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Exercise and Fitness

Changes on the scale

02/28/2005

Question:

I am a 43 year old woman who started an exercise program December 26. I walk on a walkfit treadmill 20-25 minutes a day and do strength training for 20 minutes 3 times aweek. So far my weight on the scale has not changed and I have only lost a half inch on each thigh. I have also changed my diet completely. What am I doing wrong

Answer:

First of all, there are a lot of things that you are doing right!  You are engaging in cardiovascular exercise daily and strength training on a regular basis. You are improving your heart, lungs, muscles, and bones!  Second, one of the goals of fitness is to improve body composition. The goal is to change one's body composition from more fat mass to more muscle mass. Strength training helps us accomplish this goal. Muscle mass weighs more than fat mass, therefore, the scale may be reflecting the increased muscle mass from your strength training. What is important is that your body composition is changing and you are losing inches. Instead of paying attention to the scale, pay attention to how your clothes fit. The scale amount may not change, but your clothes will fit differently. Also, muscle burns calories very efficiently, therefore, the more muscle mass you have, the more calories expended.

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Response by:

Patricia A Woellert, MSW, MEd Patricia A Woellert, MSW, MEd
Program Manager
Fitness Center at CARE\Crawley
University of Cincinnati