I see a lot of posts on various Slimming World forums, along the lines of "Ugh! Just got back from weigh in, have put on 2lb even though I have started exercising and have stuck to plan 100% this week!". I've definitely felt this pain, especially since taking up running last month.
The comments to follow are varied; some are of the opinion "jack in the exercise, you don't need it" - others loosely chime in with "its all muscle!". There is some truth to both opinions - Slimming world can be a success without exercise, and those who excercise with gain muscle. But let's get down to the nitty gritty facts here.
I have done a lot of research and have found the perfect explanation around why some of us tend to gain weight from exercise. The good news is - if you can stick it out - it will truly be worth it in the longer term. It might not be time to throw out that Jillian Michaels DVD after all!
Behold, the three stages of exercise:
When you start working out - be it running, weights or cardio - there is a stage called "inflammation". This is the phase, essentially in which the exercise is causing small tears in your muscle fibres (known as micro trauma). This is why your booty hurts after that body pump class, or your thighs are killing after that 30 day shred workout.
Our bodies react to this. Fluid rushes around those muscles to repair them. This fluid is what causes the extra weight! If you want to find out exactly what this fluid consists of, this article gives a great breakdown.
In turn, this healing process enables your muscles to become stronger. This is referred to as "adaptation" - your body is physically adapting to a more athletic you. The inflammation is less each time you work out.
When following slimming world to plan, and exercising regularly this inflammation stage gives way to fat loss and muscle building. After a number of weeks, the scales will even out. You also reduce the chance of sagging skin as you lose weight. You will be more toned, in better form, and more energetic. And the most rewarding part is - as the fat melts away, you will see your hard earned muscles peeking through!
So, I hope this gave you as much re-assurance as it did to me! I'm currently in week 4 of "Couch to 5K and am absolutely loving it. Recommend you give this a go if you haven't yet! Blog post to come on this :)