Did you notice that you’re losing inches but not weight? I know, as weird as this is, it happens. But don’t despair.
If this is happening to you, it may actually be a good thing. We’ll explain why in today’s article, so stick around.
When trying to lose weight or look slimmer, people sometimes become obsessed with the weighing scale. However, losing weight and losing volume are two concepts, each with its own method and goal.
Let’s take a quick look at these two different “weight loss” terms:
The idea is to “burn calories” to lose weight. A strict concept that is difficult for some people to maintain in the long term.
And yes, a caloric deficit can make you lose weight in a short period of time. However, it can be counterproductive in the long run because it slows down the metabolism due to its accustomed diet; once this happens, you’ll no longer lose weight no matter how little you eat.
That’s when things start getting a little shaky, making you throw in the towel.
The thing is, you shouldn’t get too obsessed with the scale, when in fact, your weight can fluctuate for many different reasons.
For instance, you can gain weight if you retain liquids just before your menstrual cycle. This is why it seems like you’re losing inches but not weight.
As we mentioned earlier, miracle diets will lead you to lose weight in a short period of time, at the cost of losing muscle mass and water, which will make you feel more tired and moody, but they won’t make you lose weight in the long run.
Turning down your overall volume is a good indicator that you’re on the right path to losing weight.
Instead of weighing yourself every day, you should be more aware of losing volume by eliminating body fat. Start by taking measurements with a tape, check your chest volume, then the waist, hips, and arms and legs’ contour.
Write it down and keep a record as you see how it evolves over time.
If you’re losing inches but not weight, you may actually be on the right path
Overall weight loss is a long term process in which you stick to a training plan that combines cardio with weights (strength training will not make you more muscular, but will help you lose volume) and a diet rich in vegetables and proteins (both animal and vegetable sourced).
The ultimate goal: Weight loss
If you want to lose weight in the long run, focus on losing fat and volume, not so much on the pounds.
If you manage to change your body’s fat percentage by strengthening the muscles, your body will look more defined, toned, and slender.
Fat weighs less than muscle does, but it takes up much more space. So if you train hard and effectively, you will soon notice that you’re not only losing weight but reducing size and volume as well.
For many of us, weight is not just a number but also something that can change how we feel about ourselves.
If you’re undergoing a particular diet and exercising, you obviously expect weight loss to occur, but what does weight really mean, and how useful is it when it comes to weight loss management?
Most people take their weight as the only reference given by the scale. However, this indicator is not always enough to measure body changes; here, I will explain why.
Is weight reflected by fat only?
NO, the body is composed of muscle, liquids, bone, and of course, fat. For example, when you weigh yourself on a conventional scale, it will tell you 160 lbs (to say a number), but keep in mind that this includes all body components.
Now, the trick here is to know which of these 160 pounds is just fat.
Undergoing a strict diet and exercise will affect the body’s metabolism system and its composition. Weight loss generally means to “lose weight”; however, losing weight doesn’t always mean exactly that (it sounds strange).
It’s totally possible to be thinner without seeing an actual change in weight. This happens because you actually replace the fat loss with muscle mass gain.
Does muscle outweigh fat?
This is a common question but poorly expressed. In fact, muscle and fat are equally heavy because weight is a generic measurement unit.
I guess the correct question would be: Does muscle take up more space than fat? In which the simple answer is NO.
Muscles don’t alter size measures, whereas fat does. Fat is more noticeable (voluminous), enough to make your clothes no longer fit as before.
Change the way you measure your achievements
Using other ways to measure progress can help you stay motivated and make you realize that real changes are actually taking place, regardless of what “the scale” says.
- Look at how your clothes fit: are they looser? Do you have to wear a belt? are you wearing clothes that you haven’t worn in a long time?
- Take your measurements to see if you are losing inches in your hips and waist
- If the scale is driving you crazy, leave it alone. Weight is not the only measure of success. Think volume instead of weight
Consider one-on-one counseling to better achieve your goals in a shorter time frame without putting yourself at risk.
Most importantly, this will encourage a long-term sustainable lifestyle that’ll keep you healthy.
10 differences between losing inches but not weight, the “Fat Factor”
If you’ve finally decided to eat healthy, workout and improve your figure, the first thing you should know is that losing weight does not always mean losing fat.
When you lose fat, you lose weight; but when you lose weight, you don’t always lose fat.
- VOLUME: When you lose fat, you’ll notice it on your clothes. You’ll also see it reflected on the scale, but again, the volume is what matters here
- WEIGHT: Losing weight, in general, involves water, muscle, and fat mass. For example, if you skip meals, you will lose fluids, muscle mass, and very little fat
- REBOUND EFFECT: In weight loss diets such as intermittent fasting or food deprivation, a “rebound effect” may occur when you return to your normal diet. A rebound effect can make you gain more pounds than what you’ve lost. This happens because by depriving the body of sufficient and adequate nutrients, it uses muscle mass to generate energy and protect the fat
- LASTING EFFECT: If you want your efforts to have lasting results, your goal should be to LOSE FAT and preserve muscle
- ENERGY: Proper fat loss without affecting your muscles translates into more efficient musculature; which means more energy and strength for a sporting activity
- FEEDING HABITS: If you want to lose weight quickly, you must adopt healthy eating habits. The consequences of not doing so will provoke a rebound effect and physical weakness. If you want to lose fat, keep your metabolism active by making 5 meals a day, including protein and carbohydrates and healthy fats (olive oil, omega6, omega3, etc.). Forget about trans fats and unhealthy carbohydrate excess
- SAFETY: With an adequate diet, you will eat more, your satiety feelings will be met, and you’ll no longer resort to snacking between meals, which is one of the great enemies of your diet. This is because by eating often, the glycemic index remains stable. Thus, controlling your sense of satiety. Inadequate carb intake and not eating in small amounts several times a day produces peaks and troughs of glucose that prevent fat reduction and produce much more severe diseases such as diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, cardiovascular disease, etc.
- FIGURE AND TONE: With an adequate diet plan and exercise regimen, you will notice defined musculature and an increase in your muscle tone and strength. Because you will lose fat instead of muscle
- MENTAL STRENGTH: This part is crucial for achieving anything in life. The main pillar of mental strength is motivation. Never lose sight of your goals and always remember: “No pain, no gain.” If you’re new to the fitness world, we advise you to seek the guidance of an instructor. Not only will it help you stay motivated, but also ensure that you train the right way. Efficiently and effectively
- IF YOU WANT TO LOSE FAT, you need to tone up MUSCLE: 40 minutes of daily cardio exercise will not only achieve this task but many other health benefits. Although for best toning results, try mixing it up a little with a FORCE workout: CROSSFIT. Cardio helps you burn calories; while force workouts, tone muscles, and increase the metabolism. This means that even after you’re done training, your body will continue burning fat to rebuild and maintain muscles
Losing inches but not weight: Summary
As previously discussed, the main goal of any weight loss eating plan should be fat elimination. This is achieved by increasing physical activity and decreasing the amount of energy we normally consume.
For most people looking to lose weight, monitoring the weighing scale is their most important habit. Some people don’t exercise because it doesn’t allow them to see quick results.
However, to achieve healthy, long-term weight loss results, it’s important that the reduction be gradual and includes good nutrition and physical activity.
Starting on a new fitness regimen will likely make you feel better and, in most cases, will make your old clothes fit you again. But when you get on the scale, you may find that your weight has not changed.
This is not a reason to drop out and stop following your eating plan and exercise; keep it up, and you will see that the results will turn positive in the medium and long term. Motivation is key!
Keep in mind that exercise helps you lose fat, which generally accumulates in certain body areas such as the abdomen, waist, hips, buttocks, and breasts. When you exercise regularly, this accumulated fat is used as an energy source.
These modifications in your body composition will help you reduce your clothing size and look more slender even when your weight does not vary significantly. If you maintain these changes in your lifestyle, likely, your weight will also decrease.
Body weight is given by the sum of different components such as water, muscle, fat and bones of which water represents 60% or more of the total weight. When we expose ourselves to an inadequate feeding plan, weight loss is mainly due to the loss of water and muscle mass.
When we return to our habits, we regain the weight we’ve lost quickly and sometimes even more than our original weight, known as the “rebound” effect.
Healthy weight management requires lifestyle changes, including a balanced diet and regular physical activity. The following recommendations can help you achieve your goal of losing weight and reducing your clothing size:
- Include foods from all groups in your daily diet. Your diet must be varied according to the recommendations of your personal trainer or physician
- Eat more fruits and vegetables, enough cereals and animal foods in moderation
- Reduce salt and fat intake
- Avoid fried foods (junk food) consumption
- Avoid excessive alcohol intake
- Include foods with fiber (fresh and peeled fruits and vegetables, legumes, and whole grains)
- Drink enough water every day (2 to 3 liters)
- Establishes feeding schedules
- Consume 5 meals a day, the three main ones (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and 2 snacks between them
- Do not skip meals
- Do at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day
If you want to lose weight and clothes size healthily, we recommend that you visit a health professional to develop an eating plan that fits your needs and helps you achieve your weight loss goals.
I hope you enjoyed this article. Please feel free to comment and share your experiences so that we can enrich this topic. Your feedback is much appreciated. Stay safe and healthy!