Male, 42 years old, 1.70m, 68kg
I lost 16 kg (35lbs) in the last ten months, going from 84kg to 68kg (185lbs to 150lbs). I did it by eating less, only eating low calorie foods, and jogging every other day (I started off at four 500m intervals and built up to 5km in 20 minutes). Recently I've begun trying to spend 15-30 mins on a static bike every day, and use 5kg dumbbell weights while I'm on the bike.
Most of that weight was lost in the first 6 months. I stalled for a couple of months at 72kg, and again at 70kg. Now I appear to be stalling again at 68kg. But I've still got about 1kg-2kg of belly fat that I want to get rid of.
I recently bought Tefal BodySignal Bathroom Scales (links to an image) after my old scale broke.
As you can see from the LED layout, it gives the weight at the top, and then underneath it gives your fat content, which it measures using bio-electrical impedance. I'm worried because my weight has gone from 69 to 68 whilst using this scale, yet the fat reading hasn't changed at all. So the damn thing is suggesting that I'm losing muscle rather than fat!
Can anyone advise me? I guess I'm looking for people to either say not to trust the scale because the BI analysis is never accurate, or that I could be losing muscle instead of fat (even though I've got plenty of fat left to lose), and that I should do more resistance training.
One thing that crossed my mind was that I tend to weigh myself first thing in the morning before I get dressed, and maybe that is affecting the BI analysis because my body's water is distributed properly?
How much are you eating?
You need to start lifting weights. Not swinging dumbbells around when riding on a bike. I suggest Starting Strength or New Rules of Lifting.
BIA scales aren't accurate. Over the long term, a trend should be relatively informative, but if you've only been using it for the last kg you lost, then it's not likely to be telling you much.
But that doesn't mean that you aren't losing muscle.
> How much are you eating?
I don't calorie count, but my intake is roughly 1300-1500 kcal per day. I eat healthily and don't starve myself. I'm not on any 'diet'; I just gave up all my bad habits and I try to stay away from high energy foods. My BMR is supposed to be around 1600-2000 kcal per day, so I aim for anywhere just below that.
> But that doesn't mean that you aren't losing muscle.
The scales say I've 16kg of body fat, and 1-2kg of that seems to be on my stomach. I'm surprised about your sentence above, because I was under the impression that, considering I'm doing some exercise everyday, our bodies would always prefer to burn fat before deciding to 'eat' the muscle?
Thanks for the book references. 'New Rules' looks interesting.
I don't think you can build any muscle eating below your BMR.
Coincidentally, I did a lot of reading on this over the last couple of days, and from what I gather our bodies will actually burn muscle first because that energy is more accessible. Fat is like the body's savings account; muscle is the petty cash box. Our bodies will be even less likely to dip into our savings (fat) if they're worried they're not going to have enough to sustain themselves (i.e., meet the BMR), so they'll turn to muscle first. This leaves the savings for a rainy day and also, because muscles eat more calories, decreases the overall demand on resources--to the body's simple mind, a win-win. By eating at your BMR, your body gets what it needs to maintain itself and won't turn to the quickest, easiest source of fuel, muscles, to make up the difference.
Note: I'm not a doctor or a nutritionist, just a compulsive reader with a lot of time on her hands. What I've just said is accurate as far as I'm aware, but please don't take my word as gospel.
Muscle is expensive, fat is cheap. Fat keeps us warm - good to have around when it's still winter and food stores in the cave are running low. Not all exercise is created equal, and anyone who is working on losing fat should ideally be including heavy lifting as part of their exercise program.
The bare minimum for a sedentary adult male is 1500, so I'd suggest you eat at least that much, probably more if you are working out.
Good luck with NROL - I read it and thought it was great (the author has a sarcastic, but fun tone, in my opinion). I think the Starting Strength program is wonderful, but the book is dense and very detailed regarding the proper form for lifts. NROL is more focused on why you should lift (plus it has a variety of programs, which is good if you get bored).
Thanks for the replies. Looks like I have some reading to do.
I can't see myself going to a gym to lift weights though.
Has anyone here tried the 'New Rules' routines with a set of dumbells?
You'll need a bar, but I followed some of NROL, all of the NROL for Women, and Starting Strength in my basement. Plenty of others did it at home as well.