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I am a 38 year old male, 5 ft 10in weighing 82 kg. I started going to the gym regularly about 5 months ago - 4 or 5 days a week, each day doing 1000kcal worth of cardio plus some weight training.

After approx 3 months I was down from 83kg to approx 77kg, however I then got ill and didn't go to the gym for two weeks. I was slightly horrified to see when I did go back that in those 2 weeks I had regained all the weight that I'd lost in the previous 3 months. I was back to nearly 83kg!

I have since been doing the same regimen for the past month and a half or so and my weight has hovered around 82-83kg. My diet has been pretty much the same both before and after I started going to the gym regularly, maybe improved a little since I started - I aim for around 2000-2500 kcal per day (though that usually falls down at the weekend).

Any idea how this could happen? And how to remedy? It's slightly depressing...

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You can't gain 6kg of fat in 2 weeks, it's nearly impossible. You can easily retain that much water however, it should come back out fast. More generally: You can't just keep eating the same way that made you overweight and try to exercise it away for the rest of your life, it just doesn't work. 1,000 calories/day is an insane amount of recreational cardio to try to keep up indefinitely as well. You need to learn to eat at a sustainable level. And spend a few weeks actually weighing and recording your food to find out just how accurate your "aim" is :) –  Affe Apr 17 at 18:42
    
Thanks, that's what I thought. My only explanation is that they re-calibrated the scales at the gym, and I hadn't actually lost that weight at all. 1000 cal a day isn't so difficult. An hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. –  Sayid Apr 17 at 20:25
    
To be clear: I'm willing to accept that my diet may need to change, but I was happy with my (apparent) progress before. However it would appear that what I thought was progress, wasn't. –  Sayid Apr 17 at 21:03
    
Hey if you think two hours/day + changing/travel time is something you can keep up for the rest of your life.... go for it. But if you don't change how you eat, then as soon as you let up on that, the weight starts coming back! (I might need to change careers to whatever you do to come up with that free time... :) ) –  Affe Apr 17 at 21:09
    
Just wanted to add (probably too late) that taking photos and comparing those might be a much better indicator of success than comparing arbitrary numbers on a scale. –  LarissaGodzilla Jul 25 at 13:58

1 Answer 1

It looks like you were dehydrated when you stopped exercising, and then regained that water weight over the two weeks. It would have required an enormous calorie surplus to gain back all that weight as fat, and unless you dramatically changed your eating habits, this would not be the case.

What this means is that the muscle you gained from your workouts added up to roughly the amount you lost in fat; the good news is that this change is a great one to undergo. As you continue to work out, make sure to maintain a constant state of hydration; this will allow you to learn more from looking at the scale. While fully hydrated, if the scale shows a lower number, you will know that represents fat you lost, rather than simply lost water.

As I mentioned, it looks like you didn't lose a great deal of weight over those 3 months, as your lost fat was replaced with muscle. This situation will be remedied naturally as you continue to work out; your body will stop building muscle at such a quick rate, and your weight will begin to drop more from the exercise.

You've been doing great to keep up this routine, don't let your setback get to you. It looks like you've got a great mindset, and that will take you far in your weight loss journey.

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+1 for two good points on hydration and fat vs. muscle weight. Additionally, after hard workouts, the body may retain fluids for a few days during repair. –  JohnP Jul 25 at 14:41

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