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.