Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Weight Loss Causes Muscle Loss

Yesterday was the first time this spring that I mowed my yard. Even though it was over 80 degrees outside, mowing the yard didn't take much effort. I was not at all out of breath when finished. I can remember mowing the yard last fall, when I weighted 75 pounds more than I do today. Back then, I had to stop mowing half way to drink water and take a break. I was in such terrible shape. I feel so good and healthy right now. But, I'm still obese. I can only imagine how much better still I will feel after losing the remaining 25 to 30 pounds.

But, the 75 pounds was not all fat. I have likely lost around 10 to 15 pounds of lean mass since last August. I say "likely" because there is no perfect way to calculate lean body mass. The formula that I am using has room for error. The muscle loss is not likely a direct result of the diet. Rather, it is the result of weighing 75 pounds less than I did last year. Due to my drastic weight loss, I am not getting as much exercise from simple day-to-day activities. Sometimes, I contemplate what it would be like to lug around my old 75 pounds. It's hard to remember what it felt like. My 11 month old son only weighs about 25 pounds and he's very heavy. I can't imagine lugging around three of him!

In an effort to prevent muscle loss and to perhaps get the pounds falling off more quickly, I have decided to walk. This morning, I woke up early (I hate waking up early) and pushed my son's stroller 1 mile to his day-care. And then, I walked back home. I plan to do the same this afternoon. If I do this each sunny day when I am not traveling, I can easily get 4 miles of walking per day. I work from home now and the walking time isn't much more than my old car commute time. On the down side, I may be out of town on business 4 days a week for most of the summer... so I'm not sure how consistent my "work-outs" will be. I just can't bring myself to walk the treadmill at the hotel. Treadmills are hopelessly boring.


Big Daddy D said...

After thinking on this topic some more, I am not convinced that I have even lost this much muscle. Since carbohydrates cause the body to hold onto more water, it could very well be that what I am seeing as lower lean body weight might actually be the result of not retaining as much water.... When carb-cycling, on the carb-up-days, I will quickly gain between 5 and 10 pounds which I am convinced is water. Yet, my waist and hip measurements do not fluctuate during these cycles.... The result is an inaccurate lean body mass calculation.... hmmm...

Anonymous said...

It is not necessary to lose muscle while losing fat. Two years ago, I gained 12 lbs of muscle mass while losing 52 lbs of fat (in about 13 weeks). I kept meticulous track of my bf % (tape, caliper, bio-electrical impedance, AND underwater weighing).

IMO, this is the beauty of low carb dieting; you actually get enough protein to not only spare muscle, but even build it while you are losing fat at the same time.