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Physical Wellness

Here’s Why You’re Losing Inches But Not Pounds

It is a widely held belief that weight loss can only be measured by checking your weight. While that is true to some extent, at one point or another, this method can fail you. Even if you stay on plan, you may notice weight gain instead of weight loss on the scale. Before you freak out and doubt the effectiveness of your diet and exercise routine, it’s important to know the reasons why you’re losing inches but not pounds.

Losing Inches But Not Pounds: What’s Happening?

For many, the number flashing on the scale is a direct reflection of their self-worth. The higher the number, the more likely they are to experience bouts of anxiety, self-doubt, and depression, according to experts. But a number shouldn’t have the ability to control your perception of yourself—especially if the information that number is conveying might be painting an inaccurate picture of your physical health.

Woman measuring her weight using scales on wooden floor. Healthy diet
A Number Shouldn’t Have The Ability To Control Your Perception (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Many people, at some point in their life, have looked at their weight and wondered why they don’t seem to be losing weight even with intense exercise and a strict diet plan. The reason for this is simple: your body composition is steadily changing and adjusting with your fitness regimen. As you work out, you are essentially gaining more muscle mass and reducing your body fat percentage. So, instead of assuming that you’ve plateaued in weight loss, in reality, you’re building muscle in place of the fat you’re losing.

If you’re someone who needs positive reinforcement, these subtle changes in muscle mass can be highly demotivating. Hence, to keep yourself committed to your weight loss journey, try taking creatine. Now you might be wondering, what is creatine and how does it affect the body

Creatine is a chemical substance found naturally in your muscle cells. Creatine not only helps enhance strength and improve performance during exercise, it also helps your body retain essential water that ultimately helps accelerate weight loss.

Take Into Account Factors Like Bone Density

As a result of regular exercise, your body transforms and adjusts to the increased physical demands you put on it. For example, through lifting weights and resistance training, you can improve your body’s bone density and increase your strength and endurance levels. 

Strong woman doing plank exercise.
Increasing Bone Density Also Means That Your Body Is Heavier (Image Source: Shutterstock)

In fact, heavy lifting can strengthen your skeletal system while simultaneously making your bones less susceptible to breakage due to trauma and injury. Largely, there is much to gain from strengthening your bones. However, increasing bone density also means that your body is heavier, which results in a bigger number on the scale. 

When you exercise, your bones adapt to the strenuous activities by building up excess mass  and density. Due to this increase in thickness, there is generally a 0.5 to one pound long-term increase in overall body weight. Although this seems minimal, this weight can add up over the years and become considerably noticeable. Hence, even after exercising for a long period of time and shedding a large amount of fat, your body weight may remain the same or increase due to boosted bone density. So you may be losing inches but not pounds, since your bones are getting denser and stronger.

Dense Bones for Better Health

However, you must realize that even though increasing bone density might lead to an elevated number on the scale, reinforcing bone health through constant exercise is extremely crucial. According to research, people around the globe, especially women, suffer from a condition known as osteoporosis, where bones become weak and prone to breakage due to low bone density. 

In cases with minor osteoporosis, bones may break from a fall and, in serious cases, even from sneezing or minor bumps. Thus, it’s very important that you pay attention to your diet and maintain a healthy exercise routine to support your bone health, even if it means putting on a few extra pounds.

How To Improve Bone Health | How To Increase Bone Density – Whats Up Dude

Here is a short three-minute Youtube video on steps you can take to improve the bone density in your body.

Measure Yourself Through Other Ways

So, how else can you track your fitness progress if the scale is unable to present a reliable picture? You can develop a personalized measuring system of your own.

Woman pulling her big jeans and showing weight loss.
The Moment You Start Losing Inches, You Will Notice That All Of Your Clothes Are Fitting You Differently (Image Source: Shutterstock)

The most efficient method of measuring your success is paying attention to the fit of your clothes. The moment you start losing inches, you will notice that all of your clothes are fitting you differently. If you try on a pair of pants that previously had been too tight and now they fit you perfectly, congratulations! This means you are making progress.

Another method of tracking your progress is by taking frequent measurements of your body. You can’t depend on your overall weight, as it fluctuates constantly due to many different factors and external/internal stimuli impacting your body. However, you can always mark your progress by paying attention to just how many inches you are losing over the course of your weight loss journey. 

It’s important to note here that using scales that are specifically made to measure body fat is also a good way to measure weight loss. These scales measure the percentage of fat in your body through a bioelectrical impedance. You can easily access these specialized weighing scales in health clinics and gyms, or perhaps shell out a few bucks and get one for your home. These scales offer a much better alternative to regular scales due to the information they provide. They can help you track your muscle gain and fat loss progress in a very specific manner.

It’s OK to Lose Inches But Not Pounds

Just because you are not losing weight does not mean you are not making progress in your fitness journey. In fact, muscle mass is much denser than fat, and losing a lot of fat is easily offset by gaining a small amount of muscle. Also, muscles improve your metabolism, which in turn makes it easier for you to lose body fat. 

In addition to an increase in muscle mass, taking care of your physical health can also lead to increase in bone density. This also contributes to weight gain, but it’s a good thing. Good bone health is essential to maintaining a healthy life, and people, especially women, must ensure they are maintaining good bone health to avoid the onset of conditions like osteoporosis.

If you must get a scale to measure your fitness progress, then a body mass scale offers some useful information, including your body fat percentage. By using this type of scale, you can verify whether you are making progress in your fitness journey through reduction in fat and an increase in muscle mass.

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