Weight Loss Support - Question about fat vs. muscle weight




WendeeLou
04-19-2011, 11:20 AM
Hello Lovely Ladies,

I am wondering what is realistic when it comes to building muscle and not losing weight. I am stuck. For the last 4 weeks my scale has been bouncing back and forth between 168- 172. The very highest weight for my height (according to BMI) is 155. So I am still 13-17 pounds away from that. And mind you that is the TOP of the range. I eat between 1400-1600 calories a day, I do HIIT three times a week, twice a day (MON-WED-FRI 6am and 6pm, 45 mins each) And I do kickboxing (HITT style) three days a week, twice a day (TUE-THU-SAT 6am and 6pm 45 mins each). My scale is staying between those 4 pounds, and not moving a bit! My husband and trainer say that they see a lot of change in my body, flatter tummy, smaller bum etc.. but I just have a hard time seeing it!

I am wondering if its realistic to think that my body is building muscle, losing fat, hence no weight loss? Do you think that after a bit of this, building muscle jazz, I will go back to losing? Dont get me wrong, I am happy with my results, its just hard to see the scale NOT move! I still have a lot of areas that have fat, my bum, thighs, hips, arms. I would really like to get rid of it before summer, but at this rate... it isnt looking so good..

Please Help!


zoodoo613
04-19-2011, 11:27 AM
Sounds like pretty intensive exercise. If you weren't doing as much before, it could very well be muscle gain. Are you measuring yourself. If you're getting smaller than you are definitely losing fat. Also, even though it feels like it, 4 weeks isn't that long. I say keep it up for a while longer yet.

beerab
04-19-2011, 11:33 AM
Have you tried measuring, or possibly trying on an outfit that was slightly tight and seeing if it fits fine now?

I notice when weight isn't going down things seem like they are shifting and tightening :)


WendeeLou
04-19-2011, 11:45 AM
Hey ladies,

I do measure as well- my next "measure in" (if you will) is this week, so I suppose we will see where I am then! Thanks for the response!

I did have to buy new gym pants, the others were falling down! But the rest of my clothes seem to fit the same.. Kinda.. I guess now that I think about it. They may be fitting better.

I just wonder if there is anything more I should do? SHould I just keep pushing!?!

JohnP
04-19-2011, 12:00 PM
HIIT type of exercise does very little to build muscle after the initial adaptation period so it is extremely unlikely that you are gaining muscle unless you just started these types of workouts in whicih case it is still unlikely but theoretically possible. What it much more likely is that you are either not losing fat or you are retaining a lot of water. My bet would be on water retention based on the calories you're ingesting.

This is why you should take body measurements on a regular basis so you can have an idea of what is happening.

My suggestion if you have been dieting for a long time without a break is to take a diet break and cut the exercise back for a couple weeks and then resume beating yourself up for those final 10-15 lbs which are typcially the most difficult ones to lose.

WendeeLou
04-19-2011, 12:07 PM
John-

I wonder if I should have used the term HIIT for my workouts- they are more of a circuit. We do so many seconds of work and then 10-15 seconds of rest. Changing "stations" in between. Each week, we change up the numbers. Everyday we change up the excersize... I KNOW I have gained muscle because its plain as day! We do a circuit workout (at Warrior Fit Body Bootcamp) where we do a lot of strength training. We use kettlebells, body weight, regular weights and medicine balls.

I dont think that it would be possible for me to take a break from my workouts. I LIVE for them. I have a very busy crazy scheudle, being a mom, wife, working full time, and full time student. My workouts are my me time. Plus I just feel AWESOME after I complete a workout! When I dont go to the gym, I feel sluggish and yucky all day...

Also, I am hypothyroid, and this may contribute to the slowwww loss..

thanks for your suggestion, I just cant see myself doing that! :dizzy:

milmin2043
04-19-2011, 12:10 PM
Hi WendeeLou!

I am the same height as you. So far, I have lost 93 lbs. in 10 months. I haven't really had any (what I would call) real plateau. I have continually lost weight throughout the 10 months, albeit at a much slower rate currently. Now I measure in ozs. rather than lbs. :)

I agree with John in that the weight fluctuation is more likely water retention. I also agree that if you have been at this for a while, take a diet and exercise break for a week or two. Don't throw yourself under the train and eat whatever you want, but be more lenient for a week or so. Also, once every couple of months, I take a week off from running. I am still active, but no structured exercise, and every single time, I have lost 3-4 lbs. in that week with no exercise.

Go figure, huh? It flies in the face of everything we've all learned, but it has worked like a charm for me. Just make sure that you don't look at it as a free-for-all, and after the length of time you choose, get back on the track and continue on.

Good luck!

FitGirlyGirl
04-19-2011, 12:30 PM
I was thinking that it was unlikely it was muscle until you explained your workout more. I think that if you are building muscle that could be what is happening. Last month I only lost 5.4 pounds, but I lost 2.125 inches. The month before I lost 1.4 pounds and 3.25 inches and gained .25 inch on my flexed bicep. I say give it at least until you've taken measurements (or even take them early even if not 'official'). If the measurements show no loss either (doubtful) then you can worry about how to fix things.

aimeebell
04-19-2011, 12:32 PM
Hello Lovely Ladies,

I am wondering what is realistic when it comes to building muscle and not losing weight. I am stuck. For the last 4 weeks my scale has been bouncing back and forth between 168- 172. The very highest weight for my height (according to BMI) is 155. So I am still 13-17 pounds away from that. And mind you that is the TOP of the range.

I just would like to say that I saw your picture posted under another thread the other day, and it is obvious that you have quite a lot of muscle. Normally, I think the BMI charts are a really useful tool, but I am wondering in your case how accurate it is. 170ish pounds would be you in the mid-range of overweight. When I see your photo, I do not see even a slightly overweight woman. I weigh exactly 140 lbs, 30 lbs less than you, 1 inch shorter, 10 pounds into the healthy range on the BMI charts, yet YOU appear to be in much better shape than I with a lot less flab. So.....I would personally throw out the BMI charts and concentrate on how you feel both physically and when you look in the mirror.

JohnP
04-19-2011, 12:40 PM
Circuit training doesn't do much for building muscle either but it does do much more than just HIIT and in your case the method seems fairly sound especially if you're increasing intensity and/or weights over time.

I'm sticking with my original answer which is - if you've started this recently than you're probably gaining some muscle. If you've been doing it for a while than you're probably not. Take a diet break and at least cut back on the workouts if you can't stop completely.

If you're living for your workouts ... it could be a sign of addiction. I'm serious ... you could be coming a workout addict. I've read plenty of first hand accounts of women causing major hormonal problems to themselves by over exercising whilst under eating in an attempt to drop those final few pounds. (Not saying you're doing this or even close but just something to keep in mind.)

tiffany0809
04-19-2011, 01:19 PM
I agree with John's original thought that you are retaining fluid in your muscles. I don't mean to be a downer, but even if you are doing strength training as opposed to the HIIT workouts, it takes a lot of weight and a lot of effort for a woman to gain a significant amount of muscle weight. Obviously I don't know the intensity of your workouts so maybe you ARE lifting so heavy that you are putting on muscle. But more than likely it's fluid retention.

I would recommend taking some more rest time in between your workouts. It looks like you're doing a lot and your muscles need time to recover. During the workout you break them down, and then they recover and build strength back up afterwards. It's that rest time that's important. Without it you're not giving your muscles enough time to get their strength back and you keep the fluid retention.

You're definitely doing the right thing by taking measurements, so make that you indicator, along with how your clothes are fitting. The number on the scale is just a number. You don't advertise your weight on your shirt so who cares. :) When my clothes start getting loose or feeling tight I know that my body is changing.

surfergirl2
04-19-2011, 01:24 PM
I would recommend, instead of taking a break from your workout routine, just mix things up. Go for a strenuous hike, or swim, or whatever--just something completely different from your usual thing.

I'm a tiny bit frustrated myself. I even thought to myself, "i look pretty good, i can see my abs (a little) and my arms look muscular, maybe i don't need to lose weight." But then i remember i HAVE been 10 pounds lighter before...and i looked great. So you and i have to just keep pushing and be patient.

ArEyBee
04-19-2011, 01:42 PM
Muscle weighs exactly the same as fat, lb for lb. If you aren't burning fat with that exercise routing and aren't gaining muscle as a few others seem to be determined to believe, there's no hope for the rest of us.

I personally feel that since the scale is being ditzy, pay attention to your measurements. If after you take your measurements you see no change, then that will be the time for concern. Stick with what you're doing, your body and the scale will adjust accordingly.

WendeeLou
04-19-2011, 03:23 PM
Thanks for the responses everyone!
Maybe I will sleep in the rest of this week and just workout in the evening!? That actually sounds pretty nice!

Also, someone mentioned that they saw one of my pics in another thread (probably my progress pics)
SO, I thought I would post one them here to show the difference between a 186lb me and a 170lb me.. (sorry, I dont have any full body pics, because I would hurry and delete them as soon as I saw them... anyone else ever been there? lol)
before.. 186
http://i1081.photobucket.com/albums/j343/Wendeelou7/meyuk.jpg
http://i1081.photobucket.com/albums/j343/Wendeelou7/menmatt.jpg

Now..170ish..
http://i1081.photobucket.com/albums/j343/Wendeelou7/IMG00347-20110402-09341-1-1.jpg
http://i1081.photobucket.com/albums/j343/Wendeelou7/IMG00346-20110402-09341.jpg
http://i1081.photobucket.com/albums/j343/Wendeelou7/IMG00363-20110408-2204.jpg

I suppose this whole weight loss, whats right and whats wrong. what works and what doesnt... how to do this and how to do that is starting to eat at my brain... I was just fine before I started thinking about it too much! I just feel like I should be losing, and I am not. Clearly, I am a lot smaller.. but who stinkin knows!

Thanks for listening to me rant and rave and complain and be a sissy.. Im ready to buck up now! :D

berryblondeboys
04-19-2011, 03:25 PM
You must have a large build because I don't see any way you could lose another 27 pounds and be healthy.

How big are your wrist bones? Have you had a fat caliper test done?

WendeeLou
04-19-2011, 03:43 PM
Berryblondeboys- I havent had that sort of a test done. I think I am big boned- I have never been tiny.. The more weight I lose, the more I can see my hip bones/collar bones. I DO have a decent size chest (34C), and I have a pretty big bum and thighs.

The more I go at this weight loss thing, I am starting to realize that I might not ever be where I am "supposed" to be. I would be happy with losing 10 pounds, and maintaining at 160lbs. I just want to get rid of the fat!!

Where would I get a fat caliper test done? Is that the same as the thingymajig you hold out in front of you? I did one of those at the gym *before* I really started working out/counting calories and carbs (I had been doing Zumba 3-4 times a week, but still bad diet, and not really 100% into it!) and it said I was 25.6%- I would only guess that it would be better now?

I think I just need to stop overthinking every little thing, and just keep on with my new lifestyle. I knew my weight would be hard to lose due to my hypothyroidism as well as the fact that I have always been a "bigger" girl (never petite or dainty)

stacygee
04-19-2011, 08:45 PM
Hello Lovely Ladies,

I am wondering what is realistic when it comes to building muscle and not losing weight. I am stuck. For the last 4 weeks my scale has been bouncing back and forth between 168- 172. The very highest weight for my height (according to BMI) is 155. So I am still 13-17 pounds away from that. And mind you that is the TOP of the range. I eat between 1400-1600 calories a day, I do HIIT three times a week, twice a day (MON-WED-FRI 6am and 6pm, 45 mins each) And I do kickboxing (HITT style) three days a week, twice a day (TUE-THU-SAT 6am and 6pm 45 mins each). My scale is staying between those 4 pounds, and not moving a bit! My husband and trainer say that they see a lot of change in my body, flatter tummy, smaller bum etc.. but I just have a hard time seeing it!

I am wondering if its realistic to think that my body is building muscle, losing fat, hence no weight loss? Do you think that after a bit of this, building muscle jazz, I will go back to losing? Dont get me wrong, I am happy with my results, its just hard to see the scale NOT move! I still have a lot of areas that have fat, my bum, thighs, hips, arms. I would really like to get rid of it before summer, but at this rate... it isnt looking so good..

Please Help!

This happened to me- I was working out hard and staying with my calories but I wasn't seeing a difference on the scale for about 4-5 weeks and then one week I dropped like 6 pounds... I thought perhaps my body went through some changes and then dropped the weight. Stick it out... it sounds like you are working really hard with a lot of support.

milmin2043
04-19-2011, 08:56 PM
WendeeLou-you really look terrific, vibrant, healthy and full of life! I am the same height as you, and I remember when I got to around the weight you are right now, I wondered if I should just quit and maintain. I decided to keep going and now I am about 25 lbs. less. These last 25 lbs. have made a HUGE difference. I don't have your curves, anymore, I envy your curves. I have lost my boobs and butt, they are gone. I now have a ruler figure. Pretty much straight up and down. Only you can decide where you want to land and what looks good to you. I am not saying that you can't have built some muscle, you probably have. I know I have, but honestly, I think I can see the muscle I already had, buried under the fat so much better than I could before, and that makes the biggest difference in the way I look. The loss of the extra fat.

Regardless of what you do, you're beautiful, and you will be whether you stay where you are, or continue on to 140.

WendeeLou
04-20-2011, 10:23 AM
thanks for all the support! I knew I could count on you guys!

So I decided to take the advice that so many of you suggested and kinda lay low on the exercise and diet- so I am going to allow myself 1800-2000 calories a day and work out only once. I have only been to the gym once each day this week (due to other obligations) AND I ate a cheesburger (with only half the bun) at TGIFriday... Got on the scale this morning and 168.2. So I am at the low of my stinkin plateau, so lets hope this helps get me out!! I decided that I would be happy with a goal of 155-160. I will keep ya'll updated on what works!

Thanks again for all of your support, suggestions, and help!!

JohnP
04-20-2011, 02:02 PM
Although it is not the most accurate method for determining BF% they are accurate in the right hands and even in the wrong hands they are good for measuring progress over time. I'm referring to skin calipers.

I've tried a couple models and found this one is the best by far (http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Health-6575XXXX-Skinfold-Caliper/dp/B000NN9SDO/ref=sr_1_cc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1303322387&sr=1-1-catcorr)for the money. Professional grade are more accurate but cost $$$

I think you're doing the right thing by taking a little bit of a break and congrats you're looking fantastic.

JohnP
04-20-2011, 02:09 PM
Muscle weighs exactly the same as fat, lb for lb. If you aren't burning fat with that exercise routing and aren't gaining muscle as a few others seem to be determined to believe, there's no hope for the rest of us.

Building muscle takes a net caloric surplus which means you cannot build muscle and lose fat at the same time unless you're new to working out/lifting (or taking steroids.) That is why I asked if she was new to working out, or not.

WendeeLou
04-20-2011, 06:07 PM
Thanks, JohnP!