on your progress.
(Here’s my favorite scale on Amazon)
And that should be more than enough motivation to keep you going.
(And pssst, if you’re interested in bringing that scale number down, definitely check out my absolute favorite fat loss program for men and women.)
Weighing Yourself FAQ
Are there any good ways to weigh yourself without using a scale?
Not really. Any alternative method you see advertised is either extremely inconvenient, highly imprecise, or both.
Even if you could, say, weigh yourself in the bathtub using water displacement calculations, it’d be highly difficult to replicate the results every couple of days with enough precision to track weight loss or gain.
The best way to save yourself a lot of trouble is buy a scale online from Amazon, or go use a free scale from a store like Target or Bed, Bath & Beyond.
How to weigh yourself with a scale
So let’s say you do have a scale, or you just broke down and bought one, and you want to weigh yourself properly. There are a few key places to go wrong here that many people screw up, which makes tracking your weight loss progress a lot more difficult:
Step One: Weigh yourself at the same time of day…
Most often it is best to weigh yourself first thing in the morning when you’ve digested your food (preferably after a morning poop) and you haven’t had anything new to eat or drink.
Alternatively, if that’s not feasible, you can just aim for some kind of consistency with the time… Maybe you weigh yourself right after lunch or right before bed a few times per week.
Step Two: Weigh yourself naked or with consistent clothes…
There’s a big difference between the weight of nothing, or just underwear, vs sweatpants, shoes, and a hoody. You want to avoid big swings in weight due to your clothing choices, so the best way to do it is to weigh yourself naked or in your underwear whenever possible.
If that’s not feasible, just try to make sure you’re wearing relatively the same kind of clothing each time. I weigh myself at the gym in workout shoes, a tank top, and sweatpants, usually.
Step Three: Don’t weigh yourself every day…
There’s just no need. Your weight can fluctuate up and down by a pound or more (or way more for women) mostly due to water retention and food fullness. You’ll drive yourself crazy reading the scale every day and wondering why you’re suddenly a pound and a half heavier. Weigh yourself a few times per week, that’s plenty.
And don’t worry so much about the exact number, rather what I like to do is keep a rolling average of my last 3 weigh-ins. That helps you pay attention to whether you’re trending up, down, or about the same, and it takes unpredictable water retention out of the equation to some degree.
Hope this helps!
8 Warning Signs That You’re Losing Weight Too Quickly
4. You find yourself thinking about food—a lot.
Although you’re rigidly controlling your physical eating, you may find that your mind has other ideas. Catherine Silver, a licensed clinical social worker specializing in the treatment of eating disorders, often sees this manifest in her clients as they rapidly lose weight.
“People who are losing weight too quickly might find themselves always thinking about—or even dreaming about—food,” says Silver. “This is because, from an evolutionary standpoint, our mind is trying to remind us that our body is hungry, even if we don’t feel physically hungry. It’s trying to say, ‘Hey, don’t forget to eat!’”
5. You’re experiencing frequent headaches.
According to the National Headache Foundation, some people experience what are called hunger headaches. Usually striking right before mealtimes, they are often triggered by skipping meals or severely limiting your caloric intake, which can cause low blood sugar or muscle tension.
6. Your hormones are out of whack.
As Velez points out, rapid weight loss sometimes triggers hormonal changes that could lead to acne, mood swings, depression, sleep disturbances and other undesirable symptoms.
For women, another potential side effect of accelerated weight loss is irregular or missed menstrual cycles, also known as amenorrhea. “The menstrual cycle is based on hormones, sleep cycles and eating cycles,” says Larson. “When the body is thrown out of whack, deficient in vitamins or under too much stress from calorie restriction or over-exercising, the result is often interrupted periods.”
7. You’re not meeting your protein needs.
Skinny doesn’t always equate to strong. If you’ve dropped a lot of weight in a short amount of time, that might also mean a loss of lean muscle tissue. With an increase in activity, it is important to ensure that you’re delivering your body proper protein portions throughout the day.
According to Hand, “During weight loss, females need at least 60 grams of protein daily and males need at least 75 grams.” A rapid weight loss due to a protein-deficient eating plan decreases muscle mass, decreases your strength, causes skin, nail and hair problems and increases the risk of bone fractures.
A quick loss of lean muscle mass could also increase the chances of having excess or loose skin after weight loss, Velez points out. That’s not to say that the muscle mass will prevent excess skin altogether, but it could help to minimize the problem.
8. You have nausea, constipation, stomach pain or other digestive issues.
It would seem that cutting out junk food and excess calories would make for a happier, healthier stomach, but some people who lose weight at an accelerated pace find that they suffer from queasiness, cramping or other tummy troubles. Hand notes that some quick-fix diets are low in fiber and can bring about dehydration, which can result in constipation as well as an unhealthy change in the probiotics found in your intestines.
Additionally, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, rapid weight loss can prevent the gallbladder from emptying properly or may cause more cholesterol to be released by the liver. This can increase the risk of developing gallstones, which can cause upper abdominal pain.
How to Slow Down Weight Loss
If you do notice any of the above warning signs, it may be time to try some slow-down strategies.
Talk to your doctor.
If you suspect that your weight loss might be faster than typical, it’s always best to speak with your doctor to ensure that there are no health issues contributing to the fast-paced pound shedding. Hand suggests seeing your primary care provider with every 15 to 20 pounds lost. This is especially important when using medications for conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and others.
Keep a food diary.
If you’re not already, Velez suggests tracking everything you eat and drink for a week to calculate your total daily caloric and nutrient intake. “Once you figure out where your average daily caloric intake is sitting, try increasing your calories slowly, maybe by 50 to 100 calories for the first week depending on how quickly you were losing weight before, then seeing how your weight loss looks after the increase,” she suggests. Hand stresses the importance of selecting foods that not only increase calories, but also the nutrients that may be lacking in your food tracking report.
Consider cutting back a bit on exercise.
Exercise has a number of benefits, but if you find you’re losing weight too quickly, take a look at how much time you’re spending in the gym, how long your cardio sessions are and how many calories you’re roughly burning during each session. “If you’re spending more than 90 minutes of planned exercise daily and doing excessive amounts of cardio, then you might want to scale back to something more manageable in the long run,” says Velez.
Your weight loss results might not always show on the scale. These other signs will prove that you’re on the right track.
The number on the scale isn’t the only indicator of weight loss. Photo: 123rf.com
The number on your scale might not always be the most accurate representation of whether your healthy diet and regular exercise are paying off. Your hormones, or even what you had for dinner last night cause you to weigh more than you usually do. To tell if you’re really losing weight (and fat), use these other indicators.
Your body measurements have gone down
The good old trusty measuring tape can accurately indicate the exact parts of your body that lost weight. Try measuring your hips, thighs and waist once every couple of weeks – it will give you an accurate indicator of your fat loss in those areas.
(Also read: 7 Hormones That Are Making You Gain Weight)
Your clothes feel roomier
This is one of the simplest way to tell whether you’ve lost weight. Choose a specific piece of clothing to be your “fit”. We recommend using a pair of trousers or jeans. If it feels baggier, you know that you’ve successfully shed some weight. On other hand, if you can no longer fit into them, it’s time to reevaluate your diet plans.
People are asking if you’ve lost weight
It may be hard to track the changes in your own body since you see yourself every day. So if a friend you see occasionally tells you that you’ve lost weight, you can take their word for it as your progress will be more observable to them.
(Also read: 6 Grocery Shopping Tips That Will Help You Lose Weight)
You feel more energetic
Switching to a healthier lifestyle through watching your diet and exercising regularly will give you a boost of energy. You’ll also notice that you’ll be in better spirits when you get a sense of achievement from sticking to your plans.
You’re in better control of your diet
When your body gets used to your diet, you will find that you are able to manage your food cravings and control your portions with less difficulty. As long as you burn more calories than consumed, you will get your desired results.
You look fleshier in old photos
You might not be able to notice the subtle physical changes by looking at yourself every day. A good point of comparison is looking at old photos. You may notice more definition in your arms or perhaps a more prominent jawline now. Pictures don’t lie.
You can run faster
If you find yourself going faster during your runs, chances are you are making progress with your weight loss plans. A study published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise journal found that the subjects ran 89 metres less in 12 minutes for every 5 per cent body weight added.
(Also read: How to Burn More Calories While Running)
You can handle heavier weights
If hitting the gym for some resistance training is part of your weight loss routine, you may find it easier to lift weights or do bodyweight exercises (you go, girl!). Building muscle helps your body burn more calories at rest. Coupled with a balanced diet, you will be torching fat at a faster rate.
(Also read: Weightlifting Myths You Need to Stop Believing)
Your body fat percentage has dropped
Even if your weight has stagnated, take heart. You could have gained muscle and lost fat in the process of exercising and eating right. To be sure, use a body fat analyser or seek out a certified personal trainer to get your body fat and muscle mass measured.