If you are losing weight solely by cutting calories, as much as 25 percent of what you lose could be muscle. That’s not good considering muscle is your body’s calorie-burning machine.
That’s why coupling healthy diet with regular weight training is the secret to lasting weight control. Weight training offers a host of benefits:
Healthy lean muscle burns calories even while you are at rest. Studies show that the average woman who strength-trains two-to-three-times per week for two months swaps 3.5 pounds of body fat for nearly 2 pounds of muscle; on average, for every pound of muscle you gain, you burn 35 to 50 more calories a day.
Muscle takes up less space than fat, creating that lean, toned appearance everyone wants.
Better posture and core stability
Even moderate weight training can increase a woman's strength by 30 to 50 percent. Strength training builds stronger core muscles, as well as stronger connective tissues and better joint stability.
In a Harvard study, strength training during a 10-week period reduced clinical depression symptoms more successfully than standard counseling.
Studies have shown that weight training can help lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol, increase HDL ("good") cholesterol, and lower blood pressure. Weight training has also been shown to increase spinal bone mineral density, and it may help lower diabetes risk by improving the way the body processes sugar.
For delicious high fiber meal plans, recipes and tips on healthy eating, drinking and losing weight, check out my latest book, The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber!
Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a registered dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books: The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with fiber and The F-Factor Diet. Subscribe to Tanya’s free weekly newsletter and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn