New overnight bathroom PR set; What is lean mass?
Seven. That’s the number of times I woke up last night to urinate. Unfortunately I only got out of bed five times. 😮
I’m kidding about that last part (I stopped wetting the bed a couple years ago), but the first part is accurate. Clearly my body is letting go of the water I was retaining when I started my cut on Monday. Seven overnight trips to the bathroom is a new record for me. Thankfully I had no issues falling back asleep, and I feel well rested this morning.
In yesterday’s blog I discussed why our bodies sometimes retain water, and how to get rid of it naturally (over the counter diuretics are not necessary, and can even be dangerous). When switching from a unhealthy diet, which is generally high in sodium, to a healthy fat loss diet, water loss during the first few days is normal.
Water loss is a subject that comes up near the beginning of my cuts because it’s the most noticeable immediate change. Even though I know this information is well-known to long-time JSF members and visitors, there are people new to fat loss who find this site every day; this is particularly true in early January.
I did a fairly hard 45 mile/72 kilometer training ride yesterday morning, and I was sweating heavily through most of it. I consumed nearly 50 ounces of water on that ride, but when I finished I was down to a very depleted 173.2 pounds. I consumed almost 2.5 gallons of water yesterday, and that doesn’t even include the coffee and hot tea I drank.
My scale weight this morning is down to 175.0 pounds, which is a 4.2 pound reduction from Monday’s starting weight of 179.2 pounds. A gallon of water weighs 8.35 pounds, and so that means my body has shed roughly a half-gallon of water over the past two days (…and most of that water weight was lost over the past 24 hours).
Hopefully that’s most of the water I was retaining, but I am probably looking at one more night of interrupted sleep (although nothing last last night).
Finally, to close out the subject of water weight, note that water is considered lean mass. A lot of people write to me because they are confused about lean mass, and what it is. Some folks are under mistaken impression that lean mass and muscle are different terms for the same thing. This is an easy one to keep straight once you know what’s up. Simply remember that FAT is FAT, and everything else in your body that has mass (muscle, water, organs, hair, blood, teeth, bones–everything but fat) is considered lean mass. So yes, muscle is indeed lean mass, but so is everything else in your body with the exception of fat.
So, when you take a body fat measurement at the end of the first week of your fat loss program, don’t be shocked if most of the weight you lost is lean mass. It’s not muscle you lost, it’s water.