Be careful when measuring on scales

Be careful when measuring yourself on scales. 

Ok so you may have started an exercise programme adding more exercise to your weekly health routine which is brilliant. You may have joined a bootcamp, gym or just adding a brisk walk to your day and feeling fitter, stronger, more energised.....but... you find the scales aren't moving as fast as you want or you aren't losing the weight you are wanting to drop. Hmmm...frustrating. BUT! This is where it is important to know about muscle vs fat and never to weigh your confidence. I see this issue very often, both ways. Let me explain two scenarios where knowing your muscle mass vs body fat percentage is more important than overall weight. 

1) When people start a new exercise programme and their weight loss stagnates or comes down very slowly. This can be due to the fact they are gaining muscle mass! Even the impact of brisk walking can increase muscle mass gain. Which is great for your basal metabolic rate (how many calories you burn at rest). The best thing is to measure with a tape measure or with your clothes as you will generally notice these getting looser. Or having access to a Bio Electric Impedance Scales to check body fat % and muscle mass is beneficial to show internal reductions and gains. Ultimately with a correct dietary intake too, your body fat will come off easily when you have increased your lean muscle mass and thus metabolic rate.

2) When it comes to losing weight, another common problem I see it people 'under eating'. And although the scales do move, which gives the 'wohoo moment', it can be because of lean muscle mass loss rather than fat loss. Losing lean muscle mass means a reduction in metabolic rate and thus energy and also makes it easier to gain weight after if you aren't careful. 
To lose 1kg body fat per week, you need to either reduce your calories by 500 or exercise to burn 500 calories. My advice is reduce food by 250 and exercise or move more to burn 250 i.e extra walk around at lunchtime, stand up desks etc. Eating wholesome food like quality protein, complex carbohydrates, vegetables and healthy fats is vital rather than just trying to cut out meals or certain food groups. Remember that digestion burns calories too! So eating foods that are high in fiber and protein burn calories and healthy fats keep you feeling full. Much comes down to portion size or making easy swaps. Allowing a nutrient dense diet will enable your mood to be stable, along with blood sugars and enable that muscle building or maintenance although losing body fat. So remember, losing body fat needs to be done sensibly and not dramatically. 

Other reasons why weightloss may be hindered

- Over eating. Exercising can increase your hunger but try not to over compensate with too much extra food as this can negate your exercise session. For example I quite often see ladies having a coffee or latte after their 45minute walk and if it's not a brisk walk with hills, then the latte will be almost the same amount of calories as they have just tried to burn off. Or people tell themselves 'I can eat this because I went to gym this morning' but many people aren't aware of calories in food vs calories burnt. 
What is important is adding a little more protein to your diet for extra training, whether it's cardio or weight training. Extra protein is needed for muscle fiber repair and to help put your body in an 'anabolic' (muscle building) phase, rather than a 'catabolic' (muscle breakdown) if there isn't enough fuel. But it doesn't mean eating an extra steak or second portion of dinner. Possibly adding some yoghurt or protein powder to a smoothie is all you need, or adding an extra boiled egg to your lunch. 

-The 'little things'. You think you eat really healthy but unless you write it down you may be suprised how many 'extras' creep in. These can also be excess fruit or bliss balls etc

-Too many starchy carbohydrates. As we get older and more sedentary, our need for carbohydrates needs to come down too. Try keep starchy carbs like rolled oats, potato, kumara, rice, pasta, bread to 1-2 serves (one serve is palmful) daily. Make a swap and boost your low starch intake with vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, courgettes, salad, carrot etc. Aim for 2-3 serve of protein too (palm of hand) and serving or two of healthy fat 1Tb = 1 serve

If you need help, give us a call. Happy to discuss your nutritional needs. 

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