Jan 24, 2017

Muscle Weighs More Than Fat, Right?

I do not have a degree in science, biology, physics,  or anything at all, for that matter. Despite my  limited education, I am smart enough to know that the above statement cannot possibly be true.  Just like a pound of feathers weighs the same as a pound of bricks, a pound of butter weighs the same as a pound of whipped cream, a pound of potatoes weighs the same as a pound of peas. 

A pound of fat takes up more volume than a pound of muscle and therefore if two people weigh the same but one has a higher body fat percentage, that person will look bigger than someone with lean muscle despite their weight being the same.

Walking three or four days in a week or suddenly starting to exercise will not make a person ‘gain muscle’ when the scale goes up. They may have some fluid retention or inflammation if they are not used to exercising and over did it, but they did not gain 2 lbs of muscles within a few days or even weeks.

I love Weight Watchers. It’s where, many years ago, I learned about portion control. I learned that a serving of pasta was half a cup and not half a package, I learned a serving of bread was one slice, not 4 and that not all vegetables were created equal. When I first joined back in 1995, it was the program where you counted “choices”.  We were allotted 4-6 breads (which included starchy vegetables), 3-5 proteins, 2 milks, 2 fats, 2 fruits and unlimited non-starchy vegetables and 100 calories a day to cover incidentals or we could save up the 700 calories a week for a treat .  This was an easy and sensible plan to follow and it worked well, but even then I knew that I did much better when I stayed to the lower end of the bread choices and the higher end of the protein choices.

Everything else I learned about nutrition and exercise and physiology, I learned from my doctors and my own research.  Weight Watchers is not the place to learn about these things when they spout things like “muscle weighs more than fat” and in all fairness, their leaders and employees are not nutritionists, personal trainers or experts; they are just people who lost weight following the program.  But it does irk me when I read the posts in the Connect forum and members post things they were told by their leaders that are so misleading and sometimes downright wrong.

Ok that was my rant for today. It was driving me crazy because I must have read it a dozen times while I was scrolling through last night’s posts.


  1. This is why I stopped doing Weight Watchers... Well, that and the group I could attend was so hung up on the most insignificant details... is a skinny cow 3 or 4 points? I absolutely hated the commentary by the weigh staff... Oh, you're up this week - Did you drink all your water? Oh, you gained... maybe you're exercising too much/not eating enough and the classic - It must be muscle weight... Thank you.... No thank you... I think the success of WW lies not in the "diet" but in the clients commitment to the program and the relationships at the meeting with other clients and the leader. The best result I had on WW was with the most inspiring REAL leader... and she died of ovarian cancer in 2004... Meh... Whatever works WORKS for you. RANT ON!!!

  2. lol ...I always thought it was funny how my friends would have a gain in their next weigh in and say it was from muscle since they worked out real hard that week. Noooo hun, it was all that pasta you ate at dinner the other night.

    This is only my 2nd week on WW and I really do enjoy learning their Point System. It really shows you the value of food you put into your body. It's great!

  3. *applause* I cringe when people say muscle weighs more than fat, or when they post on a forum or blog that the gain from last week is from lifting weights a few days that week and it must be gaining muscle. I'm sure weight lifters and competitors wish gaining muscle is that easy!

  4. You're more than familiar with my take on the whole WW business model (repeat customers = shareholder profits). The entire fitness/weight loss industry is full of shysters, scams, and unqualified people. I know a personal trainer ("certified" through some internet "school," of course) who once argued with me vehemently that one can "turn fat into muscle" by "targeted" workouts...I tried explaining to her that one kind of cell cannot be turned into another kind of cell and that there is no such thing as "spot training," but she continued to spout her misinformed alchemy, and I gave up. -- xo Norma

  5. Norma - you are totally right! I do find that having a formal plan (like WW) helps me stay focused, I also know that I can't drink the Kool-Aid they promote and have to use my own judgement.