You look down between your toes. The number has gone up. Your heart sinks. You become demoralised. Motivation flies out of the window faster than your last paycheque did on supplements. Your posture slumps as you wonder why this damn number keeps going up. It must be broken… mustn’t it?
Its all too familiar isn’t it?
This notion that we are defined by a number on a scale. You gain a pound or two and you think people will look at you differently. You lose a pound or two and you can’t wait for people to notice and say something like “wow… have you lost weight?”…. Those words makes us feel so good don’t they?
STOP! THIS HAS TO CHANGE AND CHANGE FAST!
Let me explain something… Your body will change ‘WEIGHT’ frequently. In fact it changes ‘WEIGHT’ a lot… daily in fact. Hourly in reality. However… WEIGHT GAIN/LOSS AND FAT LOSS/GAIN ARE RARELY CONNECTED.
Let me say that again… Weight gain or loss and fat gain or loss are rarely connected. Sure, there is a relationship between the two. If your muscle mass, water retention (intra muscular and fat cells) and bone density doesn’t change in ANY way, but the scales move, then sure, this would be a fat loss/gain sign. However, take note of everything i’ve listed before the fat gain/loss.
- Water retention within the muscles
- Water retention within fat cells
- Bone Density!
- Muscle Mass!
We need to look at all the above before we jump the gun and instantly assume that we have put on body fat and our lives are coming to a end… drastic hun!
A few things we need to understand about the body…
- It is difficult for the body to create a fat cell. However, once its created its there for life.
- You can only empty a fat cell once created, you can’t get rid of it (without surgery)
- Fat cells, if there is room, will store water temporarily
- When we eat carbohydrates, our body will store that energy in our muscles.
- In order to store that energy in the muscles, the body will put water into the muscles to do so. Typically, we know that 1g of carbs stores about 4g or water
- Weight training strengthens our skeletal system. By doing so makes our bones more dense. Typically this means heavier!
- When we weight train, we stimulate muscle to grow. Assuming our diet contains good levels or protein, then we will create muscle tissue.
- 1 cubic centimetre or muscle weighs 5 times more than 1 cubic centimetre or body fat.
So, now that we have acknowledged all that information in its simplest form, when you see the scales increase…. ask WHY and WHAT are the possible reasons. Lets look at some typical scenarios…
- Have you been eating & drinking accessibly and not training? If so, the chances are you have gained some water retention and body fat…. this is the reality. You simply need to seek some professional help and get your nutrition & training in check… its amazing how quickly things can turn around with the right help.
- Have you been eating better than normal and training regularly? If so, the changes are you are stimulating muscle to grow, improving bone density and topping up your muscles with energy through improved insulin sensitivity. The weight gain here is likely to be caused by those factors. Depending on the rate of weight gain, we can analyse what percentage of this weight gain is muscle, intra muscular water, bone density and/or body fat. If we see a dramatic increase in body weight in a short period of time – for example if you gain 5lbs in 1 week… THIS IS NOT BODY FAT!!!!! Let me repeat… THIS IS NOT BODY FAT. The body simply doesn’t store fat that quickly… especially if you are eating good and training. It is almost certainly immediate water retention.
- Not weighed yourself in a few months, been eating right and training hard, yet the scales have gone up 1 or 2lbs? Congratulations… the odds are you’ve just achieved improved bone density and gained some muscle.
- Have you been eating a lot, good and bad, but also training really hard? The changes are you are strong some water retention due to stress, a bit of body fat and also improving bone density & muscle increases. A look at your diet would be needed to control the fat gain and optimise the weight gain to be specifically muscle and bone density.
You see, our bodies are pretty amazing things. They are born survival machines and want to do anything and everything to survive. If we eat too much then it will store the energy for another day. If we don’t eat enough, then we will use other energy stores to survive, this includes muscle and fat… thus losing body weight can also mean a loss in muscle, decreased bone density and also fat loss. It works both ways as the above… if your nutrition isn’t right.
The bottom line here is THROW THE SCALES AWAY! They are ruining your life. You are becoming unhappy with yourself, ruining your relationship with food and using outside sources as a form of motivation…. I.E. what people say/think of you. How much pressure you put on the ground through body weight has no reflection on you as a person, your progress with fat loss or fat gain.