I often get asked: What is my ideal weight? This question is a challenge for me because you need to change the focus from the scale to the mirror and here’s why…
The problem with focusing on the scale is that it doesn’t consider which type of body tissue you’re losing.
Fat loss and Weight Loss
When you lose weight it reflects a change in your total body mass. Including water, muscle tissue, bones, organs and fat. On the scale you can’t determine if you’re losing (or gaining) water, losing muscle and/or fat. You absolutely don’t want to lose muscle because it’ll be detrimental to becoming a leaner you. Less muscle will slow your metabolism. You want that nasty fat gone and therefore need a fat loss program.
When you lose weight without training, you look like a fatter version of you, and it’s even possible that your body fat has gone up!
When you lose fat, you may maintain the same weight, or even add weight to the scale. Muscle is much denser than fat and weighs more. Say you’re losing 1/2 lb of fat per week, if you’re strength training you should be increasing muscle mass by 1/2 lb, the net result is no change on the scale. If you’re losing body fat you’re getting the toned, lean physic you desire.
In the attempt to lose weight, some people use drastic approaches like crash diets, ultra low-fat or low-carb diet and/or packaged meal plans. Other tactics include spending hours on a treadmill — look around the gym: do you see people with great bodies pounding the treadmill hour after hour? – NOPE! they’re in the weight room.
If you choose to limit your food to portions that wouldn’t support a 5-year old, you put your body into starvation. It interprets the shortage as famine because it doesn’t know the difference between self inflicted shortage or drought. The body’s main function is to survive, and if it thinks food is in short supply it’ll hold on to fat reserves because it may need them to survive a winter or run from a tiger.
The Smarter Approach
Use a healthy fat loss plan to build a body that burns fat instead of one that stores it.
- Eat a healthy diet that promotes fat burning:
- Eat 4-6 times a day
- Eat raw as much as possible, avoid processed food — they often contain preservatives and junk that interferes with your metabolism
- Eat lots of veggies, protein and healthy fat
- Exercise, establish a plan that contains both
- Cardiovascular training to burn fat and
- Strength training to build muscle.
So remember it’s not weight you want to lose, it’s fat.
Avoid the scale, use the mirror to gauge the success of your fat burning program. You may weigh slightly more but you’ll be a smaller, toner version of yourself. And you’ll look smaller than someone of the same weight with more body fat.
Focus on how you feel, how you look, your energy level, and your overall health. Make great health your goal and the great body will come.