Well I’m two months into the summer burn and things are moving along well enough. I’ve never been one who easily drops weight. However the added emphasis on body composition has been very enlightening. In the beginning of June my body fat percentage was 38.7%. Today my body fat percentage has dropped to 33.9%. While that is a nice tidy drop of 4.8%, trust me, at 5’4″ I still have a ways to go. At 149.6 pounds, I am teetering ever closer to the 50 pounds lost mark. Even though I’ve *mostly* dropped my dependence of the scale, I’ll certainly do a jig when I reach that scale goal.
One reason I became interested in the composition of my body is because the scale was so infuriating to me (and many other women too). I went through a period back in the winter where I was doing a running average instead of the daily, sometimes wild, fluctuations on the scale. To maintain some semblance of sanity around the whole thing I created some cartoons to keep it light called Jane Average
What I’ve come to realize is that weighing X is not the same as having X body fat. Although my overall scale weight has changed modestly, (down 5.6 pounds total since June), the way my body has changed is pretty interesting. I have decreased my overall fat mass (how many pounds of me is actual fat) by 9.35 pounds! That’s pretty awesome! At the same time, I’ve increased my lean body mass (how much of me is muscle) by 3.09 pounds. So my clothes fit better, my body is firmer. My goal is not necessarily to weigh any particular number. My goal is to continue to increase my lean body mass and have my body fat percentage fall to 20% or less. I am not sure what lean body mass that would equate with.
The primary reason for me to continue to lose body fat and increase muscle is that muscle has many wonderful attributes. First and foremost, it looks better than the same mass of fat. A pound of fat and a pound of muscle weigh a mere pound…but the mass of each is astonishingly different. A pound of muscle takes up about THREE TIMES LESS mass on the body than a pound of fat. So by trading fat for muscle, overall size of the body will decrease, but the scale may not move much or may even increase. Muscle is also a better regulator of the hormone insulin, is more capable of managing blood sugars efficiently, and muscle requires more calories to maintain, so the more muscle you have on your body, the higher your metabolic rate…which determines how many calories you can consume daily. That is very good news indeed.
I’ve been doing a variety of different things to change my body. For firming up I have been lifting weights. Recently I bought a kettlebell and have been using that also. I do all manner of cardio from HIIT, to biking, swimming, running, hiking, you name it. I’m simultaneously training for a triathlon which is a year away yet, but I’m learning A LOT about the sport of tri!
I’ve got another 5 weeks of the summer burn, and I’ll maximize what I can of those weeks to shave off more fat and build up some more muscle. I’ve been getting good remarks and compliments from friends and family alike that I look…a) awesome b) great!! wow. c) freakin’ a. I’ll take the compliments, they help when there’s nothing left in me but I still need to do my cardio or lift or take a swim. They are a fine fuel to keep me moving forward.
So that’s the update. What say you? Do you want to lose some weight, change your shape increase your endurance? What helps you stay motivated? I’d love to hear about your updates too. Drop me a line why don’t you. I hope your week is off to a great start!
5 August 2012 (2 months) stats
Start/current (plus weekly loss)/total loss
Weight: 155.2/ 149.6/ -.2# -5.6
Body Fat% – 38.7/ 33.9% .-7% -4.8%
Fat mass- 60.06# / 50.71 # / -.1.25# / -9.35#
LBM- 95.14#/ 98.23# / -.65# / +3.09#
Bust 39/ same/ same
Hips 38.5”/ 37./ same/ -1.5”
Waist (at narrowest) 36.75”/ 34/ -.5”/ -2.75”
Belly button (at biggest) 39”/ 36.50/ -.50 / -2.5”
Thigh 23.5”/ 22.25/ -.25/ -1.25
Upper arm 13/same (! Really, still??)