For everyone struggling with the dreaded & cruel irony of a weight loss plateau due to increasing your exercise routine this is especially for you. It doesn’t seem fair does it? You’re sticking to plan & even more so you have made a really big change and upped your activity & exercise routine immensely. You’re filled with great expectations of all the weight you are going to drop through the hard work and time you have put in only to find one week (or two) that the scales just won’t budge at all, despite your hardest & most determined efforts. It seems in your memory it moved downwards with much greater ease when you made even less effort!
You feel despondent, disheartened and discouraged, at a time when you should feel the proudest & most accomplished, this has come along to throw you for a loop, and you are left questioning what you have done wrong when everything seemed to be going so right, what is this evilness?
There is a majorly untrue myth that does the rounds often, I think we’ve all heard it at some time or other, ‘muscle weighs heavier than fat’ – that, I’m afraid, is a physical impossibility although it is said in the utmost of kindness to comfort you in your time of woe. Muscle cannot weigh more than fat as 1lb of anything weighs exactly that…1lb be it fat or muscle, feathers or bricks. If you put 1lb worth of anything on a scale it registers as 1lb. Muscle is however much, much denser than fat & takes up enormously less room in our bodies, in fact 1lb of fat takes up about 4 times more space than 1lb of muscle as fat is bulkier and bigger. Muscle also burns more calories at rest than fat therefore burning a pound of fat but gaining a pound of muscle at the same time helps you burn more calories and that is a very good thing indeed.
Fat & muscle are two completely different tissues and one cannot ‘turn’ into the other which is another common misconception, you cannot turn fat into muscle but while you are losing pounds of fat you can most certainly be gaining muscle through increased exercise. In simple terms you can lose fat but still weigh the same on the scale because you gained muscle but since muscle takes up less room you will see your efforts not on the scale but in your shape, size & measurements, your body fat will have dropped making you smaller in size even if you weigh exactly the same.
This highlights the importance of not placing all our successes on the result of our weigh in, our success comes in many guises, inches lost and fitness & health gained are often overlooked in our quest for the numbers on the scale to come down. What does the number on the scale matter anyway? Only you & your leader know what you weigh, unless you tell somebody else they can’t guess what you weigh. What is far more important is how you look, how your jeans fit, how happy you feel in your own skin, how your confidence grows & how your energy levels and health improves through a continuous lifestyle change in both diet and exercise. Keep your spirits up, the plateau will eventually pass & the weight will drop in time if you continue to be true to plan, keep your focus, keep doing what you’re doing & concentrate on those other measures of our success and achievements, this too shall pass x