“I’m losing weight, why am I still wearing the same size as when I started?”
I hear this all the time from friends, family and even clients. They’re working hard, losing weight and eating right but not seeing the visible results they want. They’re still wearing the same size they were 15lbs ago. If this is you, I want to share a visual tool with you that may take away some of your frustration. The paper towel roll.
Picture a roll of paper towels. Or better yet, go get one and put it in front of you. When you remove a sheet or two, or three, the roll doesn’t seem to get any smaller, right? And those first several sheets off the roll only wrap around the roll once. But as you remove more sheets, the more each one wraps around the entire roll, sometimes even multiple times. Each sheet removed eventually makes a huge difference in the size of the roll.
Fat is distributed over our entire bodies: from the pads of our feet all the way to our cheeks! When you are heavy, that fat is spread over a larger area – just like that outside towel sheet. The closer you get to your goal (the closer you get to the center of the paper towel roll), the more each lost pound of fat shows, because it is spread over a smaller area. While the outside sheet may only cover 1 layer of the roll, the inside sheet may go around 4 times! When you reach those last “sheets” on your body, everything underneath will show more.
Having been down the significant weight loss road a few times myself, I can vouch for it. When you have a lot of weight to lose, losing 20 lbs doesn’t seem to show much in your clothing. It’s frustrating as heck because 20lbs is a significant amount of weight (you know those 2.5 gallon water jugs at the supermarket? Pick it up. That’s 20lbs)! When I got down to lower weights and my size was getting smaller and smaller, I noticed that just losing 10lbs or 5lbs meant I went down a size in my clothing. 5lbs became much harder to lose as I got smaller but 5lbs is also a much more significant portion of one’s body weight when they weigh 140 vs 225.
There’s no set number you weigh that will determine how many pounds you will need to lose to see a difference in clothing size (height and body composition have a lot to do with it). But there are lots of ways you can measure your progress. Obviously if you are losing weight, that is huge progress in itself! Taking measurements on a regular basis is good too, as sometimes we’re losing 1/4 inch here and there that we can’t see visually but they really do add up! Even if you aren’t technically wearing a smaller size yet, for most of us, a 20lb weight loss will result in our current size getting looser. That feels awesome. Also, look at your face for a reminder of weight loss. The face is one of the first places we see it. Take a photo of your face today and compare it to one from before your weight loss – I’m sure there is a big difference!
I hope my paper towel roll visual relieves some of your frustrations and reminds you to keep going! If nothing else, know you aren’t alone in this journey. You have it in you to reach your goals and every day is a chance for you to make good decisions for progress towards them. If you feel like giving up, reach out to a friend to go for a walk or even just a chat on the phone. Sometimes discussing our frustrations and fears out loud is all we need to get motivated again. And I’m always here too if you want to take your health and weightloss goals to the next step.