How many times have you heard this? Muscles weighs more than fat. I’m thinking hundreds by now for me. I’ve never put much thought into it other than to understand that a thin, well toned woman might weigh more than she looks because of the muscle. But a few days ago I needed some motivation, so watched one of those Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition shows with Chris Powell. They were talking about this idea that muscle weighs more than fat, and how it’s stopping people from being honest with themselves. If I’m 200lbs, it’s probably because there’s some fat there. I can’t justify the weight thinking I’m a lot of muscle.
I’ve always been muscular. At least, I used to be. Years of soccer growing up gave me lean, toned arms and core, and yet I had thick legs. I always did. At that time, I knew that I had muscle. I could look at myself in the mirror and think ‘I wish I was thinner, but at least it’s not fat’. For years I used that excuse. I was always heavier than my friends because I had muscle.
What in my life now would give me that muscle?
My ex used to say things like ‘that’s easier for us because we’re both athletes’. I used to blink at him and think ‘when was the last thing I did anything athletic?’ That’s the thing about muscle, it won’t just hang around for years if it’s not properly maintained. I haven’t played soccer like that since I was a teenager. I can guarantee some of that hard earned muscle because a thing of the past years ago. I can’t step on a scale now and say that those extra pounds are because of muscle anymore.
Now I don’t want to disparage the idea completely. I know that I’ve lost weight in the past and found that I hit a plateau. I was working hard, and seeing results physically, but the scale wouldn’t budge. You do get to a point where burning fat is not really happening anymore. Either you have no fat left, or you’ve evened our your calories and exercise. But that doesn’t mean change isn’t happening.
A few years ago I made up my mind to hit the gym and lose the weight. I happy to say I did it. I didn’t keep it off, but for a few months, I did really well. I went to the gym and did both cardio and weights a few mornings a week. I went home after work a few times a week and did at home videos of cardio kick boxing or those full body workouts. Sometimes yoga, although I’ve never been a yoga nut. I slimmed right down to a point where I was happy. I stood on the scale and still saw a number higher than I would like. Was it because my muscle was building? Or was I just not at my goal yet? Either way, we can’t use the excuse that muscle weighs more than fat to justify extra pounds. If you are building muscle, sure. But not if you’ve barely gotten off the couch in years.