Beyond Gorgeous

Beyond Gorgeous

A Better Measure

You’ve been working hard on your weight loss plan — so why aren’t you seeing results?  Chances are the results are there  — but you are looking for them in the wrong place.  We use the scale as the primary measuring tool because it is easy. That’s the reason we talk about losing weight.  What we should really be concerned about, though, is not losing weight, but losing fat.

The scale can’t tell you if you are losing fat, muscle, or water.  It just shows a drop in the combined total.  We don’t care about losing water and we want to keep and increase as much of our lean muscle as possible. It’s the fat we want to shed.  The fat causes all sorts of health problems, as well as making you look fluffy.


The tape measure may be a better tool for measuring your progress than the scale.  As you exercise, your body will build lean muscle, which actually weighs more than fat.  It is much more compact, though.  As you burn up the fat for fuel and build lean muscle, your body will become tighter and more compact.  Your clothes will fit better and you may find you can fit into those clothes that you’ve been keeping in the back of your closet just in case you could ever wear them again. You may see the smaller numbers on your tape measure rather than on your scale.   And that’s what matters anyway, doesn’t it?  How you feel, how you look, how your clothes fit — isn’t that more important than a number on the scale?

Eating to live and living for Christ
Susan Jordan Brown



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posted July 19, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Thanks for your input, Daphne. And I see that I need to do more blogging on the benefits of lean muscle! It is true that a pound of fat weighs the same as a pound of lean muscle, and a pound of feathers, and a pound of bricks — all a pound. However if we measure in volume — say a liter of fat and a liter of muscle — we find that the muscle weighs more than the fat. (1.9 for muscle, .9 for fa per liter.) But does it matter? I had the opportunity to find that out several years ago in the most accurate way possible — with a DEXA scan that measured bone density and told precisely the number of pounds of fat and pounds of muscle. I found, to my dismay, that I weighed 174 lbs. — and 80 lbs. of that was fat! I started a low glycemic plan and started a step program like the ones I talk about in my blog. One year later I had another scan and found I had lost 14 lbs. of scale weight. However, I had lost 18 lbs. of fat. The other four pounds were lean muscles I had developed while stepping. The scale wasn’t telling the whole story — but I was able to donate my entire wardrobe to a charity and bought all new about six sizes smaller. Who cares what the scales said? Thanks again for your comments — and giving me an excuse to talk more on the subject!

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posted July 15, 2011 at 10:37 am

I like this post a great deal. I like the language you use and I applaud your suggesting that people move away from the scale as the ultimate confirmation that weight is being lost. I am all in favor of that. However, I am disappointed to see you unapologetically put forth the factual inaccuracy that lean muscle weighs more than fat. Every source I’ve looked at says that that is simply not true. A pound of muscle and a pound of fat each weigh a pound. Where they differ, however, as you correctly point out, much like a pound of bricks and a pound of feathers, is in volume thus making it seem like the muscle weighs more since it takes up less space while weighing the same. Unfortunately, many people are deterred from participating in all important exercise by the myth that muscle weighs more than fat. I know that’s not your goal and I’ve love to see you further encourage those who are struggling by offering a correction or alternatively, the source of your information for this claim.

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