As a health coach, one of the most common things I hear from clients is how they are so bummed out because they weighed themselves on their scale at home and it doesn’t show a significant pound loss. Well, let’s get the record straight on some things so that you can stop obsessing over the scale and understand why being HEALTHY is about SO much more than just weight loss.
First things first. Three pounds of muscle is different than 3 pounds of fat. Visualize two people, same age, same height, same bone structure. Now, the person on the left weighs 140 pounds and looks super lean and healthy. The person on the right is EXACTLY the same weight, but looks overweight, why is that? Because it is your BODY FAT percentage that determines your health not the number on the scale. You know the difference when you see someone on the beach in a swimsuit who is fit and toned, and someone who is not. 140 pounds with a healthy body fat percentage is a big difference from someone who may have technically hit an average weight but is at 32% body fat.
Secondly, I guarantee that your home scale is never as accurate as the $5000-$10,000 scale at your doctors’ office that measures how MUCH of your weight is body fat versus muscle. You may be excited to see that you dropped 3 pounds, especially since you didn’t eat all of your protein you were supposed to and skipped meals, but when you step on our scale it shows your body fat percentage UP. Why is that? Guess what, you burned MUSCLE, not fat.
When you skip meals, go on a “low-calorie” diet, or eat the wrong kinds of foods, choosing more carbs and skimping on protein, your body will turn to your muscles to get the protein it needs. You definitely don’t want that, so be sure that you are losing the right KIND of weight. Just about everything in your body is made up of protein, your heart, your lungs, your muscles, your skin, your hair, your nails etc. Your body has an amazing ability to use protein to convert it and use it as needed to support optimal health and functioning in your body. Your body uses protein to create insulin. Your body converts protein into glucose if it needs it. Your body will use any protein you feed it, so make sure you are getting sufficient protein each day. Feel tired after extra exertion, or going too long in between meals? Likely you are short on your protein.
Thirdly, just because you may LOOK skinny or healthy, that does not mean that you actually are. Take runners for example. You’ve all heard about athletes or runners who seemingly LOOKED healthy but that dropped dead of a heart attack, or the “skinny” person who is actually diabetic or the thin person who found out that they had cancer. Now granted there can be other factors that lead to heart attacks in runners, such as over-exertion, but often times that person was found to have heart disease and a surprisingly high body fat percentage due to a poor diet of too many carbs/sugars/refined/processed foods. Many times the visceral fat (the disease causing kind) that is wrapped around the organs is the cause of seemingly “healthy” looking people having heart attacks, becoming diabetic and developing all different kinds of health issues including cancer. Just because your body fat may not be visibly noticeable, does not mean it isn’t there.
Many athletes have horrible diets, as they think they need to “carb load” because of their workouts, or they think that because they work out all the time that they can eat whatever they want. Nothing could be further from the truth. You CANNOT exercise your way out of a bad diet. Remember, cancer cannot survive in an alkaline environment. So eating a healthy diet of lots of veggies, protein, fruits and nuts as our bodies were designed to eat, is important to keeping your body alkaline and in a fat burning state as opposed to a fat storing state. Conversely, eating lots of carbs, sugar, processed foods, grains, and fake sweeteners create a very acidic environment in the body. They lead to higher visceral body fat percentages as well as inflammation and dis-ease.
And for those of you who think that exercising will somehow speed up the process of losing weight, I would invite you to speak to some of our clients who have tried that approach and found quite the opposite. Why is that? Because aerobic states do NOT burn fat, they burn calories. Think of when you tried working out every day for a year let’s say, and could not drop more than 20 or 30 pounds. Your body cannot be in both an aerobic and catabolic (fat burning) state at the same time. Aerobic exercise (in moderation) is great for your heart. It will help you MAINTAIN where you are at. But it will not burn body fat.
Catabolic exercises, strength training, weight lifting etc, are great for helping to build muscle which helps to burn fat, but again, you a) can’t be eating too many carbs in order to be in a fat burning state and b) have to make sure you are getting adequate protein to supply your body so that it does not take protein from your muscles and cause you to burn muscle. It can be a tricky process trying to lose weight and exercise at the same time, because each body will need different amounts of protein to support how much work they are doing. You may love your exercise, but if you want to lose FAT faster and more efficiently, believe it or not, you should take a break from your workouts and stick to easier exercises like walking. I guarantee you will lose fat faster by staying in a ketogenic fat burning state with your diet. Doing more does not equal more in this case. When it comes to burning FAT, it is more about your diet than exercise.
And remember, as with anything, moderation is key. Once you have gotten yourself down to a healthy body fat percentage, absolutely bring exercise back in to keep yourself strong and healthy. But too much of a good thing is actually detrimental, and you can actually do TOO much exercise to the point that you are actually harming your body and it will have adverse effects. The fastest way to get healthy is to address the QUALITY of the food you are putting into your body. This way you are not only burning FAT, but you are also preventing disease by living an alkaline lifestyle. I invite you to come on by and get a FREE Body Composition Analysis of your Body Fat percentage if you want to know where you are at with your health.
Live and eat healthy my friends!