If you are on a diet, you need to know if you are losing fat (which is good) or if you are losing muscle (which is bad). But, how do you figure what what is causing your weight loss?
Most people want to lose weight. That’s all that matters to them. So, their weight on a scale is the only measurement most people look at when they are dieting.
If you are also losing muscle, your resting metabolism–the number of calories your body uses at rest–is decreasing. When you go off your diet, you will probably gain weight.
Your goal on a diet should be to lose fat, but not muscle.
Losing Muscle on a Diet
Diets typically have you eating fewer calories than your body needs. Often you consume 1200 calories a day, or even less.
Your body will often use both fat and muscle protein to produce the energy your body needs. And, it is muscle loss that will eventually cause you to gain weight when you go off your diet.
Muscle is the body’s fat burning furnace. A pound of muscle burns 30-50 calories a day just because it’s there. A pound of fat, on the other hand, requires only a couple of calories a day to sustain itself.
When you lose muscle on a diet, you are reducing your resting metabolism–the total number of calories your body requires when at rest. So, when you return to more normal eating after your diet, you will be consuming too many calories, and will put on weight. That’s just what you don’t want.
Measure Your Loss and Gains More Accurately
To know if your diet is really helping you, you have to know how much fat and how much muscle you are losing. A regular scale will not tell you this. It measures only weight.
The scale you need is the “Omron Body Composition Monitor with Scale.” This, of course is a scale. And you can use it simply as a scale to measure your weight.
But, the Omron measures everything you need to know to help ensure that your diet is actually working for you. Here are some fitness indicators it measures:
- Body Fat Percentage This will tell you if you are actually losing fat.
- Body Mass Index (BMI) This is one measure of your body fat.
- Skeletal Muscle This is the body’s fat burning furnace that you can control. Lose muscle and your resting metabolism goes down. Gain muscle and your resting metabolism goes up so you burn more calories.
- Visceral Fat This is the dangerous fat that surrounds your vital organs. Too much visceral fat can lead to heart disease, fatty liver disease, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.
- Resting Metabolism Knowing your resting metabolism helps you understand what your diet is doing to your body. If your resting metabolism is going down you need to make changes.
- Body Age This calculated value combines your height, body fat percentage, and skeletal muscle percentage to give you an indication of your body’s age that you can compare to your calendar age.
In the past, measurements like these could only be made by a physical trainer or a doctor. But, now you can monitor your body composition every day at home.
The Omron uses metal contacts to pass a small current through your body to help determine your body’s composition. You stand on the Omron with your bare feet. You hold the measure bar straight out with your hands. After just a few seconds the measurements are complete and you can see your body composition.
Because lean tissue like muscles conduct electricity better than fat, the Omron Body Composition Monitor can determine how much fat and muscle your body contains. By passing current through different metal contacts it can determine where your fat and muscle is located. This gives you very accurate results.
Cautions When Using the Omron Body Composition Monitor
Body composition measurements can vary from day to day, or even from one hour to the next. When you eat a meal or drink some water you will add weight to your body. When you urinate or have a bowel movement you will lose weight. Also, you may be dehydrated right after exercise. Your body may absorb moisture after a bath or shower.
You want to measure your body composition in the same way each day. Certain daily activities affect your weight and body composition. So, to avoid temporary fluctuations you should make measurements under that same conditions.
Since the Omron Body Composition Monitor passes a mild current through your body, pregnant women and people with implanted electrical devices, like a pacemaker, should not use this device.
Omron Body Composition Monitor with Scale – 7 Fitness Indicators & 180-Day Memory
In this video I show you which scanner I use and how it works, how I track your progress, and what the measurements mean. Plus one of the top mistakes in using the scanner. I’ll tell you what NOT to do.