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Relying on Your Scale While Losing Weight? It May Be Leading You Astray

The goal seems straightforward: if you want to lose weight, you should weigh less each time you hop on the scale. But, according to fitness experts interviewed by the Washington Post, this isn’t true—rather, your goal should be to improve your ratio of lean body mass to body fat, otherwise known as your body composition. Body composition measurements take into account both the fat you’ve lost and the muscle you’ve gained. That’s a good thing—you want more muscle, which increases strength and can improve metabolism.

The problem with simply measuring weight is that it doesn’t distinguish between losing muscle and losing fat, or tell you how much you’ve lost of each. For example, while certain weight loss diets, such as cleanses that drastically reduce calories in a short amount of time, will likely result in lower numbers on the scale, they’ve actually caused you to lose both fat and muscle. In addition, some amount of fat is important: for women, too little fat can lead to hormone imbalances. An ideal amount of fat for fit women is around 21 to 24%, and for fit men it is around 14 to 17% (the numbers are lower for athletes). There are several ways to measure and track body composition, although they can sometimes be expensive. If you’re interested in knowing your body composition and setting goals related to it, the easiest way is to speak to a nutritionist or fitness expert who can take such measurements and help you create a dietary and fitness plan.

Source: Washington Post

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