Spoiler alert: I lost water and muscle, this week, but not fat!
“What the heck!?!? How does that even happen?!” I thought to myself after stepping off the bioelectrical impedance machine. My feelings from this morning included frustration, embarrassment for not being the perfect example for those of you who might actually watching this process, and a bit more frustration. One tiny space in my head even wondered, is this even going to work? But then I had to tell myself the same thing that I say over and over in my work as a personal trainer, “You have to trust the process.” Weight loss is not a linear process, and these things take time!
This has turned into a learning moment for me. I thought I was doing all the right things last week, staying within my calorie and protein ranges, eating clean, and doing workouts which include weight lifting and high intensity cardio. But there are actually a few more pieces to the puzzle which helps the process of keeping muscle while losing fat. Here’s what I haven’t been doing, sufficiently, to avoid muscle loss:
- Eating at least 20 grams of protein immediately after a workout. At least half of the week I’ll do my workout, then have a couple personal training client sessions, then go home and eat. Eating protein immediately after breaking down the muscles, helps repair them more quickly. If we don’t repair our muscles, we’ll lose them. My first challenge is going to be bringing some protein with me to chug down before connecting with my clients.
- Getting enough sleep. I’m really working on this, but it’s more typical for me to get six hours of sleep than the recommended 8 hours. You know how it is, getting the kids through their bedtime routines, making sure to spend some time with the hubby because that is often our only time together in the week, maybe falling asleep mid-episode of NCIS on Netflix. But then knowing that the unthinkably early hours are when I can get the most uninterrupted study and work time in. I mean, I fight hard for my 4:00 am hour! I’m not sure how to win, because I need my p.m. family time, and I need my early a.m. uninterrupted time. But I also know that sleep is important! Sleep helps the hormones function properly. Lack of sleep causes high cortisol levels, which increases the chance of storing carbs as fat. Who knew!? If you want to lose fat, just sleep! (If only it were that simple!)
I think these two reasons are what have led to reduced results over the past week. But here are some other things that might be causing you to lose weight in the form of muscle and not fat:
- Not eating enough protein. Not sure if you’re eating enough? Multiply your weight in pounds by 0.7 grams of protein. That will give you the minimum amount of protein you should be consuming. For example, my weight is currently 136.5 lbs. multiplied by .7 grams, and I’m needing a minimum of 95.55 grams of protein each day. (If you’ve been along for the ride, you’ll know that I’m opting to eat significantly more than that- around 150 grams, give or take.)
- Not lifting weights. Yes, even women need to lift weights. No, you’re not going to get bulky from lifting weights. The women who are bulky in muscle are either taking exogenous steroids, or spend hours and hours in the gym (or both). Lifting weights will also help your posture, and movement ability, along with maintaining/increasing your bone density. Muscles will help you to burn more calories throughout the day!
- You’re only doing cardio. Long bouts of steady state cardio, consisting of over 45 minutes actually begins to utilize your muscle as energy. Think of the olympic marathoners vs. the olympic sprinters. The marathoners are typically very lean with minimal muscle, as they are running for hours on end in their training. In contrast, the sprinters tend to have very toned, muscular bodies. They work to increase their muscle which gives them power to run their fastest at short distances. By only doing cardio, you’re inviting your body to metabolize the muscle that is already there.
- You’re not getting enough rest between cardio sessions. Doing only cardio isn’t the sole issue. It’s doing only cardio, without strength training in-between. If you’re a cardio bunny at heart, the solution to this is to plan one to four long cardio sessions per week, and strength train and/or rest on the off days.
Alright, enough of that! Let’s get to the details of this weeks weight and measurements results.
End of week 3: Before and After pictures
(Thank you to my three beautiful, giant baby boys for the stretch marks and loose skin they gave me as I was growing my belly to give them life! No seriously! Progeny #1 was 7lbs 15 ounces, Progeny #2 was 8lbs 11 ounces, and Progeny #3 was 9lbs 15 ounces!)
Week 3 food journal:
Day one will be posted here. The rest of the week will be shared at the bottom of this post.
I never did pull myself to go shopping for last week’s meal plan ingredients. This week, I’ve been “winging it” with strategic foods I still had in my kitchen. As usual, the food consumed may not have been consumed in the order they appear on this food logs. The food quantities are accurate, and all food was measured on a food scale.
Week 3 bioelectrical impedence assessment results:
Breaking my total body weight down into different categories of body composition:
My total body weight: 136.5 lbs (That’s down 3.3 pounds from last week! Total of 6.4 lbs. lost since start date).
- Total Body water: 77.1 lbs. (This decreased by 2.4 pounds since last week. Total of 1.2 lb. decrease since start date).
- Dry lean mass: 28.8 lbs. (Decrease of 0.9 lbs. since last week, and decrease of .3 lbs since start date. Remember that this includes muscle, organs, and bone minus any fluid)
- Body fat mass: 30.6 lbs. (This stayed exactly the same as last week…blah! Total of 4.9 lbs. lost since start date)
- Skeletal muscle mass: 59.3 lbs. (Decrease of 1.5 lbs from last week. Total of 0.7 lbs. decrease in muscle since start date)
- BMI: 23.4 (The loss of water weight and muscle lowered by 0.6, this week. Total BMI decrease of 1.1 since start date)
- Body fat percentage: 22.5% (This is actually up by 0.5% from last week. Because I lost water and muscle, a larger percentage of my body weight is fat. Total of 2.3% decrease in body fat percentage since start date.)
- Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): 1407 calories (This decreased by 31 calories. Losing muscle means less calorie burn at rest.)
- Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE): 2181 calories (Because my BMR decreased, this number decreased by 51 calories from last week)
- Calorie target range for weight loss: 1560 calories (I decided to decrease last week’s target of 1700 calories to 1560 calories for this next week. As I increase my nutritional fat consumption, and decrease my carb intake, I’ll be able to be satiated with a lower calorie range. Since I’m incorporating the weekly indulgence meal, I want to be just a tad bit more conservative with my food intake throughout the week. Also, since I lost weight, but not fat, I want to tighten my strategy just a bit more).
Week 3 measuring tape results:
- Right calf (measured at widest part): 14 1/2 inches (Same as last week, and down 1/4 inch from first measurement)
- Right thigh (measured at widest part): 22 1/2 inches (Down 1/8 inch from last week, and down 1/2 inch from first measurement)
- Hips (measured at widest part): 39 1/8 inches (Down 3/4 inch from last week, Down 3 7/8 inches from first measurement. I mean, almost another inch off, this week. Maybe my hips are just where I carry the weight that wants to be first to go? Or maybe I still measured wrong that first measurement…).
- Butt (measured at widest part): 38 3/8 inches (Down 1/8 inch from last week. Down 1 inch from first measurement.)
- Right below my muffin top: 35 5/8 inches (No change from last week, and down 1/4 inch from first measurement)
- Waistline (measured across belly button): 34 1/8 inches (Down 1/2 inch from last week, and down 1 inch from first measurement)
- Chest (measured at widest part): 37 5/8 inches (Down 1/8 inch from last week. They budged!)
- Shoulders (measured at widest part): 40 3/8 inches (No change this week. Down 1/8 inch from first measurement)
- Biceps: (measured at widest part): 11 5/8 inches (Down 1/8 inch from last week, and 1/4 inch from first measurement).
This is what my workouts looked like:
Summary: So even though I lost an additional 3.3 pounds, this week, none of it is fat (not thrilled about that, at all!). But I know that there is a ton of adaptation that is going on in my body. Like I said before, this process is not linear. My body is trying to figure out where to get it’s energy from. This week, it chose my muscles. Can’t wait until next week to see if it will change course and eat up my fat stores instead (Double fingers crossed!)! I’m exited to begin watching the timing of my protein intake after workouts, and fighting hard for my eight hours of sleep!
And that’s a wrap of week three!
Talk to you soon!
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Food journal for Saturday, January 16
Sunday, January 17
Monday, January 18
Tuesday, January 19
Wednesday, January 20 (yesterday)
Thursday, January 21 (today)