Why Am I Losing Inches But Not Weight?

If you’re currently trying to lose weight, you might be using a scale to mark your progress and see how much weight you lose from what you started at.

Why Am I Losing Inches But Not Weight?

If you’ve used a scale to gauge your weight loss in the past, then you know the number can fluctuate constantly, but there’s no denying that it’s incredibly demotivating to find those numbers on the scale don’t move. 

But if you’re noticing that your clothes are starting to fit more loosely or you’re noticing a difference in your figure, it can be confusing why you’re dropping inches but not seeing the number budge on the scales.

In this article we’ll look at some of the reasons you might be dropping inches but not weight to put your mind at ease. 

You May Be Losing Weight And Gaining Muscle

If you’re noticing that you’re losing inches but not noticing a difference on the scales and you regularly do strength training at the gym, you could actually be losing fat whilst gaining muscle which reflects a heavier number on the scale or the number stagnates. This process is called body recomposition. 

Your average scale won’t be able to differentiate between the amount of fat you have compared to the amount of muscle you have.

You can weigh the same exact amount as someone, but have very different body types due to the amount of muscle you have compared to body fat. 

Strength training when combined with a reduced calorie and high protein diet allows for muscle gain and fat loss simultaneously, resulting in body recomposition.

This is why it can seem like you’re losing no weight or your weight loss is much slower than you anticipated. 

This is a big reason why you shouldn’t solely measure your progress based on the number the scale shows, as it can be quite discouraging to not see the numbers move, even though you can see a difference within yourself.

If you’re looking for a better indicator to measure your body fat and muscle mass at home, you can try a body fat scale, though it is not always entirely accurate.

It’s like a typical scale you’d use, but it estimates your body’s composition by sending a weak electrical signal through your body.

You May Have Water Retention 

Weight loss isn’t a straightforward journey, if you’re currently on the journey then you know your weight constantly fluctuates and it’s hardly ever the same number.

Some days you gain weight, whilst others you lose it and part of the reason why is because of fluid shifts or water retention. 

Water retention can occur for a number of reasons:

  • Eating a high sodium meal, which can cause your kidneys to retain water.
  • Creatine is a big culprit for water retention, as it effectively increases your muscle power and strength by temporarily increasing the amount of water in your muscle cells.
  • Taking certain medications, like those that lower blood pressure, control blood pressure and manage inflammation can cause fluid retention.
  • If you’ve got quite a bit of stress going on in your life, this can lead to an increase in hormones that cause water retention.

You May Have Hit A Weight Loss Plateau 

In most cases, weight loss will occur within the first 4-6 weeks of restricting your calories. 

This weight loss tends to be much faster in people who are following a keto diet or a low carbohydrate diet.

Why Am I Losing Inches But Not Weight?

But, over time weight loss can cause your metabolism to slow down, which unfortunately significantly decreases the rate at which you lose weight. 

You may even experience a plateau where you have little to no weight loss when you’re consuming more calories than you’re expending on a regular basis.

In simple terms, you may think that you’re consuming less calories than you burn, but you’re actually consuming more.

To combat this, try tracking your calories for a week to determine if your calorie intake is too high for the amount of calories you’re burning.

You’ll need to be continuously adjusting your calorie intake as you lose weight and to factor in things like age, gender and how much activity you’re doing. 

How Often Should You Weigh Yourself?

Weighing yourself is the one of the best ways to monitor your progress, and studies have found that people who weigh themselves and track their diets and exercise seem to be much more successful at losing weight and better at maintaining their weight after the loss has occurred.

Even though you’ll experience daily fluctuations due to water retention, a lot of research suggests it’s best to weigh yourself daily as it’s more effective for weight loss and maintenance rather than weekly or monthly weighing. 

This may be because people who weigh themselves daily are more likely to engage in a healthier lifestyle, like reading nutrition labels, eating better and drinking less soda

Whilst weighing yourself has been linked to anxiety, body image issues and disordered eating, as long as you keep a healthy relationship between weighing yourself and your mental health, you should be fine.

If you find that weighing yourself causes any of these issues or obsessive behaviors to arise, it’s best to monitor your progress in different ways. 

Final Thoughts 

Whilst using scales to monitor your weight loss progress is a helpful indicator, the amount of time your weight fluctuates due to things out of your control should mean you don’t take the number on the scale verbatim.

If you’re losing inches but no weight, you are losing weight, the reasons above could explain why it may seem like you’re not. 

Sometimes people prefer to measure their progress by how loose their clothes start to fit, or just by being able to see a difference in themselves.

Just remember that your weight isn’t always a reliable indicator of how healthy you are.

Jenna Priestly