You bet, you read that title correct. Who cares how many pounds you lost! Now that I have your attention, let me get to the point I want to get across. Obviously, with today’s obesity epedemic anyone who is overweight needs to think about losing “weight”. But is it the pounds, or the quantity of body fat you lose while maintaining lean muscle mass that is more important? If you have read much of my writing, you know the answer is the latter. What matters most is the amount of body fat you lose combined with the amount of lean muscle mass you maintain or even build upon while “losing weight”. If your only goal in weight loss is to reach a random or specific number on the scale, you really need to re-evaluate your goal.
Of course, if you are obese you will want the number on your bathroom scale display to go down when you are in weight loss mode. The bathroom scale is a useful tool to help track your progress. However, too many people get far too hung up on weighing themselves, especially when they do so more than once per week.
If you weigh youself more than once a week, what are you possibly learning by doing this?
Are you consistent in the time of day you weigh yourself, and do you wear the same clothes each weigh in?
Do you stress out when the numbers are not moving downward quick enough for your satisfaction?
Do you ever consider the flucuations in your water retention when you stress over not losing a pound or two in any given week?
When you stress about those stubborn numbers on your bathroom scale, do you even know why the numbers are not moving in the direction you desire quick enough?
If you have decided to regain your health by losing weight, you are to be commended and encouraged to do the best that you can every day in this wonderful endeavor. However, once you make this decision, you need to go about it with a bit of knowledge in order to make your success come easier for yourself. At David’s Way, we are always going to encourage you to achive a healthy level of body fat over getting hung up on a scale number.
Achieving a healthy percentage of body fat is less stressful than focusing on a single scale number. With a healthy percentage of body fat as a goal, your body weight flucuations are not going to be as stressful as you have not hitched yourself to a specific number that might not even be right for you in the first place.
Far too many people go about losing weight by drastically cutting their daily calorie input and then exercising like crazy. This appears to be what is required for healthy wieght loss, calories in verses calories burned, right? The problem with this is in the burning of body fat, too drastic of a calorie reduction will also cause you to lose your lean muscle mass along with the fat. If you believe that this is perfectly fine because the number on the scale is quickly reducing, you are ill informed. When you do not maintain your lean muscle mass, your metabolism slows down. Your body does not burn fat as efficiently. If you lose to your goal weight without a concern for your lean muscle mass, you are going to really screw yourself over. This is because, if unfortunately you regain pounds to your former weight without also replacing lean muscle, your body fat percentage is now going to be even higher than it was before you lost weight. If you are a yo-yo dieter, this reduction in lean muscle along with fat burning only serves to keep you at a too high percentage of body fat and will suppress your metabolism.
When you only concentrate on a scale number and do not consider doing anything about your lean muscle mass, you stand a significant chance of becoming what is referred to as “skinny fat”. You will hear people say they desire to get to a healthy weight, but guess what? Your health is not going to be improved no matter your weight if your body fat percentage is still high. Ladies, you could weigh 140 pounds at 18% body fat and be far more healthy than you would be if you weighed 130 pounds and still had a soft pudgy body with a body fat percentage that is still too high. If your body fat percentage is 32%, even at 130 pounds, then you are still obese and not any healthier than if you weighed more on the scale.
The smart manner of losing body fat is going to involve knowing just how many calories a day your body requires in order to lose 1 and no more than 2 pounds of fat per week. One pound of fat equals 3500 calories, therefore you would need to reduce your caloric intake by 500 calories a day under your basal metabloic rate needs in order to lose 1 pound per week. You can use our Calorie Calculator Pro in our David’s Way menu to find out your specific needs for losing body fat. Always remember that even if you did not drop a pound for the week, you could have still lost one pound of body fat while retaining enough water in your body for the fat reduction to not be reflected on your scale. I recommend that you aim for one pound per week of loss in order to still eat enough calories from protein sources in order to maintain or build upon your lean muscle mass in order to keep your metabolism revved to it’s fullest extent.
I highly recommend that you being a strength and resistance regimen of some sort as you are trying to get to a healthy body fat percentage. Of course, this would be with your doctors approval first. I prefer strength conditioning over cardio any day as it not only builds your lean muscle mass, but done right, strength training is also cardiovascular in nature. For strength training information, whether with weights or your body weight only, simply enter keywords such as strength training in our search bar and every article we have ever published on the topic will be pulled up for you. Remember this about strength training, you might not lose pounds very quickly, but do not dispair because your clothing will begin fitting you more loosely in a matter of a couple short weeks. Again, who cares about how many pounds you lost? We want you at a healthy percentage of body fat over a number on the scale. You are more than just a number.
Get your body fat percentage down to where this will never have to become a part of your life:
Yes this is real, and it was three feet from one side to the other. I took this picture personally just the other day.
7 Comments Add yours
Great advice. We chat about this at the gym.
Thank you, and I’m glad to hear you are also spreading the word on body fat. Thank you for reading and commenting my friend.
It’s an important subject.
The number on the scale always gets to me and I know that it shouldn’t. It is so hard to get out of that habit for me!
I understand exactly what you are saying. The scale number is tough to get past. Just remember though, its healthier to be a little heavier with less body fat than to be lighter with too much body fat.
I spent many years obsessed with that number. While I do use my scale as a general indicator of overall progress, adding muscle is my obsession now. Muscle does a body good. 😎 Thank you for reading and commenting!