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Losing Weight vs. Gaining Muscle

This time of year, with bikini season right around the corner, I begin receiving questions from concerned readers. They're not losing very much weight, even though they are dieting and exercising after hibernating on the couch for the dark months of Winter. In the questions on this subject I have received recently, the Sugar readers have all noticed that their clothes are looser and their body's are firmer; the problem is their scales have barely budged. Although frustrated, I must say these ladies are doing the right thing — dieting and working out.

They may not be losing much weight, but they are losing fat while gaining muscle, which is great. Muscle tissue is more dense than fat tissue, so it takes up less space. When you lose fat and gain muscle your body measurements will change, like waist circumference, even though your weight doesn't.

To see how muscle mass helps when losing weight,

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Muscle also requires more energy and therefore burns more calories than fat. Meaning the more muscle mass you have the faster your metabolism, which is great. If you're looking to lose weight, I think you should alter your goal to change your body composition. More muscle means you're stronger so you can work harder in your workouts too and burn more calories than before. I'd call it a win win.

If you're trying to lose weight change your body composition and lose fat while gaining muscle, keep on exercising and counting calories to effectively lose weight. Make sure to keep your caloric intake above 1200 calories, because if you go under your body goes into famine mode and holds onto fat. Measure your progress by how your clothes feel and remember, the slower you lose weight — two pounds maximum a week — the higher your chances for keeping it off.

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waytoloseweight waytoloseweight 3 years
A simple and free guide on how to gain weight fast. Weight gain diet, weight training tips, muscle building supplements for hard gainers. A Checklist For Gaining Muscle
Robert2570788 Robert2570788 4 years
I HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM WITH THE SCALE IM A MALE AND LOSING WEIGHT IS NOT A PROBLEM I CAN LOSE IT PRETTY FAST 3 YEARS AGO I LOST 65 LBS. JUST CUTTING DOWN ON WHAT I ATE AND WALKING AT THE TRACK  2OR 3 TIMES A WEEK IT TOOK ME 4 MONTHS TO LOSE IT. SO 2 MONTHS AND 1 WK AGO I SRARTED YET ANOTHER DIET  THE 1ST MONTH 1N LOST 16 LBS. SO I DECIDED NOT TO GET ON THE SCALE FOR 5 WEEKS TRODAY I GOT ON THE SCALE AND ONLY LOST 1 POUND IN 5 WEEKS I TOTTALY CUT DOWN MY FOOD INTAKE BUT I ALSO STARTING WALKUING 4 MILES A DAY AND ONLY LOST A POUNN IN 1 MONTH IM SO CONFUSED AN D DISAPOINTED. MY CLOTHES R BIG ON ME WHEN I STARTED 2 MONTHS AGO MY PANT SIZE WAS 44 NOW ITS 40 I LOOK AND I FEEL SKINNER. CAN ANYBODY PLEASE TELL ME HOW MUCH MUSCLE WEIGHS CAUSE EVERYBODY KEEPS TELLING ME IVE GAINED MUSCLE BUT THE SCALE HAS ME WORRIED. s.o.s.
Berzerker Berzerker 6 years
I don't own a scale, but I use a pair of size 2s as a gauge; Once the 2s no longer fit, it's time to kick the breakfast cookie habit. (Um, yeah. That sounded corny...pffft, eh oh well.)
Witchy-Ways Witchy-Ways 6 years
Thank you for this post... Although I'm well aware of this fact, just seeing my scale change in the opposite direction that I want it to makes me nervous every time. The clothes that I wanted me to fit do fit perfectly well and I like how I look but it's still just so very irritating... I now look at the scale and say to myself: look in the mirror, look in the mirror, it's just MUSCLE!
Witchy-Ways Witchy-Ways 6 years
Thank you for this post...Although I'm well aware of this fact, just seeing my scale change in the opposite direction that I want it to makes me nervous every time. The clothes that I wanted me to fit do fit perfectly well and I like how I look but it's still just so very irritating...I now look at the scale and say to myself: look in the mirror, look in the mirror, it's just MUSCLE!
Soniabonya Soniabonya 6 years
I know I am getting leaner and fitter due to my strength training exercising because I could hold a plank for about one minute and managed to fit into my little sisters size four jeans. I am still afraid of the number on the scale though.
Soniabonya Soniabonya 6 years
I know I am getting leaner and fitter due to my strength training exercising because I could hold a plank for about one minute and managed to fit into my little sisters size four jeans. I am still afraid of the number on the scale though.
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 6 years
geesh, how tall are you ladies?? 103lbs??? I look quite thin and I am 135!
Kiralee Kiralee 7 years
A couple of days ago my scale jumped up 3 pounds (I'm always on a steady 120). At first I was down especially after focusing on my weight training. A friend said it was muscles but it's nice to have it confirmed here :) Thanks!
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 7 years
Great post Fit, great attitude with all of the comments here too! Always an important fact to remember.
aimeeb aimeeb 7 years
I wish more people would remember this, muscle weighs more than fat end of story. Don't look at the numbers just see how your clothes fit!!
Spectra Spectra 7 years
Yeah, muscle is definitely a LOT more dense than fat. It's also more metabolically active. It takes your body 4 calories/gram to maintain fat tissue and 50 calories/gram to maintain muscle. That's why it's a lot easier to stay at a consistent weight if you work out and maintain a high amount of muscle. I know I'm very muscular and sometimes it frustrates me...I will never be "skinny", but I am tiny and look a lot smaller than I really am. I weigh around 103, but most people would guess that I weigh a lot less because I'm very lean. And it's a good thing...I'd rather weigh more and be able to eat more to maintain it than starve myself and weigh less and have it be mostly fat.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 7 years
This is so true. Muscle does take up less room than fat. I'm actually quite lean and sculpted. I've been told I look about 90lbs, when indeed, I'm 105 lbs. I'm a size 2. I look smaller than what I actually weigh.
bushra bushra 7 years
thanks for the good words, fit! just what i need to keep going!
syako syako 7 years
Bluebird - :woohoo: That's a great attitude!
syako syako 7 years
Bluebird - :woohoo: That's a great attitude!
bluebird bluebird 7 years
I don't care what the number of my weight is- it can be as low as 120 or as high as 150- as long as I'm fit and toned! I'd rather be able to run a mile than fit into super-skinny jeans.
syako syako 7 years
I've gained too since I started my half marathon training. This is a welcomed reminder. :D
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 7 years
OMG like as SOON as I started running, I put on 8 pounds!!!I was so scared (because I guess for my height I shouldn't be over 130 lbs) but I realize that I do have a very musculey body and I shouldn't worry too too much!
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 7 years
OMG like as SOON as I started running, I put on 8 pounds!!! I was so scared (because I guess for my height I shouldn't be over 130 lbs) but I realize that I do have a very musculey body and I shouldn't worry too too much!
bonniebonnie bonniebonnie 7 years
I always need reminding of this. I started gaining weight recently and I was getting really down until I realized that I was gaining weight because I had started a very effective strength training program.
misskacie misskacie 7 years
"Muscle tissue is more dense than fat tissue, so it takes up less space."THANK YOU, Fit, for saying this the correct way. One of my major fitness pet peeves is when someone says "muscle weighs more than fat." No, a pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat, muscle just takes up less room in your body! It's just so misleading to state it that way and I know it's caused lots of people lots of confusion.
misskacie misskacie 7 years
"Muscle tissue is more dense than fat tissue, so it takes up less space." THANK YOU, Fit, for saying this the correct way. One of my major fitness pet peeves is when someone says "muscle weighs more than fat." No, a pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat, muscle just takes up less room in your body! It's just so misleading to state it that way and I know it's caused lots of people lots of confusion.
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