This post is going to be a little different than past recaps. I’ve spent the past two weeks thinking about how to put this post together, because a change in the strategy for my challenge has become necessary.
On September 20, I went for a follow-up DEXA scan to see what what my real progress was, primarily because of my mistrust for the erratic data the scale has been providing me. The results were a bit disappointing.
The good news: Since my last DEXA scan on March 15, I’ve lost just under 9 lbs. of pure measurable fat mass. That’s a reduction of almost 12%.
The bad news: I’ve also lost nearly 5 lbs. of muscle. This means that my overall body fat percentage has only decreased by about 2%, but my lean mass has decreased by 4%.
Going back over the numbers, it turns out that I’ve only been eating around 1,400 calories per day. The last time I had my RMR (resting metabolic rate) measured, it was around 1900. Taking into account the fact that I’ve been doing 3-4 hours of cardio per week in addition to two days of weight training, the problem is clear: I’m losing muscle mass because I’m not eating enough.
Low-carb diets are notorious for loss of muscle mass, and the only way to prevent this loss is to couple strength training with enough fat and protein to keep the calorie count sufficient. You could easily characterize my mistake as an obvious one.
In order to respond to this development, I’ve decided to increase my calorie count by consuming a protein shake every evening before bed (post-workout) with flax oil. This will add another 300 calories or so to my daily intake. If I need to, I will also consider adding a mid-day shake to increase the calories further.
While the results of the latest scan were definitely discouraging, I maintain the perspective that a metrics-based approach to weight loss is best. Had I not known that halfway through my program I was losing muscle mass, I might have done more damage by continuing to leave things exactly the same. I intend to correct my course and push forward.
See you next week (on-time this time, hopefully)!