Thursday, June 21, 2012

Why you shouldn't let your scale have the last word.

Guess what today is?

(me today in a regular size 16 dress!)

Ok, I'll tell ya.  It's my 3 month anniversary on Food Lovers!  (sparklers all around)

I did my standard weigh, measure, plug in numbers to see what the old bod has been doing this month.

The scale showed an 8 pound loss.  In five weeks.  
If you think that makes me feel all smug and successful, you're about to get clued in.  

Based on the inches I lost this month......which totalled 5.5, coming off my pecs, waist, hips, right arm, right thigh and right calf.....and the numbers on the scale, I actually only went down 1/2 a percentage point in body fat composition.  My lean body mass also went down, and that is NOT a good thing.  Let me 'splain.

What makes your clothes fit better and helps you get into smaller sizes is making that BODY FAT PERCENTAGE go down.  And mine dropped from 37% to 33.75% in the first 8 weeks.  That translated to 3 dress sizes.  BUT, overall pounds lost was only 8.  That's 'cause I was at the same time gaining LEAN BODY MASS (ie: MUSCLE).  Not only does building that muscle make you look leaner and feel stronger, it BURNS more calories (fat) at rest.  I've heard one pound of muscle takes up 3 times LESS space than 1 pound of fat, so it's good to build those muscles thru strength training (I do T-Tapp for this).

So...this past month, losing 8 pound in 5 weeks compared with the  5.5 inch loss, leads me to understand that my body stopped burning fat at times and instead burned lean muscle.  Which would explain why I didn't lose any more sizes.  My fat shifted a bit, but didn't melt away, thus no size loss.  (I will say everything is getting loser and fitting better, though). 
I lost muscle, strength, and the ability to burn more fat when at rest. :(

This may have had to do with being sick for a week, then really pushing myself with my walking afterwards to make up for lost time.
Prolly not a good idea, as I learned from one of the coaches on the Food Lovers Forums.

I asked them about the 4 pound loss in my lean body mass numbers (134 down to 130 in one month).  His advice was to eat my full portion of protein at meals (generally 3-5 oz per meal, so I should shoot for the 5oz), continue strength training, and pull back on the cardio.  He said overdoing cardio is what pushes our bodies to use what's at hand, and if there's no carbs available, it goes for muscle.  I had really ramped up my walking in speed, distance and number of times per week the last few weeks.  I'd noticed I've been really wiped out at night, and feeling tired and cranky in the mornings.  That's because I had stopped burning JUST fat and had moved into burning muscle mass.
Not good.  That's called overtraining.  

And that's why I say, the numbers on the scale don't tell the whole story.  It's also why folks who do lots of cardio at the expense of strength training stay flabby, even when the scale is moving down.  Cardio is for your heart and for quickly burning calories.  It doesn't tone your body and give you a 'fit' physique, nor does it help your body burn fat at rest.  

Anyway, at the three month mark, I've melted away 15 pounds of  pure fat, still holding at 3 sizes lost, 15.50 inches gone, which all translates to a 4.5% body fat loss.  I'm  thrilled that I've stayed on plan fairly easily even tho this month had a week of being sick and a week on vacation.  I learned more about how to work the programs to maximize results.  I'd call that another month of success :)

This next month I'll work on tweaking my exercise routine by dropping some cardio, sticking with my T-Tapping, and making sure I get all the protein I'm allowed. :)  I want to see if I can get that body fat percentage to drop more than 1/2 a percentage point by next month's check-in and maybe begin to start squeezing into 14s!


  1. You'll get there, Cindy! I'm so proud of you!

    I'm going to check into making buttons of "Weight Doesn't Matter"! ;)



  2. Congrats on getting into a plain old 16!

  3. Congratulations to you! And thanks for sharing--this is really interesting stuff: "overdoing cardio is what pushes our bodies to use what's at hand, and if there's no carbs available, it goes for muscle. ... It's also why folks who do lots of cardio at the expense of strength training stay flabby, even when the scale is moving down"

    Trying to burn that into my brain--so helpful!

  4. Great blog! I love that dress, you look amazing! I picked up T-Tapp again. I've been on and off it over the years. Over the past 2 weeks I've lost a total of 9 inches, with 3 of that off my waist. I'm afraid I may be over doing it with the cardio too. I'm going to cut back and just T-Tapp every other day and see where that takes me. :)


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