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Old 12-21-2002, 12:24 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 4
blue_cool HB User
Post Gaining inches but not pounds?

I already know that I'm overweight but now I need to know why this is happening. In Ausgust I had a waist of 36 inches and weighed about 178 pounds. Now today I weigh 180, but I just measured my waist and it's 39. Why have I gained so many inches but only 2 pounds. If your getting more fat around you waist shouldn't the numbers on the scale be getting higher or something?

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Old 12-21-2002, 12:58 PM   #2
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Nashua, NH
Posts: 972
Merrida HB User

Nope, not at all! In fact, what you're experiencing, rather what you are now consciously paying attention to, is what happens to us as we age, but most of us don't pay attention to the process as it occurs.

I'm a personal trainer, and I've battled being overweight my entire life from the chubby little kid to the adult, and I do this for work not only because it is the only thing that worked (once you understand human physiology), but also because of working around a back injury and needing to keep moving.

Bear with this as I write on, but it's important to understand so you can reverse this.

We've all heard muscle is heavier than fat, but most of us (especially women) don't really care, so long as the scale goes down. But what you need to understand beyond the muscle density issue is what muscle does. Think in terms of volume: Just for the sake of easy identification, let's suppose you weigh 150 pound, and 100 of those pounds are muscle. That means 50 pounds of you are fat. The 100 pounds of muscle is ALL you have for an engine to burn calories and regulate your metabolism.

As we age we lose muscle. The more inactive we are, we lose muscle. Poor diet can contribute to muscle loss. Not actively trying to put muscle ON can contribute to muscle loss. Add this up and what you'll see is that your "engine" becomes smaller, meaning you burn fewer calories. So even if you eat the same, if your engine is smaller, it means you will gradually add fat. But since the engine is smaller, part of you is technically "losing" weight, but is being replaced with fat, -- fat that takes up more VOLUME than the muscle.

This is why people can "weigh the same as they did in high school" but be a lot larger in size! You can weigh the same and get fatter. You can even put ON weight, and actually SHRINK in inches.

It's all about the composition, how much muscle and fat you've got, not the bottom line of poundage.

You can reverse this and fix it if you're interested in doing so. If you just wanted an answer, then absolutely you CAN put on inches and get bigger, even without gaining any, or very little overall weight.

Old 12-21-2002, 01:42 PM   #3
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 97
1Dove HB User

Merrida, That was very informative. I have a question for you. Is it possible to spot reduce certain areas of the body such as the mid-section without losing weight and reducing in all areas, or is it all genetic where we store our fat? Do any of the abdominal exercises really work? I am asking because my abdominal area is larger that I'd like it to be. But I don't want to lose weight because I am already at my ideal weight, and all the other areas are just right. For years I have been exercising, but nothing seems to help. Any ideas?

Old 12-21-2002, 04:11 PM   #4
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Nashua, NH
Posts: 972
Merrida HB User

You cannot spot reduce, no matter how hard you try. If your entire body is right where you want it to be and the area you are concerned about is the only area that has extra fat on it, - AND (this is important), if the fat on that area is subcutaneous and not visceral (meaning, if you can pinch it beneath the skin's surface rather than having fat beneath the muscles inside where your organs are) - the closest you'll get to spot reducing is liposuction. Liposuction is ideal when it comes to spot reduction when the rest of your body is where you want it, and you've only got one or two "problem" areas.

You could exercise your abs for an hour a day and it won't cause you to shed fat from your abdominal area.

You may have an apple shape (android type body) rather than a pear shape body. Apple shapes tend to have thinner arms and legs, and carry most of their bulk in the midsection. Very often the fat is not under the skin, though, and it's intra-abdominal fat. These types are also at a higher risk statistically for heart-related illnesses.

You CAN resculpt your body pretty considerably, and sometimes it's a matter of building muscle on opposing areas. Example, by building some muscle on your shoulders and back and building your glutes, it will help to make your waistline look smaller and narrower, more like an hourglass rather than straight up and down.

There is a lot that can be done, but there are also important factors to consider such as genetics and diet, as well as exercise.

Old 12-21-2002, 07:43 PM   #5
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 97
1Dove HB User

Thanks Merrida, that's what I thought. I'm 5'4", and 120 pounds, I try to eat healthy, lowfat foods, and I exercise daily. I also have high cholesterol, and a really bad ratio. My doctor has ordered the VAP test for me to see what my real risk is of heart disease, etc. Then I'll probably have to go on a statin. Guess I just have bad genes. Thanks for responding.

[This message has been edited by 1Dove (edited 12-21-2002).]

Old 12-22-2002, 08:21 AM   #6
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Nashua, NH
Posts: 972
Merrida HB User

Please just consider that something is causing elevated cholesterol. Cholesterol production is done to save your life. It occurs in arteries but not in veins. What does that tell you? Cholesterol serves to seal cracks in arterial walls -- it's a signal to say there's a problem CAUSING the cracks. Treating the cholesterol and even reducing it means now the cracks are not being healed and/or that which is causing arterial fissures is not being addressed.

Old 12-22-2002, 10:50 AM   #7
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 97
1Dove HB User

That is an interesting theory. What kinds of things could cause the body to raise cholesterol. I must add that I have an inoperable pituitary tumor that has thrown my hormonal balance off. My cholesterol did improve a lot after I started treatment for that. My medication for the tumor is being raised, so hopefully that will help the cholesterol too. Thanks for your advice.

Old 01-03-2003, 09:58 PM   #8
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 959
winged phantom HB User

Dear Blue,
I know what you are going through, I think. I did nothing last year except go to doctors. I've been in pain the entire year, and I've gotten precious little help and not much diagnosed. So recently I started to measure my girth [it's no longer a waist ], and it is now about 11 inches bigger around than it was about two years ago, when I was at my highest weight, but it is almost 13 inches bigger than last February. I started measuring around Thanksgiving, because I had been complaining about bloating for months, and in the week after that holiday, I gained 4 inches around! Right now, I'm at 48 inches, and I feel like I'm ready to explode. I definitely look pregnant, and I have outgrown all but two pairs of pants (and one of those is a bigger size, bought to accommodate my huge stomach).

My GI guy (who took 8 months to diagnosis "pathologic GERD") kept telling me it was just IBS. I finally went to see a new gynecologist who sent me for an MRI with contrast. That showed an abnormality with the uterus and ovaries, one of which was stuck up against the uterus. My new GI guy sent me for CAT scans, with and without contrast, and that showed some diverticulosis.

Yesterday a gyne-oncologist did a laparoscopy and a hysteroscopy with D&C. It didn't take very long, presumably because it was immediately obvious that I had adhesions everywhere. Everything is stuck to everything else! He wondered if I might have had some severe diverticulitis infection in the past. I have never had abdominal surgery before, my two pregnancies were pretty normal with normal vaginal births, I've never been diagnosed with endometriosis or anything else weird.... I go back for a F/U visit next week, and he'll presumably tell me more and discuss options. He seems certain that it is not cancer, but yesterday he did seem to think I should have all my reproductive organs removed, as that may be the only way to relieve the bloating and pain and pressure.

So, Ladies, if you think you are bloated, please measure yourselves and keep records! Sometimes doctors will not listen unless you put it in writing and can prove you are gaining inches! I'm relieved that it is not ovarian cancer, as I have had all those symptoms for some time now. But there is still a mystery of why I have all those adhesions, because I cannot think of a time when I might have had the symptoms of diverticulitis.

Good luck, Blue, with getting your problems solved. It's often not easy to work through the medical quagmire.
  • 12/29/89 C5-6 Microdiskectomy (no fusion)
  • 4/9/03 ACDF C4-7 with plating and donor bone

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