A weighty issue

Last week I completed the Brighton Half Marathon and as always after my races had a photo take of me posing proudly with my medal. When I posted this on Facebook and Twitter I got lots of really lovely responses saying how great I was looking. A few people asked me how much weight I’d lost. I thought it would be interesting to compare my 2013 photo with the one from the year before to see if there was much difference.

Turns out there is a fair amount!

BHM comparison
Left – 2012 Right 2013

When you look at yourself in the mirror everyday I think it’s sometimes hard to see changes in yourself. It’s good to do this kind of thing now and again to appreciate how far you’ve come.

Now – back to the question that I was asked about how much weight I’d lost. There is actually no more than a couple of pounds difference between the two photos – even though I’m a dress size smaller in the photo on the right.

But how can that be?

It’s all down to differences in body composition. You’ve probably heard the thing about muscle weighing more than fat right? Well it doesn’t – a pound of fat weighs the same as a pound of muscle! But, a pound of fat takes up significantly more space in the body than a pound of muscle does. Apologies for the next photo – it’s a bit grim but it illustrates the point well.

Fatvsmuscle
One pound of fat vs one pound of muscle

So what’s happened in my body in that year is that I’ve lost fat and gained muscle. My overall body weight hasn’t changed significantly but I’ve shrunk quite a lot.

Since I’ve been taking part in Julia’s fat loss fitness programme I’ve also invested in a set of scales which measure my body fat %, amongst other things. In the first six weeks of the programme I’ve lost 3lbs in total body weight. If that were the only measure I’d got I’d probably be feeling a bit disappointed as I’ve been working out quite intensely for 6 days out of 7 and have made some quite significant changes to what I eat.

However, my body composition scales tell me that I’ve also lost 4.4% of my body fat. Some quick calculations show that that means I’ve actually lost 10lbs worth of fat and gained 7lbs of lean body mass in 6 weeks. I’m far far happier with those figures.

You don’t need to invest in a set of fancy scales if you don’t want to – a tape measure can also be your best friend and show you progress that your ‘total body weight’ measurement won’t. In 6 weeks I’ve lost 6.5cm off my tummy, 5.5cm off my waist and 1cm off my arm. I also have a pair of jeans that are too small for me that I’m using as a measure of my progress. They *just about* do up – 6 weeks ago I couldn’t get them anywhere near!

So I guess my message is – if you’re on a weight loss journey then PLEASE don’t rely on just your total body weight as an indicator of progress. It really won’t tell you the full story of what’s going on in your body. Measure, use some clothes, look back at photos or get some scales that also tell you your body composition.

You are more than just a number!

scale

7 thoughts

  1. WOW I love your blog and this post! You should feel so proud of what you are doing and you are very right, a scale should not be the measure, I have done that mistake not too long ago and felt very frustrated. Congrats! Can’t wait to read more. Auds 🙂

    1. Thank you. It’s so easy to get caught up with what the scales say when there are so many other ways to see your progress. I much prefer the tape measure – after all people don’t see how much you weigh – they see how you look.

  2. Just brilliant…..i absolutley get why you added the photo…this would change how loads of people think…you have done well …i just hope i can get to where you are and look as fantastic as you …but its a work in progress….well done you and thanks for sharing this with all of us …….Dawn E

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