Basically, if you do not understand the difference between muscle tissue and fat tissue, there could be a lot of myths that you believe to be true going on inside your head. This could be because of what someone has said to you or you may have read about a “celebrity” trying some new outrageous diet that seemed to work for them, (just wait and see, the weight comes back). Plus you may be asking yourself, ” I do not know what to eat?” That is probably the most confusing of it all. You can visit my healthy recipe site at www.monimeals.com to find some delicious meal ideas and awesome recipes for healthy comfort food too (which I am known for).
The fact of the matter is, you want your efforts to be as easy as possible when trying to become healthier and without understanding a few very important pieces of information, you may be making it much harder than it needs to be. Let me try to straighten this out for you! Make sure you see my 7 TIPS (listed below) to focus on for the best results. The goal is to lose weight and not muscle all in the healthiest and safest way possible.
Muscle is a metabolically active tissue. It requires high energy requirements in order to sustain itself. Here is what to focus on… The more muscle you have the more calories your body burns, even when you’re just sitting around. That’s one reason why a fit, active person is able to eat considerably more food than the dieter who is unwittingly destroying muscle tissue. What a great problem to have! A great example would be a Professional Body Builder. Do they look fat? NO! Are they eating massive amounts of food? YES! Just look at their muscle mass.
Here’s a close up view of what one pound of muscle and one pound of fat look like side by side.
If you are losing weight by crash dieting and not exercising, you are therefore sacrificing muscle tissue. You will not get the body transformation results you desire by crash dieting. You will temporarily lose weight and become fatter. Not good…Not healthy…and Not smart.
Let’s talk about these super low-calorie diets. We all know someone that has lost 10 plus pounds following one… How exciting and healthy that must be!!! (Please tell me you can pick up on my sarcasm).
So when you follow a severely low calorie diet that causes your weight to drop 10 pounds in 7 days, it’s physically impossible for all of that to be fat. What you’re really losing is water, glycogen, and muscle. So the numbers on the scale are going down for that period of time but they certainly will not stay down once you get back into eating the right amount of quality foods, which will have to happen eventually. So, if you are losing weight by crash dieting and not exercising and therefore destroying muscle tissue, you are making it so much harder than it has to be and you still will not get the results you are after.
Now some fat is necessary for overall health–we want some healthy fat. Why? It helps protect internal organs, provides energy, regulates hormones, and the right amount gives a general appearance of health. You do NOT want a fat-free, muscle-free body, it is not cute.
For example, consider a 114-pound woman who is 24% fat (27 pounds fat weight, 87 pounds lean weight). If she loses 4 pounds of fat and adds 4 pounds of muscle she will still weigh 114 pounds but will only be 20 % fat (23 pounds fat weight, 91 pounds lean weight). Although her body weight remains the same, she has less fat and more muscle for a leaner, firmer, and fitter appearance.
Being a Personal Trainer, I’m fascinated by the human body and the technology offered today that enables us to “see inside” our bodies. Check out this image for a great visual.
The body fat is cream colored. Note in the image on the left that there is excess fat around the heart and especially inside and around the abdomen. Wow, right. This is the Majority of AMERICA! You might not know that body fat includes essential fats, and these make up around five percent of total body weight for men, and up to 12 percent for women. This is the fat that helps protect internal organs, provides energy, and regulates hormones (that’s why women store more fat–those darn hormones!)
Nonessential fat is found mainly within fat cells and adipose tissue, below the skin and extra fat surrounding organs. Everyone is different when it comes to the amount stored in the body, and depends on factors such as age, genetics, gender, and diet.
The biggest contributor to excess fat (no surprise here): consuming more food (calories) than what is burned through resting metabolism and exercise/activity. Body fat percentage is the percentage of total body weight that is comprised of essential and non-essential fat.
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What are your favorite tips to share? I would love to hear them!
Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that I am not a Registered Dietitian. While my advice relies on my own personal experience and research, what has been successful for myself and others may be not best for you. You should always consult your doctor when making changes to your diet. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.