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throw the scales away!

Like many people, I have struggled with my weight. I have always felt, even from a young age, that I was heavy and overweight. This, I think, stems from the fact that I was always quite tall for my age. I was constantly being told that I was 'big boned' & 'a strapping lass'. Looking back at pictures of myself growing up, I can see that I was not overweight at all. I was actually quite slim and well proportioned but in my minds eye I was chunky and bigger than the other girls. What I have always possessed is the ability to build muscle. I have always had an athletic build. As a teenager, I saw this as a hinderance, big muscular thighs, quite well defined biceps & shoulders, rock solid bum. Now, of course, these are all things I pride myself on.

I managed to maintain my weight & my figure for quite some years. It wasn't until I hit my mid 20's, I was in a very sedentary job, where I worked long hours and I put on a few pounds. This wouldn't have been too bad if I had then gone the right way about losing the weight but instead I did what so many of us do and turned to Slimming World to lose that 1/2 stone I'd put on. This was my fatal mistake, as this then sent me down a path of yo-yo dieting and 3 years later I was 3 1/2 stone heavier! I couldn't understand it. I'd followed what they had said, I didn't cheat, I also trained on a fairly regular basis. I lost a few pounds to begin with but then just seemed to plateau and then actually put it on and then some! It was time to take matters into my own hands and take back control. I decided I wasn't going to follow any kind of 'diet' as that is what had got me into this mess in the first place. I simply kept an eye on my portion sizes, ate a balance of protein, carbs and fat and cut out the small amount of obvious sugar (ie biscuits, sweets & desserts). The other big change I made was to include weight training into my routine. I already did quite a lot of cardio (running, walking, 1/2 hour aerobics that sort of thing) but I wasn't lifting any weights. By starting to lift weights, I started to regain my muscle mass (which had been eroded away with all the cardio I had been doing).

Over the following weeks and months, I was amazed at just how much my body shape changed. My arms and legs became shapely again, rather than the sausage like appendages they had become. My bum, which I had bid a fond farewell to a few years previous, came back from it's long vacation and set up camp at the top of my legs. I, for the first time in my life, had abdominal muscles you could see and a flat stomach (something which I never believed possible for myself). I felt energised and amazing. Now, here's the thing, if I had paid too much close attention to the scales & my weight while I had been doing this, I would have become quite disheartened and would probably have stopped with my training. Quite often it would show no change in my weight, sometimes it even went up. However, gradually, bit by bit, it came down and I knew what I was losing was fat! You see, if you want to burn fat, you need to have muscle. It is your best and most efficient fat burner. The only way to get muscle is to lift weights. However, muscle weighs heavier than fat. So, while you are building all that lovely muscle you are also putting on weight. At the same time you are starting to burn more fat, more efficiently because you have more muscle. So, you could actually burn 2lbs of fat in a week but if you have also managed to build 2lbs of muscle your scales are not going to register a difference.

Build muscle, burn fat, look great, feel amazing - throw the scales away!

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