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Body fat increased after 1 week

I've been doing the slow-carb diet for a week now and did the 'geek to freak' exercises twice. According to my body fat scale, my body fat increased from 22% to 27% and my muscle decreased!! How is this even possible? What am I doing wrong? I've been eating really healthy low fat meals with no rice, bread, fruit, whatsoever. I'm really frustrated and ready to give up, can someone help me out here?

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The Best Answer

Hi, there. Body fat scales do tend to bounce around a lot from day to day. What I am doing to counteract that (you can see the geeky analytics person in me shining through) is to AVERAGE the last 7 days and use that as your metric for today. I call it my "trailing 7-day body fat %" (T7D%) metric. I do the same for the lean body mass % and water % that my scale also calculates.

Looking at the daily numbers, I had not the foggiest idea whether I was doing OK or not. Looking at the T7D%, it came down EVERY SINGLE DAY since I started calculating it (12 days in a row - I am finishing up my 4th week on the Slow-Carb way of eating). Oddly, the starting T7D% was pretty close to the DEXA scan I did. Probably a coincidence, but I liked it. Oh, and my L7D muscle mass is going up every day. Love that.

The reason that I chose 7 days to average was so that I caught one refeeding day (cheat day, binge day, whatever you call it) in every calculation, so the noise surrounding that day is neutralized.

Hope that helps.

  • jakobo commented Apr 17th 2011:
    I just looked through my T7D% and it's a lot more telling than any of my spot measurements. A little Excel spreadsheet goes a long way!

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Dude chill, it's probably just the water weight from the creatine (if you just started taking it). Creatine is designed to retain water in your muscles, so you should expect your weight to increase, keep in mind it's just water weight. If you're not taking creatine, then it's probably muscle weight. Those body fat scales are a piece of crap anyway!

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Whatever you do, don't trust the scale, the scale will lie and **** with your head. Bioimpedance scales send out an electrical current into your body, and depending on how much 'resistance' it gets from your body, that's how it makes assumptions about how much fat you have. It doesn't 'measure' body fat at all!

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What is your "bodyfat scale"? Did you take measurements around your waist or have a bodyfat assessment done? I don't trust those store-bought weight scales that apparently do BMI or some other measurement. Stick with your waist measurement and/or a professional BF% test, like calipers or other methods Tim suggests in the book.

Also, don't forget that a carb like brown rice is acceptable when attempting to gain mass. I made this mistake my first few days before re-reading the Occam's Feeding section.

Good luck!

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Make sure you weigh yourself at the exact same time each day. I tried weight myself for a couple weeks first thing in the morning and right before bed. Like clockwork, I was almost 2lbs heavier at night than in the morning and had roughly 2-3% LESS body fat at night. Essentially it would tell me every night I put on about 4-6lbs of pure muscle... This would repeat almost daily, of course as I was losing weight it would inch down, so I might only be 1.5lbs heavier at night or more than 2lbs lighter the next morning. The body fat would always go up that 2-3% every morning like clockwork too. I was using a tanita scale.

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Don't worry, it's most likely water weight and/or muscle weight. If you drink a lot of water and check your body fat on a body composition scale, your fat % will dramatically increase even though it was really just water. This is why you shouldn't rely too heavily on the scale to measure your fat. Try using it in conjunction with a body fat caliper and see what happens.

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my scale told me i had 39 percent body fat! (that would mean id be obese...NOT GOOD) this scared me...so i then went to get an underwater body fat test (which is supposed to be the most accurate...) it kindly told me that i have only 22 percent body fat! ummm...wow way to fail me scale!!! needles to say i wont be using that feature anymore! im on my way to 15 percent and i think in a month or so ill pay to go get another underwater to test to see my progress!

hope that inspires you to know your scale is probably very wrong!

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I have no idea what you weight, but let's assume it's 200 pounds. 22% body fat would mean that 44 pounds of your weight is fat cells. At 27% body fat you would have 54 pounds of fat. If you believed your scales you would have gained 10 pounds of fat in a week. Impossible! Relax, and watch the results come in time.

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Home Scales that read bodyfat via current aren't reliable because they can't tell the difference between body fat and water weight. (Tim notes a similar experience in the book) if you don't have access to a proper medical device that measures body fat go by measurements and give it more than a week before you scrutinize your results, write it down and review it after a month. I'm starting my 3rd week and I'm already down 15lbs, I'm giddy about it but I'm not excited, I won't be excited about it until the end of the month.

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