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EXCELDREAM SparkPoints: (74,396)
Fitness Minutes: (30,883)
Posts: 157
4/16/14 4:58 P

Thanks to you all for the helpful suggestions. Yes, it could have been anything besides (or in addition to) muscle. I haven't been doing any strength training. I need to take that up next.

I love your analogy to an IRA, Archimedes. Sort of like if I had to cut my electricity bill. I might unplug all the unused electronics and appliances before I started burning the insulation between the walls for heat. So I need to make sure I start using all the electronics.

SLYSAM SparkPoints: (43,184)
Fitness Minutes: (110,991)
Posts: 1,474
4/15/14 7:16 P

BMI doesn't estimate body fat, it is just an index of height to weight.

Everything in your body that isn't fat is "lean mass". This includes retained fluids. Hopefully, most of the non-fat weight you lost was fluid. I tend to agree with Dragonchilde and Archimedes that it was likely fluid loss. As mentioned, usually when someone loses weight some of it is fat, some water and some might be other lean mass including muscle. As mentioned, there are things that can minimize muscle loss like strength training and making sure you get enough protein. Did you talk to the tester about what you are doing for exercise? If you are strength training, it may not necessarily be a big loss of muscle. It kind of depends on your diet and workouts. Sometimes when people start dieting, they lose a lot of weight in initial weeks but much of it is not fat. Often it is fluid weight from eating differently.

Edited by: SLYSAM at: 4/15/2014 (19:18)
DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (58,681)
Fitness Minutes: (14,252)
Posts: 9,692
4/15/14 2:36 P

Are you doing any strength training? It is true that when losing weight, your body will also burn muscle as well as fat. Strength training can help mitigate this, and help prevent muscle loss.

I would also suggest that perhaps some of your loss was fluid; water loss is more common and easier than muscle loss. Generally muscle loss hovers around 25% of your total without strength training.

ARCHIMEDESII SparkPoints: (168,420)
Fitness Minutes: (247,510)
Posts: 24,516
4/15/14 2:31 P


What have you been doing for strength training ? When a person loses weight, some of the weight will be fat and some will be lean muscle. Contrary to what some of the diet pills claim, there is no pill that will only allow a person to lose fat. How much lean muscle a person loses when they lose weight can be minimized if that person does some strength training.

Now, here's the thing, in order to increase lean muscle, a person needs to eat a surplus of calories. When a person is eating to lose weight, it means their body doesn't have enough spare calories to build muscle. Where are the calories you eat going ? They are going to keep your vital organs functioning. Your body doesn't care if you're trying to lose weight. All your body cares about is having enough calories to keep your heart, lungs and brain working.

So, what happens when we decrease the amount of calories we eat to lose ? We lose a combination of body fat and muscle. But once again, if a person does some strength training as part of their exercise routine, they decrease the amount of lean muscle they lose. That means if you strength train, you may not gain any muscle, but you will make the muscle you have work more efficiently.

I know the Bodpods can be accurate, but even they aren't perfect and have a margin of error. I don't see how this person decided (even with the Bod Pod) that 3.5 pounds of loss was muscle and 1.5 pounds was fat. You could have lost 5 pounds of water as a result of water retention.

On the one hand, he was right that if a person eats too little, they do risk having their body eat their lean muscle to supply energy needs. How much is too little ? It depends on how much you've been eating combined with how much you exercise. Example, let's say you've been eating 1500 calories per day and let's say you burn 500 calories when you exercise. that means your body is only netting 1,000 calories for the entire day. That's not enough calories to keep a grown woman healthy. So, yes, if you eat too little, there is a risk your body will turn to muscle protein for energy.

Ever notice how wasted some women look when they starve themselves to lose weight ? When your body doesn't get the energy it needs from the food you eat, it will start eating lean muscle before it goes to fat. Why ? your body fat is like your IRA. How hard is it for you to access money in your retirement account ? Well, this is kinda no different. your body fat is like your IRA. your body keeps reserves in case of extreme emergencies just like you might keep money stashed away.

The point ? Try not to get too hung up on the numbers because weight loss is not an exact science. Do make sure you're eating enough to supply energy for your vital organ functions as well as any extra exercise you do.

EXCELDREAM SparkPoints: (74,396)
Fitness Minutes: (30,883)
Posts: 157
4/15/14 1:22 P

I don't know if this should be under Fitness or Nutrition. I had the fortunate opportunity to take 2 BodPod measurements to calculate my body fat. First off, I was very disappointed when the first one showed I had 35% body fat when the generic BMI index showed me well under 25%, within the normal range. But I got over that. I knew I wanted to lose 20 more pounds. But the 2nd test 8 weeks later showed that of the 5 pounds I lost, 3.5 pounds of it was not fat. The tester suggested it was muscle and that I need to increase my calories to keep my body from devouring my muscle. That just doesn't make sense. I'm eating within the range set by SparkPeople (after I added 30 minutes of swimming - the only change from my routine for over a year).

I got discouraged and ate more calories yesterday than I have in a year with only a handful of exceptions. I just don't know what to do.

Has anyone else had an experience like this?

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