Scroll through the comments section on any body-positive, size-inclusive instagrammer’s account and you’ll surely find trolls bemoaning that person’s “unhealthy lifestyle,” or insisting that extra meat on the bones surely = poor health. But if these side-by-side body photos from fitspiration Instagrammer Fenella Scarlett McCall prove anything, it’s that your weight, “looking thin,” and being healthy have nothing to do with each other.
The 30-year-old psychology student from Melbourne, Australia recently shared two snaps of herself on IG taken almost two years apart, listing her weight at the time of each photo. In the older pic, she’s 66 kg (equivalent to about 146 pounds) and in the newer photo, taken after 17 months of working out consistently, she’s 148 pounds — heavier, obviously, than before she started exercising and eating well.
“In the left photo, I had absolutely NO MUSCLE. My weight was all extra chub,” she wrote. And now, “even though it may not look like it — there be PLENTY of muscles over there. Bloody scales — never trust them again.”
That’s advice we could all use!
So how exactly does something like this happen? Well, you’ve probably heard the words “muscle weighs more than fat” spoken by a “fitness enthusiast” at some point in your life, but what does that really mean? And is it even true?
According to Weight Watchers personal trainer William Sukala, the idea that muscle “weighs more” is a misconception that helps no one. Instead, he offers this alternative explanation:
Sukala also explains that a pound of muscle burns more fat — even at rest — than a pound of fat, so “by increasing your lean muscle tissue mass, you’re helping your body burn more calories.”
At the end of the day, though, neither your weight on the scale nor your body shape or size prove anything about your overall health. And as evidenced by McCall’s photos and life story — she is a recovering drug addict who was, as she describes herself, at one time obsessed with being “a skinny junkie” — taking care of your body means more than just “looking thin.”
So remember that the next time you’re stressed about stepping on the scale!