We’re going to take a second to talk about paper towels. Yep, paper towels.

Have you ever gone to grab a sheet only to be shocked that you’re almost done with the roll?

No, this isn’t a point about conserving paper, but rather lessons in fat loss. For the sake of this analogy, you are the roll of paper towels, and each sheet is a pound of fat.

When your roll of paper towels is new, each time you take a sheet, you don’t see a noticeable change in how the roll looks.

Lesson: At the beginning of a diet, you may not see massive changes from one pound of fat loss, because fat loss occurs all over your body. Try not to focus on one area of your body to track progress. Don’t get caught up with constant ‘ab checks’, pay attention to progress happening all over.

When you look at a roll of paper towels that’s a quarter empty, it doesn’t look smaller. But place it beside a fresh roll, and you’ll realize how much you’ve used.

Lesson: Like common household items, we look at our bodies every day, so it’s easy to overlook the small changes. The purpose of progress photos or trying on old clothing is to help put things into perspective. Use these tools when you’re feeling discouraged about a lack of change.

When you’re running low on the last roll, you’re going to be more conservative using it.

Lesson: The less we have, the more fat our bodies conserve. It might feel like progress is slowing, but when you are lighter and leaner, you not only burn less calories each day on average, but your body will be less generous with fat loss. This is normal.

When the roll is smaller, removing one sheet looks much more significant.

Lesson: Don’t be discouraged by slower fat loss when you’re leaner because it has a more significant visual impact when it comes to body composition change.

These lessons may not be new or groundbreaking, but when it comes to fat loss, principles that are easily understood in other contexts can be harder to sink in. The next time you’re feeling stuck or frustrated, look to your paper towels for a reminder that you’re doing better than you think!