I’ve been exercising regularly for a whole month. It’s been going pretty well, but I still haven’t lost weight! What’s going on?!

Great question! First of all, congratulations on finding a workout plan that works for you! Exercising regularly has a lot of benefits for your mind, mood, and body that go way beyond weight loss. Moving around, whether it’s at the gym, walking to the store, or even just having a dance party in your room, has been proven to reduce stress, boost energy, and even help your memory!

If weight loss is a goal for you, though, talk to a medical provider first. Every day, you’re likely bombarded with unrealistic images of bodies, and it can be exhausting to try to make your own match up. A medical professional or a nutritionist should be able to check in with you about your weight loss goals to make sure they’re not too extreme, and that you’re pursuing them in a healthy way. Exercising regularly and eating healthily is great–working out three hours a day and feeling anxious about what you eat is not. Generally, a standard rule for weight loss is trying to burn more energy than you consume, so making changes to your diet can be necessary to lose weight. Muscle also weighs more than fat, so just because you’re not seeing a difference in the numbers doesn’t mean that you’re not seeing results!

If you’re feeling discouraged, step off the scale and take a minute to think about how your body feels since you started exercising. Have you been feeling more energetic during the day, or sleeping better at night? Have you been feeling a little more upbeat or less anxious? These kind of results may be more subtle than fitting into a smaller size, but they’re just as valuable. Shifting your focus to be mindful of how you’re feeling instead of the numbers on the scale can help you be proud of the work you’re putting in at the gym.  Exercise is an important part of caring for yourself, and you want to make sure to do it in a healthy way. If you’re finding yourself overly preoccupied with how your body looks, reach out to a medical or mental health provider for help. If you live in the New York City area, stop by the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center for a free and confidential visit with a medical provider.