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Posted by: bibi | 2004/10/27

Same old story as a lot of others

i read your previous reply to someone with a similar problem but i still fail to understand why i am not loosing ANY weight but rather gaining a few grams instead and remaining constant:

I eat a hi fibre, balanced (protein and carbs) low fat diet with a little of the good fats i.e. olive oil now and then or half avo a week and flaxseed oil supplements.

I fast walk and jog (until I sweat) for 30 min 4 x a week and do 30-50 situps for upper/lower/middle stomach area.

I weigh 67kg and am 1.69 m tall and my BMI is 23 whereas I would like it to be at least 21 just below the ideal of 22 meaning i need to weigh 60 kg. Cant shake the 7kg and i only weigh once a week at the same time, early morning. What is even more scary is that i am not loosing centimetres either as i also measure myself once a week (NOTHING NO KG NO CM!!!)

My question: given the type of exercise above, surely this would not build so much muscle and that is weighing more or staying stable? I do not do any weight training as my goal is to loose weight as i already have a defined body and maybe later will tone/muscle build when i am at 60 but for now i only do the cardio because the 7kg all sits in my stomach (post birth - 1 year after birth) and this is why i incorporate the sit ups, pls advise as i know i am doing everything right and surely my body cannot be deciding that my deal BMI should be 23 and not 22/21 like i want it.

Maybe what we all really want to ask is: if it is the case of muscle weighing more, surely one should see this in CM loss? or even with ones clothes fitting differently which is not the case with me, also if it is the case then how long does your body take before it does eventually loose the weight?

Thanks you are GREAT

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Our expert says:
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HI Bibi

There are a few factors that cause this, and a lot of this answer will be repeated, but I will try to get through it again and more clearly. Firstly, your situation is very common, as you will see on the forum because it seems like every second question deals with this subject. One very important factor is diet - you can lose weight by doing no exercise if you just have a good diet, and you can also gain weight on a bad diet and so that's something to consider. You do say you eat well, but the specifics are something perhaps best discussed with a dietician. Often people subconsciously increase the energy intake when training harder. Let's say you train harder and use a few hundred more calories a day - you have a little more to eat or drink, and it means that the balance is still there as if you didn't train harder. I am not saying you should count calories, I think that is risky and hazardous at best, but I would say be aware of what you are eating.

Finally, the point you raise - muscle mass does go up. People seem to have a conception that weight training causes muscle mass to rise, and cardio training burns fat. While this is largely true, you must remember that there is considerable overlap. So, let's say you are jogging and walking, this means that if you are taking 80 steps per minute, you are basically doing 80 contractions a minute. Do this for 10 minutes and you have 900 muscle contractions, and so even though the force per contraction is low, you will still build some muscle. What i am saying is that even though you are not doing weight training, it's still feasible that you will gain some muscle by doing cardio. It is therefore not true that only weight training builds muscle and cardio burns it - they complement one another and overlap quite a bit.

Very importantly though, this is nothing to worry about. In fact, it's a good thing, and I guess the bottom line is that you must really focus on how fit you are, how you are feeling and perhaps how you are looking, rather than on the scale. Aim for centimeters not kilograms, and you immediately change your focus from weight to fitness and toning.

Finally a few pointers about your situation. The BMI of 23 is ideal. The range is between 20 and 25, and it has to be wide because people are unique in the bone structure and body characteristics. So, it may be that for one person, who is built a bit differently, the BMI will be 24 and for another it is 21, but they are both at the ideal weight. YOu therefore have to understand that you are really already at the ideal weight, and losing a whole 7kg is very difficult in this case. So, you may have to rethink this goal. The next is the centimeters. I often encourage people to consider centimeters as more important than weight, and this is true, but again, if you are built differently, you won't necessarily lose centimeters in the same area as someone else. Therefore, while this should eventually happen, it might just be that you are measuring at the 'wrong' place to see the results.

All in all, I believe that you are on the right track, but just need to be patient, keep up the good work, remember that it takes time, but have faith that you are on the right track!

Good luck

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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