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Saturday, March 30, 2013

When Working Out Makes Your Weight Increase

The Best Ways to Track Your Weight
(Prevention, September 1999)
QUESTION: I'm 39 years old and have noticed that my weight is going up, but my measurements are the same. I exercise -- walking and weight lifting -- an average of four to five hours a week. What's going on?
ANSWER: The scale is not always the best way to assess your weight, especially if you exercise. How much you weigh can vary greatly during a typical day, and for women, it can change depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle. Better ways to keep track of your weight are by how your clothes fit or by measuring your arms, chest, waist, hips and thighs -- as it sounds like you are doing. If your measurements are not increasing along with your weight, you probably have nothing to worry about.
The most likely reason for the increase in weight is that you're building muscle from your weight-lifting workouts. Compared to fat, muscle weighs about 22% more. But it's much more compact, so a pound of muscle takes up less space than a similar amount of fat -- and looks a heck of a lot better. Another bonus: Muscle burns about 15 to 25 times more calories than fat. So the more muscle you have, the more you can eat without gaining weight.
If the weight gain continues and you notice that your clothes are getting tighter, take a look at your diet. No matter how much you exercise, if you are eating too many calories, you'll gain weight. A packet of M&M's has more than 300 calories, which can quickly override the calories you'd burn during a typical walk. Keep it up and the scale will start to inch up. You don't have to be eating junk food for that to happen either. Even large portions of healthy foods can cause you to gain weight. If your eating is under control but you're still gaining, check with your doctor to rule out any medical conditions that may be contributing to the weight gain.

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