Something that people never consider when they are choosing a weight loss program is how much fat vs muscle they will lose. Unfortunately, this is likely the most important metric by which to judge your weight loss. The typical dieter in America loses 2.5-3.5 lbs of muscle for every 10 lbs of weight loss (or 25-35%). That’s 10-12lbs of muscle for every 30lbs of weight loss! Preventing muscle loss or better gaining muscle while you lose weight is the key to health. Let’s take a look at results from an Enara member.

Bob (name has been changed for privacy) is 36 y/o man who came to Enara with the goal of lowering his cholesterol. He was 6’10” and had a weight of 179lbs (or BMI 25.8). While a BMI of 25.8 is not to bad, the problem was his percent body fat was 25.3%.  That’s actually above the obesity cutoff (which meant he had the same percent body fat on average as individuals with a BMI 30).

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So how many pounds would Bob have to lose to get to a normal percent body fat of 19%(normal is anywhere between 15-20%)?

  1. If Bob followed a typical weight loss program or plan, he would have  to lose 18-19lbs (14 lbs of fat and 4-5 lbs of muscle).
  2. If Bob is able to maintain his muscle during his weight loss,  he would only have to lose 12lbs. That is 37% less weight loss.

With the help of  Enara Health‘s nutrition and exercise plan, Bob reached 19% body fat in 6 months. But he only had to lose 9 lbs (less half of what would be needed with a standard weight loss approach). How did he do that? While losing weight, he was able to gain 2.5 lbs of muscle. He did this by starting off with 20 minutes/ day of home strength exercises using the Swork It App and advancing towards resistance training at the gym. See his results in the graph below.

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Bob lost 11.4lbs of fat while gaining 2.5lbs of muscle getting to 19% weight loss with half the weight loss of standard dieting. 

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Bob’s hard work paid off. His good cholesterol rose 10% while his bad cholesterol dropped 19%.

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Bob’s story shows the importance of evaluating your weight loss by more precise metrics: Body fat percent, muscle mass, and metabolic health. At Enara Health, we make an emphasis to measure and track  fat, muscle mass and labs to ensure metabolic health. We are also starting to track resting metabolic rate to make sure metabolism does not sink with weight loss.  You can jump from one fad to another trying to lose weight but in the end you really want to take a scientific and precise approach to make sure you lose weight optimally and gain health (which is what really matters).

Posted by:Dr. Rami Bailony

Dr. Bailony completed his medical school and internal medicine training from UCSF. Thereafter, he went on to complete a fellowship in Healthcare Innovation with Medicine X at Stanford University where he focused on behavioral change, obesity and diabetes management. From there he went on to co-found Enara Health and Enara Health Group which uses online and mobile platforms to provide clinical programs for obesity and type II diabetes.

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