If That Scale Is Dropping Fast, So Is That Muscle!
I'm not going to talk specifically about one diet or another. I've always been a firm believer of eating ALL of your macro-nutrients (protein, carbs, and fats) with clean, healthy food. Why? Because your body will sustain it. If you were on a meal plan with zero carbohydrates for instance, you will lose weight because it's a shock to the body (you'll read a little more about "shock" within this blog). Your body isn't use to something, so its forced to change. Now, re-introduce your body to that macro you left out, in this case, carbohydrates. What happens? You gain the weight right back, or at least most of it. You cannot trick the body people (you'll read more about that within this blog as well)!
I've been a personal trainer for over 20 years. What I've learned, more times than not, is that MOST clients judge their fitness accomplishments based on the number on the scale. Yes, depending on your current health and fitness condition weight loss, is of course, a good thing. It's more specific then just the number dropping on that balance, spring, or digital scale you're stepping on. Let's dive into this.
The body is extremely smart. When you first start your weight loss journey, and you don't get the correct caloric intake, your body will get its energy from somewhere. Usually this energy comes from stored fat. That's awesome right? I mean, that's the whole goal is to burn fat. Let's dive deeper. Yes, stored fat is being burned, but initially it's also fluid (water weight), lean tissue (muscle), and fat. Your body is being shocked because of the initial changes whether it be the exercise; change in diet, change in fluid intake, etc. Moving forward what's important is to make sure that the weight loss is consistent, yet very small. When you lose huge amounts of weight week after week you are losing something that is needed to be maintained....muscle!! I feel that your weight loss should be .5lbs-2.0lbs per week at the most. Any more than that you are sacrificing much more than just fat. You can never trick the body. Let's put it this way, if you eat a total of 800 calories in a day then you go to the gym to do some weight training; some cardio and burn 900 calories, theoretically there is a caloric deficient, right? If you do that consistently you should be losing a lot of weight, right? In the beginning yes (both muscle and fat), but eventually your body will go into survival mode. The body will stop losing that stored fat and maintain it because your caloric intake is so low. The body will get to the point where it doesn't know the next time you will feed it, so it will hold on to the fat in order to survive. What little muscle you do have will be burning away, because muscle requires more calories then fat to sustain itself. What is my point? You have to eat in order to lose weight correctly. You have to eat consistent enough so your body "trust" you, so you're able to lose weight while maintaining your lean muscle tissue. I might have forgotten to state this point, but muscle is important because the more muscle you have the quicker your metabolism will be. Plus, you will look leaner, become stronger and all that other cool stuff!
When you lose weight too fast your vital organs (brain, heart, kidney, and liver) will metabolize muscle, so they can continue to function. You cannot trick the body! It's true what they say, "You have to eat to lose correctly." Do not worry about the scale. You can gain 10lbs of fat, and lose 10lbs of muscle, OR you can gain 10lbs of muscle and lose 10lbs of fat but the scale will show the exact same number (i.e. no progress). That's why, with my clients, we use body-fat calibers (to measure lean body tissue) and we use measuring tap (to measure inches gained or loss). Those 2 items, in my professional opinion, will tell the true story of your fitness journey.
Losing weight too fast will not benefit your psyche or you physically. Eat a macro-nutrient specific meal plan that will allow you to burn fat while maintaining muscle. Getting leaner and dropping your body-fat percentage is more important. Please don't dwell on the scale (see how that rhymed).