What does the number on the scale represent?
Everything that makes up body weight- fat, water, lean tissue(muscle) bone, etc.
Here is an important fact about weight loss (on the scale) to know.
About 30% of weight loss is muscle when a person does not do strength training!
So losing 100lbs on the scale could be the loss of 30 lbs of muscle!
The scale only shows that the goal weight was achieved, not what was lost.
Is this successful weight loss?
If the scale is your only goal then yes.
But your goal, I am guessing, goes beyond the scale.
Being able to do more. Being able to keep the weight of long term. Those are important goals I hear all the time.
The muscle loss means:
- a lower metabolism
- easier weight re-gain
- lower strength
- reduced balance
- lower bone strength
It would be easy to attribute these changes to just getting older or genetics. Reality is, when muscle is lost, the body changes. You could say it ages faster.
Muscle loss is invisible, but not inevitable.
The good news is that the equipment the body needs to regain strength, metabolism bone and balance is still there. The muscle fibers are still there, they just need to be re-activated.
Cardio exercise such as walking, running, elliptical, swimming etc. do not re-activate the muscle fibers anywhere near as well as strength training.
Give yourself the best chance for success with weight loss with these three “not-so-time consuming” steps:
- Adopt a strength training routine with
- 2-3 non-consecutive days a week (ie: every other day)
- 1-3 sets of a group of exercises that challenges all the major muscle groups
- 8-12 repetitions to fatigue. The fatigue part is important. If you can do more than 15 repetitions it is time to up the weights.
- Time a snack with protein right before or right after your strength session. Studies show this will improve fat loss and muscle gain. The details of how much protein used in the studies are a bit complicated for this article. Generally adding 10-20 grams of protein before or after strength training seem to make the difference. One study found simple glass of milk was effective (8 grams of protein).
- Stick with strength training for life! Because we tend to lose muscle with aging, even after you reach your goal weight, strength training can insure your strength, metabolism, bone density and balance stay strong.
Keep in mind one set of strength training exercises to fatigue two days a week will do it – it is about quality not quantity. So if time is a barrier, a little investment in time can go a long way.
I cannot stress this enough.
These are three easy steps to boost your weight loss success in as little as one hour a week!
And please, please do not let the myth of muscle gain get in the way. It takes a lot of work to gain muscle that will show up on the scale. A lot of time that most of us do not have. With all that is working against muscle (weight loss, aging, menopause, etc) too much muscle is not a worry for most of us. If you do feel you have too much muscle, cut back to the minimum level of 1-2 sets two days a week to fatigue. But don’t give up all together on this metabolism saving exercise.
If you are a Weight Center patient and are not following these three steps, email me for more information on how to get on a program.
Keep Moving, Be Well,
These weekly blogs are general guidelines. These guidelines apply to patients who are cleared by a physician for the type of exercise described. Please contact your physician with any concerns or questions. Always report any symptoms associated with exercise, such as pain, irregular heartbeats, and dizziness or fainting, to your physician.
2 responses to “Boost Weight Loss Success”
Your blog timing is perfect! I just got on the scale today and was disappointed. Because despite my calorie counting and exercise combined w/strength training I had gained a small amount of weight. After reading your blog, I’m not upset with myself. I’ll keep on keepin on. I’m now reassured that even though I had a small weight gain, I know I’m doing the right things for my body and I feel sooooo much better than I did before my surgery.
It’s a marathon, right?
Awesome! So glad the timing was right. Yes, absolutely this is about the long run, not the short sprints (so to speak). Give yourself a pat on the back for keeping it all in perspective and remembering you are on the right track. It is just a guide not the goal.
congrats on your success with the non scale victories!