A pound is a pound is a pound…

fat v muscleIf I were to ask you, which is heavier, a ton of feathers or a ton of bricks, what would you answer?

The clue is right there in the question – they both weigh the same – they both weigh a ton. The feathers are individually lighter than the bricks, so it’ll take more of them to make a ton, but they weigh the same.

Common sense, right?

So it puzzles me when I hear people asking is a pound of muscle is heavier than a pound of fat.

A pound is a pound, no matter what you’re weighing.

The difference is that muscle is more dense than fat, so it takes up less space. This means that you can be the same weight, or even heavier than you were, but be slimmer.

If I took two people of the same weight, height and overall body frame, but #1 had only 20% body fat, whereas #2 had 50% body fat, then #1 is going to look a lot slimmer than #2.

It’s also worth mentioning that when you exercise, your muscles retain water, which is one of the reasons it’s important to make sure you drink enough when you’re exercising. This, in turn, can mean you weigh in slightly heavier while at the same time, getting into a smaller size of clothing. On the other hand, you can still lose weight (and a lot of it, too!) while exercising.

You can do Slimming World and lose weight without exercising, but your body becomes more efficient at burning calories when it builds muscle.

So if you’re exercising, especially if you’re doing weights, don’t worry if the scales don’t show a lower number every week – they’re not the whole picture.

I go to the gym regularly (although this last two weeks I haven’t been due to holidays and illness), and have a comprehensive cardio and weights routine. I also swim regularly, occasionally go to an aquafit class, and during term time, go to a Latin American and ballroom dance class. I don’t drive, so I walk everywhere. I’m pretty active, running around after two small boys all day.

To date, I’ve shed 45.5lbs since the start of the year. Could I have lost more in that time? Of course I could, but part of my journey, and my main reason for wanting to lose weight in the first place, is to get healthy. So I exercise. I’ve gone down four dress sizes. I still have a long way to go, but I’m going to get there, and if I gain or maintain once in a while instead of losing, I won’t fret, because my body is changing and it will be whatever weight it is when I get to the size I want.

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