Why You May Be Losing Inches but Not Weight

During weight loss, it is not uncommon to be losing inches not weight. Some people fear that if they are not seeing a reduction of pounds on the scale, then weight loss is not happening. In all actuality, it’s quite the opposite. While you may not be seeing a decrease in pounds, you are likely seeing an increase in muscle, leading to a decrease in overall inches.

Determine Your Goals

Why do you want to lose weight? Do you simply want to reduce the number that is displayed on the scale and keep your figure the way it is? Or, are you, like most, trying to lose body fat and slim down? For the vast majority of people that are trying to “lose weight” that is the case. They want to look better and feel better. Rather than focusing on the numbers revealed on the scale, turn your attention to the reduction in inches lost to measure your weight loss progress.

Muscle vs. Fat

The key here is to understand the difference in muscle and fat. Because a pound is a pound no matter what you are measuring, one pound of fat is equal to one pound of fat. The common saying, “muscle weighs more than fat, ” is wrong. A pound is a pound, no matter what you measure. However, fat and muscle are composed of different substances, look different, have differing effects on the body and take up varying amounts of space in the body. Fat takes up more space in the body and has a lumpy appearance. Muscle, on the other hand, is lean and smooth. For visual purposes, picture a lean steak equal to the size of a regulation sized baseball. Now, picture approximately three times that much jello in a bowl. If these ingredients were placed in your body, would you prefer the lean, compact muscle or the jiggling bowl of jello? A person weighing 150 pounds, with 14% body fat will look much leaner than a person who weighs 120 pounds with 35% body fat.

Losing Inches Instead of Weight

Now that you understand the different characteristics of fat and muscle, you are probably likely to reconsider your weight loss goals. Losing inches doesn’t seem so shabby when it’s put into perspective. The most common culprit for a loss of inches rather than a loss of pounds is that of muscle development. When fat is burned and muscle is replaced, your body may stay the exact same weight. However, you have replaced lumpy, jiggly and unhealthy amounts of fat with lean, solid muscle. An equal amount of muscle will take up approximately half as much space as the same amount of fat.

Burn Baby, Burn

To continue losing fat and developing muscle mass it is important to provide your muscles with adequate amounts of protein. Protein fuels the muscles within your body, just as unleaded gas fuels the vehicle in your garage. Lean meats, such as chicken, lamb, turkey and fish are excellent sources of protein. In addition, resistance training is a proven method for developing muscle mass.



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Posts By Sequoia
  • Tiffany Freeman

    Thanks for this info! It definitely helped me to reevaluate my fitness goal. My goal is to slim down, but I didn’t realize what that meant until reading your article. I appreciate it!!

  • Samantha Knox

    Thanks for that explanation! I have started working out ( walking a mile a day and using Wii biggest loser) and cutting calories. Started a week ago, I know to soon for a scale drop… But, go ahead and think I’m crazy, but my usual beach towel it fits me now!!! I used to not be able to wrap it all around me without a huge gap in the front. Now it fits with a good 6 inches to spare!!! Whoop whoop!!! Sorry I’m excited and had to share it with someone!!

  • Josh

    Different things work for different people and I was lucky enough to find one that worked for me. I lost 20 pounds in one month and half without much exercise and it’s been a life changer. I’m a little embarrased to post my before and after photos here but if anyone actually cares to hear what I’ve been doing then I’d be happy to help in any way. Just shoot me an email at [email protected] and I’ll show you my before and after photos, and tell you about how things are going for me with the stuff I’ve tried. I wish someone would have helped me out when I was struggling to find a solution so if I can help you then it would make my day.