BistroMD Health Library

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Weight Loss

From the effects of the hormone cortisol to the role of genetics in weight loss, this category is packed with everything that you need to know about losing weight the healthy way.

One Pound of Fat Vs. One Pound of Muscle

You are putting in countless time in the gym, sticking to your diet, and truly conforming to your newfound healthy lifestyle… Only to see the number on the scale stay the same or even jump up. But do not let the scale coax you into believing your progress is at a standstill or even backtracked, as it does not tell the full story of a successful weight loss journey.

One Pound of Fat Vs. One Pound of Muscle


Fat Versus Muscle: The Weighted Truth

Okay, so the scale can be a valuable measure to track weight loss. However, it is important to recognize the scale assesses entire body weight and does not take into consideration body composition including fat and muscle. And not to mention, natural weight fluctuations occur throughout the day based on hydration status and bathroom patterns and is not indicative of true fat lass or muscle gain. So when it comes down to fat vs. muscle, what really is the difference? And how much more does muscle weight than fat?

Remember the riddle: "Which weighs more, a pound of lead or a pound of feathers?" While quite logically most would answer a pound of lead, they weigh the exact same. So when it comes to five pounds of fat vs. five pounds of muscle, they will each always be, well, five pounds. So to respond to, "How much more does much muscle weigh than fat?" the truth of the matter is it does not weigh more or less, but the exact same.

So what truly separates fat vs. muscle in regards to weight comes down their density. But what exactly does that mean? If you were to visually compare five pounds of muscle and fat side-by-side, you would notice fat takes up more volume and space than muscle. And in the fat vs. muscle picture below, you will notice fat is bulkier in size compared to muscle tissue and takes up more space under the skin. Or you could also think of it like this: One pound of fat is roughly the size of a small grapefruit, whereas one pound of muscle is similar to the size of a tangerine.

The Power of Muscle

Instead of viewing muscle as enemy keeping the scale at a standstill, start embracing it as your friend. Muscle is not only slimmer to your body, but can even accelerate your weight loss results even further by accelerating metabolism. Simply put, metabolism is the rate in which the body transforms calories into usable energy to carryout life-sustaining physiological processes. It is an ongoing process and continues even when the body is at rest, as it is constantly burning calories, allowing you to breathe air, digest food, and carryout other vital processes. Nonetheless, individuals who carry more muscle mass have a faster metabolism, as every pound of muscle requires approximately six calories a day to purely sustain itself, while each pound of fat burns only two calories daily! This means even when the body is at rest, the body will actively be burning more calories just by storing more muscle.

Not only can greater muscle mass hasten greater weight loss results, but is critical in augmenting bone density and preventing against muscle loss as the body ages. Lifting weights and strength training are encouraged at least two of the days each week to develop muscle to nurture and foster a quicker and healthier metabolism, along with consuming adequate protein and calories to build and sustain itself.

And the Weakness of the Scale

As mentioned, the scale can be a valuable way to track progress. And if you have stepped on the scale and notice a few pound gain, you might be clearing your conscious by affirming "Muscle weighs more than fat." Remember, though, each weighs the same and it is unfortunately nearly impossible to gain muscle so quickly and takes time on your end. But instead of getting so boggled down with the scale, learn to view health beyond the scale and the number staring back at you with.

Say goodbye to the scale and hello to progress by tracking weight loss via taking before and after pictures, taking a peak in mirrors, gauging mood and energy levels, judging by how clothing fits, and utilizing tape measures, skinfold calipers, and other devices or methods used to measure body fat. By joining the "No-Scale Club," you are likely to gain the benefits of heightened senses linked to hunger cues, reduced anxiety, unleashed freedom, and advanced attention to other health parameters beyond weight. So if you find yourself frustrated with the scale, don’t be. Consider all the additional elements and methods of tracking progress, recognize all the efforts put forth, and celebrate victories of all sizes during your weight loss and health journey!



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