I am doing nearly 60 of what I call "sit squats" a night (You sit on your knees and push up, almost like when you're riding a horse and stand up in the saddle, bad explanation sorry). 10 crunches, some random exercises for thighs that I've found on Instagram and 20 second plank every night without fail for three weeks now. I know it's working, my thighs are slowly becoming more toned, it's easier to do the squats and crunches but the number on the scale goes up. I started at 12 stone 3 pounds. I recorded a new weight the next Thursday (I weigh myself every Thursday at around 6pm) and had not gained or lost, (I re-weighed the next morning and was down to 12 stone 1 pound) but two weeks later (tonight) I am currently at 12 stone 5 pounds. That's the heaviest I can remember. I don't know if it's because of the food I ate for dinner, or the muscle mass increase (though it weighs the same as fat) but I am gaining according to the scale. I am going to re-weigh tomorrow for sure but I'm just wondering why? I am on a diet, I know the amount of exercise I'm doing isn't really enough to lose weight, just enough to tone some muscles but is there anything more I can do?

  • I am 16, female, 5ft 5 inches tall.
  • I can't join a gym until I am 18, legally anyway.
  • My lowest weight I can remember was around December 2015, at 11 stone 13.

ANYTHING back would be amazing! I need to know why the scale has gone up when my stomach feels smaller, I will keep going and not give up because it must be working but I am wondering if I'm doing something wrong?

  • Are you tracking your food intake at all? It is the primary factor behind weight loss and gain and, unfortunately, the natural reaction to exercising more is to eat in excess of calories burned.
    – Sean Duggan
    Mar 3, 2016 at 18:57
  • I am logging all the food I eat in a notebook, along side with all the exercises I do and the time I go to sleep and wake up :) I normally do my exercises at night, would that make a difference? I don't really snack on anything after doing them, if it is then it's just water and fruit
    – Erin
    Mar 3, 2016 at 19:01
  • Alright. So, are the calories you're consuming less than your Basal Metabolic Rate (myfitnesspal.com/tools/bmr-calculator)?
    – Sean Duggan
    Mar 3, 2016 at 19:27
  • D: I did not know I didn't need that much calories! 1,567, I will definitely cut down more but replace with healthier and needed food. Thank you for showing me that,
    – Erin
    Mar 3, 2016 at 19:40
  • 1
    If you think you're losing weight by judging on your appearance then maybe your actual weight goes up because of muscle gain? Note that muscle weight more than fat.
    – HamZa
    Mar 4, 2016 at 13:59

5 Answers 5


First, congratulations on recognizing a potential problem, and starting to take steps about it while you are still young. Building a lifetime of fitness habits is much easier to do starting at your age.

A few things that I would point out that may help. As others have stated, muscle weighs more than fat, so if you swap out the same amount of fat mass for muscle mass, overall you will weigh more.

For the fitness and eating, there are a few red flags, which I'll outline.

  1. No plan - You're doing "some sit squats", some random things you found on the internet, and a few planks here and there. It's having a small effect, but towards what? You need to define some goals. Short (6 month), medium (6 mos to 2 years) and long term (longer than 2 years) type goals. Then come up with a complete, well rounded overall body workout plan geared towards those goals. Without a plan, you'll just kind of lumber around doing stuff and wondering why it's not really working. Figure out that goal, and the other planning will be easier.
  2. No eating plan - Note I don't say diet. A diet is a short term thing, usually abandoned after the initial success wears off. An eating plan is persistent, long term habits designed to ensure the success of your fitness plan (See note #1). For weight loss, you simply need burn off more calories than you eat. Take a look at your fitness/weight plan, and see how your diet really stacks up. There are tons of calculators around, use them as a starting point but realize that you may need to adjust up or down, since they are all just educated guesses.
  3. Keep a diary/logs - Wondering why you gain weight in the spring? Or why you seem to always feel droopy by Thursday? You can't know what might be causing it, if you don't track the history. Also, until you REALLY know how many calories are in the various foods you eat, keeping a food diary/log religiously can be very enlightening as to how many calories you're really eating. This can include borrowing or buying a food scale. You'd be astonished at what actually constitutes a serving vs how much your probably eating.

Now, a few caveats and things to think about.

Find an activity/exercise that you really enjoy. If you don't enjoy what you're doing, it will be difficult to maintain it for the long term. Too many times people join a gym, find out it's hard work and that they don't really like going to the gym, and they'd rather go ride a bike. Great! Go ride the bike. Just find something that you can do that you enjoy and will also provide the fitness benefits you are looking for. If it's not a full body exercise, figure out what you can supplement with.

Same thing with your eating plan. If you really like eating Paleo, or China Study, or whatever, then fine. As long as it meets your workout needs and you enjoy the foods, have at it. Just keep that diary, because you can overeat on the good stuff just as easily as junk. Don't base a plan on deprivation, just remember that if you have that bowl of ice cream with chocolate syrup and sprinkles, you've got to accommodate it in your calorie count.

Looking at the scale over a month is short term. Weight can fluctuate by a few pounds up and down in a day. Weigh yourself at the same time under the same conditions, and look at long term trends. Don't really obsess over what you weighed yesterday, or what you weighed last week. Worry about what you're going to weigh in 6 months or a year. Use the little steps to build towards the big ones, and if you gain a little one week, don't beat yourself up. Weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint.

At 16 years old, you may still be growing. Weight and other things may fluctuate over the next few years, just remember that and keep your eye on the end goal. It's absolutely wonderful that you are starting this, but doing it correctly from the beginning will save you time, get you closer to where you want to be, and minimize the chance you'll quit or have to try to erase bad habits later.


I would not weigh yourself on the evening as it will be impacted much by what you are that day. Weigh yourself in the morning. Body measurements and blood work are a much better health marker than the scale.


Make sure you weigh yourself in the morning after you use the bathroom. Your weight can fluctuate if you weigh yourself at different times. The law of thermodynamics dictate that as long as you use more energy as you intake, you will lose mass. So diet plays a huge role so you need to keep tack of the amount of calories you're eating.

  • This is very unclear, misleading and potentially dangerous. I would caution anyone not to advise anyone to cut caloric intake. Given the information provided, you don't really know how much calories she is consuming. Further, a good diet, even for weight loss, doesn't necessarily mean cutting calories.
    – JaredW82
    Mar 7, 2016 at 1:45
  • 2
    @JaredW82 What are you even talking about?... And to call it "potentially dangerous", you're clearly extremely clueless.
    – DardanM
    Mar 7, 2016 at 1:48
  • I feel dumber just having read your comment by how idiotic and ignorant it sounds.
    – DardanM
    Mar 7, 2016 at 1:53
  • Interesting that you take that tone. Here I thought that I was being clear. It is potentially dangerous because if she is already not getting enough calories and you suggest cutting more while increasing activity, she could wind up in the hospital. There also may be factors other health to take into consideration. I'm sorry you take offense at my comment but frankly I'd rather offend you than potentially have someone get hurt with misinformation.
    – JaredW82
    Mar 7, 2016 at 2:00
  • 2
    @JaredW82 But you're bringing up semantics. She asked why she's not losing weight. She is 170 pounds and 5'5.. she is absolutely overweight.. again I'm still not sure what point you're reaching for...
    – DardanM
    Mar 7, 2016 at 2:29

Let's discuss an obvious problem here that probably needs to be sorted out first before adjusting other things:

Weighing yourself

This is probably your biggest issue. Allow me to point out a few things:

  1. You have only weighed yourself three times
  2. You weigh once a week
  3. You weigh in the evening at 6pm
  4. You may or may not weigh yourself wearing the same clothing etc.

The problem is that weighing scales are often not entirely accurate, and your weight varies a lot throughout the day. To really get a handle on your weight, you may find the following guidelines helpful:

  1. Weigh yourself daily
  2. Calculate a weekly weight by taking the numbers you get for each day that week and averaging them
  3. Weigh yourself first thing in the morning before eating, but after using the bathroom
  4. Weigh yourself each time wearing the same clothing so that it doesn't affect the day-to-day weight.

This will let you track your weight much better. You shouldn't assume anything about how much you weigh until you start tracking properly.

Once you have a good hold on your weight every week, you can start adjusting your exercises or diet based upon what your weight is doing. It may take a while, so be consistent and good luck!


Congragulations on getting going! You are starting a habit that will do you very well throughout your life.

Going by measurements rather than weight may be better way for you to measure your progress since you are young and may still be growing (adding weight but not necessarily fat). Muscle always weighs more than fat, so you are right that some of the weight gain will be from gaining muscle mass while losing fat. Keep paying attention to how you feel and how your body looks when you look at it rather than the number on your scale.

Adding some cardio to your exercise regime will help burn more calories (jumping jacks, walking, running, cycling, skipping, etc.).

Eating a low fat diet with more protein and smaller amounts of carbohydrates may help. Protein is important for building muscle; carbohydrates provide energy but make them "as close to the ground" as possible. In other words, eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruit and whole grain rice, pasta, & low-fat breads. Avoid processed food whenever possible.

The key when eating processed food is to look at food ingredient labels to discover the number of grams of fat in each serving. Generally, we consume much more fat than we need each day. Look online for the formula to calculate the number of grams of fat you NEED according to your size and other physical statistics and then stick to that number or a little less each day. Keep track of your fat intake daily and be sure it does not go over the recommonded amount for you.

That's just a start. Continue to search out, as you have been, different diet ideas and learn what works best for you.

Best wishes for continued success.

  • Your advice is contradictory. Anaerobic workouts build muscle and burn more calories. Cardio or Aerobic workouts only burn while you engage in them. Perhaps you already know this, May I suggest a revision?
    – JaredW82
    Mar 7, 2016 at 2:08
  • We disagree. Cario workouts burm calories when you are doing them, they also raise your general system activity for several hours after you do them (along with reducing stress, which causes many to eat more or do unhealthy things, and exercising your cardioi-vascular system, which improves organ health for a longer life). Doing both is a good idea. I suggested adding cardio, not replacing the anaerobic activities with cardio activities. Every bit you do helps.
    – Kelly
    Mar 7, 2016 at 19:05
  • @JaredW82 - EPOC (Excess Post exercise Oxygen Consumption) is what is being referred to here. You are both correct, EPOC is raised during cardio, and the more you trend towards anaerobic (Think HIIT or similar) the greater the effect. Maybe instead of spending time incorrectly tearing down other peoples answers, you could post one of your own?
    – JohnP
    Mar 7, 2016 at 19:31

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