Go Head to Head: With the Scale
Everyone is looking for the fastest weight loss possible. We just want to do it and be done with it. We want to get rich quick, and never worry about money again. In these situations, old wisdom will tell us that a quick-fix can come back to bite us in the long run.
The problem many people have with the speed of their weight loss can be aggravated by how they measure their weight loss. The scale can be your biggest ally…or enemy. When you see your weight jump up a couple pounds overnight, it can make you want to scream and eat all of those cookies in the cupboard.
When you see it drop 3 pounds in day, you can also be falsely encouraged. Let us explain what is really going on when the scale goes down… or up.
When you measure your weight loss, it is important to know what type of body tissue is being broken down. You can see drops on the scale when you lose water, fat, muscle, and any other type of connective tissue.
Fluid Loss gives the Illusion of Weight Loss
Initially a small drop in water often occurs at the beginning of a weight loss program, and this is normal. But weight loss that occurs because of dropping body fluid is not necessarily healthy. You need to be fully hydrated day in and day out, and especially if you are sweating a lot after exercise.
The best time to jump in the scale is first thing in the morning. This is the best reflection of what your true weight is. Depending on the person, weight can fluctuate as much as 5 pounds from the beginning of the day to the end. This is largely comprised of water and bowel matter from foods you’ve eaten all day. It is highly unlikely that you could put on 5 pounds of dense fatty tissue in a day.
Fat Loss is the Goal
Contrary to common belief, all fat tissue is not “bad”. But of course this is the type of tissue that we want to shed, as fat deposits make our clothes tight and our weight climb. Nonetheless, fat still provides a number of functions in our body. Body fat, also called adipose tissue, helps insulate your body, protects vital organs, makes up cushions in joints, and also provides energy to your cells after all available glucose in your bloodstream had been consumed.
The best way to measure your fat loss is to look at your clothing. When you have lost inches around your belly, and if you shirts are fitting looser, you can bet you are dropping extra fat!
Lean Muscle Needs to Stay
The worst thing for your weight loss would be to lose your muscle tissue, or lean body mass, when you are losing weight. This only happens when a person does not consume an adequate amount of protein or calories. When a person goes on an unsupervised 500-calorie diet, for example, there are not enough calories to fuel the increased demands of the body, or to maintain your muscles.
Although muscle loss may be a quick lose weight, this causes your metabolism to slow dramatically, and decreases your ability to lose weight in the future. When you lose weight by dropping lean muscle tissue, and then you get off track and gain weight back, you gain fat tissue back, which replaces the lean muscle tissue you should have there instead.
This is the vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting, because each time you gain, you are composed of less muscle and more fat. The best way to prevent this from happening is to consume the right amount of adequate lean protein each and every day. Your dietitian can inform you if you are hitting your targets, or falling a little short.