Thursday, December 29, 2011

Losing Weight Means Losing Lean Muscle

This time of year many of us are setting goals of losing weight that has been gained during the holiday season. While weight loss may be an appropriate goal for many, unfortunately most individuals will regain that weight in the form of adipose (fat) and not muscle. Why is this so? When people attempt to lose weight, they generally restrict calories and in some cases increase cardiovascular exercise. Although we wish to lose only fat (adipose) as we slim down, we also lose muscle mass. This loss slows our metabolic rate at which we burn calories, contributing to a plateau that many individuals experience along the way. A recent study indicated that when older women lost weight, over 80% of that weight regained was fat. Sad news. This is why including strength or resistance training to any weight loss regimen is essential. We need to try to maintain as much of our lean muscle mass as possible as we slim down. Remember, it's not always the number on the scale, it's the composition of our bodies that matter most. So, put down that cookie, and lift a weight. You'll be glad that you did. If you have any questions related to nutrition and weight loss strategies or behaviors, contact the AU Dietetics Program.

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