This is a totally wild stab in the dark, and you've probably considered it already, but... Are you being consistent as to the time of day, day of the week, and day of the month that you're measuring? The lower body measurements could be exaggerated if you measure a day or two after lifting heavy (or doing cardio that works the legs.) I have really big calf muscles, and I can get an increase of almost an inch per leg after a hard bike ride, for example.
Also, have you ever had a body composition measurement? A good measurement, like hydrostatic weighing or a BodPod (air displacement) test, repeated several months apart, could go a long way toward solving the mystery. If you're near a major university, check out their department of Kinesiology (or physical ed, Health Ed, Exercise Physiology, whatever they call it there) and see whether they do body composition testing. The price will be reasonable and the results will be reliable, because they use it as a training opportunity for their students. The University of Texas does it using a dual-X-ray technology that can distinguish fat, muscle, and bone, for under $100. If you schmooze a little, you might even luck into a study, where they'll do it for free. It's worth a shot to see exactly what's going on with you.
As a thought... I'm a rower for my university... and I need two sets of pants - one for off-season, and one for those months when I'm rowing daily, and really using my legs.
I'm 153 lbs and 5'5.5". By the end of the fall season last year, I was wearing a size 10, even though I had gained only 5 lbs. Now, after a summer off from rowing, I was back in my size 6/8's comfortably.
My weight hasn't changed very much, but it really depends on exercise.
That said, I'll wear a size 10 anyday if it means my body is healthier and stronger. I know I have extremely strong legs, and that means more to me than inches or clothing sizes :)
10/3/07 10:40 A
I knew that also despite what others on this thread insisted to be accurate for ABSOLUTELY everyone. But as a 2 year biology major (befor changing to accounting), I know that there are no absolutes when it comes to the human body. Yes there are set ranges and generalizations that can be applied to the majority but there can be deviations from that 'norm.' One example would be a woman who experiences male pattern baldness. This is a result of increased testosterone levels but for most women this is an impossibility bcuz other hormones will counteract and thereby lower testosterone levels but yet we have seen this deviation from the 'norm.'
So let us both keep doing what is working for us and prove the naysayers wrong!
Much success on journey and to SP!
P.S. Don't feel bad. I also gained an inch on my calves this month. No more resistance or incline for me!
I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone! I am one who bulks up with exercise, and believe me, it DOES not take as long to gain inches with muscle build up as I read some people are saying-at least not for me!
When we moved to this house, I started losing weight, with exercise and eating better, and within 2 months I had gained over an inch in my calves FROM OUR STAIRS!! In the meantime I had gone from 160-145!! In that same time I also gained an inch in my left arm from carrying my hefty son around, LOL. It was not fat, but muscle, they are probably the only 2 places on my body w/o extra fat on them(then, now is a different story, but until I have this baby I can't do too much about that). So while MOST women do not bulk up like that, some of us can and do.
10/1/07 4:09 P
Thanks for the information. That is what my doctor told me after I dieted for almost two months and only lost one pound. Just shows how much doctors know! Actually I think what she was trying to say was that instead of losing weight I was building muscles.
I stumbled upon this thread while I was message board surfing. I read mostly everything but I got to one entry that I wanted to correct. XANDERYLUM (spelling??) Fat CAN NOT turn into muscle.....it's impossible it't like saying a cow could turn into a dog. They are two seperate things! Muscle helps BURN fat but one does not turn into the other. That's why you oculd do 1 million cruches and not see a six pack if you still have fat on your belly, fat can not turn into muscle. I just wanted to set that straight! A lot of people think that but it is a BIG myth! Keep up the cardio to lose fat and keep up the weight training to burn fat and have a toned body when the fat is gone!
After a month of changing my weight training regimine (lower weights, higher reps), the results are in: 'Drum roll please.....'
I have lost 1" from my lower body!
Yes, finally progress again. I admit I was a little hesitant to try this new program but what did I have to lose (but inches...HEHEHE)? I was actually going backwards and gaining inches while losing pounds (go figure!).
So we'll see what next month brings bcuz I really did not weight train as often as I should have.
I will continue to post and update my progress on this thread for anyone who is interested and/or is experiencing the same dilemma.
Edited by: THINN09 at: 10/1/2007 (06:55)
9/11/07 4:07 P
I only take measurements once a month but weigh weekly or bi-weekly and though I agree it can sometimes take a while to lose inches, I cannot come up with a logical explanation for gaining them.
Fitness Minutes: (7,380)
1,567 9/11/07 12:47 A
I don't know about the program you're talking about, but here's my experience. It took me 9-10 months to lose a single inch from my waist measurement. While losing approximately 30 lbs. Then, in the last month I lost 3 inches there. I don't know how long you've been working on your plan, but I'm proof that it can take a LOOONG time. I lost inches in pretty much all other areas, it's just taken this long for the waist one to catch up. If you're losing all around, you should be fine! But I like your plan of checking up on measurements regularly. I didn't do this too much until recently and it's been quite helpful.
9/10/07 9:26 P
This update is a bit late but here goes:
At the beginning of September, I took my measurements. The same measurements I have been taking since end of February/beginning of March, and while I lost a couple more pounds (YIPPEE!!!), I actually gained inches in my hips and chest. This unsettling development really leads me to believe even moreso, that there is at least a morsel of truth to the 'exercise for your body type' theory. I mean, how else can you explain continual pound loss but now gaining inches with a regimine that includes both cardio (4-7xs/week) and strength training (every other day)?
I will continue to test this theory for the next 60 days by modifying the strength training portion of my workout (as discussed in previous posts in this thread) and will then post the update in this thread regardless of the outcome.
If you are reading this and are wondering what the heck I'm talking about, here is the link to the Body Type articles on ivillage:
I have no idea what the escape your shape theory is, but I wish you the best of luck.
8/30/07 12:26 A
"Repeated weight loss and gains plus aging affects our skin and tissue elasticity. I wish that I could convince you that it is not the cause of lack of inches lost because it truly is not."
Nope, sorry NANCYJAC (LOL) I don't have a problem with skin & tissue elasticity. I actually have the skin of a 20 year old and still get carded when I go out. And as far as being a yo-yo dieter--that really doesn't apply either. After an auto accident in 8/05 I was not physically able to exercise and got depressed and started overeating at that time but that has not always been the case. When I refer to being up and down the scale, this is a direct reflection of my ability to exercise consistently (3xs/week for maintenance). When I am unable to do so, that is when I gain weight and in all honesty, sometimes I was not so inclined to take it off.
I was hit by a car when I was 6, and thrown some several feet (by all accounts--I don't remember a thing) suffered a dislocated knee, leg fracture, and concussion. Then, I was in a bad auto accident in the 9th grade in which my head went thru the windshield and I suffered a herniated disc in the lumbar reigon in addition to head trama. (Yeah, I know, I need to stay away from cars--LOL). So when 1 or all of these ailments flare up, the pain can become to intense for exercise; but as soon as I return to my routine, the weight drops off (like its doing now). My metabolism requires 5-7 days a week of cardio to take the weight off and 3 times a week to maintain.
Since joining SP, I haven't made ANY changes to how and what I eat. When I realized what I was doing to myself back in '05, I simply stopped overeating aka snacking--plain and simple. Unfortunately, most of the damage had been done.
Also, I never said I was going to stop strength training. In fact, I specifically stated in my first response that I was going to continue circuit training but lower the resistance. In other words, instead of using the abductor/adductor machines with 90 pounds of weight, I will be droping it to possibly 50 pounds, or bicep curls using 5-8 pound weights versus 40 pounds currently--that way I will still get the benefit of strength training.
So let's make a deal--if my strategy works will you concede that maybe, just maybe there might be something to the whole Escape Your Shape theory?
Well I think this time you have answered your own question. Eventually yo yo dieting doesn't produce the same results it use to. Repeated weight loss and gains plus aging affects our skin and tissue elasticity. I would encourage you to continue your weight training because it has numerous benefits. I wish that I could convince you that it is not the cause of lack of inches lost because it truly is not.
If you are interested, I have a team called "Turtling Our Way to Success". It is a group of former veteran yo yo dieters who have learned the hard way the toll that yo yo dieting takes.
Edited by: NANCYJAC at: 8/29/2007 (20:59)
8/29/07 8:35 P
Thanks for your input H0TARU & NANCYJAC:
But the reason I believe that I am experiencing some oddity is b-cuz not even 2 years ago, I wore a 12/14 Misses and weighed 215 pounds--10 pounds more than I weigh now but now I wear a 16 Womens SNUGLY. Having been up and down the scale I'm familiar with what size I wear at each particular set point (weight) and it never varied until I started circuit training this summer (which is why I was so concerned).
In fact, the inches I did lose (with the exception of the waist) were lost before the weight training began when I was only doing cardio. But knowing that muscle will increase metabolism and therefore, burn more calories, I started circuit training; and yes I do (or was) lifting weight to failure every other day. So while I know I do not have the required testosterone levels and nothing else explains the lack of inches lost from prior weight times.
"Well I must be the exception cuz nothing else explains how someone could drop 49 pounds and only 1 dress/pant size."
Well, not necessarily. I've found (in my experience and in many others') that the more you weigh, the more weight you have to lose 'per size'. As an example: I went from 225 down to about 200 before I went down from a 20 to an 18 (so 25 pounds for one dress size). But I'm now firmly in a 16 when I'm 186 (so it was 14 pounds for one dress size). One of my friends is 120 and will have to go up a pant size if she gains only 5 lbs. I know someone who is near 300 pounds and can lose as much as 40-50 lbs without really even losing a full size.
Building muscle is good to do. It makes you stronger, it burns more calories, boosts your metabolism and helps you do the stuff you need to do even better than before.
1. More testosterone than 99.9% of women have. 2. Eating more calories than you consume. 3. Lifting enough weight consistantly and frequent to cause temporary muscle failure.
Even if you were bulking up, the opposite would occur....that is you would be losing inches and not necessarily pounds. Muscle is denser than fat so that the same weight in muscle would take up less space than the same weight in fat. If anything, you are losing muscle mass since not all of the 49 pounds you have lost would be fat. Up to about 20% of weight lost is a loss in muscle mass. One of the reasons we do strength training during weight loss is to minimize that loss during strength training. So if anything, you need to increase the degree of resistance, not decrease it.
Your progress in both pounds and inches seems quite typical to me. 49 pounds and 13 inches is a pretty normal ratio.
Edited by: NANCYJAC at: 8/29/2007 (10:27)
8/29/07 9:59 A
My clothes are still really fitting the same but you can't really turn muscle into fat. Muscle or "myo" cells will retain their original structure and purpose as will fat, aka "adipose" cells and all other cells for that matter; but if you mean that I could be building muscle while losing fat then I think you're on to something and I may have discovered the problem and solution: Too much resistance in my circuit training.
Based on a book entitled Escape Your Shape which states that certain exercises may cause certain people to add excessive muscle mass. I read this book quite some time ago but really didn't have a weight problem then so I didn't give it much thought until I was ready to add strength training just recently. I posted the question about the possibility of bulking up beforehand and was assured that it wasn't possible for women to do so. Well I must be the exception cuz nothing else explains how someone could drop 49 pounds and only 1 dress/pant size. So I'm going to continue circuit training but lower the resistance, that way I will get the benefits of strength training without the bulk (hopefully). We'll see...
8/26/07 7:24 A
You maybe turning the fat into muscle and that is why you are not losing inches. Do you clothes fit the same or are they getting looser? Or maybe you are loosing in your arms and legs?
8/26/07 12:15 A
Thanks everyone for your replies. I remember a post about exercising based on your body type. I'm going to look that up and see what else I can come up with. This is so frustrating!!!
like you my inches lost has been slow below the waist. for instance i've lost a total of 10" off my waist since January but I've only lost 4.5" off my thighs!! i work out like mad, especially using my thighs and legs. my legs have excellent muscle definition but i have not lost much in inches so my jeans always fit just a little snug and my legs, especially my calves look so much bigger than the rest of me. i've learned to accept this and keep at it as i know eventually it has to come off! my goal is to lost at least 2 more inches just so enough to look purportionate.
I can only tell you about my own experience. I'm pear-shaped, too, and I lost inches much slower from the bottom half than the top-- but I did lose them. Now that I'm down to a healthy weight, if I lose a few pounds it comes off my hips while my waist stays the same.
I only recently started doing a little bit of strength training, and it's slowly, slowly taking a little bit off of my thighs.
Unfortunately, we do not get to pick and choose where the fat goes from first. I too am pear shaped and always will be so my below the waist measurements are still a little bit larger in proportion to the rest of my body and thighs were the last place I lost fat and inches. Having said that though, a loss of 13 inches for 40 pounds is way more than minimal.
You are not bulking up. That just doesn't happen with twice/week strength training for 2 months, even if you had the testerone levels required to do it.
8/24/07 4:32 P
It seems that your results are a lot like mine; when I lose, I lose from my waist first, almost nothing from my bust (I wish I would), and FINALLY from my hips and thighs. One thing that has helped me lose 1.5 inches from my hips in the past two weeks is Body for Life, which I started on August 13. It really is an amazing program.
I doubt it's the circuit training bulking you up. Unfortunately the hip and butt area is often the last place you'll lose fat. There is no spot reduction so you'll just continue to lose weight in other places until your body gets it off your butt and thighs.
I tend to lose weight from my knees up and my shoulders down, with the butt/hips weightloss last (it's also the hardest to get rid of). So you're not alone.
You can always do a youtube search for figure or fitness competitions. Even being that lean there are always a few girls with bigger hips/butts. It's just the way the female body is made.
First, Congratulations on your progress! You are really getting results. Good job!!!
Now -- I do think you are worrying for nothing. We can't control where the fat will come off our bodies. The hips, thighs, butt areas are where our biggest muscles are. Those of us who are pear shaped will ALWAYS be pear shaped, no matter how much weight we lose.
I think it's amazing that after a 40 pound weight loss, you only lost 1 1/4 inches in your chest/bust area. For me, that's the first place my fat comes off (and I'm not exactly Angelina Jolie to begin with --- if you know what I mean. ) LOL
From what you say, you're really making excellent progress. As you lose more weight, you'll probably lose more inches from the hips/thighs areas. Just be a little more patient. Keep up the good work. You could try more varied exercises (either strength or maybe yoga/Pilates type) that work those areas. The jogging should help some, too.
Congratulations on your great results. I agree that you probably build muscle faster than other women. That's good news because you are going to burn a lot more calories and lose the inches somewhere down the line.
One SP articles says that it is not advisable to make comparisons with what we used to look like in the past. I suggest that you stay away from theose clothes that make you feel bad about yourself.
8/22/07 9:26 P
This week I have officially lost 40 pounds. YIPPEE!!
I'm a little concerned. When I 1st joined SP, I was only doing cardio, between 1-2 hours a day, 5-7 days a week. After some physical (and personal) challenges which led to a 3 month hiatus, I returned in July and modified my workout routine to include circuit training twice a week. Last week I started jogging again and the pounds are truly dropping off and for that I am truly excited and grateful.
Yet, I'm not losing inches...actually that's not true. I losing minimal inches. For example, in my waist I've lost 7 inches; hips, 2-3/4; 2 from my thighs; and only 1-1/4 from the chest. I'm pear shape and already had a comparatively small waist. So I'm not sure why I've lost so many inches there.
Can someone explain to me why I haven't lost more inches off the hip/butt area? I've read other posts that suggest the loss of visceral fat could be the cause but I'm concerned because at this weight before, I was wearing pants that were 2 sizes smaller and wasn't weight training. Isn't weight training supposed to help you lose inches b-cause muscle takes up less room than fat? Could I be one of those rare women who really do bulk up when strength training? Although I really do not think the amount of weight I'm lifting could do so, but what else could be it be? Or am I worrying for no reason?
Thanks in advance for all replies, suggestions, and comments.