I am a 27-year-old, 5'4" female who has had a weight gain of about 10 pounds in the last 6 months, going from about 121 to 132 lbs. My question is, how much of this could be related to gains in muscle mass (vs. just fat increase)? My weight gain has corresponded with the following: discontinuing nursing, switching from coconut oil to tallow, reintroducing weight training, and increasing the rigor of my other forms of exercise.
I had been very sick from undiagnosed gluten intolerance for years, eventually unable to even go on a long walk or do any form of strength training for a while there. Even with five years gluten free (and balancing my fatty-acid intake), my exercise was limited to light walking and cycling, with the occasional jog. It wasn't until I cut out dairy, eggs, and night-shades that I started to feel good instead of physically miserable all the time! Now I have finally been able to lift weights and do more rigorous exercises again. I only lift once per week, but I do other full-body exercises at home 5 x per week for about 30 minutes, and go to some exercise classes somewhere between once per week and once every other week. I keep moving throughout the day. My energy level and strength continues to increase, and I know my muscle mass must be increasing, but could it really be 10 lbs worth?
There are some compounding factors: When I went off of dairy (less than a year ago), I very quickly lost 10 pounds without any effort. I tacked this up to stabilizing blood sugar levels (my hypoglycemia nearly disappeared), improved hormonal balance, and generally lower-calorie food intake. I was nursing and had not yet found a replacement source of fat. In fact, I was essentially eating a low-fat high fruit and veggie, moderate meat diet. Since then, I have discovered that I do much better on a high-fat, low-fruit diet, with generous amounts of meat and veggies, eating much of my veggies raw. (I don't do well with starch...I eat some squash and beets, but it's not a daily thing). I was eating copious amounts of coconut oil until I developed an intolerance to it, so now I mostly just use home-rendered tallow from grass-fed cows, fatty meats and fish, and a bit of ghee.
Additional info you may or may not find relevant:
As you may have guessed from my food intolerance issues, I'm currently trying to help my gut heal. I avoid all problem foods, eat nutrient-dense foods (including plenty of animal fats), eat fermented food regularly, and have home-made broth almost everyday. I also take powdered l-glutamine, CLO, and supplement with D/K, Bs, Mag, and sometimes Ca based on my lab work. I take fish oil to keep down my inflammation, but I have been able to steadily reduce the amount of that I take. To improve digestion, I take digestive enzymes and HCL, sometimes ACV. I throw some curcumin in there for good measure. My "fibromyalgia" and neuropathy issues are fading away, and I feel great! Seriously, I thank God everyday and do not take my current state of health for granted...It is such a blessing to just feel good!
asked byCreateveryday (438)
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on November 07, 2012
at 11:48 AM
I don't think what the scales say really matters. They aren't an accurate measure of fat.
More important measures are:
- The tape measure
- How your clothes fit
- How fantastic you look naked
- The fact that you are fit, energetic, happy and healthy
(4) is the most important of all. If you can manage all of (4) and most of (3) does anything else really matter?
Maybe I'm biased, but if you're gluten free, dairy free and egg free, I think that it would be practically quite difficult to put on 10 lbs of fat, when you're doing that much exercise (although obviously it's not impossible). My money is on muscle gain.
on November 07, 2012
at 12:30 PM
I agree with everything borofergie said (+1). Most important is how you look and feel. That said, many of us still want to have some quantitative measure to go by. If that's the case, then getting a DEXA (or DXA) scan to measure your body composition is probably your best bet. Near me (in SE Michigan) there is a university that does it for general public for $40. Not something you'd measure every day, but maybe once a quarter or twice a year or annually if you want to be able to track progress quantitatively. Obviously though, the goal is not to have the lowest possible body fat %, but if you indeed have fat to lose, you can works towards a reasonable target.
Sounds like you are already doing the right stuff, though. Congratulations on finding better health and good luck.