Tuesday, October 8, 2013

It's lies I tell you! All lies!

As I did my not very regular weigh in this morning I had to remind myself that the scale is a big fat Debbie Downer!

148lbs...148lbs...148.4lbs?!?!?!?  Yes, it's true.  That is what the scale has been telling me on a regular basis.  When I was 23 and working out 7 days a week -- 145...when I broke my leg, couldn't work out for a year and ballooned up to a size 12?  You guessed it...150!  And now,just this morning, while I'm in my size 4's and after a 5 miles run...you guess it...148.4!

We've all seen the picture above in some form or another.  The law of gravity insists that muscle does not weigh more than fat - 1 pound of feather is the same as 1 pound of lead - but muscle sure does take up a lot less room....and that pound of muscle that has replaced that pound of fat also burns more fat, even at rest. So when you increase muscle mass, you help your body burn more calories.  
--Read:  fat loss, increased metabolism, increase muscle mass--

For a number of years women were afraid of lifting weights - afraid of "bulking up".   I am ashamed to say I was one of them...boy was I wrong! Research, time, and trial and error has shown that strength training is a key component of overall health an fitness for EVERYONE.  

As we age our muscle mass naturally diminishes -- and is replaced by (you guessed it!) fat.  So we have to do something to counteract this cycle, and why not start NOW.   Combining the proper strength training (2-3 days per week, low weight/high reps) and cardiovascular exercise (2-3 day per week, intensity varies by individual) will give you ultimate results for your body.  

We see the health effects of cardiovascular exercise advertised daily - increased heart health, improved cholesterol and triglyceride levels,  and reduced risk of osteoporosis.   What we don't always see is that strength training, in addition to replacing depleting muscle mass, also helps you develop strong bones, control weight, boost stamina and sharpen your focus.  (The Mayo Clinic, April 2013)

When you have a lot of weight to lose, you will experience both a loss of fat and an increase in lean body mass when you are working out & you'll see a change when you step on the scale.  But if you're trying to lose that "last 5 pounds" do NOT continue to get on the scale and let the numbers get you down.  Listen to those pants that are falling off of your hips - and get them to the tailor so you can show off your newly sculpted bod!  

Remember my earlier post about patience? This is where it really comes into play!  It took me 30 years to find the patience to wait until I saw the results and to stop looking at the scale...but boy am I glad I did!

The scale might not always tell me what I want it to, but the mirror and the tags hanging in my closet sure do!

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