why am i losing muscle mass?

2

Replies

  • AnvilHead
    AnvilHead Posts: 18,360 Member
    dykask wrote: »
    Hornsby wrote: »
    First: how are you measuring body fat? If it's a BI scale, you can throw the numbers out the window.

    Just because you don't know how to use BIA doesn't mean it doesn't work. I had measured 24.5% body fat with BIA and a DEXA scan showed 24.1% body fat. They told me at the clinic it was pretty common for people using BIA to be pretty close to that actual total body fat. You have to use it consistently at about same hydration level to get good results. I also have a scale that measures both through the feet and hands which helps a lot.

    Yea, if you use it in a random fashion you don't get great results.

    Know how I know you didn't read the article I linked?
  • Titanuim
    Titanuim Posts: 338 Member
    Skin fold test are about as accurate as BIA which can be effected by how clean your feet are, as well as the other variables. All of the body fat measurement are just variations different types guess work.

    It is an over-rated metric for non athletes but seems to be one of the most important metrics in MFP land.
  • SLLRunner
    SLLRunner Posts: 12,943 Member
    edited August 2016
    MissSusieQ wrote: »
    I've been focussing really hard on improving my diet since the start of june, and by pretty much just changing that, I've lost about 8kg (woot!!)

    for the first 9 or 10 weeks it was a lovely, happy loss - weight and body fat percentage going down, hydration and muscle mass staying about the same, but the last couple of weeks my body fat loss has slowed, and although I've still lost weight, it's been my muscle mass that's dropped.

    I work out 4-5 times per week (1 PT session and 3-4 group sessions mixing cardio and resistance, and maybe a run once per week), and I think my diet's been pretty good, and pretty consistent. I don't really think I've changed anything dramatically in the last couple of weeks.

    I don't log my diet on here, since I tend to get a bit obsessive when I do, but I write everything I eat down in a diary, so an average day last week, for example..

    breakfast:
    porridge made with skim milk, blueberries, and peanut butter,
    lunch:
    laksa with tofu (125g), lots of veggies and minimal rice noodles,
    dinner:
    spiralised zucchini with pasta (50g), cheese, basil and chilli
    snacks:
    carrots, veggie trail mix (sunflower seeds, dried beans, sesame seeds, dried veggie bits etc.)

    any ideas where I'm going wrong? not enough food? not enough protien? not working out hard enough? (please don't say that! I've been living with constant DOMS since I started seeing my trainer a few years ago, and if I have to go harder I fear my arms might fall off.) my main diet aims have been to reduce sugar, increase veggies, and try to eat most of my carbs in the morning.

    also, I'm a vegetarian, so suggesting I add some chicken to this or some turkey to that are not helpful :)

    Except for initial newbie gains when weight lifting while in a deficit, anybody will lose muscle mass. Since muscle loss is part of the weight loss game, the goal is to preserve what muscle you have.
    A number of you have expressed doubt at the accuracy of my body fat/muscle mass measurements, which is fair enough because yes, I'm just using a BI scale.

    Those scales are dependent upon hydration too, so should be just as a very general guideline if you choose to use one. :)
  • SLLRunner
    SLLRunner Posts: 12,943 Member
    AnvilHead wrote: »
    I can agree with some others here, i'd say the main problem is lack of protein. Start tracking your protein intake.

    I'd agree more with the first response - that the main problem is trying to track LBM/fat mass with a BIA scale. It's only slightly more accurate than throwing darts at a dartboard or rolling dice to determine your bodyfat percentage.

    Yep.

  • VeryKatie
    VeryKatie Posts: 5,867 Member
    Not eating enough protein, too high a calorie deficit likely.
  • Spliner1969
    Spliner1969 Posts: 3,233 Member
    mom22dogs wrote: »
    You probably need more protien. Since you are vegetarian, can't really help you there I guess. You'll have to figure out what you can eat that has more protien.

    You definitely need more protein. You can purchase plant-based protein shakes. I would recommend researching it. If you're concerned about muscle mass then I would be logging everything, and try to keep your protein levels up to 1g/lb of your goal weight. Not your current weight.. your goal weight. So if you want to weigh 180 at your goal, go with 160g - 180g of protein a day. My guess is you are eating far far less without meat. I personally can't get behind a vegetarian diet, but you can get the protein just the same; you're just going to have to work at it probably much harder than non-vegetarians.

  • SLLRunner
    SLLRunner Posts: 12,943 Member
    dykask wrote: »
    MissSusieQ wrote: »
    thanks @AnnPT77 for a great response with a number of ideas beyond the usual protien shake, greek yoghurt, tofu, blah blah. I'll definitely check out the link when I have more time. where would I locate chick pea pasta? truly, thanks.

    A number of you have expressed doubt at the accuracy of my body fat/muscle mass measurements, which is fair enough because yes, I'm just using a BI scale.

    But, are you really telling me that the numbers are worth absolutely zero? because my way of thinking is that if i'm measuring the same way, at the same time of day, on the same day each week, then even if the actual science of how it gets the numbers is a bit iffy, a trend in those numbers should still be a true like, it might be measuring me the wrong way, but it's measuring me the same wrong way every week.

    thoughts on my thoughts welcome (as always), aggro arguments not (as always) :)

    I don't know how good of a scale you have, but they can work very well for body fat. The estimates for other values aren't as solid. I just had a DEXA scan two weeks ago. My BIA scale have 24.5% for the total body fat and the DEXA scan came out at 24.1%. I think that is reasonably close. My scale was reading very consistently for me because my hydration was consistent.

    That's the key right there, which means the scales are not accurate.

  • Return2Fit
    Return2Fit Posts: 226 Member
    "MissSusie wrote:
    I'm a vegetarian, so suggesting I add some chicken to this or some turkey to that are not helpful :)
    You may need to just accept that your overall results will be less muscle given your diet restrictions.

  • TR0berts
    TR0berts Posts: 7,739 Member
    dykask wrote: »
    Hornsby wrote: »
    First: how are you measuring body fat? If it's a BI scale, you can throw the numbers out the window.

    Just because you don't know how to use BIA doesn't mean it doesn't work. I had measured 24.5% body fat with BIA and a DEXA scan showed 24.1% body fat. They told me at the clinic it was pretty common for people using BIA to be pretty close to that actual total body fat. You have to use it consistently at about same hydration level to get good results. I also have a scale that measures both through the feet and hands which helps a lot.

    Yea, if you use it in a random fashion you don't get great results.

    As an electrical engineer, I can easily assure you that BIA measurements are utter garbage.

    If you had a 4-point test, maybe. Maybe. Otherwise, no.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,700 Member
    Another vote for more legumes and not focusing on your BF measurement from your BI scale.

    What does your trainer say about your constant DOMS?
  • Francl27
    Francl27 Posts: 26,373 Member
    edited August 2016
    Stop worrying about body fat too much. Eat a lot of protein (30% or so). Do strength training. That's pretty much all you can do to minimize muscle mass loss anyway.

    Not much advice for your DOMs, are you sure you're just not mistaking it for muscle fatigue? It's what happens to my legs all the time... but it's not the same as DOMs.
  • cee134
    cee134 Posts: 33,764 Member
    The best source of protein that I know of from plants, none soy based, are lentils then beans. Seitan and soy are good.
  • dykask
    dykask Posts: 800 Member
    AnvilHead wrote: »
    dykask wrote: »
    Hornsby wrote: »
    First: how are you measuring body fat? If it's a BI scale, you can throw the numbers out the window.

    Just because you don't know how to use BIA doesn't mean it doesn't work. I had measured 24.5% body fat with BIA and a DEXA scan showed 24.1% body fat. They told me at the clinic it was pretty common for people using BIA to be pretty close to that actual total body fat. You have to use it consistently at about same hydration level to get good results. I also have a scale that measures both through the feet and hands which helps a lot.

    Yea, if you use it in a random fashion you don't get great results.

    Know how I know you didn't read the article I linked?

    I read it in the past. That article doesn't understand how BIA actually works. Modern BIA uses multiple frequencies and multiple points of contact and works from there. The results are very consistent at consistent hydration levels. The only difficulty is doing measurements at a consistent hydration, which is why it should be done in the home and not in the gym or in some office.

    Skin fold is basically impossible to do very well by yourself and it is only measuring subcutaneous fat. The more points the more accurate it can be, but it is pretty difficult to do well.

    With BIA I got to the point where I seeing very small variation in my measurements day to day. Skin fold I would end up with +/- 5% difference every time I tried to make measurements. Those points are then put into a set of equations that cranks out a total number.

    As I mentioned I was asked before my DEXA scan what I though my body fat % was and how I figured that out. I told them 24.5% from BIA. After is was measured at 24.1% they told me that it was common for people using BIA to be pretty close. The DEXA scan though gives a great deal more information. That is a real world data point.

    That being said, I think a lot of BIA scales aren't very good. I use one that is pretty ugly but works very consistently. https://www.amazon.com/Omron-Body-Composition-Monitor-Scale/dp/B0020MMCDE/ref=sr_1_4_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1472511696&sr=8-4&keywords=BIA+scale
  • dykask
    dykask Posts: 800 Member
    TR0berts wrote: »
    dykask wrote: »
    Hornsby wrote: »
    First: how are you measuring body fat? If it's a BI scale, you can throw the numbers out the window.

    Just because you don't know how to use BIA doesn't mean it doesn't work. I had measured 24.5% body fat with BIA and a DEXA scan showed 24.1% body fat. They told me at the clinic it was pretty common for people using BIA to be pretty close to that actual total body fat. You have to use it consistently at about same hydration level to get good results. I also have a scale that measures both through the feet and hands which helps a lot.

    Yea, if you use it in a random fashion you don't get great results.

    As an electrical engineer, I can easily assure you that BIA measurements are utter garbage.

    If you had a 4-point test, maybe. Maybe. Otherwise, no.

    Really? I happen to be an electrical engineer. However, I have never claimed that two point systems will give good results. That actually should be petty obvious.
  • Hornsby
    Hornsby Posts: 10,324 Member
    edited August 2016
    The omron is within 3.5% for 68% of the population and greater inaccuracy for 32% of the population.
  • Cahgetsfit
    Cahgetsfit Posts: 1,913 Member
    already have lots of good comments on here esp the one from the vegetarian person up above. Re those scales - completely off. My scale at home had me on 26% BF but the callipers and DEXA had me at 18% so......

    BIG EFFING DIFFERENCE!

    Re the DOMS - do you take BCAAs or Glutamine or even plain old Magnesium? ZMA tablets at night help. I hardly get the DOMS anymore unless I have a full on beast-mode wipe me off the floor session with a trainer. And even then it's DOMS but not the "I can't sit on the toilet" type. It's just that nice "owww I worked these muscles" type DOMS.

    Re protein - agree with others - looks like you may need a bit more. I use vegan protein powder and I like it. Protein powder is something you just have to get used to the taste. I put mine in my oats in the morning with powdered peanut butter and it's awesome (I use the not very sweet kind - I don't like the really sweet ones)

    Anyway good luck!
  • dykask
    dykask Posts: 800 Member
    Hornsby wrote: »
    The omron is within 3.5% for 68% of the population and greater inaccuracy for 32% of the population.

    What is important is consistency. Every simple method has some offset that will vary by person. Consistency lets one understand what is changing. If you aren't getting consistent results then you don't have a trustworthy method. That is the primary benefit of BIA, I've been able to get very consistent results on a day to day basis. Skin fold was a total failure at giving consistent results.
  • AnvilHead
    AnvilHead Posts: 18,360 Member
    dykask wrote: »
    Hornsby wrote: »
    The omron is within 3.5% for 68% of the population and greater inaccuracy for 32% of the population.

    What is important is consistency. Every simple method has some offset that will vary by person. Consistency lets one understand what is changing. If you aren't getting consistent results then you don't have a trustworthy method. That is the primary benefit of BIA, I've been able to get very consistent results on a day to day basis. Skin fold was a total failure at giving consistent results.

    I have a Withings scale which does BIA. I weigh on it daily, under absolutely identical conditions (same time of the morning when I get out of bed, naked, immediately after going to the bathroom). The bodyfat percentage reading randomly fluctuates 2% to 3% either direction on a daily basis. I know that my actual bodyfat isn't fluctuating 2-3% on a daily basis. I also have a pair of skinfold calipers and take monthly 3-site measurements under identical conditions (in the past four years I've taken over a thousand measurements with the calipers, so I'm familiar with how to properly use them). Their results are much more consistent and repeatable. They're also 3-4% lower than the BIA scale and more consistent with my visual BF% estimation.

    When I joined a new gym last year, they offered a consultation and analysis with the orientation. I asked them how they measured bodyfat percentage and when they told me they used a BIA machine, I declined the analysis because I knew the numbers it would spit out would be all but completely worthless.
  • Hornsby
    Hornsby Posts: 10,324 Member
    dykask wrote: »
    Hornsby wrote: »
    The omron is within 3.5% for 68% of the population and greater inaccuracy for 32% of the population.

    What is important is consistency. Every simple method has some offset that will vary by person. Consistency lets one understand what is changing. If you aren't getting consistent results then you don't have a trustworthy method. That is the primary benefit of BIA, I've been able to get very consistent results on a day to day basis. Skin fold was a total failure at giving consistent results.

    What's important to YOU might be consistency and yes, I didn't care all that much about exact percentages when I had excess fat but being consistent does not make them accurate. Those words aren't interchangeable.
  • dykask
    dykask Posts: 800 Member
    AnvilHead wrote: »
    dykask wrote: »
    Hornsby wrote: »
    The omron is within 3.5% for 68% of the population and greater inaccuracy for 32% of the population.

    What is important is consistency. Every simple method has some offset that will vary by person. Consistency lets one understand what is changing. If you aren't getting consistent results then you don't have a trustworthy method. That is the primary benefit of BIA, I've been able to get very consistent results on a day to day basis. Skin fold was a total failure at giving consistent results.

    I have a Withings scale which does BIA. I weigh on it daily, under absolutely identical conditions (same time of the morning when I get out of bed, naked, immediately after going to the bathroom). The bodyfat percentage reading randomly fluctuates 2% to 3% either direction on a daily basis. I know that my actual bodyfat isn't fluctuating 2-3% on a daily basis. I also have a pair of skinfold calipers and take monthly 3-site measurements under identical conditions (in the past four years I've taken over a thousand measurements with the calipers, so I'm familiar with how to properly use them). Their results are much more consistent and repeatable. They're also 3-4% lower than the BIA scale and more consistent with my visual BF% estimation.

    When I joined a new gym last year, they offered a consultation and analysis with the orientation. I asked them how they measured bodyfat percentage and when they told me they used a BIA machine, I declined the analysis because I knew the numbers it would spit out would be all but completely worthless.

    At withings.com I only see two contact scales. I wouldn't expect good results from that. Modern BIA should at least use both the hands and feet and be done over multiple frequencies. I can see why people don't think BIA isn't accurate when with cheap scales that have a poor implementation. Style, WIFI whatever ... those aren't what is needed for BIA. If I had results that varied 2% to 3% a day, I wouldn't use them either.

    It is good that you have a method that works for you with skin fold. Very few people invest the amount of effort and practice required to make it work well. For me I saw wide variation and was very concerned that there isn't any real measurement of visceral fat which I was primary concerned about. Even BIA is crude for visceral fat vs subcutaneous fat, but it was very consistent for me. When it changed I could confirm it with waist size measurements.

    The key point is to have a method to works for yourself. Very few people put in the effort to know how to do something right. I applaud you for succeeding!